Best Things To Do in Honolulu Hawaii

2. Iolani Palace

A showcase of historic Hawaiian royal culture. The palace preserves an important piece of history,.giving a unique expression of: the Islands, European and American influence. Visitors can gain a true sense of daily life at the palace for both royalty and servants. It remains a living treasure. I enjoyed the technology employed with the building. Statesman from all over the world would be impressed with this palace. Yet there is also a personal sense of the royal family, that this is indeed a family dwelling. Iolani Palace rates a must visit.

I’ve loved this place since I was a child. Whenever I am in downtown a Honolulu, I stop by to just admire how beautiful the palace really is. Great place if you’re visiting the islands to learn about the rich history of Hawaii and her people. Even if you’re from the Islands, still a great place to stop by and check out once in awhile as well as pay your respects. A good place to have lunch on the lawn if you aren’t too busy.

The audio tour (tours are the only way in the building) was top notch and very informative. The palace itself is beautifully restored and a real example of the depth of Hawaiian history and culture. The price is very reasonable and you could easily spend two hours here if you also visit the optional secondary exhibits in the basement. My minor complaints are with regard to lighting which made some photographs difficult (no flash or video allowed) and the enforced distance from some parts of the rooms, which are laid out like dioramas and you are sometimes only to view from the edge of the room. I would also have liked to see more historical photographs that compare the restored rooms to their original state.

Tickets are purchased in the smaller white colored building to the left of the Palace. Tickets are reasonably priced - guided tours - audio tours Tours are also available in various languages There are ADA accommodations to see the palace, parking inside the gates area and elevators The waiting area for the audio tours are very accommodating and provided in a cool area. The audio tours come with headsets and an iPhone that guides you. Each area is assigned a number on the iPhone and it will take you throughout the palace, very easily. Children (my children and 3 and 4) must be in a stroller. Do not bring your own stroller as they have standard Chico strollers (New and well kept) that are allowed in the palace to assist in preservation. The palace itself is amazing and beautiful. A must see to embrace the history and culture of Hawai’i

Iolani Palace is great... It is a must visit. The self guided tour is nice. You can really enjoy & soak in the history and the palace at your leisure. They had someone available inside to answer questions. Visit for sure 👍

4. Waikiki Aquarium

A great place for family activity! I highly recommended if you are in Waikiki area! I loved the intimacy of this place, it is not too large, however there is so much to see. Great for families if you ever get a rainy day in Hawaii

As a volunteer my opinion is a bit biased but from my experience most, if not all visitors from all different places enjoy a quiet afternoon at the aquarium. On certain days (usually during the summer or on spring break) teen volunteers run exhibitions on Early Hawaiians and the Sea. The exhibits are a bit small but beautifully maintained and vibrant. Would recommend as a short educational stop with the zoo.

They're trying but this aquarium needs a champion and a huge injection of cash to build a world-class place on Oahu, where visitors can learn and enjoy. Walking past the camped out homeless and those living in their cars on the street is not a welcoming path to the aquarium. Oahu has wealthy people, who should support a better place. Lovely surprise to see the seahorse exhibits!

Lovely little aquarium, about a 20-25 min walk from the main Waikiki drag. It's quite small for what you pay, but for what they have quite worth it to see. Great rainy day activity. If you want to get away from the huge crowds and busy beaches, this provides a quick little escape from the hordes of people.

VERY small. If you've ever been the Monterey Bay Aquarium you will be underwhelmed. The our 4 and 6 year old boys enjoyed it for a bit. Saw the entire place including the gift shop in 1 hour. Only worth visiting once. No off street parking. On Street Meter parking only.

5. Koko Crater Railway Trail

I recommend coming here for a good work out or to enjoy the view. Parking is free and I suggest you get here in the morning since it won't be too hot later on. Most of the regular or fit athlete comes here in the morning like at 5 or 6am. They usually finish the run pretty quick but for most people who don't exercise like me then it can take anywhere from 1 hour to 1.5 hours if you take some break in between. I recommend wearing shoes with some traction since there are dirt and you have to get a grip when going down. There is one part where you can take a side trail if you are scared of height. This part is about 40 feet drop from the floor and you just have to be careful. I've seen people done this trail in flip flop and even dogs doing it. It isn't hiking but more like climbing 1500 steps of stairs. Once you get up to the top, it's worth it since you get a nice breeze and take loads pictures. I definitely recommend a bottle of water, some sun screen and shoes with traction or grip of this is your 1st time. I don't consider myself a outdoor hiker but anyone can do it. This trail is going to get your whole back wet and legs shaking and even stomach cramping. Overall, many locals run on this trail for their workout and there is a reason for that. Great workout with a rewarding view at the top versus a stairmaster that don't give the same feeling.

