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11 Best Oahu Luaus: How to Choose the One that’s Right for You

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Are you trying to find info on the best luaus in Oahu? There are quite a few to choose from, but how do you narrow down which one is the best one for you and your family?

We’ve highlighted 10 of the best luaus in Oahu to help you decide. First, ask yourself if any of these questions matter most to you:

Are you looking for the most authentic luau in Oahu?

Want to find a cheap luau in Oahu that’s still a lot of fun?

Is seeing a traditional luau dance and costumes high on your list?

Do you prefer an intimate setting or a larger one where kids can get their wiggles out?

How about a Hawaiin luau Waikiki location if you don’t have a car?

Keep reading and I’ll answer all of these questions and plenty more to help you decide between the top luaus in Oahu!

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11 Best Oahu Luaus: How to Choose the One that's Right for You. Use these travel tips to make plan your best Hawaiian itinerary! | travel tips | travel guide | Hawaii | itinerary | things to do

Ka Moana Luau

By Karee at Our Woven Journey

This oceanfront Oahu luau is a great one to choose if you’re traveling with kids. The outdoor setting is spaced out across the lawn enough that kids can get up and move as needed. The casual setting makes for a fun, enjoyable evening for kids and adults alike and is widely considered the best luau in Oahu for families.

The show includes lavish costumes with native dancers, comedy (though geared more toward adults) and audience participation to make it even more entertaining. The coconut tree climber that kicks off the show is fun to watch and the constant costume changes with each new act are fun to see.

Of course, the fire dancer’s performance at the end of the show is worth the price of admission by itself!

Ka Moana Luau is located at the Sea Life Park in Oahu and your luau ticket is good for admission to the park as well. You have seven days to use it, so you don’t even have to visit on the same day as the luau. You’ll walk through part of it on your way to the eating area, even if you don’t spend any other time there.

Be sure to leave early enough to make a few stops along the coast on your way to Sea Life Park. The scenery is breathtaking and you’ll want to have time to take it all in!

Normally, the luau includes an all-you-can-eat buffet. During covid, meals are pre-plated and brought to your table in a to-go style container. Drink tickets are also given with a bar area set up in the back for people to get their own whenever they’re ready.

Read our complete review of the Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park and learn how to save on it and other Oahu excursions.

Traditional Hawaiian dancers perform at the Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park in Oahu, Hawaii
The backdrop at the Ka Moana Luau almost steals the show!

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $104
Children – $77
Children under 3 years old – Free

Advice

Oahu Go Pass offers the Ka Moana Luau as a premium activity. If you’re planning to do other activities while in Oahu, consider getting the Go Pass and using it for this luau. You’ll then have access to many more activities for free, making it a great way to save money on excursions!

Experience Nutridge Luau

By Marcie Cheung at Hawaii Travel with Kids

One of the most authentic luaus on Oahu is the Experience Nutridge Luau in Honolulu, Hawaii. It’s the complete opposite of a “touristy” luau. Instead, it’s a very intimate event that will make you feel like you are hanging out in your Aunty’s backyard.

It takes place on the first macadamia nut plantation in Hawaii and the scenery is breathtaking. You’ll arrive in the afternoon and get to see several performances throughout the plantation. There’s even an opportunity to roast food that you’ll get to eat during dinner.

And there’s plenty of time to participate in hands-on activities like spear throwing, Hawaiian games, and even some crafts. Then it’s time for dinner and the luau show.

Since it’s such a small luau, there are no bad seats. And you’ll get to taste some of the best luau food in Hawaii, including mini lau lau.

The grand finale is actually a dance party where guests are invited to get up and basically have a party until they are ready to go back to their hotel. This is a great place to bring kids, adults, and grandparents because there’s something for everyone.

If you want to do a luau on Oahu that incorporates Polynesian traditions in a non-touristy way, you’ll definitely want to book the Experience Nutridge Luau.

Woman entertain the crowd with a traditional Hawaiian dance at the Experience Nutridge Luau in Oahu
The intimate setting at the Experience Nutridge Luau sets it apart from others.

