Things to do in Honolulu, HI

Activities, attractions and tours
Makiki - Lower Punchbowl - Tantalus showing landscape views, a sunset and a city

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.

Top things to do in Honolulu


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What to do in Honolulu

Free Things to Do in Honolulu

There's no need to give your credit card a workout in Honolulu. The following won't cost a thing.

Hawaii State Art Museum - Take the whole family and go on a fascinating adventure through history with one another.

Waʻahila Ridge State Recreation Area - Spoil the kids with a good time or let the big kid in you run free — this attraction was built for fun.

Hawaii Pacific University - This modern-style local landmark is the perfect backdrop for a selfie.

Aloha Tower - You'll feel like you've stepped back in time while roaming around this historic attraction.

Kapena Falls Trailhead - Shut your eyes and draw a deep breath — nothing tops being beside the water for some rest and restoration.

Hawaiʻi Heritage Center - Set aside some time to stroll around this place of local significance.

Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace - Do a bit of quiet contemplation and learn a few things about this site's religious importance.

Duke Kahanamoku Beach - Keep an eye out for beautiful shells and other seaside treasures peppered along the coastline here.

Waikiki Historic Trail - Escape the busy city life and get in touch with Mother Nature at this beautiful attraction.

Kaka'ako Waterfront Park - If you take pleasure in pottering about the garden, this attraction will excite your green thumb.

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's fun for the entire family no matter where you go in Honolulu. Here are some family friendly experiences to enjoy together that will make your getaway unforgettable:


 

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