Things to do in Honolulu: Honolulu is the vibrant capital of Hawaii known for its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage and tropical beauty. Moreover, it is also true that Honolulu is a dream destination for travelers. This city offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure due to its warm climate and diverse attractions.
Top 10 things to do in Honolulu
So, if you are looking for the Top 10 things to do in Honolulu? From the iconic Waikiki Beach to the historic Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial, each spot has its own story. However, explore Diamond Head State Monument for amazing views or dive into the colorful marine life at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
On the other hand, immerse yourself in history at Iolani Palace to appreciate art at the Honolulu Museum and get ready for a lush rainforest adventure to Manoa Falls.
Top attractions in Honolulu
And don’t miss out on Honolulu’s top attraction which is the enchanting Waikiki Beach. With its golden sands, clear waters and lively atmosphere it is the heart of the city’s charm. So, it is recommended to pack your sunscreen and get ready for an unforgettable island experience in Honolulu.
Here is the List of Top 12 Best things to do in Honolulu
Best Places to Visit in Honolulu
Place 1: Waikiki Beach – Best Tropical Oasis In Huwai
First of all, you can visit the waves at Waikiki Beach, where surfing culture was born. I love testing my skills on the gentle waves along the south shore of Oahu. So, you should make sure to check out Duke Kahanamoku’s statue because it is a cool tribute to the sport’s global popularity.
The next best thing is that nothing can beat a day lounging on the golden sands. I also join sunbathers, swimmers and beach lovers in soaking up the Hawaiian sunshine. Moreover, after a visit, I came to know that it is fascinating to think that this beach was once a royal playground and is now enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
Furthermore, taking a stroll along the beachfront which is surrounded by historic hotels and resorts is an amazing experience too. As there is a rich history here it was incredible to hear how the charm of the past blends seamlessly with the vibrant energy of today.
Besides, I highly recommend a boat tour along the coast to escape the crowds. The panoramic views of Waikiki from the water are breathtaking while offering a fresh perspective of the shoreline.
You should head to Kalākaua Avenue while staying in Honolulu whenever you are in the mood for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Overall, it is a bustling street with a lively atmosphere by provides various options to satisfy my cravings and indulge in some much-needed retail therapy.
Place 2: Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial – Best Historic Sites to Visit in the USA
Upon arrival, I explored the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to get a comprehensive understanding of the events of December 7, 1941. Moreover, the exhibits and displays provide valuable insights into the historical significance of this site.
The USS Arizona Memorial offers a powerful and emotional experience. When I visited the USS Arizona Memorial first time, I took a moment while standing on it to reflect on the history and pay my respects to those who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
On the other hand, I appreciate the short journey over the water after boarding the boat to the USS Arizona Memorial. The memorial was built over the sunken battleship which is a solemn reminder of the tragic events that unfolded on that fateful day.
After visiting the USS Arizona, you will head to the nearby Battleship Missouri Memorial. Because it is a place for exploring the deck and interior of this iconic battleship gives a sense of the military history that followed the attack.
To round off your visit, you also make your way to the Pacific Aviation Museum. Here, you can get all information on the aviation history of World War II to get up close to vintage aircraft to understand their role in the conflict. Overall, you will come to know that this is a fascinating journey through time.
Place 3: Diamond Head State Monument – Best Place to Take Photos in Honolulu
Firstly, to tour this place please lace up those hiking shoes to get on a delightful journey to the summit of Diamond Head. Because the trail offers not just exercise but an incredible panorama of Honolulu and the glistening ocean. Moreover, this is a place that is a must for any adventurer and trust me these views are worth every step.
Once you conquer the summit then it is time to plunge into the heart of the volcanic crater. Further, you’ll find remnants of military bunkers that add a fascinating historical layer to this natural wonder. Overall, it is like a place that is stepping into a piece of Hawaii’s past.
Therefore, the Diamond Head is a visual feast for everyone. Moreover, it is suggested that get your photographer because it is a place that is perfect for clicking pictures for memories.
However, you can also make sure to pack your camera because the views from the top are nothing short of spectacular. If you are a social media influencer then your Instagram followers will thank you for sharing the beauty of this iconic spot.
Moreover, this place is best for a family trip. So, you bring the whole family for an adventure they won’t forget. The hike is family-friendly and reaching the summit is a shared triumph. Imagine a picnic with a view which is the perfect setting for creating lasting memories in this captivating slice of Hawaii.
Place 4: Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve – Best Place for Picnic Bay Area
You can visit and dive into the crystal-clear waters for a snorkelling adventure in Hanauma Bay. Here you can witness the vibrant marine life while swimming among colorful fish. Furthermore, you can also explore the beauty of the coral reefs. Overall, this experience will feel like stepping into an underwater wonderland.
