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So, you’re thinking of escaping to a beautiful tropical island where the surf is warm and the people smiling? Where a deckchair and a cocktail have your name on them? Well, you’ll have trouble finding a secluded spot to plant a deckchair on the busy beaches of Waikiki, and while we wouldn’t exactly describe a city with a population exceeding one million as tranquil, Honolulu is definitely your answer for respite that excites!

Every neighbourhood in Honolulu has its own favourite beach with its own distinct character. Surfer boys and bronzed babes abound at Sandy Beach, while Hanauma Bay is snorkelling nirvana. The biggest tourist attractions are a more solemn affair, so pay your respects at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacificand be on your way. If there’s one thing you won’t be doing in Honolulu, it’s lamenting.

Honolulu’s Top 10

10. Bishop Museum The largest museum in the state of Hawaii is filled with local and historical artefacts, plus exhibits explaining the unique nature of the islands.

5. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve This spectacular coral reef is home to hundreds of species of tropical fish and turtles.

9. Iolani Palace The only royal palace in the United States used as an official residence by a reigning monarch.

4. USS Arizona Memorial This patriotic site serves as a reminder of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbour.

8. Puu Ualakaa State Park This beautiful, untouched national park gives a taste of pre-European occupation.

3. Waikiki Beach The world’s most-popular surf beach. Need we say more?

7. Ala Moana Beach Park With calm stretches of warm water and a not-too-busy beach, Ala Moana is one of Honolulu’s best-kept secrets.

2. Diamond Head This 350-hectare volcanic crater is reached by a relatively short hike, and provides 360-degree views of the island.

6. Manoa Falls In the middle of a forest reserve lies this untouched 30m (100ft) waterfall. Great for swimming under – and incredible for looking out over!

1. Pearl Harbour Detailing the US involvement in WWII, this is one of the biggest attractions for tourists.

Honolulu History

  • USS Arizona Memorial – An interesting and grim attraction for those interested in military history.
  • Pearl Harbor – The site of the infamous Japanese bombing during World War II.
  • Iolani Palace – The former home of the king and queen has the history of the island painted on its walls.
  • National Cemetery of the Pacific – This military cemetery is located in one of Honolulu’s many craters.
  • Shangri La – The former home of Doris Duke, this Honolulu landmark was built in the 1930s.

Honolulu Art & Culture

  • Plantation Village – This traditional Honolulu village has homes open for public viewing.
  • Mission Houses Museum – A great place to learn about the rich culture and history of Honolulu.
  • Queen Emma Summer Palace – This palace was converted into a history museum.
  • Hawaii State Capitol – This unique Honolulu building allows people to take self-guided tours.
  • Chinatown – This district in Honolulu offers great food and a look at the diverse culture of the island.

Honolulu Shopping

  • Ala Moana Center – One of the best places for all types of shopping on the island of Oahu.
  • Waikele Outlet Mall – Find discounts on famous brands while shopping in over 50 stores.
  • Chinatown Lei Stands – The best place to find great bargains on leis and flowers while in Honolulu.
  • Hilo Hatties – This unique store is the best place in Honolulu for all your island apparel.
  • ABC Stores – Located nearly everywhere in Honolulu, this chain is a wonderful place to buy souvenirs.

Gay & Lesbian Honolulu

  • Rainbow Film Festival – This annual May festival features films by gay and lesbian filmmakers.
  • Aloha Lambda Weddings – Organizes gay and lesbian commitment ceremonies while on Honolulu.
  • Gay and Lesbian Community Center – Offers services and programs to meet the needs of the gay and lesbian community.
  • Odyssey Hawaii Magazine – This publication lists all the happenings at gay and lesbian nightspots.
  • Long Yang Club – This club holds monthly gatherings for those sick of the bar scene.

Honolulu Outdoor

  • Honolulu Zoo –Take a nice stroll while looking at some of the unique wildlife at this outdoor zoo.
  • Hanauma Bay Marine Reserve – One of the best places for snorkelling enthusiasts in Honolulu.
  • Lanakai Pillboxes Hike – This Honolulu hike offers some of the best views of the island.
  • Sea Life Park – This water park offers dolphin shows and a chance to swim with these mammals while in Honolulu.
  • Aloha Beach Service – This private beach is a great place to learn how to surf.

