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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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
- Pearl Harbor
- Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History)
- Iolani Palace
- Nu'uana Pali Lookout
- Beach and Water Sports
- Diamond Head
- Kapiolani Park
- International Market Place
Restaurant & Nightlife
- Sushi Sasabune
- Chai’s Island Bistro
- Me’s Bar-B-Que
- Sushi Izakaya Gaku
- The Green Room at Indigo
- Mai Tai Bar
- Pipeline Café
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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2005 Kalia Road Map
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