Mahalo 2014: A Guide to New Year's Eve on Oahu

The Italians wear red underwear for good luck, the Japanese eat soba noodles for longevity and the Spaniards eat 12 grapes at the strike of midnight for good measure. Regardless of where you’re from, you’ll find the island offers a bevy of options to celebrate New Years Eve. From libations to meditations, here are some ideas on how to spend the last hours of 2014.

EAT

Whether or not you’re following a centuries-old Japanese tradition, noodle-consumption is never a bad idea. Get dressed up (or don’t) and rendez-vous with your predetermined party to Lucky Belly in Chinatown for their hefty bowls of ramen and energetic vibe. The ramen options like the Beast Bowl and Lucky Bowl are big enough to share and are accompanied by creative pupus. I recommend the pork belly bao and lobster shumai. Toast with sake cocktails or a mug of ginger beer. Kampai!

There is nothing more that will make you feel like you’re splurging than an elevator ride to the 18th floor and a 360-degree view of Waikiki and beyond. Dress to impress as you enjoy Top of Waikiki’s executive chef Lance Kosaka’s prix fixe menu, complete with dessert and a Champagne toast. Reserve as early as possible as space goes quickly.

DRINK

Think masquerade ball on a boat. Spend the evening out at sea with the Star of Honolulu as it hosts its annual New Years Eve dinner party. Two sets of fireworks displays will be visible aboard the Star, leaving from Pier 8 at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Choose from three- or five- course meals with a bottle of Champagne and live entertainment. Reserve in advance, as space is limited.

Those looking for “Oahu’s party of the year” should look to three-month old Buho Cocina y Cantina. Its central Waikiki rooftop setting, trendy décor, extensive bar top and live DJ will serve as the perfect backdrop for all your photos as you sport your best gown and black tie attire. Reservations for table/bottle service is highly recommended. Event begins at 9 p.m. 

BE MERRY

You don’t have to be at Times Square to watch the ball drop. Instead, flock to the Town Center of Mililani for the annual Pineapple Drop and dance your way into the New Year with live entertainment from American Idol’s Colby Benson and her band Crimson Apple. The keiki-mindful event starts at 5 p.m. and will feature clowns, fun family games and food booths before the confetti rains and the oversized pineapple drops at precisely 7 p.m., in conjunction with New York’s ball drop. The event is open to the public.

Contrary to popular practice, the Japanese partake in a quieter tradition called Hatsumode. But you don’t have to be an active Buddhist or Shinto to participate. Reverend Sakamoto at the Shingon Shu Mission will conduct the ceremony with chanting and fire rituals then give his blessings for a fruitful year ahead. The 20-minute service starts at 11:30 p.m. and the mission will continue to stay open afterwards until 5 p.m. on New Years Day for individual blessings. It’s customary for visitors to bring a good luck charm to be blessed. After all, a little luck for the year ahead couldn’t hurt. 

 

Catch the Fireworks 

Waikiki beachfront

Ala Moana Beach Park

Kakaako Waterfront Park

Ko Olina Lagoons