Me at Chiefs Luau taking photos with the performers after the show.

6 Best Luaus on Oahu

The Hawaiian Islands are renowned for their luaus, and Oahu is home to some of the best!

But with so many choices, how do you know which one is right for you? 

If you are considering going to a luau in Oahu but don’t know which one to choose, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of the top luaus on the island so you can easily make an informed decision.

Whether you want to learn about Hawaiian culture, taste traditional cuisine, or just have a good time with your friends and family — there’s something for everyone.

This Travel Dream contains affiliate links. We may receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you purchase using one of these links. You can read my disclaimer for more information.

Don’t have time to read our full review of the best luaus in Oahu? No worries — We have shortlisted our three favorite luaus here to make things easy for you.

Top 3 Picks: Best Luaus on Oahu

#1 Top Pick
A group of performers on stage at the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau on Oahu.

Polynesian Cultural Center Luau

  • Best overall experience
  • High production luau show/ best show
  • Option to visit the six re-created Polynesian villages before the luau

#2 Top Pick

Paradise Cove Luau

  • Beach setting with spectacular sunset views
  • Best Imu Ceremony
  • Offered seven days a week

#3 Top Pick

 Chief’s Luau

  • Funny and interactive host — Chief Sielu
  • Hosted by a world champion fire knife dancer — Chief Sielu
  • Tropical Setting

How did we come up with this list? It took many hours of research, gathering consumer feedback, and, most importantly, our own personal experience. We attended most of the luaus on the island and can attest to the quality and authenticity of each one. 

Note About These Luaus: It is important to note that the best luau will vary depending on your personal preferences. Each of the luaus listed caters to different experiences and personalities.

For example, the Polynesian Cultural Center may be the best choice if you prefer a high-production show with lots of opportunities to learn about Polynesian culture.

If you are looking for a more intimate experience with a smaller crowd, then Experience Nutridge, Ka Moana, or Toa Luau may be your ideal option.

Paradise Cove might be suitable if you want a luau on the beach and are okay with a large crowd. Chief’s Luau is excellent for those looking for a medium-sized luau with a very entertaining, funny, and interactive host — the chief himself!

Without further ado, let’s dive into our top six luaus in Oahu!

Trysta after the HĀ: Breath of Life show at the Polynesian Cultural Center taking photos with the performers.
Polynesian Cultural Center after the show

1. Polynesian Cultural Center Luau 

The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) Luau is one of the most popular in Oahu, and it’s easy to see why. It’s an all-inclusive event with a delicious dinner buffet, live music, traditional dances, and even some demonstrations about Hawaiian culture.

It’s worth noting that the PCC Luau is different from other offerings on the island because it’s more than just a luau. It’s an entirely immersive cultural experience!

Guests can learn about Polynesian history and culture through hands-on activities, exhibitions, and interactive performances. The evening culminates with a grand fire show (HĀ: Breath of Life) that will leave you spellbound!

Guests taking photos with performers at the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau on Oahu.
Guests taking photos on stage with the perfomers after the show

Some might argue that it’s not fair to compare the PCC to other luaus when you take everything into consideration, and we 100% agree.

We did our best to only compare the parts of the PCC Luau that are similar to other offerings on the island. For example, we only compared the actual luau and the show instead of including all of the activities and presentations you can enjoy prior to the show during the day, such as visiting the six re-created Polynesian villages and taking a guided canoe ride.

A group of performers at the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau performing a cultural dance.
Cultural perfomances during dinner at the PCC

Who should choose this luau? If you love a high-quality show and are okay with a large production with many performers, then the PCC Luau is for you. 

The fire show and dances are breathtaking, and it’s impossible to watch without being mesmerized. Plus, plenty of Polynesian cultures are woven into the experience that will fill you with wonder.

The PCC Luau is your best bet if you want an unforgettable experience beyond just dinner and a show. The cultural center has been around since 1963 and strives to keep Polynesian culture alive through education and entertainment.

Things to Know About the PCC Luau

Packages: The PCC has four different luau packages to choose from. We highlighted the package details in this post, but make sure to read our dedicated PCC review to learn more about these benefits and our experience at this luau.

The two pineapple drinks we had at the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau.
One of our favorite parts about the PCC luau? These piña coladas!

