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Top Activities in Honolulu

See all 403 things to do in Honolulu

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Honolulu Attractions

Say aloha to ocean breezes, sun-soaked sand, and some of Hawaii's most storied sites in Honolulu. The capital of the Aloha State, Honolulu is most famous for its resort-lined white-sand beaches, which beckon vacationers from around the globe. The city is more than just sun and surf, though—there are countless things to do in Honolulu, from visiting historic landmarks and admiring natural landscapes to learning about native Hawaiian culture and indulging your inner foodie.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Honolulu

As the largest city in the Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu is the pulsing epicenter of the islands, made rich by a mix of urban locales, touristy retreats, and protected natural areas.

Waikiki - With its long stretch of idyllic shore, Waikiki is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Hawaii. As the tourist center of the city, its Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues are packed with luxury hotels, fine-dining restaurants, extravagant shops, and nightlife hotspots just steps away from the beach. Hit the surf and catch a wave, or just grab some good old rest and relaxation in the sun.

Downtown Honolulu

Besides the skyscrapers of the business district, downtown Honolulu is home to the historic Chinatown district—one of the oldest in the country—and several National Historic Landmarks like the Iolani Palace and King Kamehameha statue.

Diamond Head

Called Leahi (meaning “brow of the tuna”) in Hawaiian, Diamond Head State Monument is one of Oahu's defining natural features and sits east of Waikiki. The 760-foot (213-m) crater is a popular destination for hikes, and you're rewarded at the summit with incredible views of Honolulu and the island's South Shore.

What to See in Honolulu

There's no understating the beauty of Oahu, from the heights of the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout to the towering waves of the North Shore. Breathtaking natural beauty lies below the surface in crescent-shaped Hanauma Bay State Park, where a snorkeling trip reveals an underwater world of tropical fish, green sea turtles, and vibrant coral. For an alternate look at the city, take a helicopter flight and catch sight of the coast stretching all the way to Pearl Harbor, or hop aboard a cruise and witness the mesmerizing Hawaiian sunset from the water.

Sightseeing in Honolulu

From swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean to learning hula dancing with pros on the beach, there's no shortage of exciting activities for families and travelers of all ages in Honolulu. With a mix of traditional song, dance, and delicious food, luaus are a festive introduction to Hawaiian culture that anyone can enjoy. The Bishop Museum reveals more about the history and culture of Hawaii and other Polynesian groups. Those looking for a truly soothing vacation can take advantage of Honolulu's many spas that offer uniquely Hawaiian massages and treatments. For the adventurous, there are plenty of opportunities to try a something new on the beach, including diving certification lessons, jet ski rentals, parasailing adventures, or any combination of the thrilling water activities.

Things to Do in Honolulu with Kids

There are lots of outstanding experiences in Honolulu that the entire gang will enjoy. Here are some of the best family friendly experiences in the area.

Free Things to Do in Honolulu

Leave your purse in the hotel room. It's a snap to have a blast in Honolulu without spending a cent.

Hawaii State Art Museum - Roam around and take in the impressive displays at this popular museum.

Waʻahila Ridge State Recreation Area - Give the kids a good time or release your own inner child — this place was built for fun.

Hawaii Pacific University - Architecture connoisseur or not, you'll be wowed by this landmark's modernistic design.

Aloha Tower - Drop by this historic attraction and learn a little about the region's cultural heritage.

Kapena Falls Trailhead - Get out of life's fast lane and treat yourself to a little time out beside the water.

Hawaiʻi Heritage Center - Well known among local residents, this place is worth exploring.

Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace - Take some time for a bit of prayer or meditation at this respected sacred place.

Duke Kahanamoku Beach - Skip rocks along the water, catch a sunrise or simply appreciate the views from the foreshore.

Waikiki Historic Trail - Bring along your camera and let nature spark a sense of wonder in you.

Lili'uokalani Botanical Garden - Organize a picnic and enjoy a relaxing walk around the interesting plants.

Explore The Neighborhoods of Honolulu

Waikiki

Located on the south shore of Honolulu, this neighborhood is known internationally for its great surfing and beautiful beaches.

SunsetsIslandsShopping

Kahala

The pristine beaches and ample dining options are top of the list for many visitors to Kahala. A stop by Waiʻalae Beach Park or Kahala Beach might round out your trip.

DolphinsDiningShopping

Downtown Honolulu

Many of Hawai’i’s most important historic sites and beautiful buildings are clustered together here at the hub of the city, with the ocean just a short walk away.

ChinatownShoppingMonuments

Ala Moana

If you're spending some time in Ala Moana, Ala Moana Center and Ala Moana Beach Park are top sights worth seeing.

Diamond Head - Kapahulu - St. Louis

While visiting Diamond Head - Kapahulu - St. Louis, you might make a stop by sights like Honolulu Zoo and Diamond Head.

Hawaii Kai

While visiting Hawaii Kai, you might make a stop by sights like Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and Sandy Beach.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Honolulu on a rainy day?

If it's pouring with rain during your trip, put your umbrella aside and dive into these popular indoor activities:

What is Honolulu famous for?

Get ready for loads of sightseeing, because these local icons are waiting to be discovered:

  • Diamond Head
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Aloha Tower

What should I not miss in Honolulu?

Put these sights toward the top of your must-do list to make the most of your visit:

  • Ala Moana Center
  • Honolulu Zoo
  • Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
  • Iolani Palace

Are there cheap things to do in Honolulu?

If you're vacationing on a strict budget, you may like to add these cheap experiences to your agenda:

What can you do in Honolulu for free?

You'll hardly have time to take your wallet out of your bag with so many fantastic free things to do:

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Aloha Tower
  • Ala Moana Center
  • Hawaii State Capitol