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Honolulu has no end of great activities and destinations, and this guide offers a selection of the best — for the sports lover, the foodie, the outdoor adventurer, the sightseer, or the photography nut. While you can't fit everything on this list into a single day, the guide aims to give you a well-rounded look at the many choices available during your visit, from surf's up to surf'n'turf. Enjoy!

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

11 Places

3 City Tips

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11 Places

Iolani Palace

Historic Sites, Speciality Museums, History Museums

Shangri La

Art Museums, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites

Makapuu Lighthouse Trail

Hiking Trails, Historic Walking Areas

Hawaii Food Tours

Food Tours

Oahu Diving

Scuba & Snorkeling, Boat Tours, Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours

Gone Surfing Hawaii

Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing, Boat Tours, Water Sports, Private Tours, Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Oahu Photography Tours

Nature & Wildlife Tours, Cultural Tours, Eco Tours, Private Tours, Photography Tours

Manoa Falls

Waterfalls

Ala Moana Center

, Shopping Malls

Ala Moana Beach Park

Beaches, Parks, Jogging Paths & Tracks

Honolulu Cookie Company Royal Hawaiian Center

, Gift & Speciality Shops

Madison S's City Tips

  • It can get very hot out, so be sure to carry a canteen or bottle of water with you to avoid dehydration, especially if you plan to be very active.
  • The best way to get from the airport to your hotel is via the Roberts Hawaii shuttle. Taxis are more expensive, and buses can be tricky with luggage.
  • When the weather is murky, be careful on hiking trails. They can become very slippery and muddy, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes and only walk on marked paths.
  • Iolani Palace
    Historic Sites, Speciality Museums, History Museums
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    When traveling in Honolulu, it's a good idea to get to the 'must-see' spots early, as many don't stay open into the evening. While you're letting the waters of the Pacific warm up, visit the Iolani Palace, which qualifies as one of the most important attractions. The only royal palace in the United States, Iolani is the former home of the Hawaiian King and Queen. Here, you can stroll the palm tree-laden paths, learn about the history Hawaii's monarchy, and gape at royal jewels and sumptuous Victorian sitting rooms. This opulent setting will set the tone for your Honolulu vacation by acting as a gateway to the city's past.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Please note that the Iolani Palace is closed on Sundays.
    • On Fridays at 12pm, the Royal Hawaiian Band plays free concerts on the grounds directly behind the Iolani Palace — a real treat, if you happen to be in the area.
    • The Palace is open 9:00am-4:00pm.
    • You can take a free guided tour (90 minutes) or self-guided tour (45 minutes).
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 292 things to do in Honolulu
    • The Only Palace in the United States 20/05/2019
    • Majestic palace from a bygone era 20/05/2019
    • Iolani Palace
    Address:
    364 S King St
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96813-2900
    Phone:
    +1 808-522-0822
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • Shangri La
    Art Museums, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Nestled in a garden hideaway overlooking the water, Shangri La is the former home of heiress Doris Duke. Today, the mansion houses Duke's impressive collection of Islamic art. Its manicured grounds are stunning, and the house itself is an architectural marvel.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You must book the tour in advance through the Honolulu Museum of Art. Do this well in advance, as tour groups are small and fill up early.
    • Tours of the house take roughly 90 minutes; with travel, visiting Shangri La takes about two hours in total.
    • Trips to Shangri La begin and end at the Honolulu Museum of Art. (Afterwards, feel free to check out the Museum of Art.)
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 292 things to do in Honolulu
    • A FEAST FOR THE SENSES 20/05/2019
    • Smaller but just as sumptuous as San Simion or the Biltmore 16/05/2019
    • Shangri La
    Address:
    4055 Papu Cir
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96816-4850
    Phone:
    +1 808-734-1941
    Other:
  • Makapuu Lighthouse Trail
    Hiking Trails, Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Why not see the waters of the Pacific before you swim them? A mild hike that leads up to a stunning vista, the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is a great way to warm up your limbs. The trail's high point gives you gorgeous views of the sprawling ocean below, and on many days you can whale watch from here. With the lighthouse to explore and a short (but difficult) additional climb to the sea tide-pools, this trail is worth exploring.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you're taking on the Lighthouse Trail for whale-watching purposes, you might want to carry binoculars. Photographers, bring a powerful zoom lens.