Super Ambassador Luau Package ($269.95/adult)

  • Private guided tour through six re-created island villages,
  • Kukui nut lei greeting upon arrival
  • Reserved seating at all village presentations
  • Free preselected digital photo
  • Hands-on activities
  • Reserved canoe ride
  • Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors’ Center and BYU Hawaii campus tours
  • Free 3-day pass to the island villages (after initial visit)
  • Aliʻi Lūʻau buffet with live entertainment, flower lei greeting
  • Platinum-level seating at “HĀ: Breath of Life” show. 

Ali’i Luau Package ($189.95/adult)

  • Group guided tour through six re-created island villages
  • Hands-on activities
  • Canoe ride
  • Free preselected digital photo
  • Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors’ Center and BYU Hawaii campus tours
  • Aliʻi Lūʻau buffet with dinner entertainment
  • Free 3-day pass to the island villages (after initial visit)
  • Flower lei greeting
  • Gold-level seating at “HĀ: Breath of Life.”

Gateway Buffet Package ($139.95/adult)

  • Self-guided experience through six re-created island villages
  • Hands-on activities, canoe ride
  • Free 3-day pass to the island villages (after initial visit)
  • Free preselected digital photo
  • Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors’ Center and BYU Hawaii campus tours
  • Gateway Buffet with live music
  • Silver-level seating at “HĀ: Breath of Life.”

Islands of Polynesia & HĀ: Breath of Life Package ($119.95/adult)

  • Includes everything in the Gateway Buffet Package, except this package does not include dinner, a lei, and you get bronze seating at “HĀ: Breath of Life.”

Note: You can add round-trip transportation for $26.00 per person with standard transportation or $75.00 per person with the circle island tour.

Cody at the Tonga village at the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau in Oahu.
Cody exploring the Tonga village at the PCC

When is the luau: The PCC is open from 12:30 pm to 9:00 pm on Mon-Tues, and Thurs-Sat (closed Wednesdays & Sundays). Depending on the ticket you purchase, you’ll be able to explore the cultural center before the luau starts. The actual luau starts at 5:00 pm, with seating at 4:40 pm.

Location: Polynesian Cultural Center, 55-370 Kamehameha Highway, Laie, HI (1-hour drive from Honolulu)

Cody on the HĀ: Breath of Life stage taking a bow after the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau.
Cody enjoying taking photos at the PCC luau after the “HĀ: Breath of Life” show!

What we love about this luau: As the name says, it’s a “cultural center,” so it offers entertainment and education about the Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures. 

We love this luau because there’s a lot to do. In addition to the “HĀ: Breath of Life” show, you can explore the grounds on foot or via a guided canoe ride, do some shopping at their neat stores, and even learn authentic Polynesian cooking!

When it comes to the actual luau, the PCC does a fantastic job. The fact that it is performed many times a week to a fairly large crowd doesn’t seem to wear anyone down. The entertainment, food selection, extremely friendly staff, and everything in between was phenomenally executed. 

The lines at dinner moved fast, as they had multiple buffet lines with the same food options. Even though we were one of the last tables in line for dinner, it didn’t feel like we were waiting very long at all. 

Also, this is the only luau we went to in Oahu that provided pina colada drinks served in a pineapple to every guest during dinner. It was a nice touch after spending an entire day exploring the different Polynesian villages.

Note: The Geteway buffet does not receive free pineapple drinks.

Cody enjoying his pineapple smoothie at the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau.
Trysta enjoying her pineapple drink at the Ali'i Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Also, we have been to multiple luaus over the years, and arguably the “HĀ: Breath of Life” show is the most impressive one we have seen. The performers gave it their all, and you could really feel the energy in the auditorium. We didn’t want it to end! 

