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Luau Dinner Show & Entertainment

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Find the best luau in Hawaii, and enjoy a quintessential Hawaiian tradition. A luau is the perfect way to spend your evening and experience a new culture, and at a luau, you'll enjoy authentic Hawaiian cuisine, followed by entertainment consisting of live music and hula dancing. If you're looking for a fun and festive night out, book a Hawaiian luau today.

Highlights

  • Experience the spirit of aloha while indulging in a delicious Hawaiian feast
  • Receive a traditional Hawaiian lei greeting. Depending on the luau, the leis can be made from fresh flowers, sea shells, or kukui nuts
  • Enjoy live performances that highlight the rich and diversified cultures of Polynesia, including hula, and the famed fire knife dance
  • Each luau experience is different, and even if you have gone to one before, try another on your next visit to Hawaii!

History

The very first luau was a symbolic act that ended the gender and class-based segregation on the islands of Hawaii. Prior to this, women were not allowed to dine with men. Common folk, as well as women of all ranks, also did not have access to specific types of food that were reserved for royalty.
In 1819, King Kamehameha II abolished the religious laws behind this practice, and to mark the start of a new societal order, he held a feast where he ate alongside women. It was called a luau, after the name of a popular dish made from taro leaves, fish and coconut milk, and this event is where the modern luau draws its roots, a festive celebration that welcomes all.

Food & Drink

Traditional Hawaiian delicacies are served. The dishes vary according to the luau, but these are the most common ones you will find:
  • Kalua pork - A whole pig is wrapped in ti leaves and slow-cooked for over eight hours in an underground oven until it is tender and juicy. The unearthing of the pig is part of the luau, and is usually done at the beginning, known as the imu ceremony. Kalua pig is the luau's main dish, but you will usually find 2 or 3 alternative options like beef or fish.
  • Poi - This staple dish in Hawaiian cuisine is made of boiled taro root that has been pounded into a starchy paste. This mild, even bland, tasting purple dish is a great compliment to salty and sweet foods.
  • Lomi lomi salmon - Freshwater salmon is cured in salt, diced in bite-sized pieces, and mixed with onions, chives, and tomatoes. This refreshing dish is very similar to ceviche or salsa.
  • Haupia - A tasty pudding made from coconut milk, sugar, and cornstarch.
  • Mai Tai - This popular Tiki drink is a favorite at any luau, and is made with light and dark rum, orange Curaçao, sweet and sour mix, and pineapple juice.
Many luaus are buffet-style, but there are also a few that serve dishes table side. Depending on the luau, you may also find food that caters to vegetarian diets, as well as some with dedicated menus for kids.

Performances & Entertainment

  • Hawaii - The islands of Hawaii are known for hula, and you will see both kahiko (ancient) and modern (auana) hula dances.
  • Tahiti - The thrilling drumming and hip movements are iconic aspects of Tahitian ori, whereas graceful and slower movements are known as aparima.
  • New Zealand - The bombastic haka warrior dance, and the unique twirling of poi balls, are trademarks of Aotearoa and Maori culture.
  • Tonga - The tau’olunga is a traditional storytelling dance similar to the Hawaiian hula and comes from the island of Tonga.
  • Samoa - The fa'ataupati is a rhythmic slap dance from Samoa, but the big crowd pleaser is the siva afi, or fire knife dance.

Tips for Attending a Hawaiian Luau

  • What to wear? Casual resort attire is a good choice, and women typically wear long dresses with shawls to protect them from the wind. We don't recommend wearing heels as luaus are typically held in sandy or grassy areas. Men usually wear aloha shirts and shorts. Sunglasses are also recommended since the luau starts at around sundown.
  • Most luaus have the option of Premium or VIP seating where you can sit closer to the stage, have more drinks, receive gifts and upgrades, and other bonuses.
  • If you want to save time, find a luau that's closer to your hotel so you will not have to rely on transportation.
  • A luau typically lasts between three to four hours, and will usually start a little before sunset.
  • This is a family-friendly activity that's good for all ages.
  • Come with an open mind to experience different cultures, and their food, music, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average cost of a luau in Hawaii?

