We arrived in Honolulu with skyscrapers and busyness. Our Uber drove us downtown to the Waikiki area where our hotel was and we new we liked it. It was a different Hawaii than on Maui or the Big Island. Our room had amazing views of the skyline. While Oahu wasn’t necessarily on our Hawaii wish list, the flights onto Asia had horribly long layovers in Honolulu anyways. We thought we would check out the sights and we stayed two nights.
We had a 5-minute walk to the beautiful soft sand Waikiki beach. It had lots of available room while still having lots of people on it.
Things to see
We arrived before check-in, so we went to Pearl Harbour for the afternoon. We saw the Arizona Memorial where we took a short boat ride to see the sunken ship. There was a short history of the day of the Pearl Harbour attack that occurred on December 7, 1941 before seeing the memorial. My husband was also eager to see the submarine which he liked as well.
Check out the night life and people watch. The city life has a feel of luxury with torches, lights, endless crowds and night shopping extravaganzas. There can also be some entertaining street performers.
Check out the Tesla store and sit in their new electric vehicles. There were many people sitting in the vehicles and they were just amazing!
Gluten Free Restaurants
I of course googled the restaurant options for the city and a lot came up, but once I went to the restaurant website and checked out the menu, there was really not many I could find that offered specifically gluten free items on their menu. For a complete list of places to eat, see my Gluten Free Guide to Oahu here.
One I did find and ate dinner at twice was PF Changs. While a large US chain, I was not familiar with it in Canada. They have a specific gluten free section on their menu and I had a beef and broccoli dish and a chicken and shrimp noodle bowl with mango gelato for desert and it was all very delicious. When I asked about the food preparation, they had a separate section with gluten free specific woks for cooking which reduces the chance for cross contamination. They had a good understanding of the cross contamination and the serving plate was also different than the non-gluten free dishes to distinguish between them, so they were taking precautions. I did use my NIMA gluten tester for the first meal here. See below for the video link of my test.
We had breakfasts at Denny’s where I had to send back a dish to get it redone but I did eat successfully. They brought me a gluten free english muffin and it was toasted, so I asked whether they had a dedicated toaster and was told no, so I asked for a different item and for them to get me a completely new meal. I also used my NIMA gluten tester for the meal that came out the second time and it showed that it was gluten free.
We also eat successfully at Goofys, which was across the street from our hotel for lunch one day because they were showing up on Google as having gluten free options, but when we got there it was clear the staff had little knowledge about gluten free. I had a good salad that I was happy with.
Comparison of Islands
I know before booking everything in Hawaii, we asked everyone which island they liked the best and everyone had their own perspectives and most people told us that they loved Maui. Now that we have been to three islands (Big Island, Maui and Oahu), I can honestly say they all have a unique feel and depending on what you are looking for you can find your paradise.
Big Island – This island offers beautiful scenery and many options for different beaches. We saw golden sand, black sand, salt and pepper and green sand. There is adventure with the Volcano National Park and hikes in the rain forest. Our favourite beaches here we saw lava, palm trees, cliffs and lots of sea life. You need a car here to enjoy the sites.
Maui – This island offered a bit more excitement and had higher end options for accommodations and shopping. There were great surfing options for people and the nightlife looked more exciting. You need a car here to enjoy the sites as well.
Oahu – While we only stayed in Honolulu, if you are looking to not drive and to be able to stay in a luxurious place and have a short walk to a nice golden sand beach and lots of awesome shopping then this is your stop in the Waikiki area.
If you want an awesome summary of the best gluten free places in Hawaii see my Best Gluten Free Island in Hawaii Guide.
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Cheers from Brett – The Ultimate Gluten Free Traveller