Epic Honolulu Guide: Don’t Miss These 72 Things To Do In Honolulu (plus Top Eats & Stays)

things to do in honolulu

Introduction to “Things To Do In Honolulu”

Aloha, fellow travelers and welcome to this guide about things to do in Honolulu. We will not only cover the plenty of things to do in Honolulu but also answer questions about where to stay, where to eat, how to spend two days and answer the most asked questions.

Honolulu, the vibrant heart of the Hawaiian Islands, is famous for its beautiful landscapes, Polynesian culture, and modern city life, making it a top destination for travelers from around the globe.

As the capital city of Hawaii, located on the island of Oahu, Honolulu is not just a gateway to the tropical paradise of Hawaii but a bustling metropolis teeming with activities, attractions, and adventures waiting to be discovered.

The city’s landscape is dominated by the iconic Diamond Head crater and the famous Waikiki beach with its golden sands and turquoise waters. But Exploring Honolulu can also be about history such as visiting the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor or Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on American soil.

Now let’s get started and answer the question about the things to do in Honolulu!

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Things To Do In Honolulu

Honolulu is an amazing city with beautiful beaches and lots of fun things to do. You can relax on the sand, visit old buildings with interesting stories, or learn about the local way of life. It’s a tropical paradise where you’ll make memories that last a lifetime.

The section things to do in Honolulu is divided into the following categories: Free activities, cheap activities, unique activities, night activities, rain activities, activities for kids as well as activities in Waikiki!

Let’s get started with all the things to do in Honolulu:

Things To Do In Honolulu For Free

Exploring Honolulu doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. There are numerous „things to do in Honolulu for free“ that allow visitors to experience the beauty and culture of this Hawaiian capital without spending a dime. Here are some top picks for free activities that showcase the best of Honolulu:

Explore Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is not only famous for its beautiful sunsets and surfing opportunities but also as a place where you can relax, sunbathe, and people-watch at no cost. The beach is a perfect spot to spend a day without spending any money.

Things To Do In Honolulu For Free
Things To Do In Honolulu For Free

Attend a Free Hula Show

Experience Hawaiian culture with a free hula show. Many hotels and shopping centers in Waikiki, such as the Royal Hawaiian Center, offer free performances for visitors, showcasing the traditional dance of Hawaii. If you want to know more about this, click this link to read further.

Visit the USS Arizona Memorial

Gain insight into a pivotal moment in US history at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. While tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial are free, they are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s recommended to arrive early. However, there are also tours (see below) in case you prefer to visit the museum with a tour guide.

Opening hours: daily 7am to 5 pm

Explore Chinatown

Honolulu’s Chinatown is a vibrant and historic area filled with markets, art galleries, and temples. Walking tours through this district offer a glimpse into the diverse cultures that shape the city.

Things To Do In Honolulu For Free

Hike Manoa Falls Trail

For those who love the outdoors, the hike to Manoa Falls is a lush, scenic trek leading to a stunning waterfall. It’s an excellent opportunity for nature photography and to experience Oahu’s tropical rainforest.

Things To Do In Honolulu For Free
Things To Do In Honolulu For Free

Enjoy the Scenery at Magic Island

Located at Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island offers a less crowded alternative to Waikiki Beach with great views of the ocean, Diamond Head, and the Honolulu skyline. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic or sunset watching.

Things To Do In Honolulu For Free
Things To Do In Honolulu For Free
Things To Do In Honolulu For Free
Afternoon walk along Magic Island

Visit the State Capitol and Iolani Palace Grounds

Take a self-guided tour around the Hawaii State Capitol and the grounds of Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States. Learn about Hawaii’s monarchy and governmental history in a beautiful outdoor setting. Opening hours: Monday to Frida 7am to 5pm

Attend a Cultural Festival

Honolulu hosts various cultural festivals throughout the year, many of which are free. These festivals are a great way to experience local music, dance, and food. To read more about these festivals, follow this link. These are just some of the many festivals:

  • Aloha Festivals, statewide in September
  • King Kamehameha Festival, statewide in June
  • Honolulu Festival, Oʻahu in March
  • Duke’s Oceanfest, Oʻahu in August
  • Made in Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu in August
  • Prince Lot Hula Festival in July
  • Honolulu Pride, October
  • Honolulu City Lights, December
Things To Do In Honolulu For Free
Things To Do In Honolulu For Free

These activities not only offer a way to enjoy Honolulu’s natural and cultural highlights for free but also provide insights into what makes this city truly unique. Whether you’re hiking up craggy peaks, watching skilled hula dancers, or soaking in historical sites, Honolulu offers a wealth of experiences that don’t cost a thing.

