Hawaii is one of the top tourist destinations globally, thanks to its clear skies, white dunes, and pink umbrella drinks!
Nearly 10 million people visit it yearly, many of which go straight to Honolulu, the state’s capital, as there are many things to do in Honolulu to keep you entertained.
Are you visiting Honolulu for your ideal getaway? Are you searching for the most interesting sights to view while you’re there?
We got you covered.
Take the youngsters swimming and surfing, hike around Manoa Falls, or visit the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace to learn about the area’s history.
Also, nearby The Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS bowfin submarine museum & Park, uss arizona memorial and the Pearl Harbor National Memorial are just a few of the island’s several World War II attractions.
However, no trip to Oahu would be complete without spending time at some of the island’s internationally known beaches.
The water sports-oriented Kailua Beach Park, the family-friendly Lanikai Beach, and the resort-lined Waikiki Beach are a few of the more well-liked choices.
Let’s learn more about them in depth.
Here are the 15 Best Things to do in Honolulu!
1. Diamond Head
The Diamond Head is in the heart of Honolulu’s sparkling beaches and resorts. This is one of the top things to do in Honolulu.
One of the most well-known volcanoes in Hawaii is Diamond Head. The head may go by a few distinct names. Because of its similarity to a fin, the locals refer to it as Le’ahi (“Tuna Brow”).
At the same time, sailors in the 19th century called it “Diamond Head” because they thought its glistening calcite crystals looked like diamonds. Whatever name you give it, Diamond Head is unquestionably among the best things to do in Honolulu.
You can ascend the crater’s summit via a trek and take in breathtaking aerial views of the ground, water, and sky.
You can also stop by a few neighborhood eateries and shops for refreshments and trinkets. Once finished, you can boast that you ate Lomi-Lomi while perched on a volcano crater!
In conclusion, Diamond Head must be visited if you are in Honolulu. Diamond Head is one of the city’s top attractions, and it might even rank among the most picturesque locations in the country.
2. Visit Downtown Honolulu
Beaches, palaces, and skyscrapers are typically found in different locations, but in Downtown Honolulu, Hawaii.
Skyscrapers abound in the city’s core commercial sector, which also houses the King Kamehameha I statue and Iolani Palace, among other historical and cultural landmarks.
A walking tour will also show you famous historical sites and magnificent buildings, which is one of the interesting things to do in Honolulu.
With a population of about one million, downtown Honolulu is a popular travel destination on a global scale. Where most tours start, the Waterfront district is one spot you should take advantage of. You’ll see the Aloha Tower, which was formerly thought to be the biggest clock tower in the state.
3. Take a Tour of the Honolulu Zoo
The Honolulu Zoo exhibits a range of unusual and exotic animals and is home to more than 900 species.
The entire family can interact closely with the creatures of nature there, which range from deadly tree frogs, and hawaiian green sea turtle to enormous lions. Tourists from all over the world come here to visit the zoo, which is one of the top things to do in Honolulu.
There are many things to do at Honolulu Zoo, which offers several fun activities. Every season has its camp, and the holidays bring about special occasions.
Twilight tours are offered after the zoo closes, and the “Snooze at the Zoo” program enables visitors to spend the night inside the zoo and enjoy a delicious breakfast the following morning, which is one of the most memorable things to do in Honolulu.
When you visit the Honolulu Zoo, you might be in awe of the unique animals of Hawaii. Call them immediately to find out their upcoming schedule; don’t delay!
4. Ala Moana Center and Beach Park
Honolulu has many malls; however, there is only one Ala Moana Center. One of Hawaii’s biggest commercial centers, this four-story structure also boasts the title of the largest open-air shopping center in the world.
Entering the Ala Moana Center is like entering a different city. Sidewalks and staircases traverse the area, and the stucco architecture makes you envision homes rather than shops. But the firms are there, and they’re flourishing.
The Ala Moana Center has everything, including high-end stores and low-cost kiosks. Even a public amphitheatre is available for concerts by bands. So, you can dine, drink, shop, lounge, and groove to some nice music without leaving the mall.
Consider going to the Ala Moana Center if you have money burning a hole in your pocket. You’ll support the Honolulu economy by purchasing cool souvenirs to bring home and display on your shelf.
There is almost something for everyone at Ala Moana Beach Park, which includes a half-mile stretch of white sand beach. Unlike many beaches on Oahu, Ala Moana Hawaii has acres of shaded trees, picnic tables, and open space for children to run around.
Ala Moana Beach Park also has tennis courts, a yacht club, three concession stands, and a second half-crescent beach named Magic Island.
Ala Moana Beach Park is bordered by the Ala Wai Canal, which flows into the Pacific Ocean after passing past a harbour and popular Waikiki. Ala Moana Beach is a local favourite, although Waikiki Beach is the most popular Oahu beach with tourists.
5. Visit Pearl Harbor and Honolulu Harbor
One of the best things to do in Honolulu is to visit Pearl Harbor. The attacks occurred on December 7, 1941, and it continues to be “a date that lives in infamy” today.
The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, constructed over the wreckage of the blasted battleship that claimed more than 1,700 lives, is the most famous. You may explore several museums and visitor centers as well.
