Best Way To Celebrate New Year’s Eve In Hawaii (2023-24)

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Aloha, are you ready to welcome the new year in paradise? New Year’s Eve in Hawaii is incredibly unique due to the mix of cultures found here. Say farewell to the old year and greet the new one with food from around the world and customs you will never forget.

That wraps it up for the 2023-2024 celebrations, will update this article starting in October of 2024 for the 2024-2025 celebrations, be safe.

Read on to discover the must-see fireworks and events for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in Hawai’i experience.

New Year’s Eve on Oahu

Sitting on the beach watching fireworks with Lē’ahi (Diamond Head) in the distance is something everyone should experience just once. O’ahu is truly a unique spot to celebrate New Year’s Eve and while you are here learn to say, Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year) in the Hawaiian language.

The main fireworks on Oahu make for a very busy evening so make your plans early and be where you need to be before the gridlock. Get updated information about the Waikiki fireworks here.

If you are on the North Shore of O’ahu you may want to take a look at what the Turtle Bay Resort has going on. They regularly have a prix fixe dinner, evening soiree, and fireworks.

There are a few good spots and tours that will make this day even better, let’s take a look.

a colorful fireworks over a beach

If you are going to plan your accommodations around this event I recommend the Prince Waikiki and the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Both offer exceptional positioning for the annual fireworks show. As mentioned above don’t forget about the Turtle Bay Resort as well. Depending on your room you may not even need to leave the hotel.

The Prince Waikiki has one of my favorite brunch buffet locations, 100 Sails Restaurant and Bar and they offer unique options during New Year’s Eve. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is on the “best” end of Waikiki for watching fireworks and gives you direct beach access.

Twin Fin Hotel is where Tiki’s Grill & Bar in Waikiki is hosting a New Year’s Eve Dinner & Party, featuring a four-course prix-fixe menu by Chef Ronnie Nasuti. VIP dining packages are available at $1,000 per table, offering prime ocean and fireworks views, champagne, party favors, and live music. All dinner and VIP guests receive a wristband for party entry. Tiki’s provides three hours of free parking with hotel valet​.

The Laylow, Autograph Collection is home to the Hideout restaurant which has an exclusive soiree that’s classic Laylow. Adorn your dazzling attire and revel under the starry sky on our open-air lanai. This event is exclusively for those 21 and older. Please dress to impress. General Admission provides standing room only. Ticket includes festive party favors, an array of passed appetizers available from 10 PM until midnight, and a champagne toast as the clock strikes twelve.

If you have a particular favorite hotel on Oahu don’t hesitate to reach out before booking to ask about rooms for firework viewing.

New Year’s Eve Activities on O’ahu

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in style with Rock-A-Hula’s Midnight Show in the heart of Waikiki. Offering two Luau packages and one exclusive show-only option, each guarantees an unforgettable night. Enjoy dinner packages that come with celebratory “champagne.” The star attraction? A thrilling countdown to the New Year, complete with dazzling firework visual effects on a massive 40′ x 29′ video screen. If you like a fun organized event then this is for you.

Consider taking a Sunset Cruise on New Year’s Eve, where you’ll be treated to a complimentary welcome drink, live entertainment, and a stunning view of the Waikiki skyline. Book early as these are popular among visitors and residents alike. Some even offer a BYOB fireworks cruise that will get you some great views of Waikiki.

Waikiki at night is one of the best places to celebrate New Year's Eve in Hawaii

New Year’s Eve on Maui

If champagne toast, cocktail cruises, and celebrations at some of the best resorts in the world are how you imagine New Year’s Eve then Maui is where it’s at.

Here, you can experience a unique blend of traditional Hawaiian and Western Christmas celebrations, without the hustle and bustle of O’ahu.

Grand Wailea is the place to be for New Year’s Eve on Maui as they host the most exciting celebrations. On December 31st, from 10 PM to 12 AM at ‘Ikena, celebrate New Year’s Eve with a family movie night, followed by a midnight countdown and fireworks from Wailea Beach. On January 1st, start 2024 with an E Ala E wellness session at 6 AM on Wailea Beach, involving a cleansing ocean ritual and a Hawaiian chant.