Trip Advisor Rating: 5/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $159
Children – $100
Children under 3 years old – Free

Polynesian Cultural Center Luau

By Candice at CS Ginger

One of the best things to do in Oahu is head up to the North Shore and visit the Polynesian Culture Center. The PCC has six different Pacific Island villages and exhibits as well as an evening luau and performance.

After a fun day of exploring the islands like Tonga and Samoa, you can settle in for a yummy luau. The Polynesian culture has placed high importance on good food making it really fun to experience the two together.

There are two different luaus offered at the PCC. The first is the Ali’I Luau Buffet. It is an all-you-can-eat buffet with live music, dancing, and celebrating during dinner. There are vegan entrees as well as pork, chicken, fish, and brisket. There are lots of local and seasonal fruits as well as a salad bar. Be sure to save room for the seasonal pastries and mango ice cream for dessert.

The Gateway Buffet is the most popular dinner package and offers a large number of island-inspired cuisine. Be sure to check out the brown sugar roast chicken with pineapple relish and the char siu pork ribs. It also offers garlic shrimp, marlin, and local fish. The buffet also has vegan entrees, a fresh poke bar, salads, and desserts.  

After dinner, be sure to get tickets for the Ha Breath of Life Show. It is a beautiful show highlighting Polynesian dance, music, and stunning special effects like fire knives. It is a good idea to buy your tickets for the show early to get the best seats.

Dancers at the Polynesian Cultural Center entertain guests before the luau in Oahu
(Photo courtesy of Polynesian Cultural Center)

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $139.95
Children – $111.96
Children under 3 years old – Free

Toa Luau

By Marcie Cheung

One of the best luaus in North Shore Oahu is Toa Luau, located at Waimea Valley near Haleiwa. It’s a family-run Oahu luau that even incorporates the kids in providing guests with the best possible experience.

It’s a small, intimate luau so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to participate in the hands-on cultural activities. This is one of the most authentic things to do in Hawaii. They even do a Kava Ceremony where you can taste the numbing drink used for special events and before the battle.

This is also one of the only luaus in Hawaii that incorporates traditional Samoan food along with Hawaii food for dinner. They offer a few different seating options. It’s best to sit at one of the front tables (the gold level) in order to see everything in the show.

However, if you have little kids who might need to move around during the show, there is plenty of room behind the back tables to get those wiggles out without distracting other guests.

If you book Toa Luau, you also get free admission into Waimea Valley where you can explore the cultural park and even swim in a waterfall. Since It’s located on the North Shore of Oahu, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to drive from Waikiki.

There are several activities at te Toa Luau including learning about traditional Hawaiian foods
Toa Luau

Trip Advisor Rating: 5/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $115
Children – $95
Children under 4 years old – Free

Read next: Your Ultimate Hawaii Packing List

Paradise Cove Luau

The Paradise Cove Luau is located on the west side of Oahu and is popular with families. It’s set right on the beach near the Ko Olina Lagoons and showcases sunsets so beautiful they almost don’t look real!

The setup is family-friendly and includes games, hula dancing classes, and a short canoe ride. You can also try your hand at spear throwing or traditional bowling while you’re there. The coconut tree climber performs a shower of flowers, which is one of the best parts of the evening and not something you’ll see at other luaus.

The Hawaiian costumes are very authentic looking and the fire knife dancer was captivating! As far as luau entertainment goes, the agenda is great for kids, although adults will enjoy it, too.

Dinner is an all-you-can-eat buffet, but because of covid it is pre-plated and brought to your table. It includes some traditional Hawaiian foods as well as more kid-friendly things like macaroni salad.

Transportation is an option and the bus drivers are quite entertaining. It makes it feel like the show begins from the time the ride starts! (This is an optional expense, but great for those who don’t have a car or know they may have alcohol at the luau.)

The Paradise Cove Luau is one of the largest in Oahu and seats several hundred people. There’s also a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs if you’d like.

The costumes at Paradise Cove make it one of the best luaus in Oahu
(Photo courtesy of Paradise Cove Luau)

Trip Advisor Rating: 4/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $125
Children – $105
Children under 3 years old – Free

Chief’s Luau

This amazing luau is a favorite for many people who visit Oahu. It’s located at Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii, Oahu’s popular water park and a great setting for an evening of food and entertainment.