You visit the Marine Education Center to learn more about the bay’s ecosystem. This is a place where you can discover fascinating facts about the diverse marine species that call Hanauma Bay home. Besides, it is a great way to deepen your appreciation for the environment.
Even more, you can enjoy a relaxing day on the sandy shores of the bay. Here you soak up the sun to listen to the soothing sounds of the waves and appreciate the breathtaking views of the surrounding cliffs. Finally, it is a perfect spot for a laid-back beach day.
Next, you can also explore the scenic hiking trails that surround Hanauma Bay. So, take a stroll along the coastline to check out the coastal landscapes and perhaps that may catch a glimpse of the native flora and fauna. But, indeed the views from the trails are simply stunning.
This place is recommended for a picnic. So, you can also pack a picnic and savor a meal with a view. Many areas around the bay offer picnic spots where you can enjoy a snack or lunch surrounded by the natural beauty of Hanauma Bay. Overall, it will be a delightful way to spend time in this preserved paradise.
Place 5: Iolani Palace – Best Place for Historical Tour
Iolani Palace is one of the best tourist points. So, take a step back in time with a historical tour of Iolani Palace. Next, you should explore the rooms where Hawaiian royalty once lived. Therefore, learn about the fascinating history of the palace by visiting this royal palace in the United States.
Furthermore, you can walk through the beautifully landscaped royal grounds. Moreover, I love strolling through the gardens to admire the well-preserved beauty that surrounds the palace. Next, this crowning jewel of Iolani Palace makes you surprised at the magnificence of the throne room. Moreover, the opulent decorations and intricate details showcase the regal splendor of the Hawaiian monarchy.
Furthermore, enhance your visit with an audio guide. Because it provides interesting insights into each room and historical anecdotes to feel the palace come alive with stories from the past.
Overall, check out special events and exhibits. I enjoy discovering the various cultural programs and exhibitions that often take place to add a dynamic and contemporary touch to this historic landmark.
Place 6: Honolulu Museum of Art – Best Museum to Visit in Honolulu
If you are planning to visit the Honolulu Museum of Art then it will promise a delightful blend of artistic exploration, cultural appreciation, and enjoyable activities for all ages. First of all, it is best to merge into a world of creativity and exploration as you walk through the museum’s diverse art collections. There is something to captivate everyone’s imagination from Asian to European to Pacific art.
Secondly, you can take a cultural journey through the exhibits by learning about the rich heritage of Hawaii and beyond. So, make sure that you have discovered how different art forms tell stories of history, traditions and the beauty of diverse cultures.
Moreover, engage with hands-on exhibits that make art come alive. The museum offers interactive experiences to allow you to connect with the art in a fun and immersive way.
Next, check out the museum’s calendar for special events and workshops. At this place, you should attend lectures and art talks or participate in creative workshops to gain deeper insights into the world of art.
Overall, you should take a break in the museum’s beautiful outdoor garden. Because it is a peaceful oasis where you can reflect on the art that has been seen surrounded by lush greenery and a serene atmosphere.
Place 7: Manoa Falls – Best Place to Visit with Kids
Manoa Falls offers a simple yet enchanting experience to make it an ideal spot for nature lovers. Further, it is the best place for those who are seeking a peaceful getaway within beautiful nature.
First of all, you can take a leisurely hike through the lush rainforest to reach the breathtaking Manoa Falls. Moreover, the trail is surrounded by greenery and the sound of nature to make it a delightful journey.
Once you reach the falls then at this moment pause to admiding water from a height of 150 feet. Surely, it will become a picture-perfect moment and a great spot for photos to capture the natural beauty. Furthermore, you can plunge yourself into the serene surroundings. However, the rainforest is teeming with diverse plant life to create a peaceful atmosphere that allows you to connect with nature and escape from the hustle and bustle.
Next, it is recommended for traveling because Manoa Falls is a family-friendly destination. The trail is not too exhausting to make it suitable for all ages. Moreover, it is a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to the wonders of nature.
Lastly, bring a picnic and relax in the scenic area near the falls. You can also enjoy a meal surrounded by the sounds of the forest and the refreshing mist from the waterfall. Overall, it is a suggested place for a perfect way to make the most of your visit.
Place 8: Koko Crater Railway Trail – Best Place for Hiking
The Koko Crater Railway Trail is a must-visit for those tourists who are seeking a challenging yet fulfilling hike. Moreover, it becomes more perfect if this hike is coupled with stunning views and a connection with the natural beauty of Hawaii. So, it is perfect to take off on an adventurous hike up the Koko Crater Railway Trail. The old railway track leads to the summit to provide a challenging yet rewarding experience with panoramic views.
Next, here you can challenge yourself to conquer the famous Koko Crater stairs. As you ascend, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Moreover, if you count the stairs then it can add a fun element to the journey to this place.
