Ultimate Guide to Riding the Waikiki Trolley in Honolulu

If you are visiting Oahu, Hawaii, I recommend getting tickets to ride the Waikiki Trolley especially if you don’t know where to go. The trolley in Waikiki is your hop-on hop-off bus to tour Honolulu and it is one of the fun things to do in Oahu with Kids. There are a total of 6 lines that takes you to major Oahu attractions like Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head Crater, Hanauma Bay and so much more. Riding the Waikiki Trolley enables you to focus on sightseeing without needing to drive,  worry about parking and parking fees, and it also saves you money from renting a car. Check our guide to riding the Waikiki Trolley below.

Ultimate Guide to Riding the Waikiki Trolley

How does the Waikiki Trolley Work?

The Waikiki Trolley comprises of 6 lines each representing a route that takes you to major Honolulu attractions. You have the option to just ride and go sightseeing without going down or go down at only certain stops that appeal to you. The knowledgeable driver serves as your guide and talks over the speaker so you can learn about the attractions you’re visiting. Some facts, culture, local history will also be shared along the way.

You will be riding an open-air trolley on all 5 Waikiki Trolley lines except for the Pink Line which is a (yellow) double-decker bus – how confusing, haha. The PINK Line is the shopping line, its major stop is Ala Moana Center – a large (more like humongous) open-air shopping center in Honolulu.

The YELLOW Line is the Honolulu Dining Express – people ride this to visit Leonard’s Bakery and Rainbow Drive-In. PURPLE Line is Historic Pearl Harbor Line, RED Line takes you to cultural sights like the Iolani Palace, the GREEN Line is the scenic Diamond Head route which takes you inside a volcano crater, and lastly, the BLUE Line is the panoramic coastline route. All 6 lines may also have a stop at a particular hotel or the famous Waikiki Beach and some of them may have similar stops for a portion of the trip. I will detail the Waikiki Trolley stops below.

 


 

Waikiki Trolley Pricing

Are the trolleys in Waikiki Free? No, it is not, but it is also not that expensive especially if you plan your routes ahead.

How much does it cost to ride the Waikiki Trolley? The cost to ride the Waikiki Trolley ranges from $2 for a one-way fare to $15 up to $75 depending on which lines you wish to ride and the number of days you wish to ride. Only the PINK and YELLOW line is available for the $2 one-way fare (cash only). Children 2 and under are free but have to sit on an adult lap.

Where can I buy Waikiki Trolley tickets? You can buy your Waikiki Trolley tickets online via WaikikiTrolley.com or at the Waikiki Trolley Ticket Counter at T Galleria. They may also be available at your hotel concierge, inside Waikiki Trolley vehicles, at tour and activity desks, and at Ala Moana Trolley Stop. We bought ours online and exchange them for actual ticket vouchers at the T Galleria ticket counter.

 


 

Recommendation

So the question is, how many days do you need to ride the Waikiki Trolley for? For our 7 Day Oahu Itinerary, we tried to fit everything into 2 days. We paid for the 1-day fare which comes with a 2nd-day free pass and it enabled us to ride all 6 lines although we only did 5. It cost us $25 per child and $45 per adult. We mostly rode the trolley to do sightseeing and hardly went down except for a few hours at the Pearl Harbor on the Purple Line, Leonard’s Bakery on the Yellow Line, and to eat poke at Ala Moana Center via the Pink Line.

In all honesty, we were very exhausted after a day of trolley rides even if we were just seated for the most part. Did we squeeze too much in 2 days? Perhaps. If your budget allows and you don’t mind paying more or you have more days to be in Oahu, you can spread it out by purchasing the 4 or 7- day pass. Take note when buying Waikiki Trolley tickets that we also didn’t go down to all the Waikiki Trolley stops so if you are the type who wishes to visit and explore every attraction then the 2-day trolley pass won’t suffice.

 


 

Attractions Per Waikiki Trolley Line

Stops on the Blue Line – Panoramic Coastline

Route duration: 2.5 hours, 3 routes per day

  • Ilikai Hotel (Hilton Hawaiin Village)
  • T Galleria by DFS, Hawaii (garage level)
  • Statue of Duke Kahanamoku
  • Hanauma Bay Lookout (no disembarking, 5 min photo stop)
  • Halona Blowhole (no disembarking, 5 min photo stop)
  • Sandy Beach (drive-through only)
  • Sea Life Park
  • Koko Marina Center
  • Kahala Mall
  • T Galleria by DFS, Hawaii (garage level)

