Explore Honolulu, USA
Explore Honolulu on the island of Oahu, the capital and largest city of the state of Hawaii. It is the center of government, transportation, and commerce for the state; home to a population of nearly one million people in the metro area (80% of the state’s population) and Hawaii’s best known tourist destination, Waikiki Beach. In 2015, Honolulu was ranked as one of the safest cities in the United States.
Downtown is the historic heart of the city, home to the state capitol, several museums, the harbor front, and the commercial center of the Hawaiian Islands.
Waikiki is the tourist center of Hawaii: white sand beaches, crowds of surfers and sunbathers, and block after block of high-rise hotels.
Manoa-Makiki is a quieter area in the foothills north of Downtown, home to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in the Punchbowl crater, and the tropical scenery of the Koolau Mountains behind the city.
Eastern Honolulu is mostly residential area which extends to Makapu’u Point, the very southeastern corner of the island and home to rocky shorelines, scenic beaches, and the popular snorkeling spot Hanauma Bay.
Western Honolulu is another major residential area, home to the airport, the Bishop Museum, and the military memorials of Pearl Harbor.
The name Honolulu means “sheltered bay” or “peace of shelter” in Hawaiian, and its natural harbor catapulted this humble village to importance when, in 1809, shortly after King Kamehameha I conquered Oahu in order to unite the Hawaiian Islands under the Kingdom of Hawaii, that he moved his royal court from the island of Hawaii to Oahu. Eventually, in 1845, Kamehameha III officially moved the kingdom’s capital from Lahaina on Maui to Honolulu.
Honolulu’s ideally located port made the city a perfect stop for merchant ships traveling between North America and Asia, and through the 1800s, descendants of missionaries who arrived in the early 1800s established their headquarters in Honolulu, making it the center of business and the main seaport for the Hawaiian Islands.
Honolulu has a very moderate, tropical climate, with very little change of temperature throughout the year.
Honolulu International Airport is the main aviation gateway for the Hawaiian Islands. It has two terminals: the Inter-Island and the Main.
What to do in Honolulu
Hawaii’s year-round tropical weather provides perfect running weather all year, so bring your running shoes. Kapiolani Park and Ala Moana Beach Park are where most joggers in Honolulu congregate; the 4-mile loop around Diamond Head is also a popular and scenic route. If you’re up for a challenge, Tantalus Drive above Makiki is a winding, two-lane road that is relatively safe for joggers. The Honolulu Marathon, held annually on the second Sunday in December, is a huge event that attracts from 20,000-25,000 runners annually.
Cycling around Honolulu’s streets and bike paths can be a great way to see the city and stay in shape. There are several bike shops in the city that rent various types of bikes. You can also take Highway 72 to Waimanolo, east of Honolulu, if you want to get out on the open road.
Ice skating is probably the last thing you’d expect to be able to do in a tropical city, but the Ice Palace in Western Honolulu makes for the perfect getaway if the hot climate is too much for you.
There are great surfing beaches around Waikiki. For lessons, beach boys give private surfing lessons daily at Waikiki Beach. A one hour lesson includes dry land and in-the-water instruction. Instructors teach paddling, timing and balance skills. No reservations required, just sign up at the stand on the beach located Diamondhead of the Waikiki Police Station. You can also try one of the many surfing schools in Waikiki.
There are also opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving of all levels (beginners included).
In addition to the traditional luaus and hula shows, Hawaii has a thriving scene of theatre, concerts, clubs, bars, and other events and entertainment. Honolulu has two major theatre complexes. The oldest and most popular one is Diamond Head Theatre. They have been entertaining audiences with broadway style performances since 1919, and has been called “The Broadway of the Pacific”. Another theatre is the Hawaii Theatre in Downtown Honolulu. They have similar performances to that of Diamond Head Theatre and have been performing since 1922. Other performances are also held at the Neil S. Blaisdell Arena and Concert Hall, and the Waikiki Shell.
There are several shopping centers in Honolulu, ranging from your typical large strip malls to more unique areas popular with tourists. The International Market Place in Waikiki is one such spot, filled with market stalls and shops laid out amongst a jungle-like backdrop of banyan trees. Also in Waikiki is the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, DFS Galleria (Duty Free Shops), and the Waikiki Shopping Plaza, also very popular with tourists.
Downtown also has a few shopping areas. The Aloha Tower Marketplace on the harbor front next to Aloha Tower is popular with tourists. Between Downtown and Waikiki is the Ala Moana Center, the largest shopping mall in Hawaii and the largest open-air shopping center in the world. There are also the Victoria Ward Centers. For something truly unique, Chinatown has food and seafood markets, as well as many Lei (the ornamental flowered necklace) makers on the street corners.
Eastern Honolulu has a couple of regional malls, Kahala Mall and Koko Marina Center, with various large stores and movie theaters. In Western Honolulu, Aloha Stadium is home to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, and offers a chance to buy from local merchants and artists and get things for far cheaper than you can anywhere else.
There are several places open till 2AM. Some are open until 4AM. Most of Honolulu’s bars and night clubs can be found along Kuhio Avenue and are covered in the Waikiki article.
Explore Honolulu, Usa and don’t spend all your time on Waikiki Beach. The island of Oahu, has more secluded beaches, hiking opportunities, and the sight of huge waves in the winter, awaiting you. Most of the island’s major attractions can be seen in a day trip, or spread out over several days.