When Kamehameha III proclaimed Honolulu the capital city of the independent Kingdom of Hawaii in 1850, he did not know it would become one of the hottest and most visited places in the world. People from all over the world and all ages dream and fantasize about this exotic island. Honolulu lives mostly on Tourism but it is also the crossroads of transpacific cargo carriers so it serves as the main port in that part of the Pacific Ocean. Honolulu’s shopping experience is the best, from giant malls to small kitsch souvenir shops that sell Hawaiian shirts, flower leis or even surf-boards made by locals. However, the beauty of its natural resources is what brings and amazes millions of visitors every year. Oahu, the island where Honolulu is located, has more than 60 beach parks, including the large Ala Moana, Kapiolani Park (home to the city’s zoo) and for the more active visitors, there is plenty of hiking in the nearby mountains, with trails that lead to waterfalls and gorgeous views of Honolulu. It goes without saying that Honolulu has some of the best hotels and restaurants in the world waiting for you. More than 30,000 hotel rooms, luxury resorts, famous international and American restaurants and shops, beautiful beaches and much more. Waking up to fabulous breakfasts with exotic and delicious fruits or watching the sunset with a refreshing cocktail while listening to traditional and relaxing Hawaiian melodies that is Honolulu. Here are our Top 7 Things To Do In Honolulu.
This 2.5 km (1.5 miles) round-trip hike takes you through botanical gardens and ends at a spectacular 46 meter (150 ft waterfall after a relatively easy 45-minute walk up the mountain. Manoa Falls is one of the most popular hikes in Honolulu because it’s as accessible and user-friendly as it is lush and verdant. A short drive out of Waikiki towards Manoa Valley and you can be surrounded by a tropical bamboo and rainforest.
Pearl Harbour and USS Arizona Memorial
Pearl Harbour is a national historic landmark, but also an active military base. The Honolulu area was bombed by Japan in a surprise attack on the unprepared U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. This action forced the United States to enter World War II. “Remember Pearl Harbor” became a famous American wartime slogan. Within the grounds of Pearl Harbor are a number of exhibits, displays, memorials, and museums, honoring not only the 1,177 victims of the Japanese attacks but all of those who bravely served in World War II. Built over the wreckage of the USS Arizona, the Memorial is a sobering experience where visitors to Hawaii come to pay their respects. The USS Missouri Battleship and the Pacific Aviation Museum are located on Ford Island, offering unique insights into the war. The USS Bowfin Submarine takes visitors through the narrow corridors of an integral war vessel, that often was submerged for months at a time. For security reasons, bags are not permitted at any of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.
Formed about 300,000 years ago after a volcanic eruption, Diamond Head is The World’s Most Recognized Volcanic Crater that stands proud at the far eastern side of Waikiki. Climbing Diamond Head crater can be strenuous but the view from the top is simply amazing.
The Honolulu Zoo is 42 lush tropical acres that include lions, tigers and bears! A children’s zoo, African Savannah exhibit, playground and a snack bar complete the visit.
Located on the south shore of Honolulu. the world-famous neighborhood of Waikiki was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty. Along the main strip of Kalakaua Avenue you’ll find world-class shopping, dining, entertainment, activities and resorts. Waikiki is most famous for its beaches and the calm waters of Waikiki are perfect for a surfing lesson.
Ala Moana Park
Ala Moana Beach Park is a picturesque tourist attraction located on the coast of the island. It boasts a beautiful jogging trail, beach, and nearby open-air shopping center, one of the largest malls in America.
Formed within a volcanic cone, Hanauma Bay offers a pristine marine ecosystem. Explore the stunning world of Hawaii’s beautiful coral reefs and swim with the tropical fish and sea turtles that call them home. There is no better place to experience the thrill of scuba diving for the first time than with the tropical fish and sea turtles in the protected waters of Hanauma Bay’s marine preserve.
Just So You Know…
- Honolulu offers over 100 surrounding beaches to choose from. That’s more than nearly every other city across the globe.
- Honolulu’s home island, Oahu, is part of the largest mountain range in the world–most of which is underwater.
- Before Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1898, Honolulu was occupied by the Russians, French, and British, on separate occasions.
- Honolulu has one of the largest concentrations of Buddhist temples in the Western world, with over 30 spread through the city.
- There are two official languages spoken in Honolulu, English and Hawaiian. However, many natives know several more local languages, including Samoan, Tongan, and Pidgin.
- The Honolulu fish auction, modeled after Tokyo’s Tsukji’s fish market, is the only live tuna auction of its kind in the entire United States.
- The 44th president of the United States Barack Obama was proudly born in Honolulu.
- Go to the Honolulu Festival, a three-day event that includes a parade, dance performances, cultural demonstrations and the Friendship Gala dining event with dishes by some of Hawaii’s best chefs.
- Spoil yourself in the SpaHalekulani. Highly recommended, it offers traditional treatments, including facials, manicures and massages.
- Go for a swim at Lanikai Beach. You’ll need a car to get there, but it’s worth going to this peaceful beach.
- Watch entertainers performing traditional dances of the Pacific at the Germaine’s Luau.
- Spend one Saturday afternoon at the KCC Farmer’s Market. It offers flowers, seafood, Hawaiian shaved ice, and more.
- The city has tons of accommodation options. Check out our list of 11 Best Hotels In Honolulu.
- Honolulu is a gay friendly city. On that note, we have a list of gay friendly hotels in Honolulu.
- Traveling with family? Check out our 11 Best Family Hotels in Honolulu.
Get Some Culture:
- US Army Museum of Hawaii – Once a bastion built to protect Hawai’i from invading forces, the structure now houses a Museum that tells the military story of Hawai’i, from ancient times to the Vietnam War.
- Shangri La – Shangri La is a center for Islamic arts and cultures offering guided tours.
- Polynesian Cultural Center – a Polynesian-themed theme park and living museum with simulated tropical villages from Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and more.