The island of O‘ahu in Hawai‘i, aka “The Gathering Place,” surely has its share of amazing restaurants, dining experiences, and just plain awesome spots to sit down with a meal. And on Oahu’s southern, western and even northern shores, a view of the sunsetting into the great Pacific Ocean is also abundantly available. Now combine the two? Well, that’s a little harder to come by — but an awesome combo, indeed. While there’s probably dozens of dinner spots on the island with a sunset view, the following are our favs — a selection of experiences that aren’t all top-dollar, but surely provide an array of vibes and moods, all in a sunset’s view.
1. Hau Tree Lanai (Waikiki) $$$$
Nestled right on Kaimana Beach at the end of Waikiki, at the foot of iconic Diamond Head, the Hau Tree Lanai is a gorgeous, hip little spot with an incredible sunset view. Offering an array of delicious small plates and inventive, islandy cocktails (beneath shady hau trees literally right on the beach), besides a perfectly angled view of the sun dipping down west, you can also watch surfers, swimmers, foil-boarders, and canoe paddlers doing their thing at “golden hour.” There’s even been basking Hawaiian monk seals on the beach there; certainly a must-visit spot for a drink.
Best Vibe For: A romantic, stellar date night, or even for pre-meal drinks with the girls or guys.
Lae‘ahi Lauhala: A handsome leather slip-on crafted with a hand-woven lauhala design for dressed-up occasions.
Waiau: A simple, sophisticated strappy sandal for that effortless island look.
As far as the surfer’s paradise on Oahu known as the North Shore goes, there’s often not a lot of going-out spots up there. A ton of great food trucks, yes, but restaurants with a view — not as much. That’s where Turtle Bay Resort delivers. Whether you’re staying there or not, Turtle Bay has a few great restaurants on offer, but for the best sunset view, we recommend just heading to the gorgeous pool bar zone for a mai tai, a meal, and delightful, daily live music. Dress up or dress down, the sunset won’t let you down, and feel free to applaud with the rest of onlookers when the Green Flash blinks.
Best Vibe For: A casually classy night with live music and a “green flash” on the North Shore.
Kākaha: A laidback slip-on inspired by the rich, smooth feel of fine leather.
Mi‘i: A timeless leather mule with an island-inspired weave.
3. Duke’s Waikiki (Waikiki) $$$
Every single evening, smack dab in the mix of Waikiki at the Outrigger Waikiki hotel (right on the beach in front of the surf and catamarans): Duke’s boogies. As in, many of Hawaii’s best, most iconic musicians perform there to dancing visitors and locals alike, as the sun dips down to the West. Of course, Duke’s is a fairly big restaurant, so you definitely don’t need to feel obligated to get down at the Barefoot Bar… You can just sit down, and have a romantic meal with a 5-star view and stiff, ono (delicious) cocktails. Like the Vintage ’44 Mai Tai.
Best Vibe For: Some fun, drinks, and maybe even some dancing to live Hawaiian music in Waikiki.
Mea Ola: A premium leather sandal with a nod to native exploration and craftsmanship.
Kāpehe Luana: An elegant and understated soft leather sandal with a strappy design.
If you’re looking for a taste of how local people love to BBQ or dine on the cheap with family and friends in Town (Honolulu), Ala Moana beach park is a great place to get amongst it — all with the perfect sunset payoff. Bring something to grill, as well as a portable hibachi, maybe some surfboards, swim suits, sunscreen, even a volleyball for a pickup game, and camp out for the day.
Best Vibe For: A taste of authentic local culture and community after a surf or beach day.
Ulele: The ultimate sandal built with water-resistant materials, extra grip, and the support of a sneaker.
Kīpuni: Celebrate the summer with this limited-edition, super comfy striped slide.
Probably the best spot on the entire North Shore for a sunset view (hence, the name) Sunset Beach, right off of the North Shore bike path and Kamehameha Hwy, just might offer the most golden of golden hours. Whether you’re coming in from a surf or swim, or fresh off the trail after a hike in the Pupukea Hills, grab a takeaway meal from one of the dozen nearby food trucks and post up on the sand or concrete pilings around 5pm with the local community. It’s a magical view (you might even spot a humpback whale during migration season), but if there in summer, the sea is a sparkling turquoise blue.
Best Vibe For: A romantic dinner-picnic after an active day on the North Shore.
Holo: Hawaiian tradewinds inspired this lightweight and vegan-friendly sneaker.
Wailuku: An active sneaker with enough cushion and bounce to keep up with you.