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Why yes, it is possible to do some stargazing in Waikiki amid the hotels and resorts. I recently tagged along with Nick from Stargazer of Hawai’i to see if it’s something that you may want to consider as a fun activity on your next trip to Oahu.
So it turns out you can do free stargazing in Waikiki at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, no reservation needed. A free activity in Waikiki? Absurd, at least charge us a resort fee so it doesn’t feel so weird.
If you want to take a guided tour of the night sky in an intimate setting then book a ticketed event at the top of the International Market Place garage.
I met Nick the owner at a recent tourism event in the State Capital and he invited me to tag along to see what he does and if you really can see celestial bodies from the heart of Waikiki.
I arrived early for the International Market Place event and had dinner a couple of floors down before heading up to the top of the garage structure. One end was marked off with cones and I took a few photos before the other guests arrived. The bright overhead pole lights in the parking lot were turned off for a darker sky experience.
As I surveyed the night sky with an iPhone app I was able to locate Venus in the sky along with a large collection of clouds that were moving in, it was not looking good. I wondered how Nick handles mother nature events like this and I was soon to find out.
He quickly got his large 7-foot telescope set up in the ample open space and the first few guests started to arrive. In all, there were 7 of us, meaning we could ask all the questions we wanted without being rushed.
Nick was friendly and informative with some astronomically funny jokes. But more than that he addressed the weather issue early on and offered refunds, rescheduling, re-booking, and alternate sites to do a viewing. Customer service +1
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, he has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Hawaii.
In 2019, he founded Stargazers of Hawaii to share his passion for astronomy and knowledge of Hawaiian constellations with others. He was selected as a volunteer NASA/JPL/Caltech Solar System Ambassador in 2021 and has been an astronomy merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts of America since 2019.
When the sky went into full cloud mode everyone ended up staying to talk story about the stars, Hawaiian navigation techniques, NASA, the solar system, and beyond. If you enjoy astronomy or have kids asking you lots of questions, this is the guy.
It gets better.
So one of the other event options was in a couple of days on the north shore on the grounds of the well-reviewed Turtle Bay Resort. While this resort didn’t make my top 6 luxury hotels on Oahu list its recent renovation moved it a bit closer.
The weather was looking good for this next event and the location was definitely in a darker spot although I was impressed with what we could see in Waikiki.
I arrived during an amazing sunset and looked up at the night sky in anticipation.
This was a group of 7 again and the views we had couldn’t have been better. Nick was relentless with information on stars, galaxies, nebulae, the solar system, and about 10 other things that I have already forgotten.
It was uniquely enjoyable to be under the stars in Hawai’i with a professional like Nick who could answer any and all of our questions without skipping a beat.
We also saw some satellites pass overhead, at a rate of about 6 an hour. We all became excellent “spotters” as the night wore on. The space station passes by about 10 times a month but not on this night.
We also saw the Milky Way galaxy but it was faint because we were looking out of the galaxy during winter, during the summer months we look into the Milky Way and you can see a lot more stars.
With public event locations at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, International Market Place, and several hotels, for guests only, including Twin Fin, Park Shore, Ritz Carlton Waikiki, and possibly others like ‘Alohilani Resort, you should be able to find one conveniently located.
I enjoyed learning about the stars and the special place they hold here in Hawai’i. I know many think of stargazing and immediately jump to the Big Island and Mauna Kea but stargazing in Waikiki is real and something to consider.
You can find additional information about Nick and Stargazers of Hawaii on their website along with booking options for events.