Although Hawaii is well known for its amazing tropical weather, that doesn’t mean that there will be sunny beaches and clear skies all the time.

To keep the flowers blossoming and the plants growing, even paradise will need some rain.

While most of Oahu’s tours and activities can be found outdoors, there are also many fun and exciting things to do indoors when the rain decides to make an appearance.

Check out this list for ideas on how to spend your rainy day on Oahu, Honolulu, and Waikiki!

1. See a night show

Even though most luaus are held outdoors and would be canceled in the event of heavy rain, Oahu still has night shows in Waikiki for you to enjoy.

An Elvis impersonator surrounded by hula girls
Elvis (played by Johnny Fortuna) performing Blue Hawaii


Rock-A-Hula is a popular luau show in Waikiki featuring some of the island’s best Polynesian musicians and dancers, as well as celebrity impersonators performing as Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.

You will see a fun combination of contemporary and traditional Hawaiian hula dancing, the fast-paced Tahitian ori, and a thrilling Samoan fire knife dance!

If you are wanting the complete experience, book the luau dinner package which includes a delicious Waikiki luau dinner buffet in a covered but open-air terrace. You can still enjoy the fresh air even if it is raining!

Blue Note Hawaii

If you are a fan of jazz, you have probably heard of Blue Note Jazz Club, located in New York City, but did you know that they also have a live music venue in the heart of Waikiki?

Blue Note Hawaii hosts a variety of musicians and performers who play a diverse variety of genres from blues, jazz, and soul to Hawaiian, reggae, and pop.

With so many artists coming into perform, there is a show almost every single night, so no matter when you are on Oahu, there will be something for you to see!

2. Visit a local attraction

Oahu, and Honolulu in particular, offers a variety of things to do that won’t put you in the sun or rain.

Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum is Hawaii’s premier museum, and the best place to learn about Hawaii‘s history, culture, environment, and wildlife.

If you’re interested in Hawaiian history, the Museum needs to be on your list of things to do during your stay.

Bishop Museum’s planetarium is also a popular attraction for kids and adults alike, projecting an educational and entertaining show on its domed roof.

Waikiki Aquarium

This relatively-small aquarium is located right on the Waikiki shoreline, and hosts thousands of creatures of almost 500 different species of coral, invertebrates, and sea mammals.

The aquarium is popular with kids, and children under three years old get in for free.

It isn’t Sea Life Park, however: you won’t be spending the whole day here, but you’ll find plenty to do within walking distance.

The Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor features a variety of exhibits and attractions, including the Pacific Aviation Museum, the Arizona Memorial, and the USS Missouri.

Most of the exhibits are indoors or at least independent of the weather, so bring a jacket, poncho, or umbrella and you’ll be set to enjoy a fun and educational day at Pearl Harbor.

3. Do something indoors instead

Believe it or not, not every resident of Hawaii spends their free time at the beach or hiking.

For those people, there’s still plenty to do in the slightly-less-great indoors. For example:

Breakout Waikiki

Breakout is a relatively new attraction, capitalizing on the surge in popularity of escape rooms across the nation.

For the uninitiated, participants are put into a room from which they must escape with a 1-hour time limit.

You aren’t actually locked in (for your safety), but you only “complete” the room if you solve a series of puzzles that will supply you with a passcode for the exit door.

Breakout in Waikiki garnered a lot of attention when President Obama visited with his daughters. They got out with seconds to spare, which is more than what can be said for the HawaiiActivities’ staff’s attempt…

Ice skating? In Hawaii?

Ice Palace

It’s probably the last thing you’d expect to do in Hawaii, but Ice Palace is an unexpectedly popular ice skating rink in Honolulu that’s operated for decades.

With available skate rentals, food and drinks, and an arcade to distract you when you’re tired of skating, Ice Palace is the perfect place to spend the day if you can’t be outdoors but still want to move your legs.

iTrampoline Hawaii

This gym, located in Kapolei, is another indoor activity that will have you moving.

iTrampoline features a large trampoline gym where you can play basketball, start a game of trampoline dodgeball, or just literally bounce off the walls.

It’s extremely popular with kids, but adults tend to have a blast here, too (whether or not they admit it).

4. Fall back on the traditional rainy-day activities

Just because you aren’t home doesn’t mean you’re completely without the “regular” options.

This might be your chance to do something you never took the time to do at home, like:

Go shopping

Why, yes, you do need another colorful floral-print dress/shirt.

