Honolulu is synonymous with the Hawaiian Islands and for a good reason. It is the capital city of Hawaii and the largest city on the islands as well. The town is a main portal into the U.S., is a major hub of activity for international business as well as military defense. It is known for a diverse population and has Pacific cuisine, traditions, and culture. The skyscrapers of the major city of Honolulu are shadowed by the mountain ranges that tower above them, a scenic symbol off Hawaii and the islands. Honolulu is a major tourist attraction as well as a place to find employment on the island. To experience what the biggest city in Hawaii has to offer, try this list of the best things to do in Honolulu during your visit to the tropical island.
USS Arizona Memorial and World War II Valor
USS Arizona Memorial is probably one of the most famous and visited sites in Honolulu. The USS Memorial and the World War II Valor is a site that was built over the sunken USS Arizona. This is the final resting place of many of the 1,777 crewmen that were killed in 1941 during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The memorial is out in open water and visitors can get a ticket at the visitor center on the land, take a boat to the memorial and spend some quality time there and then take a boat back. Visitors rave that it is a sacred place as well as a must-see on the island. Prepare to be humbled as you walk about the stunning memorial and learn the fate of the crewmembers as well as the history that took place that day.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
Take the grand tour of the mighty Battleship Missouri. Learn the history of this fantastic vessel as you take a trip with a knowledgeable and fun tour guide throughout the massive ship. Discover the years spent in WWII and also in the Gulf War. The deck was the site of the Japanese surrender at the end WWII. Climb up the steep, narrow stairs and experience the home of crewmembers. Giant guns point out from the bow and shaft and see the original wooden deck. The ship is quite large, and many parts of it are off-limits, but there is still plenty to see that will take you hours. See the mighty Missouri and step aboard a ship full of rich history.
Diamond Head State Monument
To experience the area, you need to get out and hike it! Diamond Head State Monument can be seen from Honolulu with ease, just look up! It is made of a volcanic tuff cone. The city can be seen lying next to the coast with Diamond Head in the background. It is now a state monument, and thousands of people make the challenging hike every year up to the cone. Take a bus or Uber ride to the base and start your ascent from there. As you hike the strenuous hike, remember that you are hiking up the internal side of a volcano crater that once erupted thousands of years ago. The views from the top are fantastic, with sights of the city of Honolulu, the coast, and ocean.
Iolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of Hawaii. The various rulers who reigned resided in the palace from 1845 until 1893. The monarch was overthrown in 1893, and the building was eventually restored and opened to the public years later as a museum. The palace is known for its unique and fascinating exterior architecture. The tour is highly recommended, and visitors report that the interior is just as beautiful as the exterior. There is also an audio tour to participate in to help you learn the interesting history of the palace and its rulers that called it home. The guides may give you booties to put on over your shoes to help protect the floor of the palace. The building has been beautifully restored to its former glory and is a must-see in Honolulu.
Waikiki Beach Honolulu
Welcome to one of the most famous and popular beaches in the United States, Waikiki Beach! The beach is kept clean, but it can get a little crowded due to the popularity of it. The water is beautiful, bright and has little to no waves and is warmer than some of the other beaches. Stroll along the clear waters of Waikiki and make sure you catch a sunset one evening for a magical Hawaiian experience and photos. If you want to spend a day at the beach, arrive earlier to beat the crowds and claim a good spot on the soft sand. Visitors have spotted dolphins and whales out in the water, so be on the lookout for marine activity at one of the best beaches in the world.
Makapuu Lighthouse Trail
The lighthouse trail is easy, paved and offers excellent views of the area. The lighthouse is historic and was also seen in the movie 50 First Dates. Head up early in the morning to see an amazing sunrise in the spirit of the Hawaiian Islands! This hike is one of the easier hikes to do and is family friendly. It is about a mile long, and the views at the top of this simple walk are paralleled to those you would receive hiking the difficult Diamond Head trail. Don’t forget your camera for some of the best pictures you will take on the island. There are resting places on the way up if you get tired or if your kids need a rest.
When on a tropical island, you have to see a waterfall to complete your experience. Luckily, Manoa Falls is located nearby, with a stunning drop of over 200 feet. The hike is approximately 1.5 miles round trip and will take a couple of hours to complete. The hike is often muddy and slippery, but it is worth the journey. This hike is often compared to walking through an arboretum, and the lighting is excellent for photographs. Located close to Waikiki Beach, this is one of the most fantastic water features you may ever see in your life. The hike is reported to be a bit challenging, but the falls are some of the most impressive among the islands.
Honolulu’s Exciting and Stunning Experiences
Honolulu is the hub of excitement and activity. Being the largest city as well as the capital, there is no end to the opportunities you may find here. City tours, sightseeing tours, snorkeling off of the beaches in the crystal water, having some fun in the sand and sun, seeing a place or a waterfall, the options are many and exciting. Discover a major hub city out in the Pacific and the best things to do in Honolulu.