Are you looking for the best things to do on Oahu when it rains? This guide from a Hawaii local has all of the best recommendations!
When you think of Oahu, Hawaii, odds are you think of relaxing in the sun on the beach under a palm tree. You definitely don’t have any thoughts of things to do on Oahu when it rains. So that’s where this article comes in! Here are 17 things to do on Oahu when it rains!
When Does It Rain on Oahu?
Oahu definitely does have a dry season and a rainy season. While the dry season is from April to October, the rainy season is from November to March. While it’s rarely continuous rain like it is in many places, the rain can be quite frequent. After all, we do need to keep our greenery nice and green!
Where Does It Rain on Oahu?
There are sections of Oahu that rain more than others. The West side of the island, including Ko Olina, is actually pretty dry. However, Kaneohe and Kailua are some of the rainiest parts of Oahu!
What Do I Need When It Rains on Oahu?
If you’re an umbrella kind of person, you won’t stand out too much if you use one in Hawaii while it’s raining. If you use it to block the sun though, every local in sight will know that you are a tourist.
Rain Jacket (or a Normal, Not Waterproof Jacket)
Oahu rain isn’t usually too bad. We don’t have those moments of pouring rain that soak you through in five seconds. Because of that, most locals use a simple sweatshirt in the rain (myself included). But if you feel like using a rain jacket, that works too.
Okay, I’m Ready! Give Me a List of Things to Do on Oahu When It Rains!
Many of Oahu’s historical sites also happen to be some of the best indoor activities on Oahu. They’re the perfect way to stay dry while also learning something new.
The Iolani Palace was home to Hawaiian royalty for approximately a decade. Botj King David Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani lived there. As a matter of fact, it is the only palace in the entire United States! And lucky for you, it’s open to the public (and completely enclosed)!
Interested in learning about Hawaiian history? The Bishop Museum is the place for you to go! This single museum contains artifacts from half a dozen different fields, including ethnology, botany, and ichthyology.
Book Here: Bishop Museum General Admission Ticket
Honolulu Museum of Art
The Honolulu Museum of Art is Oahu’s largest art museum. With large sections for European Art, Japanese woodblock prints, and Hawaii art, this museum showcases many different pieces across space and time.
As a part of the Honolulu Museum of Art, there is also the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design. This already-stunning home is filled with art from the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. If you would like to visit Shangri La, you must reserve a tour.
Queen Emma’s Summer Palace
King Kamehameha IV, Prince Albert Edward, and Queen Emma all spent their summers in what is now known as Queen Emma’s Summer Palace or Hanaiakamalama. Take a peek at this little retreat yourself!
Pearl Harbor Memorial
On December 7, 1941, the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese Navy Air Service, which prompted the United States’ involvement in World War II. Hundreds of Americans gave their lives that day. Over 1,000 passed away on the USS Arizona alone.
A visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial will allow you to learn about and remember December 7, 1941.
Book Here: Official USS Arizona Memorial Audio Tour
One of the go-to things to do on Oahu when it rains is shopping, and it’s not a bad idea. Here are some of the semi-enclosed shopping areas on Oahu for you to check out.
International Market Place
The semi-enclosed International Market Place used to be one Oahu’s most iconic swap meet-like shopping areas. However, it went over a huge TV show-style makeover, and it is now filled with high-end shops, including Balenciaga and Burberry. It still does provide a few reasonably-priced food options from Chef Michael Mina’s The Street Food Hall, Goma Tei Ramen, and Kona Coffee Purveyors.
Pearlridge Shopping Center
Pearlridge Shopping Center is one of the only fully-enclosed shopping centers on the entire island of Oahu. With dozens of stores and restaurants, there’s bound to be something that catches your eye. And if not, you can always head to the movie theater there and watch the local movie introduction with fire dancers and conch shells.
Ala Moana Shopping Center
I’ll be honest. Most of Ala Moana is open and exposed to the weather. That’s why it has the unique ranking of the world’s largest outdoor mall. However, if you head to the bottom floor, it’s completely protected from the rain!