Stops on the Green Line – Scenic Diamond Head Sightseeing

Route duration: 1 hour 10 minutes, trolley available every 35 minutes

  • Ilikai Hotel
  • Saratoga Road
  • T Galleria (inside the garage)
  • Moana Surfrider
  • Statue of Duke Kahanamoku
  • Honolulu Zoo/Kapiolani Park
  • Waikiki Aquarium
  • Diamond Head Surf Lookout (no disembarking)
  • Diamond Head Crater
  • Kahala Mall
  • KCC Famers’ Market (Saturdays only)
  • Monserrat Ave
  • Hotel La Croix
  • T Galleria by DFS, Hawaii (garage level)

Stops on the Red Line – Cultural Honolulu

Route duration: 2 hours per route, trolley available every hour

  • Ilikai Hotel (Hilton Hawaiin Village)
  • Saratoga Road (Trump Hotel)
  • T Galleria by DFS, Hawaii (garage level)
  • Moana Surfrider
  • Statue of Duke Kahanamoku
  • Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
  • Honolulu Museum of Art
  • State Capitol/Iolani Palace
  • Punchbowl Cemetery (no disembarking)
  • Foster Botanical Garden
  • Izumo Taishakyo Shrine
  • Chinatown/Downtown 
  • King Kamehameha Statue
  • SALT at Our Kaka’ako
  • Ohana Hale Marketplace
  • Ward Centre
  • Ala Moana Center (ocean side)
  • Ilikai Hotel
  • T Galleria by DFS, Hawaii (garage level)

Stops on the Purple Line – Historic Pearl Harbor

Route duration: 2 hours and 20 minutes, trolley available every 1 hour and 10 minutes

  • T Galleria by DFS, Hawaii (garage level)
  • Statue of Duke Kahanamoku
  • Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
  • Aqua Palms Waikiki
  • Ala Moana Center (ocean side)
  • Aloha Stadium (Wed, Sat, and Sun only)
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Bishop Museum
  • Pier 38 Fishing Village
  • Ward Centre
  • Ala Moana Center (ocean side)
  • Ilikai Hotel
  • T Galleria by DFS, Hawaii (garage level)

Stops on the Yellow Line – Honolulu Dining Express

Route duration: 55 minutes, trolley available every 1 hour

  • International Market Place (inside)
  • T Galleria (outside)
  • Moana Surfrider
  • Statue of Duke Kahanamoku
  • Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
  • Rainbow Drive-In
  • Leonard’s Bakery
  • Market City Shopping Center (Sekiya’s Restaurant)
  • Market City Shopping Center (Walgreens)
  • Safeway
  • Free Parking Studio /Haili’s Hawaiin Foods
  • Side Street Inn
  • International Market Place (inside)

Stops on the Pink Line – Waikiki/Ala Moana Shopping Shuttle

Route duration: 1 hour, trolley available every 10 minutes

  • T Galleria (outside)
  • Moana Surfrider
  • Statue of Duke Kahanamoku
  • Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
  • Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel
  • International Market Place
  • Courtyard by Marriott
  • Hotel La Croix
  • Saratoga Road
  • Hilton Hawaiin Village
  • Aqua Palms Waikiki
  • Ala Moana Center (mountain side)
  • Ala Moana Center (ocean side)
  • Ilikai Hotel
  • Saratoga Road
  • Eggs N Things
  • T Galleria (outside)

 


 

Tips for Riding the Waikiki Trolley

 

1. Try to book a hotel where there is a Waikiki Trolley stop or see if it is near one

The Waikiki Trolley has many stops around the famous Waikiki area but it also stops right in front of a few hotels enabling you to skip walking to a further trolley stop on some of the trolley lines. This is especially helpful after a long day of sightseeing and you just wanna hop off the trolley and head straight to your hotel room. We stayed at Hotel LaCroix in Waikiki which has both the pink and the green line right in front of it. 

Here are the Waikiki Hotels with Waikiki Trolley stops:

  • Ilikai Hotel – Pink line, Purple Line, and Red Line. Note that Ilikai Hotel does not have a stop sign, just wait in front of the hotel for the trolley or double-decker bus.
  • Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel – Pink Line, Yellow Line, Purple Line, and Red Line
  • Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel – Pink Line
  • Hotel LaCroix – Pink Line and Green Line

 

2. Go to the underground garage of T Galleria to find the ticketing booth

T Galleria is a duty-free shopping mall and on the garage level, almost underground, is where you’ll find the ticketing booth for the Waikiki Trolley. This is also the main hub for all the trolleys. If you purchase your trolley passes online, unfortunately, you’d still have to come here to exchange them for actual tickets.