The Pearl Harbor Historic Sites are a group of memorials and monuments that are all together. Of all the things to do in Honolulu, I have listed below some places you can visit in Pearl Harbor.
- The U.S.S. Missouri
- The U.S.S. Bowfin Submarine
- The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum (Pacific Aviation Museum)
- The U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial
- The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial
Hawaii’s most populated island, Oahu, also known as The Gathering Place, has something for everyone to enjoy, including beachgoers, history buffs, shopaholics, and everyone in between.
On the southern coast of Oahu, near the state capital of Honolulu, is where you’ll find Honolulu Harbor. It would be an understatement to say that Honolulu’s harbour has played a significant role in the city’s growth as the area grew up around the ports.
The state’s principal seaport, Honolulu Harbor, is where you’ll likely dock if your cruise plans take you to this stunning location. Your ship will arrive at the Aloha Tower in Honolulu’s city center (about halfway between Waikiki Beach and the Honolulu International Airport).
You can find a wide variety of shops, stores, and kiosks as you continue to explore Waikiki. There are several stores and restaurants in the same Aloha Tower, so head there if you like shopping.
You can explore a little further to find the Ward Warehouse and the Ala Moana Center, formerly the biggest shopping mall in the world. Once you get there, there are seemingly endless things to do in Honolulu.
Oahu is a wonderful area to explore because there are a variety of activities for every kind of traveller in every setting. Numerous cruise lines can take you from Honolulu Harbor to the tropical paradise of Oahu island.
We’re confident you’ll find the ideal cruise to set sail to Honolulu Harbor and visit the magnificent island of Oahu, with many options available.
They include Holland, Norwegian, Princess, Carnival, Cunard, P&O, Celebrity, Silversea, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Silversea. They are Oceania, Crystal, Ponant, Hapag-Lloyd, and Costa.
6. Manoa Falls
Manoa Falls, a 150-foot waterfall that pours into a glistening rock pool, is tucked away in the center of a tropical rainforest.
It’s the highlight of the two-mile Manoa Falls Trail, but the journey is worthwhile even if you’ll be so far into the trees that all you can see is dappled sunshine shining through their canopies.
You’ll understand why it’s one of the top things to do in Honolulu when you get to the waterfall. The Manoa Falls Trail might be recognizable from just the images.
Manoa Falls is claimed to be the roaming territory of the Nightmarchers, a spectral band of ancient Hawaiian warriors that still haunt the area today. Monica Falls appeared in films like Jurassic Park and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Manoa Falls Trail should be on your list of must-do hikes on Oahu if you’re looking for a trail that is more of a “walking trail” but still offers stunning scenery.
The trail’s gravel path is typically soggy and muddy because it is located in a rainforest. Manoa Valley, which is regarded as a rainforest, is a good example of the variety of microclimates seen in Hawaii.
So even if Waikiki is only a few miles away and is completely dry and sunny, you can anticipate Manoa Valley to be cloudy or even rainy.
You will be rewarded with the 100-foot-high Manoa Falls vista at the trail’s end. You’ll also likely see at least one or two rainbows while you’re there.
7. Hawaiian Royal Center.
The Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki’s top destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment, spans three blocks of the world-famous Kalakaua Avenue and has more than 310,000 square feet of space.
When you go to the Royal Hawaiian Centre, you may take advantage of a wide range of shopping options from more than 110 merchants specializing in jewellery, apparel, beauty products, and other items exhibiting everything Hawaiian.
There are many intriguing stores, from well-known international names to distinctive regional boutiques. This mall has a strong Hawaiian aesthetic, and the food court is no exception.
In addition to more distinctive eateries like Mahaloha Burger and Kulu Kulu Honolulu, renowned for wonderful sweet desserts, you’ll find familiar favourites like Panda Express and Subway here.
8. Hit the Waikiki Beach Shores
It is hardly unexpected that the kings and queens of the Hawaiian archipelago previously flocked to the sands of Waikiki Beach, which is now renowned worldwide.
The first longboards were used by the island’s nobility here in the 1800s, and the legendary Duke Kahanamoku—the father of modern surfing—also shredded the swells of Waikiki.
Today, this location is home to opulent hotels with glittering rises that stand against the Pacific’s turquoise waters. But, if you only visit one beach in Honolulu, make it this sun-drenched expanse of fluffy yellow sand beneath Diamond head called Waikiki beach, one of the most famous beaches in Hawaiian history.
Look no further than Waikiki beach if you enjoy spending time on the beach. Everybody appreciates this paradise’s long stretch of white sand and turquoise water for activities like swimming, surfing, snorkelling, and more.
Waikiki beach is home to a wonderful tropical climate with a wide range of activities and events for people of all ages, from Hilton Hawaiian Village on the west to Kapi’olani Park on the east.
More high-rise buildings, upscale eateries, and resorts may be found along this prominent location’s boundaries.
9. Kuhio Beach Park
There are beaches everywhere you look in Honolulu. Still, due to the city’s popularity as a tourist destination, it might be challenging to find a length of sand without joggers, surfers, or dog walkers in your way.
