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Things to Do in Honolulu

Crossroads of the Pacific

Say aloha to Hawaii’s heart as you reach the state’s boisterous capital – Honolulu. Unabashedly Polynesian in every way, Honolulu is just the place you want to head to, for a typical island-style vacation. From the 19th Century Chinatown that was once home to whalers and immigrant traders, to the America’s only royal palace- there’s plenty to do, see and experience in Honolulu! If you’re curious about the coolest things to do in Honolulu, make sure to check out our recommendations below and plan well in advance to ensure that you make the best of your Honolulu vacation.

Bishop Museum

Often rated as the finest Polynesian anthropological museum in the world, The Bishop Museum has a vast array of cultural and natural history exhibits. The museum was founded in the year 1889, in honor of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, from the Kamehameha dynasty. The three floors of the Hawaiian Hall are dedicated to Hawaii’s different realms – ‘Kai Akea’ or Hawaiian legends and beliefs, ‘Wao Kanaka’ or the importance of Nature in daily life, and ‘Wao Lani’ or the abode of the gods. There is also a cutting-edge Science Adventure Center that focuses on Hawaii’s distinctive environment. Also learn about traditional Polynesian methods of navigation at the planetarium.

‘Iolani Palace

Built during the reign of King David Kalakaua in the year 1882, this palace was very modern and opulent in its time. It served as the capitol of the state of Hawaii, until the government moved out in 1969. The palace was painstakingly restored to its former glory and was reopened as a museum. Explore the palace’s grand interiors where you’ll find bedrooms with hot running water and electric lamps that were installed long before White House in Washington DC! The basement has interesting royal regalia and historical photographs, while the domed pavilion is still used for state governor inaugurations. If you happen to visit on a Friday, stop by under the banyan tree (planted by Queen Kapi’olani) for a free concert by the Royal Hawaiian Band.

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Honolulu Museum of Art

A fine-art museum that dates back to 1927, The Honolulu Museum of Art comprises of classical, airy galleries adorned with water-fountain courtyards. The museum is dedicated to contemporary Hawaiian culture and has one of the country’s finest Asian-art collections. Expect to see everything from ‘Japanese woodblock prints by Hiroshige’ to ‘Ming-era Chinese calligraphy’ to ‘Painted scrolls to temple carvings’ and numerous statues from Cambodia and India. The contemporary wing has notable Hawaiian works and modern art by maestros including Henri Matisse and Georgia O’Keeffe. The “art-after-dark” parties that are conducted on the last Friday of every month are wildly popular and responsible for the museum’s inclusion into the best things to do in Honolulu list.

Lyon Arboretum

The 200-acre arboretum is managed by the University of Hawaii and unlike most painstakingly manicured flower gardens, it is mature and largely wooded. The arboretum has beautiful walking trails that lead you through many native species which grow in a semi-natural state. The Lyon Arboretum was originally created by sugar planters in 1918, and not much has changed since the first native and exotic species were first planted here.

Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site                                                                             

The museum features authentic furnishings such as handmade quilts and iron cooking pots, which lend a quaint, old-world charm to the stone fireplace-embellished rooms. While here, take a look at the pre-fabricated wooden houses that were brought all the way from Boston by the missionaries of the Sandwich Islands mission. This played an important role in conjuring the history of Hawaii. The house was erected in the year 1821 and is the oldest wooden structure in Hawaii. The neighboring Printing Office also has the lead type-press that was used to print the first Hawaiian-language version of the Bible. Stop by the Mission Social Hall and Café where the resident chef-Mark ‘Gooch’ Noguchi, who dishes out delicious cuisines every afternoon.

Waikiki Beach

This strip of white sand, sun and surf has been a tourist favorite for many years, and is fringed by tall high rises and resorts. The sea is excellent for swimming, surfing, and heading out on ‘Catamaran’ and canoe-rides. If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet, head over to the ‘Kuhio Beach’ nearby, where you can view traditional Hula troupes weave their magic. The beach comes to life after sundown, when locals intermingle with tourists in loud, boisterous parties.

Hanuma Bay

Located on the coast of East-Honolulu, The Hanuma Bay is a nature preserve and a marine life conservation district. It is located in the crater of a now extinct volcano and is well known for its abundant marine life and exquisite coral reefs. Combined with clear, calm waters, this bay is excellent for snorkeling and diving, while the surrounding beach is a wonderful setting for a picnic.  

If you can’t wait any longer for your next island getaway, look no further than Lookupfare’s OTA to find the best flights to Honolulu. Take your pick from the best deals on airline tickets and hotel stays, and brace yourself for the spoils of a relaxing vacation.

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