Guests are greeted with a shell lei (the upgraded package includes a fresh flower lei) and have the opportunity to participate in interactive Hawaiian activities, including hula lessons and headband weaving.

Dinner is a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet of traditional Hawaiian food such as slow-cooked Kalua Pork, Lomi Lomi Salmon, and Poi. Seating is determined by which package you buy, so if sitting closer to the performers is important to you, be sure to upgrade to the best package.

The best part of Chief’s luau though is Chief Sielu Avea himself. He’s an actual chief and is known internationally as “the coconut man” for his 20 years of performances at the Polynesian Cultural Center. In addition to being a comedian, he is also a world champion fire-knife dancer. He is what makes this luau so much fun!

The Chief’s Journey Through the Polynesian Islands Show is highly entertaining and is one of the best in Oahu. The grand finale is an amazing performance by 12 champion fire-knife dancers! If you want to be wowed, this is definitely the show for you.

Chief Sielu is the highlight of the show is what make's it at top Hawaii luau.
(Photo Courtesy of Chief’s Luau)

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $155
Children – $110
Children under 4 years old – Free

Waikiki Starlight Luau

The Waikiki Starlight Luau is a terrific option for vacationers staying in Waikiki and not wanting to spend time driving to a further location. The luau is located at the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel and is outdoors next to the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon.

Welcome activities include a lei greeting (what kind depends on which package you purchase), a drink, and live music while you wait for the luau to begin. You can also take a hula dancing lesson if you’d like.

The Waikiki Starlight luau features a show called “Voyage Across the Seas” and includes traditional dances from Hawaii, Polynesia, and the Pacific. The real show stoppers though are the four fire knife dancers who put on a spectacular performance!

Like most other luaus, dinner consists of an island-inspired luau feast. Either one or two drink tickets are included (depending on the package), but more can be purchased after that.

The show is exciting, the food is authentic and the setting is beautiful. This is one of the best Oahu luaus in Hawaii!

A fire dancer performing at the Waikiki Starlight luau
(Photo courtesy of Waikiki Starlight Luau)

Trip Advisor Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $169
Children – $95
Children under 3 years old – Free

Rock-a-Hula Luau and Show

Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley may not be the first to come to mind when you think of Hawaiian luaus, but that’s because you haven’t seen the Rock-a-Hula show! It’s in a class all its own and one you won’t soon forget.

Although you can get tickets to just the show, don’t miss the chance to attend the luau first. Visitors give the food two thumbs up and the menu includes traditional Hawaiian foods such as Island Roasted Whole Suckling Pig, Macadamia Crusted Island Catch, and Coconut Haupia.

You can also upgrade to the Stageside VIP package for the best seats. Not only that, but your dinner will include dishes like Nova Scotia Maine Lobster (yes, lobster!), Wild Alaskan Salmon, and Pineapple Delight by IL Gelato, Macadamia Nut Crumble & Toasted Coconut. Yum!

The almost 80-minute show is jam-packed with one-of-a-kind entertainment in Waikiki. The mix of music through the decades takes place in the 750-seat Royal Hawaiian Theater. You’ll be entertained by some of the finest dancers and singers in all of Hawaii!

The Rock-a-Hula is considered by many to be the best luau in Honolulu. Once you’ve seen it, you may think so, too!

The Rock-a-Hula luau and show in Oahu, Hawaii.
(Photo courtesy of Rock-a-Hula)

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $113
Children – $68
Children under 3 years old – Free

Queen’s Waikiki Luau

While many luaus entertain hundreds of guests at each show, this luau is nothing like that. The very intimate setting is for only 32 guests at a time, which makes for a completely different atmosphere than any other show.

The Queen’s Waikiki Luau is located in the Imperial Hawaii Resort Hotel and is the only luau hosted in a penthouse, which gives it a luxury modern twist on the traditional luau. Sounds strange, yet it’s a wonderful location set a mere 100 yards from the beach with a perfect view of the sunset while sitting in the shade. By the end of the evening, you’ll feel like you’re dining with a room full of friends!

Come prepared to dance, laugh, and learn in an interactive environment while feasting on a delicious Hawaiian dinner and enjoying a refreshing Mai Tai. Although small and intimate, this unconventional luau may be one of the best luaus in Oahu!

