Honolulu travel guide
What To See and What To Do in Honolulu
Going to Hawaii? Honolulu is a must-see! Tropical paradise, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head Volcano are only a few of things to see and experience in Honolulu. We have selected the best tours and activities for you, and in this Guide you will find our recommendations. We have researched and picked out the best way for you to plan and book, and verified the booking providers.
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Diamond head crator
Enjoy a hike to the summit of Diamond Head Crater in Hawaii. Ascend 763 feet, while our guide explains Hawaiian history, volcanic formation and bird and plant species’. Reach the top for an incredible panoramic view. Buy Tickets
Climb aboard a submarine and adventure through the underwater passages of the famous Waikiki beach. Through its portal windows, see fish, coral, turtles, sunken ships and airplanes and more! Buy Tickets
Parking and Entry at the Visitor Center is free, including access to our two museums (“Road to War” and the “Attack Gallery”) and exhibits along the harbor. Tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial are free. See more info
HONOLULU VIDEO INSPIRATION
Our special tip: 1 hour helicopter tour
Hop into the helicopter and see the iconic Waikiki skyline. Fly past the National Natural Monument, Diamond Head, and round the volcanic cliffs to Makapu’u Lighthouse. Navigate your way up Windward Coast, and see views of Ko’olau Mountains. Pass over the heavenly Lanikai Beach and its beautiful coral formations. See why Kaneohe Bay is regarded as one of the most scenic locations on Earth. Gliding past the Chinaman’s Hat, which sits just off the east coast of Oahu, and notice the Ka’a’awa Valley. After that, you’ll head to the North Shore. Have a peek at the world’s best surf spots at the Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay. On the way back get a glance of the Dole Plantation, home to some of the world’s juiciest pineapples. Last, but certainly not least, you’ll slowly pass over Pearl Harbor. Book our recommended helicopter tour here
RECOMMENDED TOURS AND ACTIVITIES
Where is Honolulu located?
Honolulu is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Hawaii, which is located on the southeast coast of the island of Oʻahu. Honolulu is Hawaii’s main gateway to the world.
Icons of Honolulu
Diamond Head. Is an extinct volcano southeast of Honolulu near the Kahala and Kaimuki neighborhoods. The iconic cone is popular with hikers and photographers, who gain a view of the entire leeward coast of Oahu.
Waikiki Beach. You’ll find the white sands of Waikiki Beach inviting and its calm waters perfect for surfing lessons. Beach kiosks will offer equipment and varying-length lessons, as will many hotels.
Honolulu is Hawaii’s capital
Honolulu is so much more than just the sunny resort area of Waikiki, where white sands stretch all the way to iconic Diamond Head. The capital city is Hawaii’s commercial and urban heart, with first-class museums, shopping, dining, clubs, and bars. And every year millions of visitors from around the globe find aloha in Honolulu, where surfboards, sunsets, swimming, and taking it slow are simply a way of life.
Filled with authentic Hawaiian tradition and home to a melting pot of ethnicities, Honolulu is a modern city with a unique blend of cultures that serves as state capital and a gateway to the Hawaiian Islands. You can tour the historic downtown area, surf world-famous Waikiki Beach, shop in world-class stores, hike breathtaking coastal cliffs and dine at five-star restaurants. Best of all, you can do all of this in the same day.
Attractions and activities
The neighborhoods of Honolulu are rich with tastes of every variety. You’ll find just about anything you could crave at the hotels and resorts in the Waikiki Beach area. But if you’d like to venture farther afield, try the busy and diverse neighborhood of Kalihi. Seek out markets serving the very-Hawaiian poké, cubes of seasoned, raw fish served with pickled vegetables.
Downtown Honolulu’s Chinatown has become the up-and-coming neighborhood for nightlife. The many restaurant offerings, such as dim sum and barbecued ribs, are popular in the day. At night, the 20-block neighborhood comes alive with a multitude of bars and entertainment venues.
Museum of Art, learn about the ocean environment from instructors at Na Kama Kai classes on Waikiki, or experience ocean kayaking at Kaneohe with the Kamaaina Kids.
Plan to take a tour of Iolani Palace, the sole royal residence on U.S. soil. The palace served as the home for Hawaii’s last two monarchs. Cross the street to see the bronze King Kamehameha statue, which memorializes the monarch who unified the Hawaiian Islands.
The military base, 30 minutes west of Honolulu, is an emotional site and a national historic landmark. Here you can see where the Japanese in 1941 surprised and bombed the port when they attacked with hundreds of fighter jets. Board the battleship USS Missouri, where World War II ended in Tokyo Bay in 1945, after Japan signed the official capitulation document.
Plan half a day at Pearl Harbor, where you can watch movies about the attack, see various memorials and visit a submarine. Sail out to the famous white memorial in the middle of the bay which honors the fallen American soldiers. It’s a great way to honor the fallen, and a touching experience to see the memorial located on top of the wreck of the warship USS Arizona, which can be clearly seen just below the surface.
Family friendly Honolulu
From snorkeling at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve to a helicopter tour of the island, your child will never forget a trip to Honolulu. With its renowned resorts, gorgeous beaches, surfing lessons, restaurants and luxury-brand stores, the Waikiki Beach neighborhood is full of upscale fun. But elsewhere, children can get all wrapped up in aerial adventures on the ropes and trapezes at Samadhi Hawaii on Cooke Street. Or take an art class at the downtown Honolulu