Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital city and the largest in the archipelago, serves as the island’s economic and cultural center. It is also the entry point for the majority of visitors to Hawaii, but Honolulu itself is an important tourist attraction with thousands visiting each year.
It is located on the Oahu’s southwest coast, surrounded by stunning mountain ranges, tropical foliage, and huge volcanic cones. Its shores are lined with stunning beaches and clear waters. It is popular for its stunning coastline, where many people can hike and scuba dive off shore or ride the waves. Equally popular is lounging at the Waikiki Beach, which has a world-renowned reputation.
While you may be able to relax in Honolulu and have a relaxing vacation, it is alive with activity. There are many great shopping and dining options, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene. There are many museums that offer information about Honolulu’s rich culture and history. Among its main attractions are the memorials and monuments at Pearl Harbor.
28. Royal Hawaiian Center
The Royal Hawaiian Center is a great place to shop, eat and drink in Waikiki. The massive outdoor shopping center is spread over three blocks along Kalakaua Avenue. It houses a multitude of shops that specialize in luxurious brands, glittering jewellery, and unique accessories.
This famous shopping district’s main mall opened its doors in 1979. There are over 90 upscale shops and 30 high-end restaurants. Its unique design and stunning shop windows make it a pleasant place to wander around.
You can shop and eat at the exquisite restaurants or catch traditional Hawaiian music. The attractive ambience is enhanced by the open spaces and swaying palms.
27. Aloha Tower
The Aloha Tower, which overlooks Honolulu Harbor is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city. It is often referred to as the Hawaiian equivalent of Statue Of Liberty and it is definitely one of the most prominent symbols and sights in the capital.
The original 1926 construction of the lighthouse at 184 feet high was covered in camouflage in order to preserve it in World War II. The striking Hawaiian Gothic-style building has welcomed thousands of tourists and immigrants to Big Pineapple since then.
You can take pictures of the beautiful architecture and also enjoy breathtaking views from the observation deck. There is an excellent daily market at its feet, which is worth a stroll. The monument is especially charming when lit against the night sky.
26. Foster Botanical Gardens
The beautiful Foster Botanical Gardens are a picturesque spot to stroll around. They can be found just a few steps from Aloha Tower. It is home to colorful orchids, Cycads, and other tropical plants. This garden acts as a refuge from all the hustle and bustle around it.
It is the oldest state botanic garden. Established in 1853, with both exotic and native plants along its beautiful paths, it’s also one of the most historic. Beautiful sculptures are scattered among the lush greenery, as well as water displays featuring beautiful birds that can be seen flitting between trees.
You can admire the stunning orchids but there are many other gardens and terraces that you can explore, full of tall trees and beautiful flowers. There is also an excellent gift shop and conservatory.
25. Statue at Duke Kahanamoku
The magnificent Statue Of Duke Kahanamoku is located in Waikiki’s waterfront. It is one of Honolulu’s most popular spots. This statue depicts Duke, or “The Big Kahuna”, who was one the most revered Hawaiian surfers of his era.
He is commonly known as “Father of Modern Surfing” and was responsible for putting Hawaii on the map. Duke also won medals in the 1920, 1912 and 1924 Olympics of swimming.
A nine-foot statue of the Native Hawaiian has been placed alongside the surf spot that he once used. The bronze statue, standing with his arms raised, is accompanied by a surfboard. It makes great photos, and the legend of the area is often adorned with flowers leis.
24. KCC Farmer’s Market
The KCC Farmer’s Market is a colorful, chaotic event that attracts both locals and tourists. It has over a hundred stalls and stands. It is held on Kapi’olani Community College’s campus every Tuesday and Saturday.
It all started with just a few stalls in 1948. Today, it is one of Aloha State’s biggest and most vibrant markets. Numerous local farmers sell everything, from handmade jams and artisan products to fresh fruits and vegetables. Art, craft and clothing are also available.
The relaxed atmosphere is enhanced by the presence of pop-up cafes and food stands that sell delicious Vietnamese, Mexican and Japanese dishes.