This was a brutal hike, even for someone who hikes regularly. But the view is so worth it. A few notes: bring water, a camera, and good shoes. There are quite a few people on the trail so be prepared to make room and share the space. There's a part with a bridge, so if you're afraid of heights like I am, take your time and be careful, or take the longer path around that part. Bonus: there's a bunch of cool WW2 building left up there with graffiti on them, and a view of the other side of the mountain if you go up further. Be careful though, it's very windy and the cliffs are no joke.

I weight 150 lbs and smoke a lot of weed so my lungs were not prepared for this. Also didn’t warm up or ANYTHING. Unless you constantly do a step climber, you’re going to have a bad time. Took me 40 minutes and threw up once XD I made it though and it was awesome. Make sure to make it by 4-5am to for a sunrise

This is a great place to get a nice workout early in the morning or late in the evening. Try to avoid it around noon because you can easily overheat or get sun burnt. Bring some comfortable shoes, a bottle of water and camera.

do not underestimate this hike! you will need to pack water and dress comfortably. you will be tired if you are not active prior to visiting. i suggest you stretch and prep yourself. it's a grueling uphill battle but the reward is so worth it once you are up there. if i were to come back to the islands, this would be one of my top 3 things to come back and do!

6. Queen Emma Summer Palace

I Loved it, because it's a beautiful place. But also because I learned some history, how the Good Ole USA failed to protect the Queen, after they PROMISED!! Hawaii is a Rocking Place 😋, go visit and learn how THE ISLANDER'S ROLL.

Very nice need more labels on the actual items. Hard to connect names with photos. More description of the artifacts would also be nice.

Wonderful history museum. Docents are very knowledgeable. Some lovely antiques especial the German breakfront. The capes were very impressive. Reading about them or looking at a photo doesn't do them justice.

We arrived near closing time, but a guide offered to give us a detailed tour of the house. It was surprisingly interesting, and we learned a lot of history of Hawaii.

The tour was filled with lots of things for our group to see. The staff was very knowledgeable on Hawaiian history and encouraged questions. The park in the back is a great place to take your kids after and let them play and eat lunch. The thing I would caution you on is if you are driving in yourself it can be hard to see the drive to enter the palace. I believe you will have a great time.

7. Ala Moana Regional Park

One of Hawaii's favorites. It's close proximity to Ala Moana shopping center makes this a great place to visit, while being close enough to shop and eat as well. Lots of space for everyone. If you want to talk a walk, play some volleyball, lay on sand or even get married.

Nice calm waters for beginner paddling. The shallow reef prevents you from being able to go out very far though from beach to reef there is plenty of space and depths. We saw several turtles near the reef. There is easy access from the roadside parking. Changing area and restrooms in the park across the street from the beach. L&L BBQ conveniently located right there also.

One of my favorites! There's never a time that I haven't enjoyed this location. It's perfect for us.

Beautiful beach, aqua blue water. Has food stands, bathrooms, showers, lifeguards, free parking. Right in the heart of town, been coming here since I was a little kid. I LOVE THIS BEACH!

Lovely beach in the middle of the city. Very crowded on holidays but otherwise usually only moderately full beach. Great for kids since the waves break a distance off shore.

8. Lyon Arboretum

Definitely a hidden gem on Oahu! Most tourists hike the Manoa Fall which is right next door, however almost never get to go to this Botanical Garden that appertains to Manoa University. This place is perfect! Never crowded, simply beautifully kept, and you will see tons of tropical flowers and trees. Get up early, hike Manoa Falls first when it's not too crowded, then take a short walk to the Arboretum; I bet you will like the later better!