Honolulu Sport

  • Jet ski, parasail or do other adventurous activities in Honolulu with Aloha Parasail.
  • Play beach volleyball or go for a slide at Hawaii Wet N’ Wild.
  • Swim in perfect waters and play on the pristine beaches at Ko ‘Olina Lagoons.
  • Take a wild ride on a banana boat, a six-person inflatable craft.
  • Play golf in absolutely beautiful settings at the Ala Wai Golf Course.

Honolulu Events

In the last weekend in January, the Ala Wai Challenge brings competitors from around the Hawaiian Islands to compete in sports from canoe racing to spear throwing. Best viewed from a distance.

Participants come from as far as Japan to ear their hula-hooping laurels at the King Kamehameha Hula Competition in June.

It may attract the best local and international musicians each year, but July’s Hawaii International Jazz Festival is just as famous for its beautiful sunset concerts.

The annual Hawaii State Fair brings a bit of homely Americana to the tropical islands in August.

New Year’s Eve sees Honolulu’s streets jam-packed with parades and partying. Apparently there are quieter options, too – but why would you want them?

When To Go

Mid-December to April is the busiest period.

Hurricane season is between June and November, but there hasn’t been a major storm for over 15 years.

Winter brings the biggest waves and is the time for the more adventurous surfer.

Getting Around

Buses are very reliable and are readily available.

The taxi service in Honolulu is impeccable, and the drivers always know the best bars and the quietest beaches.

Trams or trolleys are slow enough to allow you to take in (or take photos of) the passing city.

Honolulu Information

The dynamic state capital of Hawaii has an international reputation as one of the most livable cities in the world. Honolulu consistently earns high marks from the folks who compile quality of life indices, specifically in the areas of sustainability, access to nature and surprise, surprise, climate and sunshine.

This being Hawaii of course, weather is precisely the main attraction. The archipelago state draws millions of international tourists every year, with particular emphasis on the islands of Oahu and Maui. Honolulu occupies the southeastern corner of the former and with a metro population of over 900,000, is the only incorporated city in Hawaii. As the state capital, Honolulu has a nice mix of museums, cultural monuments and leisure attractions in store. Worthwhile points of interest include Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace and the nonpareil Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. World famous Waikiki Beach of course, is never far away.

Attractions & Activities

Attractions

  • Pearl Harbor
  • Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History)
  • Iolani Palace
  • Nu'uana Pali Lookout
  • Waikiki

Activities

  • Beach and Water Sports
  • Diamond Head
  • Kapiolani Park
  • International Market Place
  • Chinatown

Restaurant & Nightlife

Restaurants

  • Sushi Sasabune
  • Roy’s
  • Chai’s Island Bistro
  • Me’s Bar-B-Que
  • Sushi Izakaya Gaku

Nightlife

  • Zanzabar
  • Pearl
  • The Green Room at Indigo
  • Mai Tai Bar
  • Pipeline Café

Climate

Honolulu has a tropical semi-arid climate, with moderate precipitation and abundant sunshine throughout the year. Temperatures seldom stray beyond 18°C and 32°C.

Honolulu On Wikipedia


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Hotels in Honolulu

Recommended hotels

From US$170

1 Pacific Beach Hotel

3 stars
3.9 / 5 35 reviews

2490 Kalakaua Ave. Map

Book Now and Save 35%

Travellers looking to enjoy a Hawaiian holiday under the sun find suitable retreat at the comfortable accommodations and scenic location of Pacific Beach Hotel Honolulu. This beachfront Honolulu... More

Comfortable Stay
I go to a Hawaii twice a year and have stayed at other hotels but my most comfortable stay so far would defiantly be at The Pacific Beach Hotel. Beds are amazingly comfy and the pillows too. For me...
26 May 2015
From US$100

2 Ambassador Hotel Waikiki

3 stars
3.7 / 5 19 reviews

2040 Kuhio Avenue Map

Book Now and Save 35%

Boasting a tranquil ambience and comfortable accommodation, this property is an ideal place for an unforgettable vacation. GeneralAfter an exhausting day, you can have a bracing dip or relax on... More

Great value for money
Spent 13 nights here, 24 Feb to 9 Mar - on the fringe of downtown Honolulu, so less expensive but within easy walking distance of Waikiki Beach and shops. Bus Stop right out the front takes you...
12 Mar 2015
From US$170