Cheap Things To Do In Honolulu

When it comes to finding „cheap things to do in Honolulu,“ there are numerous activities that offer a lot of bang for your buck, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities without spending a lot:

Hike to the Top of Diamond Head

While there’s a small fee to enter the park, the hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater is one of the most rewarding activities in Honolulu. It offers panoramic views of the city and ocean, making it a must-do for nature lovers and photographers alike.

Opening hours: daily 6am to 4pm Entrance: 5$ for non-residents, free for children under 3

Cheap Things To Do In Honolulu
View along the east coat of O’ahu
Cheap Things To Do In Honolulu
View above Honolulu

Visit the Bishop Museum

As the largest museum in Hawaii, it offers a deep dive into Hawaiian history and culture with an affordable entrance fee. The museum showcases everything from Hawaiian artifacts to a planetarium.

Opening hours: daily 9am to 5pm Entrance: 34$ for adults, 26$ for kids (4-17), free for children under 3

Explore the Waikiki Aquarium

With a modest admission price, the Waikiki Aquarium is an affordable way to learn about the marine life of the Pacific. It’s one of the oldest public aquariums in the United States and provides a closer look at coral habitats and rare sea creatures.

Opening hours: daily 9am to 5pm Entrance: 12$ for adults (13+)

Attend a Lei-Making Workshop

Various cultural centers and markets in Honolulu offer lei-making workshops for a small fee. This is a wonderful way to learn a traditional Hawaiian craft and take home a beautiful, fragrant souvenir. For more information, read here.

Enjoy a Sunset Cruise

While not as cheap as some other activities, finding a budget-friendly sunset cruise can offer incredible value. It’s a fantastic way to see Honolulu from a different perspective, with breathtaking views of the skyline and ocean at dusk. Buy your tickets here.

Take a Historical Walking Tour

There are guided walking tours available for a nominal fee that cover Honolulu’s historical landmarks, including the State Capitol, Iolani Palace, and King Kamehameha Statue. These tours are rich in educational value and provide insight into Hawaii’s royal and colonial history. There are also self-guided in-app audio tours that you can book here.

Try Local Cuisine at a Food Court

While dining out in Honolulu can be expensive, the food courts in shopping centers like Ala Moana offer a variety of local and international dishes at more affordable prices. It’s a great way to try Hawaiian specialties without the high cost of a sit-down restaurant. For a guided food tour, follow this link.

Rent a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)

Paddleboarding is a fun and relatively inexpensive way to enjoy the waters of Honolulu. Many rental shops offer hourly rates, making it an affordable activity for those looking to explore the calm waters near the beach. You can rent a SUP with Ohana Surf Project on their website.

Visit the Honolulu Botanical Gardens

While some botanical gardens have free entry, others may charge a small fee. These gardens, such as the Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden, offer a tranquil escape with a vast collection of tropical plants, ancient trees, and themed gardens.

Opening hours: daily 9am to 5pm Entrance: free

Cheap Things To Do In Honolulu
If you want to go a little outside of Hononlulu, you will find this beautiful botanical garden called Ho’omaluhia, another beautiful place to visit on O’ahu.

Go to a Traditional Luau

Although luaus can be pricey, there are options for those on a tighter budget. Look for luaus at community centers or smaller venues for an authentic experience that includes Polynesian dance, music, and food at a lower cost. This activity combines a dinner with a traditional Luau show, check it out here.

Check Out a Local Farmers‘ Market

Discovering the local farmers‘ markets is a budget-friendly way to taste fresh Hawaiian produce and local snacks. If you want to know when and where the farmer markets take place, check out the website of Gohawaii.

Visit the Honolulu Zoo

Located near Waikiki Beach, the Honolulu Zoo offers an affordable way to spend the day with family, exploring exhibits of exotic and endemic species. Admission fees are reasonable, making it a great low-cost activity for animal lovers. Follow this link for their website.