23. Honolulu Zoo
The Honolulu Zoo is a firm favourite with families. It has an incredible collection of reptiles, birds, and animals for you to see. The Zoo’s large enclosures overlook Waikiki, the Pacific Ocean and its many nature exhibits. It is located on Diamond Head.
It covers a large part of Queen Kapi’olani Park and houses around 900 animals from around 250 species. Some residents hail from Hawaii while others are from Asia, Africa and Australia. As such, visitors can see giraffes, hippos, and Komodo dragons as well as orangutans, tigers, and Komodo dragons.
You will find plenty of places to play, including picnic areas, and food stands. There is also a lot more than just the beautiful archipelago’s lush flora.
22. Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
The Nu’uanu pali Lookout offers some of the most spectacular views on Oahu. The historical landmark is located just 10 minutes north of downtown and offers breathtaking views over dramatic coastal cliffs or mountain peaks.
The stone terrace, which is situated over 1000 feet above the city’s shoreline and the seashore below it marks the location of an important battle. Kamehameha and his troops won the battle and Oahu was finally united under his leadership in 1795. Poor soldiers were killed when they fell from the cliff top and plummeted to their death below.
You can read the plaques to learn more about the history of the region, and also enjoy breathtaking views over the stunning landscapes.
21. Halona blowhole
The jaw-dropping Halona Blowhole, which lies on Oahu’s southeastern coast is another of Oahu’s amazing natural features. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific and the rugged rocks at the rock formation.
The ancient lava tube is located just outside Hanauma Bay. It was created thousands of years ago in a time of high volcanic activity. Water is channelled through the cave into the atmosphere when the tides are high or the winds are strong.
The spraying geyser is impressive and makes great photos. However, the cove that it lies in deserves your attention. It is surrounded by stunning cliffs that offer great swimming and sunbathing.
20. Corsair Wreck Dive Site
Many holidaymakers snorkel and scuba dive on their Hawaiian vacations, as the island has a lot of coral reefs. The Corsair wreck, which is located 115 feet under the sea surface and about half an hour offshore by boat, is one of the most sought-after dive spots.
Many tour operators can arrange for you to go out and see the wreckage of an actual WWII plane. The cockpit, fuselage and propeller are stunning to view with a variety of jacks, sea eels and other creatures now living in its fascinating underwater remnants.
The exposed site should only be used by advanced or intermediate divers, as the currents can sometimes cause severe damage.
19. Ala Moana Beach Park
Another picturesque spot to visit is on solid ground. It offers many outdoor adventures and has a lot of beautiful scenery. Ala Moana Beach Park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including swimming in the ocean, relaxation, and games on its many courts.
The park is located between Waikiki and downtown. It has a long, narrow shape that runs alongside the ocean. An offshore coral reef protects its clear, calm waters. You can also use the tennis courts, play fields, and many bike trails.
There are many public restrooms and picnic areas, as well concession stands. The McCoy Pavilion also hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year. The man-made Magic Island peninsula is located at its eastern tip, where you will find many performances and festivals.
18. Shangri La
Shangri La is a tiny slice of paradise island, as its name suggests. The attractive estate was once the residence of Doris Duke (an American art collector and heiress), but it is now a museum devoted to Islamic arts, cultures and traditions.
The opulent, oceanfront home and lovingly maintained grounds were built between 1936-1939. They are located just beyond Diamond Head. The Pacific is just behind the mansion’s small, shimmering pools and brightly-colored buildings make it a stunning sight.
Its exterior features exquisite Islamic architecture. However, the rooms are filled with beautiful ceramics and furniture from around the Middle East. The property, which combines art and history with nature, is one of the best places to see in the state.
17. US Army Museum of Hawaii
The interesting US Army Museum of Hawaii is located in Fort Derussy Beach Park, Battery Randolph. It has many tanks, helicopters, and gun turrets that you can view, in addition to all the excellent artifacts.
The original owner was a Chinese millionaire. In 1911, the fort and its battery were purchased. You can visit all the bunkers and bastions and see preserved uniforms, weapons, and memorabilia. They document the fighting history and significant events that influenced the defense of these islands.
