Things to do in

Honolulu

From shark dives to scenic hikes, you get a real island mix of things to do in this Polynesian capital.

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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!

  • Diamond Head

    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!

  • Nuuanu Pali State Wayside

    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.

  • Pearl Harbor

    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!

  • USS Arizona Memorial

    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.

  • Polynesian Cultural Center

    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!

  • Iolani Palace

    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.

  • Bernice Pauahai Bishop Museum

    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.

  • Hanauma Bay

    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!

  • Honolulu Zoo

    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!

  • Waikiki Aquarium

    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!

Frequently asked questions about Honolulu

What top attractions are a must-see in Honolulu?

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

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-10:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • 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

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,098 reviews

We really enjoyed our tour. Anthony was an excellent guild that kept us amused and informed. His sense of humor coupled with his knowledge of the the island and the people really made the tour even better than I expected. I was also impressed with his patience. He had a customer with some physical challenges and he really display incredibly care and patience with her making sure she has the full experience of the tour as everyone else. I also appreciated the fact that it was a smaller group and more intimate

Chelsea was our driver and she did a great job! She sent a really helpful text to help us find the trolley stop and it really made the trip go smoothly. She told our group lots of interesting Hawaiian facts and stories and kept us entertained. She also gave us great instructions at the museum and made it a memorable trip. I was lucky enough to spend the day with my son and we had a terrific time!

Nice, comfortable bus ride around the island. We’ll worth the price if you don’t have a rental car to do your own exploring

The sunset cruise was excellent. The crew were just great, friendly, engaged and made the experience a lot of fun.

Such a great experience. The instructor was great and we saw dolphins, turtles, eels, and fish!