Hawaiian dancers perform in the intimate setting at the Queen's Waikiki Luau
(Photo Courtesy of Queen’s Waikiki Luau)

Trip Advisor Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $149
Lap child FREE (No meal is included)

Aha ‘Aina Luau: A Royal Celebration at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Every Monday and Thursday evening, The Royal Hawaiian Resort hosts the Aha’aina luau, a traditional Hawaiian feast. Located on the world-famous Waikiki Beach, the Royal Celebration is a culturally rich activity that showcases the history of Honolulu.

The menu includes Spicy Ahi Poke, Hawaiian Smoked Meat, Local Style Haupia Pudding, and other traditional Hawaiian food. Each ticket comes with several drink tickets and the staff is very attentive to be sure guests are taken care of.

Unlike other Hawaii luau options, the Aha ‘Aina has a more formal (and luxurious) feel to it. Even kids will be enthralled with the story of the Royal family and the gorgeous customs included.

The entertainment includes a talented band, Hawaiian dancers and singers, an amazing rifle guard, and an incredible fire dancer. The Royal Hawaiian Luau is a dinner and show not to be missed!

Male and female dancers in Hawaiian costume at the Aha 'Aina Luau
(Photo courtesy of Aha ‘Aina Luau at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel)

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.0/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $200
Ages 5-12 – $149

Related Articles You’ll Want to Read Next ➡️
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Ka Wa‘a Luau at Disney’s Aulani Resort

Get ready for a Disney take on traditional Hawaiian culture and dance with a few Disney characters thrown in! This luau and show are amazing! You will definitely be able to tell there’s a large budget and top-notch cast involved in the making of this production.

Located at Disney’s Aulani Resort at the Ko Olina Lagoons, the three-hour Ka Wa’a Luau begins with pre-show activities. These include learning how to about taro pounding and Hawaiian flower arranging among other things.

Not all luaus get high marks for dinner, but this one is an exception. The menu includes fresh ingredients from the island, plus kid-friendly food (this is Disney after all) and some delightful desserts. You will not leave hungry, that’s for sure!

Not only that, both general and preferred tickets include unlimited drinks. That’s unheard of with most luaus Oahu offers.

The Preferred Seating will get you a table close to the stage, as well as a few other perks like early check-in and a free PhotoPass photo. All in all, this is a terrific option and could be considered a best luau in Oahu.

If you’re a Disney fan, this Oahu luau is for you!

Disney's Ka Wa'a luau is a profession production.
(Photo courtesy of Disney’s Ka Wa’a Luau)

Trip Advisor Rating: 4.0/5 Stars

Admission prices starting at:
Adults – $160
Children 3-9 – $90
Lap child FREE (No meal is included)

Diamond Head Luau

Although this has been a very popular luau, as of December 2021, the Diamond Head Luau is still temporarily closed due to covid-19. They recommend visitors attend its sister site, the Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park.

We will update this section when they re-open.

Recap of Best Oahu Luaus

  • Ka Moana Luau
  • Experience Nutridge Luau
  • Polynesian Cultural Center Luau
  • Toa Luau
  • Paradise Cove Luau
  • Chief’s Luau
  • Waikiki Starlight Luau
  • Germaine’s Luau
  • Rock-a-Hula Luau
  • Queen’s Waikiki Luau
  • Aha ‘Aina a Royal Celebration at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel
  • Ka Wa’a Luau at Disney’s Aulani Resort

I’ve listed the best luaus Oahu has to offer along with what makes each of them unique and special. Who knew there could be such variety among the options?

So how do you decide which one is the best luau in Hawaii? That’s completely up to you and your preference! Hopefully, this review gives you a solid understanding of what to expect from each luau. Whichever one you choose, I hope you have a wonderful time!

Aloha,
Karee

PS. Want to know how we fly to Hawaii for $11.20 round trip per person? (Yes, you read that right!) I outline exactly how we do it so you can do it, too!

I’m Karee—traveling and travel planning make my heart sing! Thanks for coming along for the ride with me here at OWJ. I’ll be sharing valuable info on how to travel like a Queen without a Royal Budget, how to take amazing trips using points and miles, and plenty more!

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