Opening hours: daily 10am to 3pm Entrance: 21$ adults (13+) , 13$ children (3-12)

Snorkel at Hanauma Bay

While there’s an entry fee and a parking fee for Hanauma Bay, it’s a small price to pay for some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. The bay is a protected marine life conservation area teeming with colorful fish and coral. For a guided snorkel trip with organized transportation, click here.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday 7am to 4pm Entrance: 25$ adults (12+) , free for children under 12

Cheap Things To Do In Honolulu

Rent a Bike and Explore

Honolulu has a bike share program called Biki, with multiple stations around the city. Renting a bike for a few hours is an inexpensive way to see the sights, including areas like Kaka’ako, known for its street murals and art installations. For more infromation, visit the Biki website.

Take a Surf Lesson

Waikiki Beach is the perfect place for beginners to learn how to surf. While private lessons can be pricey, group lessons offer a more affordable way to catch your first wave. To book a lesson in advance, check out this website.

Attend a Beach Yoga Class

Some yoga instructors offer classes by donation on the beaches of Waikiki. It’s a budget-friendly way to relax and rejuvenate while enjoying the ocean view. There are even yoga classes on a stand-up paddle board! You can book one of them here.

Visit the Byodo-In Temple

Located at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, this non-practicing Buddhist temple is a replica of a 900-year-old temple in Japan. Its serene setting against the Ko’olau Mountains offers a peaceful retreat and a chance to ring the sacred bell for happiness and longevity. For more information visit their website.

Opening hours: daily 8.30am to 5pm Entrance: 5$ adults (13+) , 2$ children (2-12)

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Focusing on activities that require a small investment, this list ensures you can enjoy a rich Honolulu experience without overspending. Each activity offers a unique way to connect with the city’s culture, natural environment, or culinary scene at a fraction of the cost of more expensive tourist attractions.

Unique Things To Do In Honolulu

Honolulu, a city bursting with culture, history, and natural beauty, offers a myriad of experiences that go beyond the typical tourist itinerary. For those seeking „unique things to do in Honolulu,“ here are some activities that promise a truly distinctive Hawaiian adventure:

Tour the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

This museum, once the private home of heiress Doris Duke, houses an extensive collection of Islamic art. Nestled against the backdrop of Diamond Head, it offers a unique blend of cultural and architectural beauty. For more information, visit their website.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday 9am to 1.30pm Entrance: 25$

Experience the Fireworks from a Catamaran

Every Friday night, the Hilton Hawaiian Village sets off fireworks. Watching them from the beach is common, but for a unique experience, view them from the ocean aboard a catamaran cruise. This offers a spectacular vantage point away from the crowds. Since the firework start at 7pm on Friday’s, make sure to book your catamaran for this time or book this activity instead.

When? every Friday 7pm

Take a Ghost Tour

Explore the spiritual and supernatural side of Honolulu with a ghost tour. These tours delve into the island’s history, mythology, and haunted sites, providing a spine-tingling perspective on Hawaiian culture. This tour is ranked the best in the US, so make sure to book this one!

Opening hours: evenings, daily Price: 40$

Hike to the Makapu’u Tide Pools

While many visitors hike the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail for its breathtaking views, a detour down to the tide pools offers a more seclude and unique experience. These natural pools are a hidden gem, perfect for exploring marine life up close.

Explore the Kaka’ako Murals

The Kaka’ako district is renowned for its vibrant street art, with murals that transform buildings into canvases for contemporary artists. Taking a self-guided tour through this area offers insight into Honolulu’s modern cultural and artistic expressions.

Attend a Traditional Hawaiian Quilting Class

Hawaiian quilting is an art form unique to the islands, with distinct patterns and techniques. Participating in a quilting class not only provides a hands-on cultural experience but also allows you to create a personal souvenir. Read further here.

Try a Farm-to-Table Meal at a Taro Farm

Experience the farm-to-table movement Hawaiian style by visiting a taro farm. Taro, the traditional staple of the Hawaiian diet, can be experienced in many forms, from poi to fresh produce, in a meal that connects you directly with the island’s agricultural heritage. Visit the website of the Taro Farm.

Volunteer for a Beach Cleanup

For those looking to give back during their vacation, participating in a beach cleanup is a unique way to experience Honolulu’s natural beauty while preserving it for future generations. Many local organizations offer opportunities to help maintain the beaches. One of them are the O’ahu Surfriders which I have been joining for a beach clean up back in 2019!

Each of these activities offers a unique way to engage with Honolulu’s diverse landscape, culture, and community, providing memories that are as distinctive as they are unforgettable.