Very beautiful place people here really know what there doing. Many different variety of plants lots and lots of flowers. Also a very nice short path to a waterfall not a very big pond to swim in or anything but good place to unwind I think for me spring and summer is my favorite time to go many plants and insects around lots of the trees that fruit has fruit and plants that flower have lots of flowers alot off different insects wandering too. And also the birds, nice selection of birds beautiful birds big and small I like to just take a walk get lost in the beauty of the trees and plants and the sweet songs of the birds

Very well taken care of. There's a main path that will lead you straight to a waterfall or you can take one of the many smaller paths. The hike was about 25 minutes to the waterfall.

A beautiful arboretum filled with native and introduced trees. Although not all labelled, there are many different sections dedicated to certain types of plants and their uses. It's really huge and there are many winding paths, so make sure to have a tour guide or a map to make it through. Some paths are muddy and it often rains, so it's a good idea to bring rain boots and an umbrella just in case!

What a beautiful place to walk around! What's more, there aren't a million other tourists crowding the place. Take a picnic lunch! Grab a map, and enjoy the main walking path, and the many side paths, as you see lots of varied foliage. It's beautiful... truly a gem!

9. Bishop Museum

Great place to see what new traveling exhibits are here. You can learn a lot about the history of Hawaii and see some amazing artifacts. There are lots of exhibits and stations to keep the kids entertained and learn something new at the same time. The science center is dedicated to learn about the ecosystem and the many critters that call the island home. If you are lucky you can even view the lava pouring show.

This place is an amazing place for Hawaiian history! My friend and I spent 3.5 hours just in the Hawaiian building. They close at 5 so plan accordingly, there is also a cafe on the museum grounds however I haven't eaten there, so I don't know if its any good. They also host some really cool videos and rotating exhibits. The science building is really fun, geared towards kids and the visiting dinosaur exhibit is also geared towards kids but also really fun for the adult dino lover. Don't forget to say hi to the whale that has been here since 1901!

Good raining weather location. The Polynesian building was perfect, our kids loved the exhibits and the wooden interior of the old building. It had a great selection of Polynesian artifacts and hands on experiences. There was also the dinosaur exhibit and the science building. Science building was short but great.

If you've ever wanted to know and learn the history of these beautiful Hawaiian islands then this is the perfect only place to visit You'll love it....don't take my word for it....visit and see for yourself. but allow yourself plenty of time (at least 2 hours) because there is so much amazing history and things to see and is perfect for all ages of the family, believe me, it'll keep your little ones entertained for sure. Has plenty of disabled access too with great helpful staff. I highly recommend Bishop Museum on your things to do list.

This is the second time we purchased an annual membership here. It's a really great place for the kids, interactive and educational. We did run into a little bit of an issue yesterday. First day of Spring Break and it was PACKED! No parking, had to park on the street. Line was SUPER long. A fortunate miscommunication, I thought they said members could go in through another line, but it was specifically for PATRON status members. Thankfully, they did not send us back to the line, but it took a while till they could figure it out. Not sure if they just didn't anticipate the crowd, but it was kind of a fiasco. Through it all, staff stayed calm and professional.

10. Koko Crater Botanical Garden

They have many plumeria trees. Those smells so good. Also, many huge cactuses. You can grab a map at the entrance if you want to follow. It's pretty hot with not much shade, so better to avoid noon time. They have parking right next it. It's small, but always have some open spot.

Fine walk on a beautiful day. So many interesting trees, plants, & flowers. Plumaria in bloom - so sweet smelling. Some mosquitoes.

Excellent easy self-guided, one mile hike covering plants from several regions, including dry land Africa and Madagascar, as well as Hawaii. Don't miss the cactus grove, the baobab trees, and the plumeria at the beginning/end of the loop. Free admission.

Beautiful Botanical Garden, one can visit during tough dangerous hike to Koko Head, it has very good collection of botanical species, I was there in November 2017, regarding Koko Head Hike, only physically fit & healthy person must try, it's a practical TMT test, I was enjoyed the hike & views from the top view points on 10th Nov 2017, few photos clicked are attached here rest detailed all photos uploaded separately, enjoy

First visit....Real nice place to visit for piece and quiet...sorta out of the way. Parking is easy..wasnt busy. About 2 miles of loop..great photo op from inside crater...the plant life inside is a study of more desert plants...crazy catus...check out the trees and cactus combos. Dirt path uneven but easy to walk. Dont forget to look up at the crest of the crater. Birds and a mongoose...i would suggest more labeling of the plant life, but you can see someone has done a lot of work...so thank you for this. I will definitely vist again.....

11. USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

Went on the tour with my son and he loved it. Although we got there around noon, there was parking available and there weren't any long lines. The sub was very well kept. So much to see in there. A headset was provided to lead you on an audio tour through the sub. Definitely a must see.

This was a really amazing part of our history. Walking through that sub and imagining the experience of being in there for months was fascinating. The details provided by the audio tour were great. The museum attached had a lot of interesting details about the silent service.

Didn’t get to Pearl Harbour early enough to catch a decent time to go out to the Arizona so we went over to the Bowfin instead. It’s worth checking it out. You can walk through the ship with a guided audio tour and get a sense of what life on board would have been like. Prices were reasonable and I’d definitely recommend it.

Really great museum at pearl harbor. Not too crowded because it is a bit out of the way. Very cool to see how life aboard a submarine would be.

Very descriptive audio tour. The submarine and museum floor is filled with artifacts from ages past, with the submarine itself being accessible in most of its parts, giving you a better sense how it is like to be with 80 others in the tiny can under the ocean (minus the heat and tension of course)

12. Tantalus Lookout

Amazing lookout with sweeping views from diamond head to the east then all the way out to the west with waikiki in full view straight ahead. This lookout is one of the best on Oahu and would recommend as its easy to get to with no hiking required. Just drive straight in. Parking is limited. It is free. If all the car parks are taken drive back around the bend to the picnic area parking and there is a path from that car park to the lookout which is a short stroll. We came around 3pm and those were the photos I took. The drive up is also nice with tropical trees and jungle feel.

One of my favorite lookouts! You can see all of Honolulu, the airport and onward into Pearl Harbor from here. I enjoy lying on the grass in front of the lookout area and eating a snack. My favorite part is the drive up round top road, I like to ride a scooter up and enjoy the views on the way up.

Beautiful winding drive up the hill. The road is narrow but very scenic. The lookout offers a breathtaking view of the city of Honolulu, Waikiki and Diamond Head. There is a picnic area and restrooms. The view is well worth the drive!

I did a bike ride from Waikiki to the lookout. Excellent work out definitely will get your ticker ticking. Amazing views all the way from Pearl Harbor and beyond Diamondhead. Took me about an hour to get up there in about 20 minutes to get back. Totally worth it. And then the bike ride downhill was awesome, I deserved it. :-)

I seriously loved it here. I was in awe as soon as I got a glimpse of the view, and we weren't even at the top yet! It really is an amazing view from up there. I would recommend coming here and just basking it all in for a moment. No photos. Just breathe it all in! And when I found out that the parking was free and there was absolutely nothing to pay for, I fell in love even more. Lol

13. Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Beautiful and educational experience overall! Very much enjoy it and I will go back soon! My favorite part was its location! From each angle you will see the ocean, the big waves, and all the surfers playing in the water. A majestic place to visit, and so much to learn. I consider it a hidden gem on the southern part of the island. You can combine hike to the famous Diamond Head with a visit tour at Shangri La Museum

worth the wait for tickets. Excellent tour guide; learned a lot and saw some unique beauty. Be prepared for heat, humidity, and no place to sit, however. We were exhausted by the end. Still very glad we did this.

Definitely worth a visit if for no other reason than to appreciate the beautiful tile work and other objects d'art. Matt was an excellent docent, funny and engaging. The setting is truly magnificent.

Excellent home turned museum offering an impressive middle Eastern collection that rivals any museum. Our tour guide was excellent and offered unique insight from his years spent in the middle East. Only downside is you must go to and from the Honolulu museum of art. Small annoyance because we were staying walking distance from the house.

I had the privilege of living here back in the 60's. Mom was Aunt Doris' personal chef, Aunt Luise housekeeping, Johnny Gomez always worked tirelessly on artwork. I played in the cascading salt waterfalls, which entered the pool. Played on the swinging beds suspended from the ceiling of the play house. Aunt Doris was a very erudite and passionate person. Walker Inman( her nephew) was a friend and we lost track. Memories are God's way of humbling us of times we enjoyed. I will return next year 2018, to embrace a time so long ago. This is a must see if given a chance!!