Once at the top, you can savor the stunning panoramic views of Honolulu and the surrounding landscapes. So, it is a great spot for photos and the sense of accomplishment is truly rewarding.
Moreover, if you walk around the crater’s rim then you can explore the unique terrain. The volcanic landscape offers a glimpse into the natural beauty of Hawaii with interesting rock formations and diverse flora.
Finally, you can plan your hike for sunrise or sunset for a magical experience. The changing colors of the sky and the city below create a serene and attractive setting to make it a memorable outdoor adventure.
Place 9: Chinatown – Best Place for Foodies
Chinatown offers a delightful fusion of cultural exploration, culinary delights and artistic expressions that make it a must-visit destination in Honolulu. Moreover, it is recommended for those who are seeking a diverse and fascinating experience.
Moreover, it is recommended to walk through the vibrant markets of Chinatown where you’ll find a colorful array of fresh produce, unique trinkets and cultural treasures. So, give way to this beautiful and diverse culinary scene.
Chinatown is a also food lover’s paradise which is offering a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes. It is suggested to not miss the chance to try local delicacies.
Next, visit Temples and Pagodas in Chinatown to immerse yourself in the cultural richness by visiting the various temples and pagodas scattered throughout Chinatown. Because the architecture and serene atmosphere of Chinatown is perfect for a unique experience.
Besides, you can also explore the artistic side of Chinatown with its galleries and studios. The area is a hub for local artists to showcase a blend of traditional and modern art forms.
As the sun sets this place comes alive due to its vibrant nightlife and entertainment. So, you can enjoy live music and dance performances. While you can simply soak in the lively atmosphere as you stroll through the illuminated streets.
Place 10: Lyon Arboretum – Best Place for Plat Lovers
Lyon Arboretum offers a serene and educational environment to make it an excellent destination for nature lovers. Moreover, this is a quiet retreat place that is surrounded by the beauty of tropical flora.
When I visited this place, I took nature walks through Lyon Arboretum which was surrounded by lush greenery. So, if you also want to visit this place then the well-maintained trails of Lyon Arboretum will offer you a peaceful escape that allows you to connect with nature.
Furthermore, you can discover a diverse array of tropical plants and flowers because it is a paradise for plant lovers. Lyon Arboretum is a botanical haven that features plant species from Hawaii and around the world.
Moreover, you can engage in educational programs and guided tours offered by the arboretum. You can learn about the unique flora and fauna that will help you gain insights into the importance of conservation and biodiversity.
It is recommended that you should pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing meal in the designated picnic areas. Because these peaceful surroundings provide the perfect setting for a peaceful outdoor dining experience. Lastly, bring your camera and capture the beauty of Lyon Arboretum. The diverse plant life attracts various bird species to make it an ideal spot for bird-watching and photography lovers.
Is 3 nights enough in Honolulu?
If you’re planning a trip to Oahu then I’d recommend at least 3 days to make the most of it. This gives you enough time for a good mix of activities like hikes, beach days, and exploring cultural sites. Of course, if you have more time such as a week then it would let you delve even deeper into the island’s offerings. However, 3 days is a great starting point to enjoy your stay.
Is Honolulu very expensive?
Yes, living in Honolulu can be expensive. A study by Payscale.com found that the overall cost of living is 88% higher than the national average. When it comes to housing it is even steeper at a whopping 202% higher than the national average. But it’s safe to say that paradise comes at a cost.
How many days should I spend in Honolulu?
You should plan to stay at least five days in Oahu for the best experience in Honolulu. This gives you time to enjoy the beaches, go for a hike and explore different parts of the island. If you have a week (7 days) then you can take it even slower by savoring various activities around Oahu. And if you’re thinking of visiting Maui as well then consider adjusting your schedule to make the most of both beautiful islands.
What month is best in Honolulu?
The nicest time to visit Honolulu is from mid-April to early June or between September and mid-December. Because these months have fewer crowds, more festivals and lower prices for flights and hotels. Overall, it is like a sweet spot with the best of everything.
Do I need to rent a car in Hawaii?
If you’re staying in Waikiki then many places like restaurants, shops beaches and other attractions are close to hotels. The Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, Kapiolani Park and the U.S. Army Museum are within walking distance. So, if you’re mainly exploring these areas, you may not need to rent a car.
In Honolulu, you can get a bunch of awesome stuff to check out. So, we’ve rounded up the Top 10 things to do in Honolulu, so you don’t miss out. Now, hit the sunny Waikiki Beach, learn some cool history at Pearl Harbor and catch stunning views from Diamond Head. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay to feel royal vibes at Iolani Palace and enjoy artsy vibes at the Honolulu Museum.
Lastly, take a nature hike to Manoa Falls, stroll through Chinatown and chill at Lyon Arboretum. Overall, Honolulu’s got your back for an amazing time with so much to explore.