Things To Do In Honolulu At Night

Honolulu, after the sun sets, transforms into a vibrant hub of nightlife and cultural experiences. Here are some engaging „things to do in Honolulu at night“ that showcase the city’s diverse evening offerings:

Nighttime Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Experience the ocean in a whole new light by trying nighttime SUP. Some tours offer boards equipped with LED lights that illuminate the water below, offering a magical view of marine life after dark.

Enjoy Live Music and Entertainment

Many bars and venues in Waikiki and beyond host live music ranging from traditional Hawaiian tunes to contemporary hits. Check out the Blue Note Hawaii for jazz, or The Republik for a mix of genres.

Explore Chinatown’s Nightlife

Chinatown comes alive at night with its eclectic mix of hip bars, clubs, and restaurants. It’s a great place to enjoy craft cocktails, discover local bands, and dance the night away in a lively atmosphere. Pro tip: Chinatown is also much cheaper compared to Waikiki or Ala Moana!

Dine at a Beachfront Restaurant

Honolulu’s beachfront restaurants offer the perfect setting for a romantic dinner or a relaxed evening meal with stunning ocean views. Enjoy the fresh, local seafood and tropical cocktails as you watch the sunset. Some amazing restaurants are Duke’s Waikiki or Hau Tree.

Take a Moonlit Walk on the Beach

Waikiki Beach, with its soft sand and gentle waves, is particularly enchanting by moonlight. A nighttime stroll here is both romantic and peaceful, offering a different perspective of Honolulu’s most famous beach.

Attend the Art After Dark Event

Held on the last Friday of every month at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Art After Dark offers a unique blend of art, music, and food, attracting a diverse crowd looking to experience the museum in a new light. Check out the website of the Honolulu Art Museum.

Experience the Honolulu Night Market

Occurring on the third Saturday of each month in the Kaka’ako district, the Honolulu Night Market features local artists, designers, live music, and a variety of food trucks, making it a vibrant celebration of local culture.

Visit the Ala Moana Center for Evening Shopping and Entertainment

The world’s largest open-air shopping center offers more than just shopping; evening hours are filled with free cultural performances and the chance to dine al fresco while enjoying the balmy night air.

Opening hours: daily 10am to 8pm

Try Nighttime Snorkeling or Diving

For the adventurous, nighttime snorkeling or diving tours offer a unique way to explore marine life that only comes out after dark. The illuminated waters reveal a different side of Hawaii’s ocean life.

These activities highlight the vibrant and diverse nightlife in Honolulu, from cultural experiences and romantic evenings to adventurous outings and lively entertainment. Each option offers a unique way to enjoy the city’s nocturnal charms, ensuring memorable nights in Hawaii’s capital.

Things To Do In Honolulu When It Rains

Honolulu’s sunny disposition may occasionally be interrupted by rain, but don’t let that dampen your spirits. There are plenty of „things to do in Honolulu when it rains“ that will keep you entertained and dry. Here’s a selection of indoor activities and attractions:

Shop at Ala Moana Center

As the world’s largest open-air shopping center, Ala Moana offers covered areas that make shopping enjoyable even when it’s raining. With over 350 stores and dining options, you can easily spend a whole day here.

Opening hours: daily 10am to 8pm

Things To Do In Honolulu When It Rains
Pro tip: Don’t forget to check out Arcade games at Ala Moana Shopping Center!
Things To Do In Honolulu When It Rains
Don’t worry, it’s still possible to go shopping here when it rains!

Indulge in a Spa Day

Many of Honolulu’s resorts and hotels offer luxurious spa treatments that provide a relaxing way to enjoy a rainy day. Treat yourself to a massage, facial, or a full spa package. Read further to discover the 10 best Spas in Honolulu.

Arcade Games at Dave&Busters

Playing arcade games at Dave & Buster’s offers an exhilarating experience that combines the nostalgia of classic arcade fun with the latest in gaming technology. They have a huge selection of games, from timeless favorites like skee-ball and air hockey to cutting-edge virtual reality experiences.

Take a Cooking Class

Learn to cook local Hawaiian dishes or international cuisine by joining a cooking class. It’s a fun and delicious way to spend your day indoors. On this website, you can find the 10 best cooking classes in Hawaii, even a special farm-to-table cooking class!

Visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial

While some parts of this historic site are outdoors, the museums and exhibits offer insightful indoor activities. Learn about the events of December 7, 1941, through multimedia exhibits and historical artifacts.

