10 Things to Do in Honolulu That You Shouldn't Miss

April 7, 2018 Claudia Navarrete

The mere mention of Hawaii is enough to prompt visions of grass skirts and colorful cocktails with tiny umbrellas. While you will find some kitsch in Honolulu, you’ll also find art museums, bike paths, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Popular Waikiki Beach has soft sands and great surf. For majestic Oahu views scramble to the top of Diamond Head – a 350-acre volcanic crater. Historic structures like Iolani Palace and Ali'iolani Hale are worth a visit on a non-beach day.
Restaurants in Honolulu

1. USS Arizona Memorial

1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96818-3103 +1 808-422-3399
Excellent
78%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 22 reviews

USS Arizona Memorial

A 184-foot memorial honoring the 2,388 Americans who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Reviewed By SeeTheWorld608 - Oceanside, California

The memorial site was stunning & absolutely worth visiting. It’s a very unique glimpse at a critical moment in history.

2. Pearl Harbor / WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96818-3103 808-422-3300
Excellent
75%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 10 reviews

Pearl Harbor / WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

A 184-foot memorial honoring the 2,388 Americans who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Reviewed By plnfxr - Port Orchard, Washington

Brought the boys with us this time and it held their attention. They only used their phone for pictures. Must see for its history.

3. Diamond Head State Monument

18th Ave., Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815 +1 808-587-0300
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 19 reviews

Diamond Head State Monument

A dormant volcano crater.

Reviewed By fishmister - Syracuse, Utah

We visited Diamond Head on a Wednesday at about noon. According to Google it started to slow down by then.
The lot was full but we were able to pay and wait in the parking line/queue until someone left. Took about 5 min.
As we started the hike there were two groups from tour buses coming down the hill. So the crowds were decreasing.

The hike starts out slow and then hits some switch backs that weren't too bad. The final part of the hike are steps. We took a break after the first set of stairs. If you don't like the idea of tunnels you can avoid the second one by going left and up the stairs on the side of the hill, but the first tunnel you have to go through up and down. It is wide enough for traffic both ways but can be snug on the down hill side. The peak was crowded and had to wait our turn to get the best photo ops but was not crazy.

We wore flip flops, sneakers or hiking shoes would have been better for the down hill. Great for the whole family.
Bring water you will need it.

4. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96825-2005 +1 808-396-4229
Excellent
65%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 13 reviews

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

A perfect snorkeling spot.

Reviewed By venicegirl - Los Angeles, CA

Although advised to go early, since it was gloomy and chilly early in the morning, we didn't arrive until 9. However, there wasn't much of a line, we got the 9:15 presentation spot, and the day warmed up considerably. The setting and water color is beautiful.

Although it was quite crowded on the beach and in the water, and there wasn't much in the way of colorful coral, my kids (4, 6, and 8) and I were all impressed and delighted with the variety and quantity of very large, colorful fish we saw while snorkeling.

Food options are very limited and barely edible so eat beforehand or bring food with you!

5. Waikiki Beach

Kalakaua Avenuue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815
Excellent
51%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 14 reviews

Waikiki Beach

Oahu's most popular beach.

Reviewed By GiantsFanLosAngeles - Los Angeles

Went to the beach near the east end, near the Honolulu Zoo.
Visited on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.

This area seemed less crowded than the western side. There is a wall to reduce the waves, making it safer to swim, or for children to play in. Closer view of Diamond Head at the east end, too.

6. Shangri La

4055 Papu Cir, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96816-4850 +1 808-734-1941
Excellent
82%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 801 reviews

Shangri La

Doris Duke's home, built in 1930, is an architecturally significant home which includes a collection of Islamic artwork.

Reviewed By Marcia K - Homer, Alaska

If you like historic homes of interesting people, fabulous art and architectural details, you'll love Shangri La. Managed by the Honolulu Museum of Art, the tour does a great job of showcasing Doris Duke's home, art collection and how it all came to be. Don't miss it! You don't have to have a passion for middle eastern art to appreciate what Duke accomplished here. You just have to love beauty.

7. Battleship Missouri Memorial

63 Cowpens St, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96818-5006 +1 808-455-1600
Excellent
75%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 6 reviews

Battleship Missouri Memorial

Since opening in January 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has attracted more than 8-million visitors from around the world with a fascinating tour experience showcasing the USS Missouri’s unique place in history. Located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Mighty Mo completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” and sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and ends with Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. The USS Missouri had an astounding career over five decades and three wars – World War II, the Korean War, and Desert Storm – after which it was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Association operates the Battleship Missouri Memorial as a historic attraction and oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants, and donations.

Reviewed By ldeni - Prince George, Canada

Wow what a cool experience to be on this ship! If you are headed to Pearl Harbor it is definitely worth it to check out this battleship while you're in the area. I'm not big into history, but I am so glad I went. The tour guide was knowledgeable, engaged and did an awesome job. I learned so much, and really enjoyed exploring the ship with my family, it really was quite something!

8. Koko Crater Railway Trail

Koko Head Park Rd, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96825 +1 808-522-7060
Excellent
73%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Koko Crater Railway Trail

Reviewed By kokoc290 - Honolulu, Hawaii

Everyone are in different shapes & health. I'm in good health. 63 yrs. old. Many people were doing very well walking up to the summit. However, quite a few, even ppl younger than me stopped @ the rest area. My boyfriend continued on, BUT I warned him...just remember, you have to walk back down so don't let your legs get fatigued. Don't want to trip going down. He never made it up to the summit. Views are absolutely spectacular! You won't be sorry. This is a step trail, meaning not a dirt trail. It's all steps, so it's kinda harder to walk up. I thought my legs were in good shape, but not. Next day, we both agreed, we will never do this hike again. And, he exercises more than me. None the less, if you are visiting, please do this hike. Good exercise & fantastic views, especially if U can make it to the top.

9. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

2177 Puowaina Dr, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96813-1729 +1 808-532-3720
Excellent
69%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

The resting place for more than 25,000 victims of three American Wars - World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War – this is truly the “Cemetery of Heroes.” Punchbowl was formed some 75,000 to 100,000 years ago during the Honolulu period of secondary volcanic activity. A crater resulted from the ejection of hot lava through cracks in the old coral reefs that, at the time, extended to the foot of the Koolau Mountain Range. Of special note is a monument honoring Hawaii-born astronaut Ellison Onizuka, who perished aboard the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. Also noteworthy are the Courts of the Missing, white stone tablets bearing the names of those missing in action from World War II.

Reviewed By Maui2014NMR - Colorado

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, AKA the Punchbowl as it sits in the Punchbowl Crater, is a beautiful and well-kept final resting place for so many of our nation's heroes. It was easy to locate using the GPS on our phones and there is plenty of free parking. Also, there was no entrance fee to enter or walk through the cemetery. The memorial area is worth walking through. There is also a pretty chapel in which you can stop and reflect on the true price of freedom.

10. Saint Augustine by-the-Sea

130 Ohua Ave, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-3642 +1 808-923-7024
Excellent
73%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 457 reviews

Saint Augustine by-the-Sea

Reviewed By 4frtravelling - Winnipeg, Canada

We attended mass this am. Beautiful singing really uplifted me. Went a little longer due to additional hula at end. Did not feel like over an hour as others can drag on. It is a beautiful church-great stained glass. A great way to start the am.

Participated in a parish survey. More than 90% of the Sunday attendees are visitors.

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