The Pink Line did let us ride by showing the email confirmation of our purchase but the driver told us that we needed the actual vouchers to really get around. If you’re staying at Hotel LaCroix, walk to Eggs N Things to ride the Pink Line where the next stop is T Galleria to quickly get your ticket vouchers. If you ride the Pink Line at Hotel LaCroix, it will take you to a few more stops before arriving at T Galleria so take my advice and walk to Eggs N Things to make it faster. If your hotel does not offer breakfast, you may wanna allot some time to have breakfast at Eggs N Things. Their food is delicious!

If you are just riding the Pink or Yellow Line for the one-way fare, you can just pay for it once you board the trolley. It’s only $2, cash only.

 

3. Know where your T Galleria Trolley Stop is, inside or outside the building

Since the main hub of the Waikiki Trolley is at T Galleria, you’ll most likely be waiting here to catch a ride. You can wait for the next scheduled trolley at the benches at the ticketing booth inside the garage level EXCEPT if you’re riding the Pink and Yellow Line. For those two, you’d have to wait outside at Royal Hawaiian Ave.

 

4. You don’t need to go back to T-Galleria to catch another trolley line

For the most part, you’d want to complete the route of every trolley line but you don’t have to. You can hop on and hop off the other trolley lines to get where you want to go as long as they are part of the 6 Waikiki Trolley lines as there are also other trolleys operating in Waikiki area but I believe they are for the Japanese tourists. As an example, all the trolley lines do stop at the Duke Kahanamoku Statue which is fronting Waikiki Beach.

View from the Waikiki Trolley Green Line – Diamond Head Surf Lookout

5. Know if the drop-off and the pick-up location of the trolley are the same at a particular attraction

This tip is very important because we got lost at Ala Moana Center. When we rode the Pink Line to visit Ala Moana Center, we thought that where we were dropped off is the only trolley stop at the mall. When we went back to the stop to catch our ride back, we saw no trolleys nor a trolley stop sign. Then we realized that the trolleys pick up its passengers on another side of the mall. We had an “Amazing Race” moment around Ala Moana Center where we circled around not knowing where we were going and totally lost a lot of time as we missed our planned trolley ride. The #12 stop of the Pink Line is at Ala Moana Center (mountain side) – drop off only while #13 stop is Ala Moana Center (ocean side) where we should have gone to get pick up. The whole ordeal was both funny and tiring at the same time. 

 

6. Download the Waikiki Trolley App and Pick up a Waikiki Trolley Map Guide

The Waikiki Trolley App called Ride Systems App shows you the real-time location of the trolley lines so you know if it’s almost at your location or you can still use the restroom before waiting at the trolley stop. It’s not the best app there is but it may be helpful at times so do download it and check it out before riding.

The Waikiki Trolley Map Guide, available at the ticketing booth at T Galleria and maybe even at your hotel will show you all the Waikiki Trolley stops, a quick description of the attractions, the Waikiki Trolley hours of operation, frequencies of travel of each line, etc. Take it with you so you know when to get back to the trolley stop to catch a ride back to your hotel or to hop back to see the next attraction.

Getting Around Waikiki – What to look for in the Waikiki Trolley Map Guide:

  • Start Time and End Time of the Trolley Line you wish to ride on – The start time and end time of every trolley line are not the same. Consider this when planning your itinerary especially on Sundays and Holidays when the trolleys end their operations earlier. You don’t want to miss your ride from Pearl Harbor back to your hotel in Waikiki as this may cost you extra should you find the need to get an Uber to drive you back. As an example, the Purple Line’s last trolley ride out of the Pearl Harbor stop is at 4:15 PM while the Yellow Line (Dining Express) doesn’t start operation until around 3 PM so don’t ever think you can have those famous malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery in the morning.

 

  • Frequency of Stops in a Particular Trolley Stop (each line varies) – Before hopping off a trolley line to check out an attraction, do take note of how long before you can catch the next ride back so you can plan how long you should stay at an attraction especially if you think you’re gonna get hungry and the attraction is nowhere near a restaurant. You can catch the Pink line every 10 minutes, the Yellow Line is every hour, Purple Line is every 1 hour and 10 minutes, Red Line is every 1 hour, Green Line is every 35 minutes, and the Blue Line only offers 3 routes per day. You’ll find the exact time on the Waikiki Trolley Map Guide.

 

  • The Map – The map gives you an overview of the routes. It helps you see how much of Waikiki and Honolulu you’re visiting. The Waikiki Trolley Map can guide you when you want to visit a particular restaurant but it’s not on a particular trolley stop but perhaps it is nearby like when we visited Waiola Shave Ice which is actually near Leonard’s Bakery on the Yellow Line so we really don’t need to drive. You can also see overlaps of routes and which lines you wish to skip if needed.