Opening hours: daily 7am to 5pm Entrance: free (first come first serve basis)

Things To Do In Honolulu When It Rains
Things To Do In Honolulu When It Rains

Enjoy a Cup of Hawaiian Coffee

Visit one of Honolulu’s cozy coffee shops and enjoy a cup of locally grown coffee. Some cafes also offer coffee tastings and workshops on brewing the perfect cup. Check out the Honolulu Coffee Experience Center.

Opening hours: daily 6.30am to 4.30pm

Catch a Movie

Sometimes, a rainy day is the perfect excuse to watch the latest blockbuster. Honolulu has several movie theaters, including luxury options that offer gourmet food and reclining seats.

The following options have been already mentioned before, but I wanted to include them for all the people that skipped the article up til here:

Explore the Bishop Museum

Dive into Hawaii’s history, culture, and natural sciences at the Bishop Museum. It’s the largest museum in Hawaii and offers extensive exhibits on Hawaiian culture, a planetarium, and more, making it a perfect rainy day escape.

Visit the Iolani Palace

Step back in time with a tour of the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on American soil. Learn about the history of the Hawaiian monarchy and see how royalty lived in the 19th century.

Enjoy the Honolulu Museum of Art

With one of the largest collections of Asian and Pan-Pacific art in the United States, the Honolulu Museum of Art is a great place to spend a few hours admiring artworks from around the world.

Discover the Waikiki Aquarium

Meet the marine inhabitants of the Pacific at the Waikiki Aquarium. From colorful fish to corals and seahorses, it’s a fascinating place for visitors of all ages.

Rainy days in Honolulu provide an opportunity to explore the city’s rich culture, history, and indoor attractions. From museums and shopping to relaxing spa treatments and culinary adventures, there’s no shortage of things to do when the weather turns wet.

Things To Do In Honolulu With Kids

Honolulu is a family-friendly destination with a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to children of all ages. Here’s a roundup of „things to do in Honolulu with kids“ that promise fun, adventure, and educational experiences.

Enjoy a Day at Wet’n’Wild Hawaii

Just a short drive from Honolulu, this water park offers over 25 rides and attractions suitable for the whole family. From thrilling water slides to a lazy river, there’s something for everyone. Book your ticket here.

Take a Submarine Tour

Explore the underwater world without getting wet. Atlantis Submarines offer a unique opportunity for kids to dive into the ocean in a real submarine, viewing shipwrecks, coral reefs, and marine life. Check out the tour on this website.

Hike to Manoa Falls

For families that enjoy outdoor adventures, a hike to Manoa Falls offers a relatively easy trail that leads to a stunning 150-foot waterfall. The lush surroundings are reminiscent of scenes from Jurassic Park, which was filmed on Oahu.

Visit the Children’s Discovery Center

This interactive museum in Honolulu is designed specifically for children, with exhibits that encourage exploration, imagination, and learning through play. It’s perfect for younger kids. For more information, visit the museum’s website.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 9am to 1pm, Weekends 10am to 3pm Entrance: 12$

Go to the Beach

No visit to Honolulu would be complete without a day (or more) at the beach. Waikiki Beach is very popular and offers calm waters for swimming. For a more secluded experience, try beaches like Hanauma Bay for snorkeling or Kailua Beach for its soft sand and gentle waves.

Pro tip: Visit Kahala Beach which is not well-known to tourists. You will rather find locals here plus there are not a lot of waves.

Things To Do In Honolulu With Kids
Things To Do In Honolulu With Kids

Explore Sea Life Park Hawaii

Located on the eastern side of Oahu, Sea Life Park is where children can get up close with marine life, including dolphins, sea lions, and penguins. The park offers educational programs and interactive experiences that are both fun and informative. Book your tickets here.

Opening hours: daily 10am to 4pm Entrance: 12$

Visit the Honolulu Zoo

Located in Queen Kapiʻolani Park, the Honolulu Zoo is home to over 900 different animals from the tropics, including Komodo dragons, orang-utans, and elephants. It’s a great place for kids to learn about wildlife and conservation efforts. You can book tickets on the website of the zoo directly.

Opening hours: daily 10am to 3pm

These activities highlight the diverse array of family-friendly things to do in Honolulu, ensuring that your trip is filled with memorable experiences that cater to the interests and excitement of kids and adults alike.

Things To Do In Waikiki

Waikiki, a vibrant neighborhood in Honolulu, is famous for its iconic crescent-shaped beach, bustling atmosphere, and plethora of attractions. Here are some must-do activities in Waikiki for a memorable visit:

Surf at Waikiki Beach

Known as the birthplace of modern surfing, taking surf lessons or renting a board to catch some waves at Waikiki Beach is a quintessential experience.

