One of my favorite Honolulu attractions is making a comeback as the Hilton Hawaiian Village fireworks return after a long, pandemic-induced hiatus.
Hawaii is expensive. Whether you’re visiting or live here, aside from going to the beach or going on a hike, there aren’t that many free or inexpensive things to do here. That’s why the Hilton’s Friday night fireworks have long been on my list of recommended things to do. Not only is it a fun event, but it’s a free one that’s open to the public too. All you need to attend is to know the schedule and do a tiny bit of planning.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Fireworks Return!
Thanks to COVID-19, the last fireworks show Hilton put on was way back in 2020. However, as of last Friday (June 3, 2022), the fireworks tradition has made its return. Better yet, if you’re already used to their schedule in the before times, you’re good to go. For those of you that don’t know, here it is:
- June to September: 8 pm start time
- October to May: 7:45 pm start time
The location is the same too – the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon adjacent to the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Rainbow Tower. In fact, if you can score a west-facing ocean front room in the Rainbow Tower on a Friday night, you’ll be treated to the best view of the fireworks anywhere! Of course, barring that, the next best vantage point is around the lagoon itself. Note: the east end of the lagoon and that portion of Kahanamoku Beach are closed during the display, as this is the launch site. My suggestion for those viewing from the lagoon is to get there early, bring a bento/picnic dinner, and bring some towels or mats. What better way to enjoy a Friday night?!
Other Vantage Points
A good rule of thumb is if you can see the Hilton Hawaiian Village, you can see the fireworks. But not all vantage points are created equal. Indeed, the most comfortable way to see the fireworks is to have a hotel room facing them. Other hotels with a great view include the Ala Moana Hotel, the Prince Waikiki, and Castle Waikiki Shore, among others. You will have to have a room facing the Hilton and generally on a higher floor for this to work. Another cheaper alternative is to enjoy the fireworks from Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park. The area provides the perfect vantage point, with the Hilton being right across the harbor.
Feeling fancy? Enjoy the fireworks from the luxe 53 by the Sea restaurant in Kaka’ako. You’ll need to time your reservation just right and score a table near the windows for this to work. However, this is, by far, the classiest option available.
Looking for a more unique perspective? Head up to Tantalus to check out the fireworks from the lookout. You’ll be far away from the action, but it should be clearly visible along with the rest of Waikiki’s skyline.
Though it’s been years since I last saw the fireworks – even before the pandemic – I’m glad they’re back. I’ve been meaning to get out to see them again, especially since it gives me a chance to practice photographing fireworks. Plus, since I have better equipment now compared to the last time I went, I’m curious to see how my photos compare.