14. St. Augustine Church

Beautiful catholic church by the beach! Luckily my hotel was near by so we decided to go to there for Sunday mass. Father was very friendly, approachable and seemed loved by everyone there. Gotta love their hymns because they’re all Hawaiian style - nice & relaxed! Noticed half local and half tourists if that makes any difference but we were all there to pray and thank the lord for the beautiful experience in Waikiki I really miss it 🙏

Chapel design looks like a upside down boat . Great atmosphere and blended with Hawaiian way to celebrate with Jesus

Beautiful church in the area. Great for a spot to pause at in the Waikiki area. Services still do occur here. Plan accordingly. We attempted to stop in on a Wednesday evening. Service occurring.

Got to go to church even when you're on vacation nice place masses in English and Hawaiian most interesting

Incredible location and gorgeous place to worship and give thanks for the blessings all around. They do a good job both serving the needy and providing a safe space for parishioners.

15. World War II Valor In The Pacific National Monument

This is a must-see when in Honolulu. I knew the basics about Pearl Harbor, but was too young to really understand a lot of it. When you come here, it changes you and really moves you. The tour begins with a video explaining how everything happened. When you get to the memorial, it's hard not to picture yourself as one of the sailors that was there that dreadful day. The memorial is beautiful. Seeing all of the remnants of the ships is incredible. They're massive. It's hard not to picture what it used to look like before that day. Someone at the memorial had said to remember that "the ships below are not only sunken ships....they're a graveyard." He was right. They couldn't recover all of the bodies, so some of their bodies are still underneath the memorial. The wall showing all of the names of people lost was moving. It brought me to tears. Seeing each of those names, you want to read them all and think of who they were as people. It's absolutely breathtaking and worth every moment you get to spend there. We also did the submarine tour which was awesome. Very, very tight quarters, but amazing. You don't get that opportunity too often. It was amazing to see all the details and what they put into such tiny little spaces to make it seem relatively big. This can't go unvisited!

Arrive early to avoid the long lines, the monument's entrance opens at 7 a.m. and admission to visit the USS Arizona is free. You must first obtain a ticket with the time of your visit printed on it. You then head to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater to watch a 20 minute documentary and from there you exit to dock where you board the boat that will take you to the USS Arizona Memorial. It was docked on battleship row on Dec. 7, 1941 when it was attacked and sunk, resulting in the deaths of 1177 men. This is a somber and solemn visit, the Wall of Honor lists all the names of the entombed. You can observe the "sailor's tears" coming to the surface from the still leaking fuel reservoir of the ship. At the conclusion of your visit, you return to the boat and back to the point of departure. At the Monument's entrance there are plenty of clean restrooms, a gift shop, a convenience store and ticket selling wicket to visit the other Pearl Harbor sites. The submarine Bowfin is also located here and from here you take a coach to visit the USS Missouri where WW II ended with Japan's surrender, as well as the Pacific Air museum. Do not miss visiting Pearl Harbor when in Honolulu, it's well worth the effort.

An amazing place. The movie is informative. The place opens at 7am but lines start forming before 6:30. No bags are allowed in. They have a storage place you can rent. You can reserve tickets but they give free tickets out as well. I recommend getting the 7:30am tickets. You are on the first ferry over. The first attacks on Pearl Harbor happened right about the same time of day as when you get on the ferry.

Truly a must see stop. Send chills down your spin to be in the presence of such amazing people that gave there lives to save the way of life we know today. The staff , the exhibits and history is an amazing experience. Don't pass this up and show up early because they run out of tickets every single day. Plus after your done a quick walk to the stadium and it's a great swap meet on the weekends

Be sure to check the list of provided items. We were there a few minutes early, to ensure our appointed seating. The trip begins with instructions and a film. The craft was piloted by able Navy personnel. It must be quote the honor to serve in this capacity. Slow Salute to those lost. Never forgotten.