Stroll Along Kalakaua Avenue

This main strip is lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, offering endless opportunities for shopping, dining, and people-watching.

Things To Do In Waikiki
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Visit the Waikiki Aquarium

Get up close with marine life native to the Pacific Ocean. The aquarium is one of the oldest in the United States and provides insight into the diverse ecosystems of the Pacific.

Hike up Diamond Head Crater

For panoramic views of Waikiki and the ocean, hike the trail leading to the summit of Diamond Head Crater. The hike is moderately challenging but the view from the top is well worth the effort.

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Relax at Kuhio Beach Park

This part of Waikiki Beach is known for its calmer waters, making it perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Don’t miss the iconic Duke Kahanamoku Statue and the historic banyan trees.

Explore the Royal Hawaiian Center

This shopping and entertainment complex offers a variety of retail stores, dining options, and free cultural activities, such as hula lessons and ukulele classes.

Opening hours: daily 10am to 9pm

Attend an Outdoor movie

Check the schedule for the Sunset on the Beach event which features free outdoor movie screenings right on the beach. It’s a unique way to enjoy a film under the stars. Check out the event’s website here.

Take a Catamaran Cruise or a Glass Boat Ride

Set sail on a catamaran to enjoy stunning views of the coastline. Many cruises offer snorkeling, dinner, or simply a relaxing ride on the water. Book your ticket for a glass boat ride here.

Waikiki offers a blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and fun activities that cater to all interests, making it a must-visit destination in Honolulu. Whether you’re looking to ride the waves, delve into Hawaiian culture, or simply enjoy the stunning scenery, Waikiki has something for everyone.

Hidden Gems In Honolulu

Our ‚things to do in Honolulu‘ guide would absolutely not be complete without showing you some lesser-known places in or nearby the city. Let’s dig deeper into the hidden gems of Honolulu:

Kaka’ako Waterfront Park

This park offers stunning views of Honolulu Harbor and is a great spot for picnics, walks, or simply relaxing by the water. It’s often less crowded than other popular parks in the area.

Hidden Gems In Honolulu

Aloha Tower Marketplace

While the Aloha Tower itself is well-known, the marketplace surrounding it is often overlooked. It features shops, restaurants, and a weekend farmers‘ market, providing a glimpse into local life away from the tourist crowds.

Queen Emma Summer Palace

Tucked away in the Nu’uanu Valley, this historic summer retreat offers a fascinating look into the lives of Hawaiian royalty. The meticulously preserved palace and gardens provide a serene escape from the city.

Manoa Heritage Center

Nestled in the lush Manoa Valley, this cultural and botanical oasis showcases Hawaiian history, heritage, and native plants. Guided tours provide insight into the significance of the area and its connection to Hawaiian culture.

Foster Botanical Garden

This peaceful oasis in the heart of Honolulu features a diverse collection of tropical plants, including rare and endangered species. It’s a tranquil escape from the city hustle and bustle.

These hidden gems within Honolulu offer a blend of cultural, historical, and local experiences for visitors looking to explore beyond the usual tourist attractions.

Now that we have finally made our way through many things to do in Honolulu, it’s time to focus on other questions such as ‚Where to stay‘, ‚Where to eat‘ and ‚How to get around‘.

Where To Stay In Honolulu?

For those planning a trip to Honolulu and looking for accommodation options that cater to various budgets, here are some selected hotels ranging from low budget to luxurious choices:

Low Budget Hotels

Ilima Hotel: Praised for its spacious rooms and affordable rates, the ‚Ilima Hotel offers a comfortable stay with a full kitchen in each unit, making it ideal for budget-minded travelers seeking convenience and space

Shoreline Hotel Waikiki: Known for its excellent location and affordable pricing, the Shoreline Hotel Waikiki offers guests the true Aloha Spirit without breaking the bank. It’s an affordable choice with stellar access to Waikiki Beach

Mid-Budget Hotels

Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites: Offers a blend of comfort and convenience with its fitness center, pool, and on-site dining options. Its location near Fort DeRussy Beach and Kahanamoku Beach provides easy access to the sea

Waikiki Resort Hotel: This hotel is popular for its proximity to Waikiki Beach and provides a good balance between price and comfort, offering guests a variety of amenities for a mid-range budget

Luxurious Hotels

The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki: Known as the „Pink Palace of the Pacific,“ this historic hotel offers luxury accommodations, fine dining, and a prime beachfront location, ideal for those looking to splurge on a memorable stay.

