Oahu offers visitors and locals year-round opportunities to enjoy performances by first-rate contemporary and traditional Hawaiian musicians, as well as internationally renowned acts. The island's array of indoor and outdoor venues provides ideal settings for both high-profile concert tours and intimate performances. Aloha Stadium, the Neal S. Blaisdell Center and the Waikiki Shell often host musical superstars who perform to sold-out crowds, and on any night of the week, visitors can get a taste of Hawaiian music at one of the many bars and restaurants throughout Oahu that hosts free live music.
Waikiki Beach Walk offers several opportunities for visitors to enjoy live music. Outrigger's Na Mele No Na Pua concerts are held once a month Sunday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Plaza Stage at Waikiki Beach Walk. Every Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Ku Ha'aheo, To Cherish with Pride showcases live Hawaiian music and hula dancing led by renowned kumu hula and Waikiki Beach Walk cultural advisor Blaine Kamalani Kia.
Hard Rock Café Honolulu
In the heart of Waikiki, the new Hard Rock Café Honolulu offers a Hawaiian rock experience for all of its guests. From priceless memorabilia lining the wall to the ocean blue colored "wave bar," the new location screams rock and roll with an Oahu twist. Enjoy live music every Friday during their Jagermeister Live Music Showcase series.
Immortalized in a 1925 Charlie Chan novel, House Without a Key is Halekulani's popular indoor/outdoor gathering spot for informal breakfast, lunch, cocktails, appetizers, and entertainment. Every night at 5:30 p.m., House Without a Key presents free Hawaiian music and hula performances.
Duke's offers the opportunity to step right off the beach and into their famous barefoot bar, complete with live contemporary Hawaiian music nightly from 4-6 p.m. and from 9:30 p.m. to midnight. On Sundays, Duke's also offers one of the biggest free celebrations in Waikiki with their "Duke's on Sunday" concert featuring legendary Henry Kapono.
If visitors or locals are in the mood for something soulful and spunky, Jazz Minds Art & Café is the perfect place to go. Honolulu's only venue dedicated to live jazz is open six nights a week and features a variety of jazz stylings, including progressive jazz, funk, and hip-hop.
Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef
Located poolside at the Outrigger Reef, Kani Ka Pila Grille attracts Oahu's hottest up and coming talent. Kani Ka Pila, which means "let's make music," is the perfect name for this restaurant that serves up fine island food, cocktails, and live nightly entertainment. Live music is offered nightly from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the weekly calendar can be downloaded on their website.
With entertainment from 8:30 p.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday and 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 am Friday and Saturday, Lewers Lounge offers a sophisticated ambiance with soulful entertainment. Relax to the smooth sounds of Maggie Herron, Rocky Holmes, Tommy James Dan Del Negro and Dean Taba.
The Mai Tai Bar at Ala Moana Center is especially popular with locals for its award-winning happy hour specials and nightly contemporary Hawaiian and reggae music. Pair a performance from local musicians like Maile Soul and Sam Kapu with Mai Tai Bar's happy hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and again from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Check out their Facebook page for the lineup.
RumFire at the Sheraton Waikiki provides live entertainment nightly against the iconic backdrop of Diamond Head. Guests can enjoy a relaxing happy hour with unique Hawaiian coast inspired appetizers and the sounds of Kamuela Kahoano, Jeremy Cheng, Kai Roots Duo and more.
Tiki's Bar and Grill on Waikiki Beach offers nightly live contemporary Hawaiian entertainment by performers including P & L Experience, K.B. Riley, John Helm and Malu the Band. Performances are twice nightly.
The world-class jazz club opened a Hawaii location at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort in 2016. While this spot doesn't offer free music, we thought it deserved a mention nonetheless. The year-round live entertainment ranges from local names like Jake Shimabukuro to world-famous performers like Chaka Khan and Kenny G. Tickets are available for twice-nightly shows at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.