Continue the New Year’s Day celebration with a special breakfast from 7 AM to 10 AM at ‘Ikena, featuring a bloody mary bar and locally sourced dishes.

Pacific Whale Foundation offers a New Year’s Eve cocktail sail and a separate dinner cruise leaving out of Maalaea Harbor. The Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1980, dedicated to protecting oceans through science, advocacy, and inspiring environmental stewardship. The Foundation engages in research, education, and conservation programs, focusing on the protection of oceans and marine wildlife.

Alii Nui New Year’s Eve Sail is a night of indulgence and excitement to celebrate the final hours of 2023. Ring in the new year with a delicious dinner, premium cocktails, and the best view of Maui’s fantastic fireworks shows. Available December 31, 2023 only. 

Pride of Maui vessels are known for their spaciousness and stability. This unique experience is perfect for welcoming the new year with a loved one, offering an unforgettable celebration topped off with a breathtaking fireworks display in Wailea.

a tiki torches with fire coming out of them

New Year’s Eve on The Big Island

There are a few resorts that deliver the unique experience of New Year’s Eve in Hawai’i and these do it exceptionally well.

Mauna Lani Auberge has a whole week of events going on including a full day on the 31st with fireworks. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with various activities including turtle talks, historic tours, cocktails, cultural events, dinners, a lūʻau, and a fireworks show, all taking place throughout the day on December 31, 2023.

Fairmont Orchid has a special luau on New Year’s Eve although it ends early at 9:30 it looks like a fun event to attend and celebrate at.

Hilton Waikoloa Village on December 31, 2023, from 6-10 pm for a New Year’s Eve Luau. Enjoy fireworks, live music, traditional dances, and a luau feast. Rates are $275 for adults, $168 for children, and no charge for young children with a paying adult. Cancellation within 72 hours is non-refundable. For reservations, call (808) 886-1234, ext. 54 or visit hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/holidays.

a bright light in the dark sky

New Year’s Eve on Kaua’i

If you find yourself on the picturesque island of Kauai for New Year’s Eve, don’t miss the Festival of Lights that runs through January 1st.

The Poipu Beach fireworks show starts at approximately 8:15 pm, and the best viewing spot is Poipu Beach Park, where you can also enjoy food trucks and entertainment. Gather your friends and family for an unforgettable night beneath the Kauai sky.

The exact time for this fireworks show comes out mid to late December so check this website for up-to-date information.

1 Hanalei Bay celebrates with a six-course pre-fixe dinner at 1 Kitchen featuring a locally inspired menu celebrating our farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. Then say Aloha to 2024 by dancing into the new year with a lively celebration at Welina Terrace & Kai Maika’i accompanied by a champagne bar, a live DJ, fire dancing, and more.

Unique Hawaiian New Year’s Eve Traditions

Beyond the eye-catching fireworks displays, Hawaii also presents distinct New Year’s Eve traditions that highlight the islands’ rich cultural heritage.

Mochi Making: The Japanese tradition of mochi pounding is a communal event where steamed glutinous rice is pounded into a soft, sticky dough and molded into shapes. Mochi is considered to bring good luck and is a staple during New Year’s celebrations​​.

Sashimi: Eating ahi sashimi is a popular tradition during New Year’s in Hawaii, symbolizing prosperity and good health for the upcoming year​​.

Fireworks: Like many places, Hawaii has a grand tradition of fireworks displays to welcome the New Year, often with family and community gatherings. If you want to see something truly wild then be in the areas near Waipahu and Pear City at midnight.