    • The sun can get intense, so be sure to wear sunscreen and bring a visor or a hat for additional coverage. And don't forget plenty of water!
    • Occasionally, the trail is closed for construction work. Check ahead to make sure it is open during your visit.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 292 things to do in Honolulu
    • Go early! Beautiful view! 21/05/2019
    • Not crowded and great views 20/05/2019
    • Makapuu Lighthouse Trail
    Address:
    Near the Hawaii Kai Golf Course on Kalanianaole Highway
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI
  • Hawaii Food Tours
    Food Tours
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    For a local culinary experience, a late lunch, or perhaps a means to find out where you'd like to eat for dinner, join up with Hawaii Food Tours. The well-informed guides will provide interesting anecdotes, recipe tips, and the latest foodie recommendations while showing you the best of Hawaii's local foods and eateries. From sweet to savory, and drinks to boot, you're sure to discover plenty of places you wouldn't have otherwise. Lots of background information on the historical and cultural contexts of the food really adds to the eclectic selection of the dishes you'll sample — from the culinary heights of the 'five layers of heaven' to the homey comfort of the lowly musubi.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • This is not very suitable for vegetarians, vegans, or other dietary restrictions (e.g. gluten free).
    • The company offers a variety of tours, which cover different types of cuisine.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 35 Food & Drink in Honolulu
    • Wonderful tour of off the beaten track food spots 08/05/2019
    • Don’t miss out!!! 16/04/2019
    • Hawaii Food Tours
    Phone:
    +1 808-926-3663
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    Other:
  • Oahu Diving
    Scuba & Snorkeling, Boat Tours, Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Oahu Diving provides a great opportunity for the adventurers to get out into the sun and surf. In addition to being great for divers of all skill levels (including first-timers), these dives help introduce guests to the exotic aquatic life native to Honolulu's waters. Each day out consists of two dives, in two different locations, with a good amount of time spent underwater, where you can spy sea turtles, reef sharks, and moray eels up close and personal.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If the weather is especially bad, dives may be cancelled. The instructors will keep you up to date if this is the case.
    • The instructor takes photos of you throughout, including underwater shots using gopro cameras.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 397 Tours in Honolulu
    • Exciting and great taste of scuba 19/05/2019
    • A whole new world 19/05/2019
    • Oahu Diving
    Address:
    1125 Ala Moana Blvd
    Kewalo Basin Harbor
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96814-4901
    Phone:
    +1 808-721-4210
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • Gone Surfing Hawaii
    Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing, Boat Tours, Water Sports, Private Tours, Stand-Up Paddleboarding
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    A surf lesson is a great way to experience Hawaii's famous waters, and Gone Surfing provides helpful lessons, focusing on safety and comfort. This is a great company for beginners, as the lessons are conducted on a quiet beach with good starter waves and the instructors will stick with you for as many crests as you feel up to trying.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can book a private or a group lesson. Groups vary in size.
    • Be sure to dress appropriately for your surf adventure. The better your coverage, the less chance of getting a board burn.
    • You have the option to purchase a photography package for the duration of your lesson. This comes at an extra charge.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #18 of 229 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Honolulu
    • Great team for surf lessons 20/04/2019
    • Brilliant for a first timer 02/04/2019
    • Gone Surfing Hawaii
    Address:
    330 Saratoga Rd
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96830-1901
    Phone:
    +1 808-429-6404
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:00 AM - 9:00 PM
    Other:
  • Oahu Photography Tours
    Nature & Wildlife Tours, Cultural Tours, Eco Tours, Private Tours, Photography Tours
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    If photography is your thing, then the best way to spend a day in Honolulu is with the Oahu Photography Tours group. The tour combines informative sightseeing throughout some of Honolulu's most beautiful spots, with a lesson in photography that will leave you with stunning images of your visit. With plenty of tour options to choose from, you can easily capture the stunning natural beauty of Hawaii's waves and wildlife, mountains, forests, sunsets, and urban landscapes. Whale watch, take on the full moon, or make light art on the beach. It's all about what you want to see and which techniques you hope to improve upon. A few hours exploring and learning with Oahu Photography Tours will ensure a lifetime a memorable vacation photos.