Cody on stage at the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau on Oahu.
PCC stage after the show

Some things to keep in mind: 

  • No alcohol allowed – it is a Mormon-owned facility, after all. 
  • Far from Waikiki – If you are attending the whole day and are staying in Waikiki, it can be tiring to drive an hour back home after the event. We did this and it was completely worth it, but it’s something to keep in mind.
  • Photography is not allowed at the “HĀ: Breath of Life” show – I was pretty bummed at first, but it was nice to enjoy the experience in real-time without having to worry about recording or taking pictures. Also, putting your phone in the air to take photos can sometimes be disruptive to other guests. As a note, you can take photos with the crew after the show at no extra charge, so don’t feel like you are missing out. 
  • No actual imu ceremony – The imu demonstration wasn’t your typical imu ceremony where they unearth the cooked kalua pig – It was a bit more of a show than a traditional ceremony. They brought the pig on stage and carried it to the buffet area for everyone to see.
The imu ceremony at the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau with men carrying the kalua pig.
The imu demostration at the PCC

Tips: Dress comfortably in loose clothes and comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking a lot, so a pair of comfortable walking shoes is highly recommended. Sunscreen is also good to keep handy.

Are you going to Hawaii and looking for the best luau on the island of Oahu? This list includes the best six luaus on Oahu plus six additional options.

2. Paradise Cove Luau

The lively Paradise Cove Luau has one of the largest shows in Oahu and is in the Ko Olina Resort area, about 40 minutes from Waikiki (if you’re lucky and the traffic is light). 

This luau needs no introduction as it has been operating for more than 20 years and is widely considered one of the top luaus in Hawaii.

Performers on stage at Paradise Cove Luau doing a Polynesian dance.

The luau is held in a private beach area along the coast next to Hukilau Beach. The coastline is dotted with beautiful palm trees and well-manicured bushes.

Their gates open at 5:00 pm, and dinner is served at 6:30 pm, so you’ll have over an hour to walk around the sand-covered mini amusement park.

There are plenty of things to do while you explore before the luau begins:

  • Multiple drink stations where you can get beer and mixed drinks
  • Two stations where you can get surprisingly high-quality Polynesian-themed tattoos painted on you
  • Two different Hawaiian games (spear throwing at a hay target and Hawaiian bowling)
  • Visit the imu amphitheater
  • Have your picture taken with parrots
  • Shop at the various vendors and store
  • Relax and listen to the live music

A nice perk about this luau is that you get a free Cove Card worth either $12, $16, or $20, depending on which package you choose. You can use this card to buy drinks or merchandise at some of the on-site shops.

The show includes a singing emcee, fire knife dancers, contemporary and traditional hula, and other Polynesian dances. They also have a dance where the audience gets to participate.

A fire dancer performing on stage at the Paradise Cove Luau.

Who should choose this luau? Like the PCC, this luau is excellent for those who are okay with a high-production event and want to see a spectacular show. Paradise Cove can seat up to 400 people, but they do a phenomenal job maneuvering guests and ensuring it doesn’t feel too crowded.

You can purchase alcohol at this luau any time, whereas alcohol is prohibited at PCC.

If you love a good setting and want a luau by the beach, this is the one for you. This is actually one of the few luaus in Oahu that is right by the beach, and the sunset here is absolutely perfect. When it comes to location, Paradise Cove is stunning and wins this category.

Also, if you are already staying in the Ko Olina area, this luau is excellent as it’s the closest one to that location. Depending on where you are staying in Ko Olina, you can easily walk to Paradise Cove.

Things to Know About the Paradise Cove Luau

Packages: Paradise Cove has three different packages to choose from:

Hawaiian Luau ($140/adult):

  • Imu Ceremony
  • Hawaiian Revue
  • Shell lei
  • Complimentary mai tai punch
  • $12/adult Cove Card
  • Wing seating and dinner.

Orchid Luau ($165/adult):

  • Includes everything in the Hawaiian Luau package, except you get a fresh flower lei, a $16/adult Cove Card, and middle seating.

Deluxe Luau ($230/adult):

  • Includes everything in the Orchid Luau package, but you have the option to choose between a flower lei or a kukui nut lei, $20/adult Cove Card, deluxe seating, table service, souvenir arrival photo (one per booking), and a courtesy souvenir gift.

Note: You can add round-trip transportation for $35.00 per person.

When is the Luau: 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, seven days a week

Location: 92-1089 Aliinui Dr, Kapolei, HI (at Ko Olina Resort)

What we love about this luau: There are many things to love! For starters, it’s offered seven days a week, making it the most available luau experience. 

