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

Just do it! A day trip from anywhere is worth the time spent here!

How quickly we forget but what an incredible reminder of how fragile peace can be and how easily freedom would be lost without a willingness to fight for it and to the death if need be. This memorial is so very well done and maintained. Boarding the memorial is off limits for the time being but soon... The half-day excursion is great and effective but a full day would not seem long enough either. It is a memorial and will strike the chords of every emotion within but is not just sadness. Hopes are high! Beautifully done.

A must see when you visit Hawaii and the Oahu island.

Had a great time on the trail. Did the audio tour. Was very informative. Learned the history of diamond Head and how the trail was pain stakenly built. Drink plenty of water though. Audio tour is slow and it is hot on the trail. If the wind is blowing you will cool off quick once you reach the top. Hold your hat. It might fly off. Great times. Beautiful view.

Excellent! Worth seeing and informative.

It was an excellent trip and our tour guide Eddie was fantastic. He was very informative and gave us sufficient time on the tour so we didn’t have to rush around. I would have preferred though to halt at the USS Arizona Memorial just to reflect and mourn the loss of lives on that day in history. On the whole a must do event!

A must on your to do list when you visit Hawaii.

Very educational. Learned a lot about the world at the time. The point of view of both sides. The hardships the survivors endured. How war was waged and how it changed. Air craft carriers became the new big gun. Staff was very well informed and professional. Everything was ran efficient and on time.

Raul is an interesting guide, I highly recommend him

Thank Raul I learned a lot about the island oahu, its people, nature and history. Raul is passionate and intersting. It was a pleasure to have him as guide