    Good for
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Rain gear, pickup from your hotel, and tripods are included in your tour package.
    • All photographic equipment is acceptable on the tour, be it professional, point-and-shoot, your phone camera, or a combination thereof. The guides have tips for all options.
    • The tours all differ in length, starting from 3 hours and going up to full-day options. You can request a shorter tour with the private tour option.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 372 Outdoor Activities in Honolulu
    • Private North Shore Tour 29/04/2019
    • Beautiful Hawaii 05/04/2019
    • Oahu Photography Tours
    Address:
    2421 Tusitala St
    Apt. 801
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-3151
    Phone:
    +1 808-679-1938
    Price range:
    US$39 - US$39
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    4:30 AM - 10:00 PM
    Other:
  • Manoa Falls
    Waterfalls
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    After a day out sightseeing, swimming, eating, or photographing, take on the trail leading to the Manoa Fall. An easygoing, scenic hike will lead you to the waterfall, but the real pleasure is in seeing the tall bamboo trees that line the pathway, along with the long, ropey vines and beautiful foliage.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Be aware that the waterfall isn't always strong in current, and sometimes will be entirely dry. It all depends on the recent weather.
    • Wear good shoes for this hike, especially if it's wet out; the trail can become slippery.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 292 things to do in Honolulu
    • Lovely pretty easy hike, longer than expected, waterfall at top wasn’t all that 20/05/2019
    • Beautiful Greenery 18/05/2019
    • Manoa Falls
    Address:
    End of Manoa Road
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96822
    Phone:
    +1 877-415-0058
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • Ala Moana Center
    , Shopping Malls
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Wind down from your busy day with some shopping and good eats. The Ala Moana Center, with more than 290 shops and a massive food court, is perfect for picking up any last-minute items, or giving some interesting dishes a try. Its Japanese department store, Shirokiya, also serves up a number of popular local dishes that are largely unavailable in mainland USA.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • There is a free Hula show at the Ala Moana Center every day at 1pm.
    • A pink bus picks up shoppers around the island to take them to the Ala Moana Center. Ask at your hotel to find out where the nearest pickup is.
    • A trip to the Ala Moana Center also puts you right across the street from a great nighttime beach spot, which you can visit before or after you shop.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 292 things to do in Honolulu
    • Shop till you drop! 19/05/2019
    • Excellent Shopping Centre 19/05/2019
    • Ala Moana Center
    Address:
    1450 Ala Moana Blvd
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96814-4604
    Phone:
    +1 808-955-9517
    Other:
  • Ala Moana Beach Park
    Beaches, Parks, Jogging Paths & Tracks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Right beside the shopping center, Ala Moana Beach Park is a quiet and quaint location. Walking and bike trails run the length of it, and the calm waters that lap the shore make it a favorite swimming spot for locals. Relax, have a picnic meal, play some tennis, watch the sunset, or go for a jog.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • While the waters around Ala Moana are tranquil, they go from shallow to deep very quickly. Do not swim very far out if you are not an experienced swimmer.
    • On Fridays, there are fireworks on the beach at 7:45pm.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #32 of 292 things to do in Honolulu
    • Ala Moana Beach 15/05/2019
    • Great alternative to waikiki 09/05/2019
    • Ala Moana Beach Park
    Address:
    1201 Ala Moana Blvd
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96814-4205
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    4:00 AM - 10:00 PM
  • Honolulu Cookie Company Royal Hawaiian Center
    , Gift & Speciality Shops
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    There's always room for dessert. If you have time, pop over to the Honolulu Cookie Company in the Royal Hawaiian Center. The the shop offers more than 15 flavors of shortbread cookies, including mango, kona coffee, and coconut, all baked fresh daily in their trademark pineapple shapes. Buy them plain or chocolate dipped, for yourself or as a wonderful gift for someone back home.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • The store is generous with free samples, so you can indulge a little while finding the flavor that suits you.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 184 Shopping in Honolulu
    • It’s cookies, what could be better 15/04/2019
    • Honolulu Hawaii 05/03/2019
    • Honolulu Cookie Company Royal Hawaiian Center
    Address:
    2233 Kalakaua Ave
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-5200
    Phone:
    +1 808-931-3330
    Other:
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