The average price for luaus in Hawaii is $115 to $275 per person for an evening event with food, drinks, and authentic Polynesian entertainment and hospitality.

Which Hawaiian island has the best luau?

All islands have great luaus, but the ones in Maui have the best reviews. Luaus in Maui are all held in either beachfront or lawn areas. In particular, Old Lahaina is very popular and sells out months in advance.

What is the most authentic luau in Hawaii?

In Maui, Old Lahaina is considered the most authentic. Guests have the option of choosing traditional Hawaiian mat seating as they enjoy cultural performances centered on the preservation of tradition.
In Oahu, Toa Lua is closer to the traditional backyard luau. It includes pre-luau activities such as coconut leaf weaving, preparation of traditional food, and brewing hot chocolate from cocoa beans, all of which highlight traditional Samoan customs.

Can I go to a luau alone?

Yes, and you will be seated with other guests, so it's a good place to meet other people.

How much should you tip at a luau?

Tips are generally not required at a luau. If your luau includes transportation, you have the option of tipping the driver.

How far in advance should I book my luau?

We recommend placing your luau reservations as far in advance as possible since days of operation and seats are limited across all of the islands. We also recommend attending a luau towards the beginning of your Hawaiian holiday in case you need to reschedule due to weather or any other issues. Be sure to make reservations before you arrive in Hawaii. During the summer and peak seasons, luaus are often sold out six weeks in advance, and a few sell out months in advance.

Top-Rated Activities for Hawaii

Latest reviews of Luau Dinner Show & Entertainment

Island Breeze Kona Luau at King Kamehameha Hotel with Open Bar

Loved it!

2023/02/07 Couples Miles & Jan

Magnificent performance from all involved dealing with the history of the hawaiin islands and the Polynesian empire. The buffet was way too much to take in!!

Polynesian Cultural Center Tour Ticket - Full Day Admission, Dinner & Show

Perfect

2023/02/06 Families Honey Liu

Its a rain or shine experienced but its awesome...My 7yo son is biracial Filipino Taiwanese and cannot understand english but he clapped like an adult during the HA a breath of life show... the fire dance by the samoan m... more

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Legends of Hawaii Luau Dinner Show with Open Bar at Hilton Waikoloa Village

A great evening

2023/02/04 Families Billb

The entertainment was first rate and the food was surprisingly good. You don’t expect food served to hundreds of people at once to be hot and tasty but they have the logistics well organized and the buffet line moves fas... more

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Island Breeze Kona Luau at King Kamehameha Hotel with Open Bar

Outstanding!

2023/02/04 Couples Susan

This was our first luau and it was exceptional! The staff was courteous, professional, welcoming, and overall delightful! The food was very well prepared and there was a wide variety of selections. The show was both ent... more

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Oceanfront Royal Kona Luau with Open Bar - Voyagers of the Pacific Show

Loved this Luau!!

2023/02/03 Couples Grace

This was a very beautiful night! The luau experience was everything we were looking for. It felt like a true traditional experience

Paradise Cove Luau on the Beach at Ko Olina Resort

Great time

2023/02/02 Couples Jose and Claudia.

My new wife and I celebrated our marriage by visiting this place. It was phenomenal. I suggest you pay the extra money and upgrade to the royalty package. We sat right in front of the stage, were served our food and drin... more

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Luau Dinner Show & Entertainment, Hawaii tours & activities, fun things to do in Hawaii | HawaiiActivities.com
Find the best luau in Hawaii, and enjoy a quintessential Hawaiian tradition. A luau is the perfect way to spend your evening and experience a new culture, and at a luau, you'll enjoy authentic Hawaiian cuisine, followed by entertainment consisting of live music and hula dancing. If you're looking for a fun and festive night out, book a Hawaiian luau today.