Honolulu is a popular tourist destination all year-round, but it becomes even more packed in December. It’s hardly surprising. After all, who could resist the idea of escaping the winter cold by traveling to places with warmer climes, like the beaches of Hawaii? But what fun things to do in Honolulu can you partake of this coming December? This state capital of Hawaii offers plenty of opportunities for fun this December. Here is our list of the best things to do in Honolulu on December this year.
Honolulu City Lights Opening Night
Where: Honolulu Hale (City Hall)
When: December 3, 2016
Christmas is a big deal in Honolulu, and the season always starts with the opening night of the Honolulu City Lights. The Honolulu City Lights is a month-long yuletide celebration that sees the length of King and Punchbowl Streets surrounding the Honolulu City Hall compound turn into a dazzling exhibition of Christmas fairy lights and displays. The highlight of these displays is the giant Christmas tree on the Honolulu Hale grounds.
This year, Honolulu City Lights opens on Saturday, December 3 at 6:00 PM. The events slated for the night include the official tree lighting ceremony, the Public Workers’ Electric Light Parade, and a free holiday concert by Hawaii’s leading musical acts near Sky Gate.
A Christmas Carol, The Musical
Where: Diamond Head Theater
When: December 2-23, 2016
Charles Dickens’ story about Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts of Christmas is one of the most beloved Christmas tales of our time. Dickens’ novel found new life in the Broadway production A Christmas Carol, The Musical. This production was first directed by Mike Ockrent, with original music from Disney legend Alan Menken, and choreography by Susan Stroman.
A version of A Christmas Carol, The Musical will be shown at Honolulu’s Diamond Head Theater. This production, directed by John Rampage and choreographed by Lisa Kimsey, will run from December 2 to December 23, with matinee performances on weekends.
Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade
Where: Kalakaua Avenue
When: December 7, 2016
If you’re visiting Honolulu in December, watching the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade should always be on top of your list of things to do in Honolulu this month. Every year, Honolulu hosts the parade on December 7 to honor the veterans and the families of the people who sacrificed their lives at the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The 2016 parade takes on a special meaning, as it commemorates 75 years since the attack that pushed the US to join the fight in World War II. Actor Gary Sinise, whose foundation supports veterans, defenders, first responders, and their families, takes on the duties of Grand Marshall on this year’s parade. The most significant feature of this year’s parade is the floating of 40-foot models of the great battleships that met their end during the attack. Other events commemorating Pearl Harbor will be held at the USS Arizona Memorial.
2016 Honolulu Marathon
Where: Ala Moana Boulevard
When: December 11, 2016
The Honolulu Marathon, the fourth biggest marathon event in the US, returns for its 44th year on December 11. The marathon historically attracts around 30,000 participants annually. It doesn’t have a time limit or a limit to the number of participants, so everyone can join. Thus, if you feel like running or walking a marathon, do check out this one of the top things to do in Honolulu in December.
The marathon will start at the Ala Moana Boulevard and end at the Kapiolani Park. As part of the marathon activities, the Hawaii Convention Center will host the Marathon Expo from December 8 to 10, where you can get your race packet if you’re joining, as well as other official merchandise and loot. Race entrants can also attend the eat-all-you-can buffet concert and luau at Waikiki Shell on December 9.
Ballet Hawaii Presents The Nutcracker
Where: Neal S. Blaisedell Center
When: December 16-18, 2016
A performance of The Nutcracker is seen as traditional for many ballet companies throughout the world during the yuletide season. Ballet Hawaii, however, will put its own spin to this classical ballet piece by using Hawaiian motifs and setting its story in the grandeur and majesty of the former Kingdom of Hawaii in 1858.
The idea of retelling The Nutcracker story using Hawaiian themes and settings came to be after the production team learned that Mary Dominis hosted a children’s party at Washington Place on Christmas Eve, 1858. The roles of Sugar Plum and Mary Dominis will be played by Megan Fairchild and Pam Taylor Tongg respectively. Septime Webre choreographs the production.
Where: Kualoa Beach Park
When: December 17, 2016
If your idea of a yuletide holiday is running through an obstacle course on a mud field, then you must not miss the Makahiki Challenge. The Makahiki Challenge is Hawaii’s first-ever 5K obstacle run. Though only on its sixth year, the Challenge is well on its way to becoming a beloved holiday tradition in Honolulu.
This year’s Makahiki Challenge will be held at the Kualoa Beach Park in Kane’ohe, less than an hour’s drive from Waikiki, at 8:30 AM on December 17. The obstacle run will be followed by a live concert featuring some of the most exciting musical acts from Hawaii.
Swimming and surfing are definitely fun in Honolulu in December. But it will be more fun if you add variety to your itinerary and check out these top things to do in Honolulu in December.