Halekulani: Boasting oceanfront views and renowned for its impeccable service, Halekulani provides an oasis of luxury right on Waikiki Beach, offering fine dining experiences and a spa.

Each of these accommodations offers something unique for travelers, whether you’re looking to save money, spend a moderate amount, or indulge in luxury during your stay in Honolulu. Always consider booking in advance to secure the best rates and availability.

Still looking for an affordable accomodation in Honolulu? Check out Agoda!

things to do in honolulu
things to do in honolulu

Where To Eat (Veggie) In Honolulu?

For vegetarians visiting Honolulu, the city offers a diverse culinary scene that caters to plant-based preferences, including traditional Hawaiian cuisine and a variety of international dishes.

Here are some top picks for vegetarian dining in Honolulu:

Restaurant Recommendations for Vegetarians

Peace Cafe: Offering a cozy atmosphere, Peace Cafe specializes in vegan dishes with a healthy twist, including sandwiches, poke bowls, and BBQ tempeh plates, all made with eco-friendly practices

Govinda’s Restaurant: Located within the ISKCON temple, Govinda’s provides a unique dining experience with its vegetarian buffet. The menu changes daily, offering fresh, homemade Indian food in a serene setting.

Simple Joy: Serving Vietnamese style entrees alongside a variety of Western dishes, Simple Joy caters to vegetarians and vegans with its diverse menu, including pho, banh mi, and “chicken” nuggets

Loving Hut: Part of an international vegan chain, Loving Hut in Honolulu offers Vietnamese and Chinese style dishes, providing a range of flavorful vegan options

Tane Vegan Izakaya: For a unique dining experience, Tane Vegan Izakaya offers plant-based sushi and ramen, drawing inspiration from Japanese cuisine with aesthetically pleasing dishes

AV Restaurant: Offering a luxurious dining experience, AV Restaurant features a 14 to 16-course tasting menu that frequently changes, providing an extensive exploration of vegan cuisine in a high-end setting

The Ripple Of Smiles: This Vietnamese restaurant offers a focus on clean, healthy, and quality meals with vegan and vegetarian options, ensuring a satisfying dining experience with a cozy outdoor seating area

Leahi Health Aina Haina: Known for its use of locally sourced and organic ingredients, Leahi Health offers a variety of smoothies, tacos, and its own kombucha, perfect for health-conscious diners

Earth Aloha Eats – Waikiki: Specializing in a variety of vegan foods from burgers to „fish“ and chips, Earth Aloha Eats provides hearty and delicious options for those looking to enjoy American classics in vegan form

Another personal recommendation I want to share with you is Leonard’s Bakery as they have the best malasada’s ever!! Don’t know what a malasada is? Then try!

For seamless travel planning, consider using Trip.com, a comprehensive website offering flight, train, and hotel bookings all in one place. Trip.com simplifies your journey by providing a one-stop solution for various travel needs.

How To Get Around Honolulu?

Getting around Honolulu offers a variety of options suitable for different preferences and budgets. Here’s a comprehensive overview on how to get around the city:

Public Transportation: TheBus

TheBus is Honolulu’s extensive bus network that covers the entire island of O’ahu, making it an affordable and accessible option for getting around. A single ride costs $2.75, but an unlimited day pass is available for $5.50.

For the most economical and convenient use, consider purchasing a HOLO card, which allows for fare capping and can be reloaded online or at select retail outlets. TheBus is known for its reliability and coverage, providing a safe, air-conditioned ride across the island.

Taxis, Uber, and Lyft

Taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are readily available across most of O’ahu, especially in tourist-heavy areas such as Waikīkī and Honolulu.

While taxis can be more expensive, Uber and Lyft offer a convenient alternative with widespread coverage and generally shorter wait times in busy areas. These services are ideal for direct, point-to-point travel when public transportation isn’t as convenient

Need a stress-free ride to or from the airport? Choose KiwiTaxi for a comfortable and reliable airport transfer. Insider tip: It is not allowed to travel with a suitcase in the busses on Oahu, so you need to get a taxi anywere! Use the tool down below to check for your next transfer.