Some sections focus on pre-Imperial warfare, while others are focused on the US Army during World War II.
16. Honolulu Museum of Art
If you’re interested in art, another great place is the Honolulu Museum of Art in Makiki. It is home to one of the most extensive collections of Asian art and Pan-Pacific art, as well as masterpieces from Picasso, Monet and van Gogh.
It was opened for the first time in 1927. Today, the museum is the state’s largest. With over 50,000 artifacts that span more than 5,000 years of history, it has been open to the public since then. You can also see amazing Maui landscapes as well as hand-painted statues and paintings in the galleries.
The museum’s large collection of artifacts spans centuries and oceans. It is also known for its stunning buildings.
15. Ala Moana Center
The Ala Moana Center offers a unique shopping experience. It is home to more than 350 restaurants and shops spread over its four floors, making it the biggest open-air mall anywhere in the world.
The area that was once wetlands has been transformed into a massive shopping center in 1959. Many expansions over the years have resulted in more boutiques and dining opportunities, as well as luxury brands stores. This includes everything, from Macy’s to Target to Nordstrom and Sears to Rolex.
You will find tranquil koi pools and an area for performing arts. The delightful layout and design reflect modern Hawaiian architecture principles. The Ala Moana Center, which is always alive with activity, makes a wonderful place to shop, eat, or just go out. Hula dancing and concert performances are a regular occurrence.
14. USS Bowfin Submarine Museum
The extraordinary USS Bowfin Submarine Museum offers a unique glimpse at life beneath the waves. The sleek and grey submarine is permanently moored next to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. It and its museum contain a wealth of historic photographs, artifacts and paintings.
The USS Bowfin, also known as the “Pearl Harbor Avenger”, was a warship that served from 1942 to 1971. It was responsible for sinking 44 Japanese ships during WWII. Visitors can now walk through its mess rooms, living areas, and corridors to see the way that US seamen lived and worked in years past.
You can visit the National Historic Landmark and also make a personal tribute at its moving memorial. It honors 3,500 submariners who died in the Second World War.
13. Kailua Beach
You’ll want to unwind and relax at Oahu’s stunning beaches after all of the outdoor and shopping activities. Kailua Beach is quieter and more peaceful than Waikiki. It’s located on the Windward Coast just 20 minutes from Honolulu.
It measures 2.5 miles long and curves gracefully around the bay with the same name. Many holiday-goers come here to enjoy the sun, swim in the turquoise water and take it all in. Others prefer more active pastimes. You can also paddleboard or kayak around the seabird sanctuary nearby.
Kailua Beach, with its constant trade winds and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, is an ideal spot for kitesurfing or windsurfing.
12. Waikiki Aquarium
The Waikiki Aquarium is located right next to Kalakaua Avenue, Kapi’olani Park and Kapi’olani Park. It is home to an amazing array of marine mammals, colorful fish and shimmering fish. This has been a top Honolulu tourist attraction for many years.
The aquarium overlooks both the ocean as well as a huge living coral reef. It was built in 1904. It specializes in the preservation of tropical ecosystems and animals from the Pacific region, but it also houses tanks that house amazing sea creatures.
It houses approximately 3,500 species of animals, with exhibits and displays that provide information about each one. Visitors can see everything, from brain corals and giant clams to smart octopi, playful seals and small sharks.
11. Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum houses over 24,000,000 artifacts. It is a great place to go if you are interested in learning about Hawaii’s history, culture, and natural beauty. It is located in the Kalihi District and features grand galleries that cover ancient gods, pioneer settlers, and all things between.
It is the state’s most important museum. Established in 1889, it houses the largest collection of Polynesian cultural objects in the world. You can explore the fascinating fauna and flora of this archipelago through its elaborate Richardsonian Romanesque buildings.
Royal standards, volcano rocks, and traditional chants are on display while the entire skeleton from a Sperm Whale hangs in its huge Hawaiian Hall. The museum even has a planetarium, where you can view celestial bodies moving overhead.