The setting is gorgeous, and you can’t beat the view. The sunset views alone are spectacular and worth the experience.

The gorgeous sunset at Paradise Cove Luau.
The gorgeous sunset we caught at the Paradise Cove Luau

The food was satisfying overall, and they have a good mix of tropical and Hawaiian dishes. The cupcakes and fresh fruit for dessert were an excellent touch too.

Lastly, the show was entertaining throughout and executed flawlessly. The performers were great, and the fire knife dancing near the end was awe inspiring.

Also, this luau includes an actual imu ceremony rarely seen at other luaus these days. You’ll get an up-close look at how this ceremony is operated.

Some things to keep in mind: 

  • A 40-minute drive from Waikiki: Traffic can be unpredictable, so plan your trip accordingly. You also have the option to take the shuttle (at an additional cost) if you do not feel like driving.
  • Outdoor venue means possible cancellation due to bad weather: This luau is outdoors and could be canceled if there is inclement weather. This happened to us, but we were lucky enough to have time to reschedule. Make sure to schedule your luau at the start of your trip instead of the end in case you have to reschedule.

3. Chief’s Luau

Chief Sielu, the world champion fire knife dancer, and his family perform at this top-rated luau at the Wet’n’Wild Hawaii water park. Chief is hilarious, so be ready to laugh your heart out throughout the night as you enjoy the show!

You’ll also be entertained by the thrilling Samoan dance, haka warrior dance, hula dance, and much more. 

While this luau is held at a water park, we found the setting to be very tropical and one of the most beautiful settings we have seen at luaus. There is a man-made waterfall on stage with some tropical plants and trees that make the perfect backdrop for the show.

The beautiful stage at the Chief's Luau with a waterfall and palm trees.
Chief’s Luau stage

I also enjoyed taking photos here with the beautiful backdrop, and the team was very happy to assist with taking my photos every time I asked. 

While not located on the beach, this setting is still beautiful.

Trysta taking photos with the performers at Chief's Luau in Oahu.
Picture with the performers after the Chief’s Luau

The food is your typical luau buffet-style assortment with all your favorite Hawaiian dishes like kalua pork, lomi salmon, poi, purple sweet potatoes, and more. They also had chow mein noodles with char siu pork, which was a unique and satisfying option that wasn’t offered at any of the other luaus we attended.

Luau food at the Chief's Luau with kalua pork, poi, chicken, salad and dessert.

Who should choose this luau? I know this luau gets talked about a lot, so let’s address some of the comments I have seen online. 

Some might say that the main reason people go to this luau is to see the chief himself, and while part of this is true, the Chief’s Luau has much more to offer. The crew does a fantastic job making this luau entertaining and educating the audience about Polynesian culture.

Men performing the fire dance show at Chief's Luau

Also, the fire knife show is fantastic! The chief and some of his team members have performed worldwide, and their fire knife dance is spectacular. Overall, the entire team does a tremendous job not only with the fire knife show but with all of the other performances as well.

Women performing a Polynesian dance at the Chief's Luau.

While the other luaus mentioned in this article also had interactive aspects of their shows, the Chief’s Luau had one of the best interactive performances. The crowd was getting involved, which gave it an excellent atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

It could be because of the chief himself, but we noticed people were more willing to go on stage to participate in activities. While some might call this cheesy, this luau has a great vibe and atmosphere, so if this is what you are looking for, I highly recommend it.

If you want a fun-filled night with performances, beautiful scenic surroundings, live music, and a luau close to Ko Olina, this is for you!

We’ve attended this Chief’s Luau multiple types, so be sure to read our full review.

Things to Know About the Chief’s Luau

Packages: There are three different packages to choose from:

  • Aloha Experience ($135/adult)
  • Paradise Experience ($170/adult)
  • Royal Experience ($215/adult)

You also have the option to book the luau with transportation included.

The main difference between these packages is the assigned seating, number of free drinks, and type of lei you will receive. Also, the Royal Experience package comes with a free souvenir gift.

When is the luau: 5:30 pm to 8:15 pm, six days a week (closed Tuesdays).

Location: 400 Farrington Highway, Kapolei (Inside of the Wet’n’Wild Hawaii water park)

What we love about this luau: The performance, tropical scenery, and the lighting were all fantastic — by far my favorite luau photos! 