 

7. Check the weather before buying tickets to ride the Waikiki Trolley

We went to Oahu during Thanksgiving week and the weather was perfect with some rain here and there. The trolley and the double-decker bus have a roof over it but it is open-air thus it is not air-conditioned. I cannot tell you how it would be like during the summer as it was our first visit. Hopefully, it is breezy.

View of Honolulu from the Waikiki Trolley near the Punchbowl Cemetery. We saw a rainbow too!

8. Bring a light rain jacket or poncho and don’t wear a short skirt

If there will be some rain during your visit, bring a light rain jacket or disposable poncho so it can be handy when you need to hop off the trolley to visit an attraction and there is a downpour. The rain was on and off during our visit. Also, try not to wear a short skirt. The side of the trolley is not really fully covered, just some railings here and there. You get the idea!

 

9. Pack some drinks and snacks especially if you’re traveling with kids

It may be a long ride. The kids are gonna get hungry, thirsty, and all. You cannot eat or drink inside the trolley but you can do so while waiting for your next trolley to pick you up or while you’re at an attraction. Take note though that if you bring a bag to Pearl Harbor, you would need to put it on their locker. Smoking is also prohibited on the trolley.

 

10. Bring a waterproof phone holder and sunglasses

You’re going to be taking a lot of pictures while you’re on the trolley, from the glass swimming pool protruding out of the building to all the murals at Kakaako. But you are on a moving trolley and your phone is at risk of being drop. What did I do? I brought my waterproof phone case which I typically only bring to the beach that has a neck strap so I don’t need to keep pulling my phone out of my bag and I don’t accidentally drop it as well.

Oh, and don’t forget your sunglasses, it’s an open-air trolley and it could be sunny and also breezy. Check our Hawaii Packing List with Free Printable Packing List for a guide on what else to pack for Hawaii.

By the way, if the trolley is ahead of schedule, the driver would try to slow down and let you take more pictures before proceeding to the next stop.

 


 

Other Things to Know about the Waikiki Trolley

  • The Waikiki Trolley offers Holiday Lights Tour during December
  • Does Waikiki Trolley go to Dole Plantation? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The Waikiki Trolley does not go to Dole Plantation. After 2 days of touring Waikiki &/or Honolulu using the Waikiki Trolley, we rented a car for 2 days to visit Disney Aulani, Dole Plantation, North Shore, Polynesian Cultural Center, and Kilauea Beach as the trolley doesn’t go that far.
  • Does the Waikiki Trolley go to the airport? No, it doesn’t. The Waikiki Trolley does not go to the airport and it doesn’t really have enough space for luggage. We rode an Uber to drive to and from Honolulu Airport to our hotel in Waikiki.
  • Waikiki Trolley to Pearl Harbor – to visit Pearl Harbor, you can ride the Waikiki Trolley Purple Line. Make sure to get tickets in advance to see the USS Arizona Memorial or you’d have to arrive early as it is on a first come first serve basis. The last ride out of Pearl Harbor is at 4:15 PM daily.

 


 

Waikiki Trolley Review

If it is your first-time visiting Oahu, Hawaii, I highly recommend riding the Waikiki Trolley to get around. We were able to save on the cost of renting a car for 2 days plus paying for a parking fee for the rental. Since this trip was also an impromptu one (like we book that night and rode the airplane to Hawaii the next day), the Waikiki Trolley enabled us to see so many sights and attractions that we really didn’t have time to research about.

Most of the drivers were knowledgeable and friendly and gave us a good overview of the island and the attractions. The driver for our Yellow Line (Dining Express) did not deliver though. We couldn’t hear her and as though she was really bored but we were also tired at that point and didn’t bother to ask her to speak louder anymore.

The trolley ride was not scary even though it has no seatbelts while the double-decker bus (Pink Line) was really fun as it was our first time riding one (ride on the top front). The trolleys were always in time as well and they were clean. 

 I do wish though that buying tickets online was enough and that those tickets can serve as actual ride tickets versus needing to go to T Galleria to exchange them for actual vouchers. And also, some routes do overlap, so if you do ride the 6 lines, you would be seeing a portion of Waikiki over and over again. Partly, the ride was tiring but that was because we tried to go on the 5 lines in the span of 2 days.

Overall though, for my Waikiki Trolley Review, we had fun, it was cost-efficient, and it was very educational. If we get to visit Oahu again in the future, I may purchase tickets to the Red Line so we can actually go down to the attractions this time to spend a few hours at Ionali Palace and dine and take pictures with the murals at Kaka’ako.

For this trip, we didn’t ride on the Blue Line which takes you to the coastline. We had plans to visit the kid-friendly beaches in Oahu and snorkel at Hanauma Bay but the Blue Line only lets you take a photo stop at Hanauma so there was no point riding it unless you just want to see it and have no plans to snorkel of course.

 


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