10. Battleship Missouri Memorial
The USS Missouri, where the Japanese surrendered to their allies and brought an end the Second World War, is a must-see for historians. The giant battleship is now a permanent memorial at Pearl Harbor.
She was the last ship of the Iowa class to be ordered by the United States. After seeing action at Okinawa and Iwo Jima, she served in the Korean War. After seventeen years active service, “Mighty Mo” was discharged in 1992. She had earned 11 battle stars and provided fire support for the Gulf War.
You can take a tour of her bridge, cabins and upper decks. There are also huge engine rooms and massive guns. Your guide will take you on a tour of this massive battleship and tell you about her history as well as the lives of sailors who live aboard.
9. Manoa Falls
The majestic Manoa Falls is one of the best natural attractions in the area. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike in lush tropical foliage and gaze up at the breathtaking waterfall just 15 minutes away from downtown.
It towers 150 feet high and its white water plunges down the steep side of a steep rock face with green ferns, trees and other vegetation. Hidden in the valley with the same name are the waterfalls, pool, and lush surroundings. They can be found among the Ko’olau mountains.
You can take pictures of these amazing falls and also walk around the Lyon Arboretum, which is located near the foot. It is tempting to splash around in the pool, but it is better not as bacteria can lead to flu-like symptoms.
8. Lanikai Beach
The Lanikai Beach, just south of Kailua is another stunning stretch of sand on the windward side. It boasts stunning views of Oahu’s coastline and other off-shore islands, as well as crystal clear sands.
It is regularly ranked as one of the top beaches worldwide. The idyllic coastline extends over a mile. It can be crowded on weekends, but you can still sunbathe and swim in the Na Mokulua while there.
These two islands are what make the beach a favorite place for taking photos. People also visit the beach to see the moonrise. You can only set your feet on one of them, but the smaller is prohibited because it is a protected bird sanctuary.
7. Koko Crater Trail
You can enjoy even more stunning views of nature and the Koko Crater Trail’s summit. Hardy hikers will enjoy breathtaking views of the city, ocean and crater from the summit at 1,208 feet.
The long-extinct, tuff cone was once part of the Honolulu Volcanics. It is believed to have been formed around 7,000 years ago. The US military constructed bunkers on top of the cone during WWII and built a steep railway up to the summit. The trail’s two-mile length is made up of its abandoned sleepers.
Visitors can take a break from climbing up steep steps to enjoy the breathtaking views and beauty of the surrounding nature. The views from the summit are spectacular and more rewarding than any hard trek.
6. Hanauma Bay Preserve
You can stop at Hanauma Bay Preserve, which is located at the base of the crater, if you find this too difficult for your holiday. It is one of the most picturesque and popular places on the island. The sheltered waters are great for swimming, snorkeling, and watching sea life.
It is located at Oahu’s southernmost tip. The beautiful bay and its sparkling turquoise waters lie in the crater an old volcano. The preserve is now open to the ocean and contains a lot of coral reefs, including lots of beautiful parrotfish. You can also see green sea turtles swimming around.
You can enjoy the awe-inspiring underwater treasures, as well as sunbathing on the sandy beach to take photos of cool craters all around.
5. Trail to Makapuu Lighthouse
A few hundred meters further up the coast is the Makapuu Lighthouse. It is located at the eastmost point Oahu and can be reached via a trail that winds along steep sea cliffs.
Although the trail is not as difficult as the Koko Crater, it is quite rough and rocky. The paved route stretches for 1.2 miles and ends at the historical old lighthouse, perched on a steep cliff.
Apart from photographing the lighthouse, which looks out across the ocean, it is possible to enjoy spectacular views of the coast and its islands with whales.
4. Iolani Palace
The Iolani Palace, which is undoubtedly the most prominent building in the state and city of Hawaii, was once home to the monarchs of the Kingdom. It is located in downtown’s capitol district, and it is easily accessible from many other attractions.