Also, I loved that this luau moved faster than other luaus we’ve been to. There weren’t many big breaks in between activities, which kept us engaged and entertained. At the same time, the show didn’t feel rushed.

Some things to keep in mind: 

  • A 40-minute drive from Waikiki: While not as far as the PCC, this luau is located in Kapolei. You also have the option to take the shuttle (at an additional cost).
  • No imu ceremony: They did, however, do a quick demonstration of how they cook the food and start a fire.

4. Toa Luau

When you combine a traditional show with undisturbed natural beauty, you get the Toa Luau at Waimea Valley

You can hike to the nearby Waimea Falls and the lush botanical gardens surrounding it before you attend the luau.

If you want to tour the garden and hike to the waterfall, get there at least 1.5 hours before the luau to give yourself enough time to walk back to the luau. Admission to the garden is $20.00, but you get free entry with your luau purchase.

Women performing a Polynesian dance at the Toa Luau at Waimea Valley.

The food is your typical luau food, but they bring it to your table instead of having a buffet which I preferred. After attending so many luaus on the island, this felt the most sanitary. 

Also, this moved much faster than waiting for everyone to get their food at the buffet — bonus points for this.

A plate of food from Toa Luau with kalua pork, chicken, poi, haupia and some fruit.

The show was intimate, educational, and entertaining. They finished with the fire dance show, which was good, but don’t expect a spectacular broadway kind of show since this is a small luau. Also, if you are attending the day luau, the fire dance show might not be as vivid since it’s still bright outside.

Women performing the hula show at the Toa Lua at Waimea Valley.

Who should choose this luau? This luau is perfect for those that want an intimate experience with a touch of nature. As mentioned before, the Toa Luau is much smaller and more personal compared to other luaus.

Also, this is the only luau on the island that offers a day and evening show. This is especially important if you have kids or are coming from Waikiki and do not want to stay late. Also, this is an excellent option if you are already staying on the North Shore.

Things to Know About the Toa Luau

Packages: There are three different packages to choose from:

  • Silver ($115/adult)
  • Gold ($145/adult)
  • VIP ($175/adult)

All packages include a flower lei, imu demonstration, luau dinner, kava ceremony, cultural activities, a Polynesian show, and drink tickets.

The main difference between the packages is the assigned seating and the number of drinks. This is a small luau, so I wouldn’t worry about the seating unless you need to be seated front row for some reason. 

I sat in the back and could see perfectly fine since the venue is relatively small and the back section is lifted.

When is the luau: 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm (day show); 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (evening luau), Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday

Location: 59-864 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa, HI

What we love about this luau: Everyone gets a free flower lei. It’s a great touch since most luaus charge extra for them! 

While this is a small luau, the cultural activities before the show were fun, entertaining, and educational. I also loved that they also had a coconut tree-climbing demonstration! That was awesome and something not all luaus offer. 

If I had to pick a smaller luau to go to in Hawaii, Toa Luau would be my pick.

Some things to keep in mind:

Located on the North Shore: This luau is situated on the North Shore, so if you are staying in Waikiki and don’t want to add a 2-hour total drive to your day, this might not be your best choice. 

Expect a small production show: This is a small luau, so the show at the end is less grand and theatrical than some of the larger luaus. 

Side note: We wrote a detailed review of the Toa Luau. Be sure to check it out for more information.

5. Experience Nutridge Luau

The Experience Nutridge Luau is one of the newest (about six years old) luaus on the island of Oahu. It’s a four-hour-long intimate (only 30-40 people) event with exciting activities and entertainment.

The luau is located on the Nutridge Estate inside the Pu’u Ualaka’a Wayside Park, about a 19-minute drive from Waikiki. Elvis Presley famously spent a lot of time on this estate while shooting his movie Blue Hawaii.

Fire dancers performing on stage at the Experience Nutridge Luau in Oahu.

The setting is very lush and nestled amidst the tropical foliage, which gives it an intimate feel. You’ll be surrounded by gorgeous trees, including macadamia nut trees spread over 22 acres of land.

The Experience Nutridge Luau setting with a tree with Christmas lights and a swing.

