Top attractions in Honolulu
Top 10 things to do in Honolulu
The Hawaiian capital is a small city within a big landscape. Whether you're visiting Honolulu for its volcanic beaches, vibrant wildlife, or hedonistic cuisine, you'll find no shortage of enticing things to see and do. Here are 10 of the best!
1. Diamond Head
Honolulu is a hiker's paradise and one of its best trails for scenic sightseeing is the one ascending Diamond Head, Waikiki's emblematic dormant volcano!
2. Nuuanu Pali State Wayside
The Koolau is a very unusual mountain range! The remaining half of this former volcano provides spectacular views, best seen from the Nuuanu Pali State Wayside lookout.
3. Pearl Harbor
The bombing of Pearl Harbor was a major turning point in the course of World War II. The naval base is still active and gives free tours if you arrive early enough to bag a ticket!
4. USS Arizona Memorial
1,177 were killed when the USS Arizona was sunk by Japanese bombs in 1941. This USS Arizona Memorial straddles the submerged battleship, allowing visitors to peer down into the wreckage.
5. Polynesian Cultural Center
This top attraction has been offering tourists an enthralling Polynesian cultural experience for half a century, from replica villages to arts, crafts, and Luaus!
6. Iolani Palace
Built by the last king of Hawaii in an effort to make the island nation appear more prestigious, tours of the Iolani-Palast provide a fascinating insight into the short-lived kingdom.
7. Bernice Pauahai Bishop Museum
Established to preserve the heirlooms inherited from the founder's Hawaiian wife, the museum boasts the world's largest collection of Polynesian artifacts and natural specimens.
8. Hanauma Bay
This scenic nature reserve is one of Hawaii's premier snorkeling spots. Its reefs, which are swarming with sealife, are so popular that they have to limit visitors - arrive early!
9. Honolulu Zoo
Built across part of Kapiolani Park – the largest and oldest park in Hawaii – the zoo is home to over 900 mostly tropical species. Don't miss the fierce Komodo Dragons!
10. Waikiki Aquarium
If you can't make it to Hanauma Bay then check out Waikiki's aquarium instead. It's a small one but nonetheless a great place to discover Hawaii's local sea creatures!
Planning Your Visit
When to visit?
There isn't really a bad time to visit Honolulu, but December to March brings mercifully cooler temperatures than the summer, even if the trade off means a higher chance of it raining. If you can, go during the school months. The off-season dip in tourism will see even the best beaches more secluded and the limited-space attractions, like the USS Arizona Memorial, easier to access.
How many days?
Don't stress yourself trying to hurry through a packed itinerary. Hawaii is definitely not the place for that! Book your stay in Honolulu for at least a week, especially if you plan on seeing more of Oahu island.
Good to know
- USD ($)
- Time Zone
- UTC (-10:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- All year round
Other Sightseeing Options in Honolulu
Want to discover all there is to do in Honolulu? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Honolulu
The driver had a lot of information and was funny. Unfortunately it was raining so touring the city we did not get out of the bus. The palace was not open due to Covid. Pearl Harbor was interesting and the Park Ranger on the Arizona Memorial was very informative and you could tell he liked his job and willing to share his information.
It was a nice relaxing boat ride and they guarantee that either you’ll see a whale or else they will give you another tour at no cost. The crew was friendly and offered a selection of drinks along the way. We really enjoyed it and definitely recommend this fun experience for the whole family!!!!!
We had perfect weather and smooth seas. A blow was sighted soon after we left the harbor. We followed two different mothers with calves. Another bonus was a large group of spinner dolphins who played around the catamaran as we returned to the harbor. It us something I will never forget!!
Wow! We saw sharks as soon as we got into the water!! This was such an amazing experience and I’m so happy that we went with this crew!! Crew made us feel safe & boat ride was amazing as we saw some dolphins and a whale! 11/10!!
It was extremely beneficial to have an audio giving details and information while we walked around Pearl Harbor! The survivors commentary were especially impactful & moving!! Excellent & necessary addition!!