Although several palaces and royal burial ground have been located in this spot since the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was only in 1879 that the Neoclassical edition was built. It was converted into Hawaii’s Capitol Building and became the home of the state government after the overthrow of the monarchy a little over ten years later.
The National Historic Landmark is open to all visitors since 1978. It offers amazing tours that take you around the beautiful interior. Its stately rooms are decorated with countless artifacts, artworks and exhibits that were created over 100 years ago.
3. Diamond Head Crater
The distinctive Diamond Head Crater rises dramatically in the southeast corner of the city. It is one of its most prominent landmarks. Tourists and residents alike love to hike up this towering tuff cone for its stunning views of the coast, ocean and Ko’olau Range.
The volcano is part of a large system of vents and cones. It stands at 762 feet tall with sparse vegetation and wavy greens covering its steep slopes. You climb steeply up the mountain to reach its high summit. Then, follow a winding path along a narrow ridgeline past a WWII-era bunker.
You’ll see stunning views of Waikiki Beach, the skyline and Waikiki Beach as you approach. The Diamond Head Lighthouse can be seen far below, if you look into the cavernous crater.
2. Pearl Harbor National Memorial
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is an absolute must-see when you’re on Oahu. It displays the horrendous attack in a moving display. The memorial is located on the waterfront of Western Honolulu and commemorates the surprising strike that launched the US into WWII. Boat trips can also take you to the USS Arizona Memorial.
Many memorials and monuments are now located alongside the massive harbor, with information plaques that explain the events of the air attack. Over 2,400 Americans lost their lives in that air raid, and twelve other ships were also sunk.
Its museum contains artifacts, exhibits, and photographs that explore the aftermath and lead up to the attack. The museum also has taped testimony of survivors and old photos. Many people make a pilgrimage to Arizona to pay respect to those who have died after learning more about the Pacific Theater.
1. Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach, one of the most well-known stretches of sand anywhere in the world is a highlight for many visitors to Hawaii. Its fluffy white sands are perfect for relaxing on a lazy day, thanks to the lush greenery of tall palm trees that sway in the background.
It was once a haven for Hawaiian royalty, but its beautiful shores now boast dozens of trendy restaurants, designer shops and luxury hotels. You can see the Diamond Head, a massive tower rising above the sandy beaches.
Visitors can take in the stunning beauty of the beaches and capture some photos. You can do more than just swim and surf. There are also catamaran cruises, kayak tours and boogie-boarding. Waikiki Beach, lively and laid-back, is a must when visiting Oahu or Honolulu.
A Map of Things to Do In Honolulu
However, 4 days is certainly enough to get the best out of a trip to Oahu. Limiting your time to 4 days in Oahu can give many travelers extra time to explore Maui and the gorgeous Haleakala National Park or the big island of Hawaii.08-May-2022
– Enjoy the Beaches and Sights of Waikiki. Waikiki Beach, Honolulu.
– Polynesian Cultural Center. Polynesian Cultural Center.
– Pearl Harbor.
– Diamond Head State Monument.
– Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
– Explore Coral Reefs: Snorkeling and Scuba Diving.
– Shangri La.
– USS Arizona Memorial.
No matter how many days you have in Oahu, you can certainly fit a LOT of activities and see much of the island in just a few days. For a fun filled quick trip around Oahu in two days I recommend these ideas.20-Aug-2019
Honolulu is known for being Hawaii’s gateway to the world, best known for its tropical climate, fantastic surfing destinations, paradise-like scenery, and golden beaches. For Americans, Honolulu is best known for Pearl Harbor, volcanos, tourism, and romance.16-May-2021
– Turtle Beach. If you want to see green sea turtles in their natural habitat, you can’t miss Turtle Beach on the north shore.
– Ali`i Beach Park. Located in Haleiwa, head to Ali`i Beach Park if you love to scuba dive or snorkel.
– Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
– Pearl Harbor.
Its geographical location is the one great factor that differs it from mainland USA. Besides having unique flora and fauna, it is also a melting pot of diverse cultures, and with that comes warm friendly locals, and also a great variety of good food.25-Feb-2018