Guests can participate in multiple cultural activities before settling in for a small, family-style luau. After the activities, you get a farm-to-table dinner overlooking the Honolulu city lights and the gorgeous Waianae Mountain Range.

Me on a swing at Experience Nutridge Luau in Oahu.

If you are lucky and have perfect weather, you’ll also experience one of the best sunsets on the island since you’ll be higher up in the mountains. This luau is close to the Tantalus Lookout, one of the best spots in Oahu to see a perfect sunset.

As for the show, you’ll experience a combination of traditional Polynesian dances, including a fire show at the end. Like the Toa Luau, this is a small luau, so don’t expect a big performance. The show was reasonable, given that it was intimate and very small.

Performers on stage at the Experience Nutridge Luau in Oahu.

Who should choose this luau? If you want an intimate experience, this is your luau. This is the least amount of people we have seen at a luau, and we’ve been to so many of them.

It’s also perfect for those who want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of Waikiki and enjoy some peace in nature. Also, if you want a luau close to Waikiki, this is an excellent option, as it’s only 19 minutes away.

Things to Know About the Experience Nutridge Luau 

Packages: There is a standard package priced at $169 for self-driving adults, and $189 that includes transportation. There are also youth and child tickets available. Every guest receives a kukui nut lei and two complimentary drink tickets.

​When is the Luau: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Monday – Sunday (closed Saturdays)

Location: 3280 Round Top Drive, Honolulu, HI

What we love about this luau: We definitely love the setting. It’s so lush and peaceful, and you cannot help but fall in love with it. It’s also cool that the owners live on the property too! 

I loved learning about the history of the land and how it became the estate it is today. The activities were also very entertaining and educational.

Lastly, I love that they serve the food to you, rather than having a buffet where everyone touches the same utensils.

Some things to keep in mind:

Very small luau: As mentioned before, this is a small-scale luau, so if you’re expecting a big production show with dozens of performers and flower parades, this luau is not for you. We recommend the PCC or Paradise Cove if you want a big production show.

Lengthy: We found this luau to be extremely long. We were there for about four hours, almost double the time of a traditional luau. However, they spend a lot of time making you feel like you are part of their family, so maybe that’s why it takes so much time.

No imu ceremony: They did, however, do a quick demonstration of how they cook the food.

6. Ka Moana Luau

The Ka Moana Luau used to be located at Sea Life Park Hawaii but has since moved to the Aloha Tower Marketplace.

This is a very interactive luau where guests can participate in headband weaving, hula lessons, lei-making, ukulele lessons, temporary tattoos, and other cultural activities before the show starts.

The luau itself includes centuries-old traditions of fire-making demonstrations and coconut tree climbing. Their menu is very vegan-friendly as well.

In addition to daily special vegan dishes, crisp steamed vegetables, and fresh tropical fruits, the buffet includes your typical luau staples like kalua pork. 

The show is your typical luau show with dances from Hawaii and the the main Polynesian islands: New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga. The show was fantastic and educational.

Who should choose this luau? This is an excellent option if you want something close to Waikiki. Depending on where you are staying in Waikiki, you can easily walk to this luau. Its also an excellent option for those with kids.

Things to Know About the Ka Moana Luau 

The Ka Moana Luau has three packages:

Moana Classic ($129/adult):

  • One classic shell lei
  • One drink ticket
  • Cultural activities
  • Pre-show appetizers
  • Moana classic seating
  • Farm-to-table buffet.

Moana Splash ($149/adult):

  • Includes everything in the Moana classic. The only difference is that you get two drink tickets and the Moana splash (better) seating.

Moana Celebrity ($199/adult):

  • Includes everything in the classic, but you get two drink tickets, fresh flower lei, dinner table service, complimentary welcome mai tai, souvenir photograph (one per booking), and Moana celebrity seating (the best seating).

Note: You can add round-trip transportation for $19 per person

When is the Luau: 5:30 pm to 7:45 pm, Sunday – Friday (closed Saturdays)

Location: 1 Aloha Tower Drive, Honolulu, HI 96813

What we love about this luau: It’s very convenient to get to if you are staying in Waikiki. Also, The Ka Moana Luau has probably the largest selection of cultural activities for guests and their little ones.