Ala Moana is the largest open-air shopping mall in the U.S., which might seem like a bad idea given Hawaii’s penchant for passing showers, but there’s enough cover throughout the mall that you’ll find plenty to do, see, and buy without getting caught in the rain.

Kahala Mall to the east and Pearlridge Center to the west are also great options for shopping in Oahu, and both indoor malls have food and dining options.

Head to a movie theater

Of course it’s cheaper to stay in your hotel and pick out a pay-per-view movie, but you’re on vacation. Live a little.

The aforementioned Pearlridge Center and Kahala Mall both conveniently feature their own movie theaters. Other great options are Regal Theaters at Dole Cannery and Consolidated Theaters at Ward Warehouse.

The theater at Ward features premium sections with plush leather reclining seats and full food-and-drink menus (including alcohol for the grown-ups).

Get a massage

Many resorts provide massage and spa facilities within the hotel itself, but if not, there are plenty you can find around town.

Book a mani/pedi, facial, or one of many different types of massage offered, including traditional Hawaiian lomilomi techniques.

There’s nothing more relaxing than receiving a massage in Hawaii while listening to the soft pitter-patter of rain outside.

A flight of four craft beers
Hawaii has a growing microbrewing culture

Go to a bar or restaurant

Hawaii has a burgeoning microbrewery scene, so it isn’t difficult to find a good craft beer no matter where you are.

In Waikiki, Maui Brewing Co. and Waikiki Brewing Company are great restaurants that offer local beers. Kaka’ako, however, is Honolulu’s center for breweries, featuring four different brewpubs in a half-mile radius: BeerWorks, Brewseum, Aloha Beer Company, and REAL.

If you’re a foodie, the wonderful (and sometimes strange) fusion of Hawaiian, Asian, and American foods in Hawaii is something you need to experience firsthand.

If you want real Hawaiian food, Ono Hawaiian Foods is a no-frills small restaurant that serves authentic Hawaiian meals located on Kapahulu, right outside Waikiki. For a more local flavor, you can’t go wrong with Rainbow Drive-In or one of the many Zippy’s scattered throughout Honolulu.

Better yet, go on a food tour and sample a variety of local offerings.

5. Embrace the rainy weather outside

Chances are, the weather isn’t that bad, and you probably won’t have to cancel whatever activity you’ll be doing. A little bit of water never hurt anyone, right?

Here’s a few things you can do that won’t be bothered by a bit* of rain:

*(Note that I said “a bit of rain.” HawaiiActivities accepts no responsibility for individuals who decide it’s a good idea to go to the beach during a tsunami warning.)

Visit the Wet’N’Wild Waterpark

Rain won’t deter you from riding the fun and thrilling rides at Oahu’s only waterpark, located in Kapolei.

It might actually be better in the rain, considering you could spend the entire day at the park without worrying about sunburn or hot feet.

Do something dirty

Kualoa Ranch and Coral Crater both offer ATV rides that are arguably more fun when it’s wet.

Rain just means mud, and mud is just another word for fun—the English checks out.

Likewise, you could also go horseback riding, where a bit of rain and mud will only enrich the experience, or ziplining, where you’ll actually go faster when it’s wet.

A waterfall flowing heavily during rain
Some waterfalls only flow during the rain

Find a waterfall

Oahu has many waterfalls, but some of them only run during or after the rain. If you’re feeling brave and don’t mind getting muddy, consider a waterfall hike.

Wade into the ocean

You’ll be getting wet anyway, right?

For the most part, a bit of rain won’t affect snorkeling much. If you’re near a river or stream outlet, runoff might affect visibility and overcast conditions will definitely make it harder to see, but the fish and coral generally remain unbothered by the surface weather.

Likewise, if you want to go surfing or stand-up paddling, don’t let a bit of rain put you off—chances are, you’ll find the surf less crowded because of it!

6. Drive 15 minutes away

The thing about rain in Hawaii is that it never lasts long.

Excluding hurricane season, the majority of precipitation on the islands appears in the form of passing showers.

Even then, the steep mountains and valleys that characterize Oahu make it so any rain is localized in a relatively small area.

Raining in town? Drive through the Pali to the windward side and, chances are, you’ll find a drier climate.

Failing that, you can always head out to the Leeward side, which is perpetually dry.

7. Sleep in…

You are on vacation, so tuck under the blankets and let the soothing sound of the rain relax you into a deep sleep.