things to do in honolulu things to do in honolulu

Things to Do in Honolulu: 14 Best Activities and Places

Honolulu has some awesome attractions here, including golden beaches and volcanic creations. This place’s tourist attractions give the visitors a perfect balance between their relaxation and adventure. You will find plenty of attractions here, keeping you busy while traveling.

You can also go hiking to the viewpoints, explore movie sets in theaters, and check out the historic museums. Check the best things to do in Honolulu in this article.

Things to Do in Honolulu

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is recognized as the main entry point for every visitor who comes to see this state. This route is easily accessible since all the flights are directed through this point. All airplanes from North America, the South Pacific, Hawaii, and even flights from different parts of Asia.

The famous peninsula stretches for about half a square mile in Waikiki and has a wonderful soft-sand beach.

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Waikiki has a small space, but it is highly populated throughout the United States. Hundreds of hotels, shops for different purposes, and restaurants to feed you delicious food. Enjoying the famous Waikiki beach is also the best thing to do.

Hawaii, which shares land with Downtown, is a historical place, and it can be said that Downtown is the center of attraction for most visitors. You will find plenty of museums in this ancient place with other historical buildings and famous statues. 

1. Learn About Polynesia Culture Center

This tourist attraction represents a cultural museum that mainly features six villages. You can visit these villages to earn knowledge about the traditional Hawaiian village. The six towns representing the Hawaiian Islands include Samoa, Aotearoa (Māori), Fiji, Tonga, and Tahiti.

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The most visited attraction in this cultural center is the Alii Luau. This center offers visitors the most authentic experience, so they can always find entertainment here. Besides visiting the cultural centers, you can go canoeing in the Tonga village or fishing with special Tahitian gear. Besides, there is also Māori warrior dance, which can greatly entertain you with their local sake.

2. Check out The Iolani Palace

This historical palace is located in downtown Honolulu, and you can reach this place from a quick drive from Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous beaches. This is a huge 10-room, four-story palace built in 1882 in the ancient Renaissance style.

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The successor of this palace is Queen Lili Pukalani. This palace is under the supervision of the National Historic Landmark. The Iolani Palace is open to be seen by visitors who wish to learn about Hawaii’s history and royal heritage of this palace. You must check out this place to learn about Hawaii’s history. 

Visiting this beautiful palace, you will understand its worth; carefully, it was restored to its former glory. In this palace, the first floor is the living area, and the basement stores the jewels, regalia, photos, and all other memories. 

3. Shop at Ala Moana Center

This center is the center point of attraction for most visitors who search for the best shopping centers in Honolulu. Visiting the different stores and their products and eating some tasty street foods is always the greatest thing to do in any place.

However, this center is not popular for its shopping features. This mall is unique and will give you a feeling of entering a different city. Ala Moana Center mall’s interior is totally different from other city markets.

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This shopping complex is a four-story building registered as the largest open-air shopping center. There are no shopping malls worldwide to have such a big open-air shopping complex.

You will get several products to check out here at Ala Moana Center. The brands here range from luxury brands to some departmental and souvenir stores. You will find almost 350 stores in Ala Moana Center, including the eatery. However, it would be best to know that some products here can be slightly over-priced.

Besides just shopping here, you can also check for the Island Vintage Coffee, surf shops, and Sephora. 

4. Play with Dolphins in Dolphin Quest Oahu

Most people in the world love to play with Dolphins. Even some have marked this adventure on their list of to-do things. If you are in Honolulu, Kahala Hotel and Resort offers this adventure to their quest, where they can interact with the dolphins. You can even click some pictures with the dolphins here.

Dolphin Quest Encounter Review | Kahala Resort | Oahu Hawaii

The Kahala Hotel and Resort dolphins are well-trained to interact with humans. Other than this, the package here at this hotel and resort involves feeding the dolphins, petting them, and also you can socialize with them.

Other than this, the package here at this hotel and resort involves feeding the dolphins, petting them, and also you can socialize with them. Other than this, the package here at this hotel and resort involves feeding the dolphins, petting them, and also you can socialize with them.