First Sunrise of the Year: It’s a common practice to wake up early on New Year’s Day to watch the first sunrise of the year as a symbol of the new beginning. I usually hike the Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail or Ka’ena Point.

a wooden stick in a mortar
Pounding Mochi

Whale Watching During New Year’s Eve

Whale watching, particularly on the island of Maui, stands out as one of Hawaii’s most unforgettable holiday activities. The best time for whale watching in Hawaii is between December and March, making New Year’s Eve an ideal time to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures. Learn more about the best time to watch the whales on Maui.

Maui offers some of the best spots for whale watching, such as Honolua Bay, Napili Bay, The Pali, and Ukumehame on the West side of the island. To get even closer to these gentle giants, consider joining one of the many recommended whale-watching tours available during New Year’s Eve.

Whale watching during New Year’s Eve is not only an awe-inspiring experience, but it’s also a fantastic way to appreciate the beauty of Hawaii’s natural wonders. Don’t miss this unforgettable opportunity to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Tips for Enjoying New Year’s Eve in Hawaii

Plan ahead and follow these useful tips to fully enjoy your New Year’s Eve in Hawaii. First, make reservations in advance for popular events and dining experiences, as good restaurants tend to be extra crowded on holidays.

Next, dress appropriately for the cooler weather in December, bringing a pair of long pants and a light sweater or rain jacket for the evenings. This way, you can stay comfortable while enjoying the various celebrations across the islands.

Lastly, learn some essential Hawaiian words and phrases, such as Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year) and Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas). This will not only make your interactions with locals more enjoyable but also help you immerse yourself in the unique Hawaiian culture during your Hau’oli Makahiki Hou celebrations.

As the year draws to a close, Hawai’i transforms into a panorama of gala celebrations, offering a memorable night of gourmet dining set against the backdrop of the beautiful Hawaiian setting.

From luxurious New Year’s Eve cruises that sail through the island’s scenic vistas to the iconic Waikiki Beach fireworks that light up the Pacific sky, there’s an array of experiences to bid farewell to the old year. Revelers can indulge in the vibrant atmosphere where the warm ocean breeze complements the spectacular firework display, making for a New Year’s Eve that’s as enchanting as it is unforgettable.

FAQ

How do Hawaiians celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Hawaiians celebrate New Year’s Eve similar to most others in the United States. The food at the parties is different and the sheer amount of fireworks will keep you wide-eyed all night. As a local resident, I have to remind myself that people visit Hawai’i from all over the world making this an excellent question.

Where can I find the best fireworks displays in Hawaii on New Year’s Eve?

The best fireworks display in Hawai’i will almost always be on Oahu for New Year’s Eve. Check local news outlets for times and locations. Usually at Magic Island which is just outside of Waikiki near Ala Moana Beach Park.

Are there any traditional Hawaiian New Year’s Eve celebrations?

Yes, there are some traditional Hawaiian New Year’s Eve celebrations like pounding mochi, lighting fireworks, and other activities. My family has traditionally taken an early morning hike on the first day of the year.

What should I wear on New Year’s Eve in Hawaii?

Depending on where you are visiting from or if you live here will determine what you should consider wearing. It does get cool at night in Hawai’i during this time of year, in the 60s sometimes, so a light jacket or sweater will keep you comfortable.

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Brandon Hughes
Brandon Hugheshttp://www.suitesandlobbies.com/
Aloha, as the founder and chief editor of Suites & Lobbies, I enjoy offering unique perspectives on hotel accommodations, airline services, dining experiences, and the evolving travel landscape of Hawai'i. Raised in the town of Ka'alaea on O'ahu, a native Hawaiian, and a lifelong learner. My extensive travels across Hawai'i ensure that readers receive accurate and up-to-date information, from emerging hotel projects to the latest in restaurant openings and travel-related concerns. My commitment is to provide unbiased, thorough insights stemming from first-hand knowledge of current affairs here in Hawai’i. I further showcase this on my YouTube channel, where I present detailed visual reviews and updates. Connect with me there or find me on LinkedIn engaging with industry peers and fostering meaningful discussions on Hawai'i travel. Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS1xESm74twX__Iw9ESs5BA LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandon-hughes-hoku-marketing/

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