Some things to consider: This luau is very popular among families traveling with children, so if you’re looking for a quieter, intimate experience, this one is not for you. 

What to Expect at a Luau

Every luau is different. Most of them offer a lei greeting, complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, a buffet dinner, and a music and dance show, but this can vary so be sure before booking.

You’re likely to witness an imu ceremony before dinner, but not all luaus have one. The ceremony itself may not look like much, but watching the process of a kalua pig being cooked with hot coals inside an underground oven can be interesting and fascinating to some.

Another thing to keep in mind is that unless you have booked your very own table – an option not available at most luaus – you’ll be sharing a large table with strangers.

In terms of entertainment, luaus offer two types: performances and interactive. Many luaus offer their guests an opportunity to participate in cultural activities (like hula dancing and lei-making) before the dinner starts.

Is a Luau in Oahu Worth It?

You bet your lei it is! You get to eat as much delicious island-fresh food as you want while some of the most talented performers dance and execute fire knife stunts in front of you. The cultural demonstrations are also a great way to learn more about the island’s rich heritage and traditions.

You haven’t experienced Hawaii until you’ve luau’d a little. Everyone needs to experience a luau at least once!

Luau Food Menus

There are a handful of traditional dishes you can find at pretty much every luau:

  • Kalua pork: This is slow-cooked pork. Traditionally, it was made in an imu or underground oven.
  • Poi: This is fermented root of the taro, which is baked and pounded to a paste-like consistency.
  • Laulau: This is cooked taro leaves with fillings made from coconut cream, fish, or pork.
  • Lomi salmon: Freshly caught salmon diced and marinated with onion, tomato, and other seasonings.
  • Haupia: A coconut milk pudding dessert. By far my favorite thing to eat at luaus.

All luau buffet meals include tons of fresh fruits such as pineapples, mangoes, bananas, and grapes. There is usually more than one type of vegan or vegetarian salad as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Most Authentic Luau in Oahu?

This is tough to answer because it’s hard to make an event authentic if you charge people for it. No matter what, these luaus have to make the shows entertaining since it’s part of the experience, and that can take away from the authenticity.

However, in our opinion, the Polynesian Cultural Center has the most authentic experience out of all the luaus — it’s worth checking out if you want a more cultural experience. Also, they have won multiple awards for their authentic luau.

Where Is the Best Place to See a Luau in Hawaii?

This is another hard question to answer, but after attending so many luaus in Hawaii, we’ll have to say Oahu. Oahu has multiple options when it comes to the best luaus. 

Also, this is where the Ali’i Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center is held. The center was opened in 1963, and since then, their luau has taken top honors in celebrating cultural heritage in a royal style.

What Is the Best Luau in Oahu for Adults?

It depends on your preference. Do you want a beach luau? A luau with sunset views, etc.? You can’t go wrong with any of the luaus mentioned in this article. You just have to decide what’s most important to you.

What Is the Best Luau in Oahu for Families?

If you’re traveling with kids, the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau is a good choice for two reasons: a) They offer several interactive experiences to teach about the Polynesian culture, and b) No alcohol is allowed in this luau, so your little ones are not likely to come across jolly-happy drunks.

Other than that, the Ka Moana Luau is a solid option, and Toa Luau is also great since they offer a day show.

Should You Tip at a Luau? If So, How Much?

With most luaus, the ticket price includes the meal, so you don’t need to tip unless you are overly pleased with the service.

Also, if you are attending the PCC and have a guided tour, you may want to consider tipping the guide if they have been accommodating and friendly.

Most tour guides are students from the school, so tips can go a long way. Our tour guide was very helpful and sweet, and we felt she deserved a tip.

What Luaus Are Close to Waikiki?

The Experience Nutridge Luau, Ka Moana Luau, Diamond Head Luau, and Rock-A-Hula Luau are the closest to Waikiki. We recommend the Experience Nutridge Luau and Ka Moana Luau.

The Verdict

There you have it — the best luaus in Oahu for all types of groups! Just remember that the best luau will depend on your personal preferences and expectations. No matter what type of luau you choose, we hope you have an incredible experience that will be remembered forever!

Mahalo for reading our post. Until next time, Aloha!