3 Sheraton Princess Kaiulani

3 stars
3.8 / 5 27 reviews

120 Kaiulani Ave Map

4th Night Free + Daily Breakfast for 2

The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani has 1,152 rooms on the former estate of Hawaii's last princess. This garden oasis offers unique amenities like a "Beach Boy Butler" service. This allows guests to use... More

A Vacation To Remember
Stayed here for 1 week with my teenage daughter. We had a blast, the beach service was so helpful, the beach chairs and towel service to the beach was a plus. The cultural activities were fun for...
16 Jun 2015
From US$228

4 Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

4 stars
4.1 / 5 33 reviews

2005 Kalia Road Map

Book 7 Nights, Get Last Night Free plus Luau for 2

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is one of those hotels you just hate to leave. With acres of pools, waterslides and private beaches, this Hotel is a destination resort that's hard to... More

Family holiday
Second visit to Hilton Hawaiian Village and there seemed to be more crowds. A bit disappointing as the amount of people made it less relaxing than when I was here 5 years ago. This trip was a...
31 Mar 2015
From US$341

5 Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort

4 stars
4.3 / 5 50 reviews

2335 Kalakaua Ave. Map

No Resort Fees

Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort is one of the finest, traditional Hawaiian hotels. Located on Waikiki beach, it's easy to walk onto the sand and ride the waves or watch the world go by. The... More

Rest and Recreation
We had 4 nights and this hotel and the consierge and room staff were fantastic. The location was just great, the pool and ocean at our fingertips was lovely. The only downside is that the pool is...
23 Jun 2015
From US$334

6 Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa

4 stars
4.1 / 5 16 reviews

2365 Kalakaua Avenue Map

4th Night Free + Daily Buffet Breakfast for 2

Since 1902, the Moana Surfrider a Westin Resort and Spa has graced Waikiki Beach with her stately presence. This legendary landmark has a sumptuous lobby complete with hardwood floors and antique... More

Soak up the sun
Perfect location - very convenient. Staff could have addressed our requests quicker. Housekeeping staff loud early in the morning.
13 Feb 2015
From US$288

7 The Modern Honolulu

5 stars
4.6 / 5 23 reviews

1775 Ala Moana Boulevard Map

Non Refundable Savings

Luxurious and laidback, The Modern Honolulu provides to discerning business and leisure travellers comfortable accommodations with innovative designs and understated elegance. Holidaymakers can... More

Awesome Family Trip
Everything is nice about this hotel. Only criticism is that location is just slightly off Honolulu but it's ok with a 20 minute walk. Overall a very very nice hotel.
25 Jun 2015
From US$209

8 Hilton Waikiki Beach

4 stars
4.1 / 5 9 reviews

2500 Kuhio Ave. Map

Rate includes 7th Night Free

The Hilton Waikiki Beach is a 641 room luxury tropical resort offering true fulfilment of all your Hawaiian dreams. With distinctive exotic flare, the Prince Kuhio offers the perfect blend of... More

Hilton Waikiki - As expected
We were happy with the hotel, staff was great and rooms clean and well maintained. Location may suit some as it is closer to Diamond Head but further away from the main Waikiki tourist hub....
19 Mar 2015
From US$248

9 Turtle Bay Resort

4 stars
4.1 / 5 13 reviews

57-091 Kamehameha Hwy. Map

Stay 5 Nights or More and Save 20%

With tasteful accommodations and picturesque location in 840 oceanfront acres, Turtle Bay Resort Kahuku makes for an ideal tropical retreat while in Kahuku (Oahu), Hawaii. This sprawling resort... More

The best hotel in Hawaii
This hotel was the best hotel I've ever been to. All the staff was nice and friendly and the room was very clean. Around the hotel, it was so beautiful. I do want to visit again.
10 Mar 2015
From US$212

10 Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki

4 stars
4.2 / 5 5 reviews

100 Holomoana St Map

If you are planning for a particular holiday at Hawaii-Oahu, then Prince Resort Hawaii is the perfect place for you to reside. GeneralThis twenty-eight floors of oceanfront guest rooms sit atop a... More

Lives up to expectation
Great location, great customer service. Rooms well kept and serviced daily. Buses and shopping centres easy walk. In-house booking agents to arrange travel tours. Would highly recommend stay at...
15 Mar 2015
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