It is a must-do adventure for people who are fond of animals. Few people will believe you swam with dolphins, but you can try this out here.

5. Check out The Diamond Head Crater

You will find many volcanoes in Hawaii, which is why this state is called the land of volcanoes. Honolulu will also find some volcanoes; the most visited and popular volcano is the Diamond Head. This volcano has several names, which is why it can get confusing while reaching this destination.

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The sailors in the 19th century named this volcano the Diamond Head since they thought it held crystals for the diamonds. You can call it by name, but this is the best place you can check out in Honolulu. You can even go hiking to the top of this volcano, and there you will get a different breathtaking sight. The view of the lands, sky, and water is worth visiting.

Local shops and eateries will also serve delicious snacks and souvenirs there. After you complete this adventure, you can boast to your friends that you climbed right up through a volcano mountain.

6. Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial

This harbor also falls under the most visited attraction in Honolulu. Visitors from every corner come to feel the fresh air here at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. This Honolulu harbor is named Pearl Harbor due to a reason.

A long time back, the citizens here harvested a lot of pearls from the depths. Due to this reason, this harbor is also called Pearl Harbor. This place is not just a nasal base but also a Historical Landmark which houses many famous attractions.

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They have made this port a free and open place for the public to view and enjoy the sights. If you visit this harbor, you can learn about the tragedy caused by the 1941 attack.

If you wish to learn more about Pearl Harbor, you can check the museum’s video presentation and experience the fight simulators for visitors. You can learn about the various aspects and incidents of the harbor’s military. You can also visit Pearl Harbor.

7. Manoa Falls Trail

This waterfall in Manoa is a wonderful one that can’t be compared with any other beauty. Most visitors add this place as their compulsory visit to Honolulu. Another best thing you can do in Manoa besides visiting the waterfall is to make a brief note on the journey from the historic town to the Manoa Falls Trail.

Visiting Manoa Falls? Seeing it for the first time after trail renovations 2021 and what to expect!

This trail can also be used for hiking, leading, and leading you to Manoa Falls, and you can witness the wonderful sight of the waterfalls in Oahu. If you start from Lyon Arboretum, reaching Manoa Falls will take you only a mile.

However, you have to cross the way through the dense jungle. After going through this overgrown jungle for about 20 minutes, you can finally see the 150-foot waterfall from the rainforests.

The sun’s beam creates a wonderful sight, especially for nature lovers. You might also notice that some clips were shot in the famous movie Jurassic Park. This is the main reason why you may think that his place looks a bit familiar to you. However, you must not expect to see any dinosaurs here or anywhere.

8. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

This bat falls under one of the unique and natural bay craters formed within an ancient volcano’s crater. From ancient times, this preserve has been used for various sightseeing purposes. Unfortunately, people started visiting this place so often that it became dirty and polluted.

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However, later it was restored in 1990, and currently, this bay is again the most visited place, but now with constant care and maintenance. Due to the successful restoration, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve successfully saves its ecosystem and allows visitors to enjoy the reef and its inhabitants.

Currently, the number of visitors per day has been limited for the future preservation of future generations. Other than this, the core team here also asks the visitors to watch an educational video by which they can keep the area clean and not harm the reef and the ecosystem of this place.

9. Koko Crater Trail, Honolulu, Oahu

This trail is another popular hiking destination, a tall volcanic tuff cone. You can even find a smaller tuff cone near the bigger one, known as the Koko Head. 

The stairs in Koko Crater Trail are the railroad ties used by the military tram to carry the supplies. They also used to have supplies and other personal things in the lookout post and the bunkers during World War II.

Koko Crater Hike. How hard is it? See for yourself. Full Trail video.

Your guide will show the important spots and tell more about the place, by which you can learn more new things about this place. However, if you are not ready to climb, you should visit the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, which is a great activity. It is a two-mile path that loops around sixty acres of endangered plants.

10. Honolulu Museum of Art

Honolulu Museum of Art was founded in 1992. It opened for visitors in 1927. This Honolulu Museum is the largest private visual art institution in Hawaii. You can also check out the Asian art collection.

