Here is a list of the top 20 best things to do in Honolulu
Honoluli is the largest city and the capital of Hawaii. It has gained historical recognition following the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan near the city during World War II, and has since became even more known as a major hub for international business, military defense, and as a center of east-west and Pacific culture, cuisine, and traditions. While it is remote and far away from all continents, it is still a major tourist destination thanks to its history, culture and ideal holiday site. Tourists flock to Hawaii and Honolulu every year to enjoy a peaceful holiday. If you wish to do so, we can help by showing you the top 20 best things to do in Honolulu.
- Waikiki Beach
What better way is there to start a holiday on Hawaii but going to the beach? Waikiki Beach (which actually consists of several beaches) is world-famous for its great varitety of activities in can offer. If you like snorkeling and diving then head to Fort DeRussy Beach. If you are more into surfing but you are just starting, then check out Kuhio Beach. But if you don’t want to try these out and just want to relax then San Souci Beach is the place for you, as it offers a more quiet experience. Cafés and restaurants are of course everywhere, so don’t be afraid to come here during lunchtime.
2. Diamond Head
Diamond Head is the name of a large volcanic tuff cone that can be seen from mostly everywhere thanks to its size and location near Honolulu. This unique crater was created 300,000 years ago during a single volcanic eruption that spewed ash into the air, and became known as a famous landmark of the Hawaii and the city. It’s an excellent place to hiking and offers amazing views of the city and the Pacific Ocean.
3. Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial
Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial are well-known and probably need no introduction. They are one of the most visited World War memorials in the United States, so expect plenty of people and long waiting times, but everyone agrees that the experience and the site is well worth the wait. The complex includes a visitor’s center and the offshore monument, which was built directly over the midsection of the sunken U.S.S. Arizona. Other attractions and visitable places include hangars, ships and aircrafts in the area.
4. Sunset Beach
Going to Sunset Beach is one of the best things to do in Honolulu if you are an experienced surfer. Swimming and other regular beach activities can also be done here, but of course the main feature is its big waves. The big waves make it an excellent place for surfers, but coming here as a spectator is also worth it. The best time of the day to come is, of course, during sunset, as the beautiful view and experience it provides is very memorable.
5. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
While not the happiest of places, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is a beautiful cemetery with memorials and graves built for those who died during World War II. It is built on the Punchbowl Crater, an extinct volcanic tuff cone, giving it an even more unique and memorable feeling. The final resting place of famous people here include Ernie Pyle (a World War II correspondent) and Stanley Dunham, the maternal grandfather of former president Barack Obama. The memorials and graves are a powerful way to show the effects of war, especially when they were built in such a beautiful way, constrasting war.
6. Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay is another great place for surfers, thanks to its big waves. These are usually true for winter, so if you come during summer then you can enjoy calmer waters, which are more ideal if you don’t want to go to the crowded beaches of the city. A popular activity here, especially among younger tourists, is jumping off the large rock that juts out from the shoreline.
7. Kailua Beach Park
The Kailua Beach Park is more centered around windsurfing, but regular beach activities are also available. People often come here to windsurf, or to rent a kayak or some diving equipment. The beach features picnic tables, restrooms, free parking, and a nearby cafe for refreshment, so you come here any time of the day.
8. Honolulu Museum of Art
The Honolulu Museum of Art houses over 50 thousand works, including Europe’s great painters (Picasso, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, just to name a few), Asian art, Pan-Pacific art and much more. In a seperate building not far from the main one, you can find Andy Warhol paintings, Deborah Butterfield sculptures, and William Wegman photographs, among others.
9. ʻIolani Palace
The ʻIolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii beginning with Kamehameha III and ending with Queen Liliʻuokalani. After the monarchy was overthrown, the palace was used by the state, but now it just a historic site. It has a few restrictions, including having to wear special footwear, and kids below the age of 5 are not allowed on the top floors. Picture-taking is also forbidden, but even with these the beauty of the building is well worth it with all the sculptures and art located both outside and inside.
10. Manoa Falls
The Manoa Falls is a wonderful waterfall in the forests near Honolulu. The foresty area is well known for being one of the locations where Jurassic Park was filmed, but people also come here to hike and take in the beauty of the forest. The waterfalls require a bit of walk, but it is a spectacular sight. Prepare food and hiking clothes before coming here and enjoy the wonderful place.
11. Ala Moana Center
The Ala Moana Center is the largest shopping mall in Hawaii and actually one of the largest in the entire United States. It’s a large open-air mall filled with excellent shops to cover everyone’s interests. Restaurants and cafés are available as well for those who want to grab a bite. On a stage in the center of the shopping complex, local talents are showcased for visitors to enjoy, and it is considered a great opportunity to be able to go on stage here. Coming here is the one the best things to do in Honolulu if you want to shop, eat or just take a walk.
12. Shangri La
The Shangri La is a mansion built in an Islamic-style by heiress Doris Duke. She began building it in 1937 and then spent nearly 60 years filling its walls and rooms with art and furniture from places like Egypt, India, Morocco, Spain, Syria, and Turkey. Around 3500 objects and works of art can be seen in the mansion which is available for everyone today.
13. Kaniakapupu Ruins
The Kaniakapupu Ruins are the remains of the summer palace of King Kamehameha III. The palace itself was a fairly straightforward structure in the traditional style. It consisted of four stone walls enclosing one large room and surrounded by a porch on all sides. It fell into decay after it was left unused, and now only ruins remain. It is still a sacred site, so be respectful when coming here.
14. Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site
The Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site is just what it sounds like. It was actually safely landed on water after a malfunction, but it still sank after its pilot was rescued. Today the remains of the plane are slowly taken back by nature with corals growing over it. It’s a popular dive site, although it more for experienced divers as the currents can be strong here.
15. Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum is famous for housing the largest collection of Hawaiian and Polynesian art and artifacts, and a major collection of zoological, entomological, and natural history specimens. It was originally part of a private boy’s school, but later became a museum. The building also houses a library and archives with a large collection of books.
16. Queen Theater
Opened in 1936, the theater was named Queen as a companion to Honolulu’s King Theater, as well as being a nod to Queen Liliuokalani, and Hawaii’s royal history. Unfortunately, it didn’t survive for long as televisions arrived in Hawaii and became a venue for more eccentric shows until it was abandoned in 1985.
17. Sky Gate
The Sky Gate is a bendy, curvy sculpture that forms a perfectly circular shadow on the ground twice a year when the subsolar point is directly above it. For 363 days of the year it will make a curvy, twisted shadow, but when the sun is directly above it, the height-changing ring casts a perfect circle on the ground.
18. Aloha Tower
The Aloha Tower is a lighthouse in Honolulu that quickly became a well-known landmark. Some even consider the beautiful guiding tower to be similar in its purpose to the Statue of Liberty of New York.
19. Honolulu Zoo
The Honolulu Zoo might not be the biggest zoo in the world, but it is certainly well worth a visit as the design of the zoo itself and the beautiful and curious exotic animals you can see here make for a great experience. There are also numerous art installations and sculptures throughout the zoo for visitors to view.
20. Kapiolani Park
Kapiolani Park is a beautiful and large urban park in the city. Apart from regular park features, the park includes tennis and basketball courts, soccer, baseball, lacrosse and rugby fields and even an archery range. It’s the perfect place if you want to take a break from all the sightseeing.