Kuhio Beach Park is still relatively empty, which is wonderful news. Kuhio Beach Park, which sits off Honolulu’s coast, is renowned for its tranquil, clear seas and laid-back environment.
Kuhio Beach Park in Honolulu is a fantastic destination. It’s where you can lounge on a beach towel without worrying about someone tossing a volleyball over your head.
Of all the things to do in Honolulu, visiting Kuhio beach is a must. It’s a chance to experience the laid-back beach lifestyle without squeezing past a crowd of vacationers to find a spot in the sand. Put Kuhio on your list of the top Hawaii vacation spots if you’re looking!
10. Visit the Enormous Bishop Museum
It is easy to understand why The Bishop Museum is regarded as — and is officially classified as — one of the island’s top tourist attractions.
Established by Charles Reed Bishop, who named the museum after his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Honolulu’s oldest museum initially opened its doors in 1889.
The structure was originally designed as a location to store precious Hawaiian cultural artifacts and royal heirlooms. The corridors are now stuffed with artifacts highlighting the North Pacific region’s history and culture.
When visiting Honolulu, this is your chance to learn more about Hawaii than you ever imagined, thanks to the hundreds of items spanning generations, the devoted displays covering Hawaiian art, gods, folklore, and beliefs as the Native Hawaiian Garden. Spaces and rooms are segmented and decorated accordingly.
View the Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Khili Room, Hawaiian Hall, Pacific Hall, Picture Gallery, and Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center. The planetarium, where you may watch the stars at night and learn more about space, is one of its unique features.
The museum also offers a live lava demonstration, a wonderful way to learn about the diverse cultures and customs many in Hawaii appreciate.
11. Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design
The Shangri La Museum is a very genuine place not far from Honolulu, even though “Shangri La” may be a mythological place. The renowned heiress Doris Duke commissioned Shangri La as a palace where she could gather and exhibit Islamic art.
She wanted a location to put all of her paintings, tiles, jewelry, embroidery, and wood carvings because she had been attracted by them while on her honeymoon to the Middle East.
Thanks to the Doris Duke Foundation, the Shangri La Museum is now accessible to the general public. It has become a paradise for people interested in Islamic art and hawaiian culture.
12. Honolulu Museum of Art
The Honolulu Museum of Art is Hawaii’s biggest and most fascinating institution.
In fact, of all the things to do in Honolulu, visiting the Honolulu Museum of Art’s special events and exhibitions might be a unique experience!
You can watch movies, take pottery classes, or participate in printmaking workshops with budding artists if you go on the appropriate weekend.
More than 50,000 works of art, including more than only paintings and sculptures, are displayed there. Everything from hand-painted dolls to knitted yarns salvaged from native tribes can be found. The museum also offers classes, talks, exhibits, and social events.
So, travellers to Hawaii who are interested in history should visit the Honolulu Museum of Art. You’ll learn something while beating the heat in its air-conditioned halls since it’s one of those exceptional tourist sites that manages to be both enjoyable and informative.
13. Sans Souci Beach Park
Some individuals dislike wave skimming or cliff diving. They want to enjoy a pleasant, quiet time at the beach, not drench themselves with excitement.
Sans Souci Beach Park is the place for you to be if this applies to you. This beach park is a must-visit because it is one of the things to do in Honolulu.
Honolulu, it’s a terrific location to unwind. You may enjoy the waterfront at Sans Souci Beach Park’s beautiful shorelines and shallow waves without a board, helmet, or oxygen tank.
The palm trees provide a tonne of shade, and the waves are gentle. Of all the things to do in Honolulu, consider Sans Souci Beach Park if you’re looking at a list of Honolulu attractions and unsure what to do.
While it won’t result in any near-death experiences, it will provide a beautiful relaxing environment as you unwind on the Hawaii coastline.
14. The Honolulu Botanical Gardens
Of all the things to do in Honolulu, visiting the botanical gardens is one of the nicest experiences.
Because of their geographic diversification, they are dispersed throughout the city, offering distinctive flowers, trees, and vistas. Cacti and bushes are grown.
For instance, the harsh, desert-like temperature that the Koko Crater Botanical Garden experiences due to its placement within a volcano crater.
The colder weather and high plateau where the Wahiawa Botanical Garden is located have resulted in its lush vegetation and vibrant flowers. A lake forms the heart of the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden.
There is also a waterfall located in the Liliuokalani Botanical Garden. Nature lovers should attend Honolulu Botanical Gardens!
15. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
The Bay of Hanauma is considered the best snorkelling on Oahu. On the southeast coast of Oahu, close to Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Cove Nature Preserve is a stunning wineglass-shaped bay that is snuggled into the protected side of Koko Head.
Visit the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve to go swimming with fish. The southern tip of Oahu island’s sheltered harbour, shaded by the massive Koolau Mountain Range, is easily accessible from Honolulu’s downtown streets.
One cannot blame them. The area’s coasts, located in the bowels of an ancient volcanic crater, are renowned for their marine biodiversity, just like hawaiian islands, with everything from parrot fish to sea turtles gliding by!