South Shore Market
The South Shore Market is by far the trendiest shopping area on this list, making it one of the most fun things to do on Oahu when it rains. Amongst its 18 merchants, you can find local boutiques, island-grown treats, and precious Hawaiian gifts. And, as an added bonus, it’s completely enclosed, making it one of the best indoor activities on Oahu, Hawaii.
In my opinion, one of the best things to do on Oahu when it rains is take a factory tour – yet this is somehow one of the most overlooked things to do! While some cost a little bit of money, others are completely free!
North Shore Soap Factory Tour
Nestled in the historic Waialua Sugar Mill, the North Shore Soap Factory creates the products for Hawaiian Bath and Body. While there, you can learn all about how the soap is made and even purchase some tropical-smelling soap bars to take home with you!
Waiahole Poi Factory
While Waiahole Poi Factory doesn’t technically give tours, you’ll still want to stop here on a rainy day on Oahu. Not only can you get some delicious Hawaiian food, but you can also watch people pound taro into the sticky Hawaiian dish known as poi.
Manoa Chocolate Factory Tour
One of the most popular factory tours on the island is the Manoa Chocolate Factory tour. It’s definitely one of the best things to do on Oahu when it rains.
While on this tour, you can learn everything about the chocolate making process. You can taste fresh cacao fruit, watch the product change from a plant to a chocolate bar, and even sample the final product! By the end of the tour, you’ll definitely end up buying a few boxes to take home with you!
Kamaka Ukulele Factory Tour
As arguably the coolest factory tour on the island, you’ll definitely want to add a visit to the Kamaka Ukulele factory to your list of things to do on Oahu when it rains.
Kamaka Ukulele has been crafting ukuleles for over 100 years! Now, you can learn the complex process it takes to create one of these beautiful instruments by taking a factory tour. And, as an added bonus, the tour is completely free!
Koolau Distillery Tour
If you’re hoping to learn more about the whiskey-making process, you can take the Koolau Distillery tour. You can find out more about every step of the process – from mashing to distilling to bottling. And you’ll also get a free collectible tasting glass to keep at the end of the tour.
It is important to note that you must be at least 21 years old to take the Koolau Distillery tour.
Most food joints, with the exception of food trucks, are good hideaways from the rain – and Hawaii has a ton of local foods that are worth a try! Check out this list of the best Oahu restaurants to find one that seems up your alley. Or if you’d like more specific Oahu city guides, we also have lists for the best North Shore restaurants and the best Ko Olina restaurants.
While most people choose to avoid the outdoors when it rains, I prefer to embrace it!
One of my favorite things to do on Oahu when it rains is actually going on a short hike to a waterfall – assuming it’s not raining too hard. While, yes, the path may be quite a bit muddier and it will take a bit more effort, the waterfall will be significantly bigger AND there will be no people. Definitely worth the rain in my opinion.
If this seems like something you might do during your rainy day on Oahu, here are eight different Oahu waterfalls for you to pick from.
It is important to note that if the rain gets too heavy, there can be flash flood warnings, so please use your best judgment!
H-3 on Oahu – one of our three highways on the island – cuts directly through the stunning Koolau Mountain Range and has a stunning view of Kaneohe Bay. While this drive is already gorgeous during sunny weather, it becomes even more breathtaking when it rains – especially when it pours.
Within each and every crevice of the Koolau Mountains, a little waterfall appears. That means that there are dozens – if not, hundreds – of waterfalls on that one single drive. It’s magical – so magical that it made it on my list of 100 Things to Do on Oahu.
To get to H-3, you’ll have to be driving between the West side of the island and the Kaneohe or Kailua area. The highway completely misses the Waikiki area, so you may have to go a bit out of your way to have this unearthly experience.
Do you have any other ideas of things to do on Oahu when it rains? Tell me about them in the comments!
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