Activities & Sports
Hawaii has perfect running weather all year for jogger fanatics. Kapiolani Park and Ala Moana Park are where most joggers in Honolulu go as well as the loop around Diamond Head. The Honolulu Marathon is one of the world's largest marathons. Hiking and horse back riding in the nature trails is also very popular.
An ice rink is probably the last thing you'd expect to find in Hawaii but the Ice Palace offers instruction in figure skating and hockey. Other unusual sports to practice here while on a holiday are Yoga and meditation classes.
Waikiki Beach is the place to learn to surf where you can get private surfing lessons. A one hour lesson includes dry land and in-the-water instruction. Sea kayaking is a lot of fun here.
The Hawaii Plantation Village offers an hour long tour of this restored sugar plantation village. It was in operation from 1852 to 1947. Visitors will find 30 faithfully restored camp houses, Chinese and Japanese temples, the Plantation Store, and a sumo-wrestling ring.
Attractions & Sights
With Honolulu being such a modern and developed city, there is simply no shortage of attractions or sites to see. Here is a run down of must-sees:
- Completed in September 1926, the Aloha Tower and Marketplace was for a long time the tallest building in Honolulu. Today it serves as the control center for Honolulu Harbor and a public observation deck.
- The Hawaii State Capitol Building has a modern, open-air design, with pillars reminiscent of palm tree trunks, and two conical structures symbolizing volcanoes containing the House and Senate chambers, all surrounded by a moat of water representing the ocean.
- Washington Place, private home of Hawaii's last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, and presently the governor's mansion.
- Iolani Palace was the historic seat of the Hawaiian monarchy, and the Iolani Barracks.
- Churches: Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, the historic Kawaiahao Church of Hawaiian royalty, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace
- The Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium.
- Bishop Street is home to most of Honolulu's skyscrapers, including the First Hawaiian Center, the tallest building in the Hawaiian Islands.
- Kapiolani Park is a large public park at the east end of Waikiki, home to the Waikiki Shell amphitheatre.
- One of the more popular scenic vistas on Oahu and the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history, the Pali Lookout provides a panoramic view of Oahu.
There are several fantastic museums to explore. The Bishop Museum, funded in 1889 by the last direct descendant of Kamehameha I, records, preserves and tells the stories of Hawaii and the Pacific. On display are Hawaiian artifacts, science-based exhibits, a large simulated volcano in the center that erupts regularly, the third largest entomology collection in the US, and a planetarium. See also the Contemporary Museum, Hawaii State Art Museum, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii Maritime Center, and the Workspace.
War history buffs will rejoice with the many military memorials found on the island. The Battleship Missouri Memorial is the battleship best known as the site where World War II ended when the Japanese military surrendered to the Allied forces. The USS Arizona Memorial commemorates the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the US into World War II. The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is the final resting place of over 45,000 Americans who served their country.
Sunset On The Beach is an event where free movies are projected on the beach in Waikiki near the Honolulu zoo. Many tourists from around the world can view a movie on an outdoor 30ft screen.
Catch a performance by the Honolulu Symphony, the oldest US symphony orchestra west of the Rocky Mountains. Other classical music ensembles include the Hawaii Opera Theater. Honolulu is also a center for Hawaiian music. The main music venues include the Neal Blaisdell Center Concert Hall, the Waikiki Shell, and the Hawaii Theater. Honolulu also includes several venues for live theater, including the Diamond Head Theater and the Manoa Valley Theater.
When party arrives Waikiki is the center of the action. When the sun goes down, Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues come alive with visitors searching for restaurants, bars and clubs. The Mai Tai Bar is popular among locals. Also fun are Scruples Beach Club, Pipeline Café and Zanzabar.
Although not a big island, there are plenty of spots to spend a day away from your hotel. Here is a list of a few popular destinations:
The North Shore is home to some of the largest waves on earth in the winter, and the ocean and surfing are a way of life here. Daily life is way more relaxed and laid back here. The region is anchored by the town of Haleiwa, home of the Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Kahuku is home to several shrimp farms. Many have a shrimp truck where visitors can buy raw and cooked shrimp. But the most popular attraction is the Polynesian Cultural Center located in Laie. This living museum invites visitors to observe cultural activities by the people who inhabit the islands. Each of the major Polynesian countries has its own area of the park. There is an Imax theatre, a lagoon, luau feasts and a show entitled Horizons: Where the Sea Meets the Sky.
There is a definite contrast between the Windward’s Coast in the northern end, with many secluded beaches and sleepy villages, and in the southern end, home of one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the Pacific and two larger towns: Kailua and Kaneohe. See the Kailua Beach Park, Lanikai Beach, Kawai Nui Marsh, Mokulua islands, and the sea turtles of Hanauma Bay.
The Leeward Coast is home to four rural communities (Nanakuli, Maili, Waianae, and Makaha) and two up-and-coming resort areas. The mountains above Waianae and Makaha Valley offer some of the best hiking anywhere in the islands and the walk to Kaena Point is well worth the effort.