The Friday Night Waikiki Fireworks (by land, sea, or air!)

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Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Fireworks View from Waikiki Beach

Here on Oahu, the Hilton’s Friday Night Fireworks display is the traditional kick-off to the weekend. I’m sharing all my favorite ways to watch!

Every Friday night at 7:45pm, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort puts on a dazzling free fireworks display on world-famous Waikiki Beach.

Popular with local residents and visitors alike, it’s become a beloved tradition in our community. It’s the perfect way to end the week, gathering with friends and family on the beach to watch the night sky light up with colors. 

It’s our own 5-minute 4th of July every Friday night!

With the exception of a 2-year hiatus during Covid, this spectacular fireworks display has been taking place regularly at the Hilton since 1988. The free show is visible from various locations around Waikiki, but there’s something magical about watching it directly from the beach with your toes in the sand. 

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to book through these links, I receive a small commission, which I will likely blow on mai tais, poke, and shave ice.  All of this internet voodoo takes place at no additional cost to you. 

It’s a weekly reminder of the beauty and spirit of the island, and my husband and I rarely miss it.

So, today I’m going to share with you all of my favorite places to watch the Friday night fireworks. Because, let me tell you, there are plenty of options!

And since the odds are good you’ll only be in Waikiki for one Friday night, I want you to have all the information you need to decide where you want to watch. 

Where are the Waikiki Friday Night Fireworks?

The fireworks are launched from the stretch of beach between the Hilton’s Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon area and the ocean. If you stroll around that area on a Friday afternoon, you’ll see it roped off with a warning sign. 

What time are the Friday Night Waikiki Fireworks?

The time changes slightly based on the season. In the winter months, when the sun sets early, it’s 7:00pm. And in the summer, when the sun sets later, it’s 8pm.

Right now it’s happening promptly at 7:45pm each Friday night.

The good news is that you can quickly check the current time in Google Maps by searching “Waikiki Friday Fireworks” as the location.

Or, just take a walk past the roped-off location on the beach, the warning sign lists the time.

Fireworks warning sign Hilton Hawaiian Village
Check the time on the sign (this was taken in summer)

Now, let’s get to the good stuff…

What’s the best place to watch the Friday Night Fireworks?

We actually have a partial view right from the front door of our condo (which is pretty cool!). But we’d much rather watch the whole show, it’s kind of a big deal around here. So when the work week is done, we walk down to the beach almost every Friday night. 

The Hilton Hawaiian Village fireworks can be viewed from various locations around Waikiki. The best viewing locations include pretty much anywhere along the sands of Waikiki Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island, and all the way down to Diamond Head. But I know you want the prime viewing spots, right?

Well, of course, you do! 

You basically have three main viewing options – land, sea, or air. Let’s cover each one…

How to Watch from Land

Because the fireworks are launched out over the water, you can see them all the way down Waikiki Beach. For better viewing, I recommend heading down toward the Hilton, though, just before the show. The beach is bigger on that end of Waikiki and you’re closer to the action. 

​Fort DeRussy Beach Park

For my money, the best seat in the house on Friday nights is Fort Derussy Beach Park (right in front of the Hale Koa Military Resort). What I love about this spot is that it’s the widest section of beachfront in Waikiki so there’s plenty of room to stretch out.

Hilton Waikiki Beach Friday Night Fireworks Oahu Hawaii
The beach area at Ft DeRussy

And my hubby is retired military so we can enjoy a Friday night cocktail more affordably at the Hale Koa Hotel. On most Friday nights, this part of the beach is our go-to spot. The Barefoot Bar at Hale Koa also has great live music. 

Duke Kahanamoku Beach

This is the beach area directly in front of the Hilton’s Tropic’s Bar & Grill. It’s good, too, but often much more crowded since most Hilton guests spill out onto the beach right there just before the show starts. 

Barefoot Beach Cafe

Not to be confused with the Barefoot Beach Bar, this beachfront cafe at Queen’s Surf Beach (near Diamond Head) has great food and live music. This is a unique view of the fireworks from a pretty good distance but it’s a fun place to watch. (Just keep in mind that they don’t serve alcoholic beverages here because it’s on the beach.) 

Hilton Waikiki Beach Friday Night Fireworks from Barefoot Beach Cafe
View from Barefoot Beach Cafe

The Waikiki Starlight Luau

If you’re thinking of attending the Waikiki Starlight Luau at Hilton Hawaiian Village, in addition to the shows held every Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday, they also have a Friday evening special edition of the luau on the beachfront Great Lawn.

The Friday night luau is a better location than the weekday luau and you’re in the perfect position for the fireworks afterward.  

How to Watch from the Sea

Every Friday night, all those colorful catamarans that do sunset mai tai cruises and snorkel trips to Turtle Canyon add one more sail to the schedule, a Friday Night Fireworks cruise.

This is a fantastic way to get front-row seats for the fireworks and the best view in Waikiki (because you also get the Waikiki skyline in the background!). You can also choose to do a dinner cruise on a Friday night for a bonus view of the show.

Dozens of boats do a fireworks sail (including all the dinner cruises) but this one with Pink Sails is one of my favorites:

Friday Night Waikiki Fireworks Catamaran Cruise

How to Watch from the Air (sort of)

Okay, technically, there are no helicopter fireworks tours or anything like that. This part of Waikiki is on the flight path for Honolulu Airport, after all!

But there are a couple of ways to get high above for a birds-eye view of this dazzling display. 

Book a Room in the Hilton’s Rainbow Tower

This is an obvious option, but I love watching the guests on their balconies in this tower enjoying the show. What a fun way to watch! The Hilton’s Rainbow Tower rooms with a Diamond Head view are the way to go. 

Tip: You can read my full review of the Hilton here:

The Ultimate Hilton Hawaiian Village Review (2024)

​Pesca Waikiki Beach

This rooftop Mediterranean restaurant atop the Ilikai Hotel is one of our favorite places to go for panoramic views and a very wallet-friendly Happy Hour menu. One night, shortly after we moved to the island, our waiter mentioned that we should come back on a Friday for the fireworks show. So we did, and boy was it a cool experience! 

The bar, itself, does not have a view of the fireworks but since the restaurant has 360-degree views, the dining room facing toward the Hilton has a perfect view of the show.

You can either book a dinner reservation for that room or do what we did and just go to the bar and let them know you’d like to watch the show.

There’s a little area near the kitchen (not in front of other diners) where there are windows with a perfect view. They even turn off the lights in the dining room during the show so everyone can take pictures. 

Hilton Waikiki Beach Friday Night Fireworks View from Pesca
View from above at Pesca

If you’ve seen the fireworks from the beach before and you’re looking for a different view, Pesca is a great choice!

​But no matter where you choose to watch the Friday Night Waikiki Fireworks, be sure to make it a priority on your Friday night itinerary when visiting Oahu. 

This is one Waikiki fireworks show you don’t want to miss! 

It truly is an unforgettable experience and one of my all-time favorite free things to do in Waikiki.

Friday Night Waikiki Fireworks Hilton Hawaiian Village
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