Honolulu
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Top attractions in Honolulu

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Top 10 things to do in Honolulu

The Hawaiian capital is a small city within a big landscape. Whether you're visiting Honolulu for its volcanic beaches, vibrant wildlife, or hedonistic cuisine, you'll find no shortage of enticing things to see and do. Here are 10 of the best!

Diamond Head

Diamond Head

Honolulu is a hiker's paradise and one of its best trails for scenic sightseeing is the one ascending Diamond Head, Waikiki's emblematic dormant volcano!

Nuuanu Pali State Wayside

Nuuanu Pali State Wayside

The Koolau is a very unusual mountain range! The remaining half of this former volcano provides spectacular views, best seen from the Nuuanu Pali State Wayside lookout.

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

The bombing of Pearl Harbor was a major turning point in the course of World War II. The naval base is still active and gives free tours if you arrive early enough to bag a ticket!

USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

1,177 were killed when the USS Arizona was sunk by Japanese bombs in 1941. This USS Arizona Memorial straddles the submerged battleship, allowing visitors to peer down into the wreckage.

Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center

This top attraction has been offering tourists an enthralling Polynesian cultural experience for half a century, from replica villages to arts, crafts, and Luaus!

Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace

Built by the last king of Hawaii in an effort to make the island nation appear more prestigious, tours of the Iolani-Palast provide a fascinating insight into the short-lived kingdom.

Bernice Pauahai Bishop Museum
Photo: Wendy Cutler @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Bernice Pauahai Bishop Museum

Established to preserve the heirlooms inherited from the founder's Hawaiian wife, the museum boasts the world's largest collection of Polynesian artifacts and natural specimens.

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

This scenic nature reserve is one of Hawaii's premier snorkeling spots. Its reefs, which are swarming with sealife, are so popular that they have to limit visitors - arrive early!

Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo

Built across part of Kapiolani Park – the largest and oldest park in Hawaii – the zoo is home to over 900 mostly tropical species. Don't miss the fierce Komodo Dragons!

Waikiki Aquarium
Photo: Danny Luong @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Waikiki Aquarium

If you can't make it to Hanauma Bay then check out Waikiki's aquarium instead. It's a small one but nonetheless a great place to discover Hawaii's local sea creatures!

Planning Your Honolulu Visit

When to visit?

There isn't really a bad time to visit Honolulu, but December to March brings mercifully cooler temperatures than the summer, even if the trade off means a higher chance of it raining. If you can, go during the school months. The off-season dip in tourism will see even the best beaches more secluded and the limited-space attractions, like the USS Arizona Memorial, easier to access.

How many days?

Don't stress yourself trying to hurry through a packed itinerary. Hawaii is definitely not the place for that! Book your stay in Honolulu for at least a week, especially if you plan on seeing more of Oahu island.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-10:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    All year round

Things to Do in Honolulu

Top Attractions in Honolulu

Cities in United States

Other Sightseeing Options in Honolulu

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What people are saying about Honolulu

This crew was absolutely amazing. I was blown away at their concern over the animals and reminding us (the novice that can't wait to swim with the dolphins) that we are in their home. Wait, slow down, the dolphins will come to you! That was their mantra. My husband and I really appreciated it. The crew was also very accommodating and friendly to everyone on the boat. The pointed out whales to us in the distance and a couple times even worked to get near one or two. We traveled the end of Feb, 2020 so it was still whale season. The crew also assisted everyone with getting in and out of the boat and clear their masks. (We got in the water 5 times) They even had extra masks and snorkels if anyone's wasn't working out for them.

Cameron was fantastic! It just was me and my 10 year old on the tour and man it was great! First time on the island and it was definitely worth booking this. Took us to a great place to eat took a lot of pictures answered all of our questions. He was great with my daughter you would've never guessed that she's on the shy side by the way she felt comfortable with him. I'm also a commerical bus driver so I'm extra anal with how people drive but I totally felt safe with Cameron behind the wheel which is not something I usually feel. We were even bummed when the tour ended cuz we had such a great time! I wish Cameron could be our personal tour guide for all our world travels!!

Oahu: Highlights of Oahu Small Group Tour Reviewed by Stephanie, 10/25/2020

Captain Jim and First Mate Kiko made the event one of the best/memorable experiences on our trip to Honolulu. They were funny, kind, and very informative of the land/sea. He had jokes and they both interacted with everyone on the entire boat1 Their excitement made it super fun and her photo skills are bomb. We looked great! haha, I highly recommend this outing to anyone who travels to Honolulu. They are truly kind humans! We would definitely do this ride over and over! domo arigato! mahalo! Thanks a whole bunch! <3Angie

Awesome ride with captain Geri who had some great choice in music!! Also got to see humpback whales who were playing in the water not far from the shore of Waikiki Beach. Fireworks were amazing to watch from the water .. I highly recommend booking.

Waikiki: BYOB Friday Night Fireworks Cruise Reviewed by Anonymous, 03/21/2020

Sam was our tour guide! Amazing to hear the history of the island and listen to Hawaiian music. We chose 2 activities and had a great tour. We were beat by the time we arrived home. Door to door service practically! Thank you The Surf Bus!!!