Waikiki Trolley

For those staying in or exploring Waikiki, the Waikiki Trolley provides a scenic and enjoyable way to visit popular sights. It operates several lines, including the Pink Line (Waikiki to Ala Moana), the Red Line (city arts district), and the Blue Line (coastal route including Diamond Head). This hop-on, hop-off service is perfect for sightseeing at your own pace.

Car Rentals

Renting a car offers the most flexibility for exploring O’ahu, especially for visiting more remote locations. To get the best deals, compare prices online and consider third-party sites that might offer lower rates due to shared commissions.

Remember to account for parking costs in your budget, as many hotels charge a daily rate. Car sharing services like Drive Hui also offer a flexible alternative for those needing a car for shorter durations.

Bike Rentals and Bikeshare Programs

For short distances or a leisurely exploration of Waikīkī and Honolulu, consider renting a bike or using the Biki Bike Program. This bikeshare service has 130 stations and offers a fun way to see the city. It’s an eco-friendly option that lets you enjoy the outdoors while moving around.

Guided Tours

Opting for guided tours can be a hassle-free way to see the island’s highlights without worrying about transportation. Tours offer the advantage of expert knowledge and include various options, from historical tours to nature explorations. Smaller, more intimate tours provide a personalized experience.

Each of these options has its own set of advantages, allowing you to choose based on your preferences, budget, and the areas of Honolulu or O’ahu you wish to explore.

Whether you prefer the independence of driving, the eco-friendliness of biking, or the affordability of public transportation, there’s a convenient way for you to enjoy all that Honolulu has to offer.

Check out guided tours around O’ahu here!

2 Days Itinerary For Honolulu

This “things to do in Honolulu” guide wouldn’t be complete with an example on how to spend 2 days in Honolulu! That’s why here’s a suggested schedule to help you make the most of your visit:

Honolulu Day 1

  • Start your day with a visit to Pearl Harbor. It’s advisable to arrive early to avoid the crowds and spend a few hours exploring the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri Battleship, and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
  • Next, head to the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States, offering a glimpse into Hawaii’s royal past.
  • Grab lunch at one of the local restaurants in downtown Honolulu. Consider trying traditional Hawaiian cuisine like poke or laulau.
  • After lunch, spend your afternoon at Waikiki Beach. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, or take a surfing lesson to experience the waves that made Waikiki famous.
  • Explore the Waikiki Strip as the sun sets. This area is bustling with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Enjoy a beachside dinner at a restaurant offering local seafood and produce.
  • End your day with a leisurely walk along the beach or attend a traditional Hawaiian luau if you’re in the mood for music, dance, and a feast.

Honolulu Day 2

  • Head to Diamond Head State Monument early to hike to the crater’s summit. The hike offers spectacular views of Honolulu and the ocean. It’s a moderate hike, so wear comfortable shoes and bring water.
  • After the hike, visit the Kapiolani Park for a relaxing stroll or a picnic. This is the largest public park in Hawaii and offers a peaceful escape with beautiful views and native trees.
  • Visit the Honolulu Zoo or the Waikiki Aquarium to learn about local and exotic wildlife. Both are located near Waikiki and are great for families or those interested in marine life and conservation.
  • Spend the afternoon exploring the Ala Moana Center, the largest open-air shopping center in the world. Here you can find everything from luxury brands to local boutiques, along with dining options that cater to every taste.
  • For your final evening, consider dining in the vibrant Kaka’ako district, known for its street art, trendy restaurants, and craft breweries. It’s a great place to experience Honolulu’s contemporary culture.
  • Optionally, take a sunset cruise from Waikiki to see the city from a different perspective, enjoying the ocean breeze and a beautiful Hawaiian sunset as you wrap up your visit.

This 2-day itinerary combines Honolulu’s historical sites, natural beauty, and modern attractions, providing a well-rounded experience of the city. Be sure to check the opening hours and any reservation requirements for each location prior to your visit to ensure a smooth trip.

FAQ About „Things To Do In Honolulu“

Conclusion About Things To Do In Honolulu

Honolulu is full of amazing activities, stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant city life. Whether you’re soaking up the sun on Waikiki Beach, exploring the historic sites of Pearl Harbor, or enjoying the natural beauty of Diamond Head, there’s something for everyone.

I hope you enjoyed this immensely detailed guide on the things to do in Honolulu! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more travel insights, follow me on social media for the latest updates!

If you are interested in other destinations, feel free to check them out too!

I hope to see you again soon on this blog. Do not forget to share this „things to do in Honolulu“ guide with your friends and family too 🙂

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