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In the Honolulu Museum of Art, you will find other treasures, including works by several popular faces. Since the beginning of this museum, it has collected over 50,000 pieces of Hawaiian art which features 5000 years of Hawaiian history.

It is also acknowledged to have Doris Duke Theater. This theater holds several meetings, concerts, and lectures worth watching. 

11. Poke Bowl

Loved by most citizens, the poke bowl is one of the best foods you will find in the US. However, you can get a poke bowl anywhere in this city, and the most famous bowls are the Sato Seafood and the Fresh Catch in Kaimuki.

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If you wish to eat the special bowls, you must go on weekdays before 7 pm and at 5 pm on Sundays. Sato Seafood is a new setup in Honolulu, and they are skilled in making seafood.

If you take one bowl of their special food, you will notice how tasty their food is, and you cannot stop yourself from ordering another. The Spicy Maui bowl has a spicy touch with rice and chopped onions. This food is very addictive, and you should have this.

12. Makapuu Lighthouse

If you are strong enough to sustain the treacherous wind and hike on hot and dry trails, surrounded by only low-growing kiawe and cacti, then Makapuu Lighthouse is the best place for you. Another best thing you can do during your stay in Honolulu sees the incredible sight of the nearby areas.

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This Makapuu Point trail has some parts engaged with the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline. When you get there after climbing a fairly steep hike, you can witness the spectacular view of the Oahu coastline, Koko Crater Railway Trail, and Koko Head.

13. USS Missouri Battleship Tour

The USS Missouri, also known as Mighty Mo, gained a lot of popularity in the later years. This Battleship is docked at Pear Harbor, and visitors from every corner of the world choose between two given tours.

The first is the tour of the captain’s quarters and the bridge, which will give you an overview of the Battleship. You can learn various things about the ship. 

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The longer tour of this battleship includes more information in detail. Battleship to explore this battleship’s inner workings and other important things. This tour not only gives you the privilege to check the lower deck but also take a look at the Battleship and Battleships-on experiences.

These experiences are pretty cool. You can even look at the ship’s boilers or program one of the analog Battleship inside the aft plotting room.

14. Shangri La Museum

The Shangri La is a mythical land that houses the Shangri La Museum outside Honolulu. This museum was first initiated as the mansion of Doris Duke, who used to collect and display Islamic artwork.

When she was in the Middle East, she wished to keep all her portraits, jewelry, and wood cravings in one place, so she started the Shangri La Museum. In recent days, this museum is now open to all people.

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The credit goes to Doris Duke Foundation, and this fascinating museum is the mecca for Islamic art and culture lovers. It is considered Hawaii’s state museum and is also one of the unique places to check out in the entire Hawaii state.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Outdoor Pursuits Are Available in Honolulu?

Kayaking, snorkeling, surfing, and other activities.

2. What Are Some of The Best Restaurants in Honolulu?

Roy’s Waikiki, Helena’s Hawaiian Cuisine, Leonard’s Bakery, Alan Wong’s, and Ono Seafood.

3. What Season Is Ideal for Travelling to Honolulu?

The best months to visit Honolulu are September through November or March through May when the weather is nice and there are fewer tourists around.

4. How Efficient Is Honolulu’s Transportation System?

“TheBus,” a dependable bus service in Honolulu, is also available, as are taxis and ride-sharing services. If you intend to see the island, it is advised that you rent a vehicle.

Other Places Which You Can Visit

There are even better places you can visit in Honolulu than the places mentioned above.

  • Waikiki beach
  • Kuhio Beach park
  • Ala Moana beach park
  • Royal Hawaiian Center
  • Sans Souci beach park
  • Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Honolulu zoo
  • Honolulu Botanical gardens


There are numerous things to do in Honolulu. The Honolulu attractions here are outstanding, and you will find many familiar spots which were shot for the film Jurassic Park. Also, if you wish to go to a beach and enjoy your day, you can also head towards Waikiki.

It is a famous beachfront suburb of Honolulu, and you will find major tourists here. There is plenty of luxury to cheap hotels for your stay in Honolulu. They will be at your service all time for a Hawaiian vacation.

Also read: Facts about Colorado State Flower.

Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by Steffy Michael