16. Sea Life Park Hawaii

The two shows we watched, the sea lion show and the dolphin show were fantastic. The staff were enthusiastic and engaging and of course the animals were real stars. Overall the park was better than what I expected after reading some of the poor reviews about the state of the park. It is small and even with two young ones under 6 in tow, we completed the visit in less than 2 hours. It was well worth it for us cause we managed to get heavily discounted tickets online otherwise I think it's a bit pricey for what you get. I would suggest you go around 10am in the morning as the two shows we watched were at 11.15 and 12.30. The bird section where you can feed the birds was really cool and the young ones loved it so much. The birds really do love perching on you, food or no food. They close for an hour at 12. Of course do check that these times don't change. Happy travels!

Sea Life Park is a great place for all! Arriving through the mountains was fabulous and scenic. You get to see the beauty that is Hawaii. Entering the park you get to see the many species of deep sea life from various types of sharks to sting rays. The dolphin shows are amazing as is swimming with the dolphins, which I highly recommend. It was great to see my sea lion friends enjoying themselves, especially the one basking in the sun. It is truly an experience for all...ENJOY!!!

The park has changed over the years. Though I recommend it especially for a family event. Especially with kids. From seeing up close as a encounter with sea life animals. From petting, swimming, and learning about them in their own habitat state. Plus you can take photos up close with trainer and dolphins as you swing side by side with such amazing creatures. A plus for a family event....or even a private party. Sea Life Park also offers a night dinner show, a lu'au dinner with show.

Great exhibits and shows, especially the dolphin show at the Ocean theatre. Then continue the fun to watch them being fed and play at the dolphin lagoon. The touch pool let's kids get up close with sea stars and fish. The shark cave makes for great viewing of Sharks and Manta Rays, along with other colorful fishes. Placards name the various marine animals as well as describe them. To cap it all off, the 'honu' or green sea turtle pool provides a glimpse into the conservation program that is run at this park. Overall, a lot of stuff packed in a not very large area, so lot of fun for the family.

I come here about two times a month simply for the parrots! I bought a annual pass about three months ago and have been six times since. The options are endless at sea life park. From painting with seals to swimming with dolphins, Sea Life Park Hawaii is a great adventure children of all ages, even us big kids.

18. Things To Do In Hawaii

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Amazing web site with tons of fun things to do in Hawaii. David, the owner, was super accomodating and helping with booking our trip for a great time in Oahu. He offered great discounts, helpful tips, and even told us where the locals like to go and eat. I highly recommended booking through this site if you truly want fun and exciting things to do in Hawaii and someone to help guide you in making the best use of your time....Mahalo!

The best website for activities in Oahu for locals and tourists!

19. Go Oahu Card

I purchased this card and was given a list of places to redeem. I visited the first three places and the representatives were no longer there. According to one hotel employee, they left a long time ago. I would call, but they are on the east coast. Poor service. If I had my choice I would use someone else

I liked the Go Oahu Card for the convenience of having the card on your phone. You definitely have to plan where you are going in advance. The best deal that we got was going to the Polynesian Center. We upgraded to the next level which was definitely worth it. Some of the events offered on the card are really just to pay for the shuttle. Some the shuttles were an additional cost such as the Polynesian.We did not rent a car. On the the descriptions it does not tell you that the cost is just for the shuttle. If you are not renting a car I would recommend the Go Card. I also got a discount on the card. I got 20% off since I gave them my email and about 2 weeks later I received the discount. That was definitely helpful since we saved some money. It is important that you make reservations in advance. Try to double up on your activities so you get your money's worth. We got the 3 day pass and we were there for 6 days which allowed us to not be always tied down to the card.

The only thing I would have liked to see with this card is the ability to do more than one activity a day at the ranch. It is a long trek out there and back from Honolulu and it would have been more efficient use of our time and the pass if we could have done 2 activities in a day...since many of them were 2-3 hours in length. All in all a good way to see lots of Hawaii and save money

Best choice I made when planning my trip to Hawaii. My family and I had no trouble getting into any attractions. Reservations were hassle free. The bonus luau was amazing. I recommend purchasing the Go Oahu Go to anyone visiting Hawaii!!

The Go Oahu Card is definitely a great card to have when traveling and going sightseeing. I suggest that you plan everything in advance and call each place 2 to 3 days ahead of time to see if there are reservations required. It is also good to know that a lot of sightseeing places require a fee for transportation, so it is also good to know this as well. My overall thoughts on the card it's a great value for the money and because I know these things now I would purchase this card again. I hope this information helps all Go Oahu Card purchasers!