With its blue skies, white sands and pink umbrella drinks, Hawaii is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
It receives almost 10 million visitors per year, and many of them head straight for the capital city of Honolulu.
You’re probably familiar with Honolulu as a place of sun-soaked beaches and high-rise hotels.
While this image isn’t inaccurate, there’s more to the city than its glitzy tourist attractions.
It has rich reservoirs of culture and history, and some of its landmarks are quite literally one of a kind.
You won’t find them anywhere else on the planet!
Are you traveling to Honolulu for your dream vacation? Are you looking for the coolest things to see while you’re there?
Here are just a few fun things to do in Honolulu!
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1. Manoa Falls
Nestled in the heart of a tropical rainforest, Manoa Falls is a 150-foot waterfall that empties into a shimmering rock pool.
It’s the crown jewel of the Manoa Falls Trail, a two-mile hike that will take you so deep into the trees that you’ll only see dappled sunlight through their canopies, but the journey is worth it.
When you reach the waterfall, you’ll realize why it’s one of the best things to do in Honolulu.
You might recognize the Manoa Falls Trail from pictures alone.
It’s been featured in movies like Jurassic Park and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and it’s said to be the roaming grounds of the Nightmarchers, a ghostly group of ancient Hawaiian warriors that still haunt the grounds to this day.
You might also stumble across the Manoa Falls Trail if you’re visiting the Lyon Arboretum, a nearby botanical garden.
Many visitors hit up both locations for all-day sightseeing and nature touring.
If you’re looking for gorgeous places to visit in Honolulu, you won’t want to miss Manoa Falls.
It’s so iconic that it’s carved itself a place in cinematic history, but even films fail to do it justice!
Address: End of Manoa Road, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96822, USA
2. Iolani Palace
A little-known fact about Hawaii is that it used to be a monarchy.
Known as “The Kingdom of Hawaii,” it was ruled by kings and queens until it was overthrown by a coup d’etat in the late 19th century.
It became part of the U.S. shortly afterwards.
Iolani Palace is one of the last remnants of Hawaii’s old way of life.
Stretching for several acres in downtown Honolulu, it’s a spectacular building filled with everything from ornate throne rooms to plush-carpeted political offices.
Visitors can take tours, listen to audio recordings and look at vintage displays of clothes, fixtures, furniture and artifacts of long-lost royalty.
If you’re interested in history, Iolani Palace is one of the best places to go in Honolulu.
Not only does it offer meaningful lessons in the culture of Hawaii, but it’s also one of the most unique landmarks in the entire United States.
It’s the only royal palace ever built on U.S. soil, so it offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors everywhere.
Address: 364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
3. Dolphin Quest Oahu
“Swimming with dolphins” is on a thousand bucket lists, but Dolphin Quest Oahu lets you turn your dreams into a slippery, rubbery reality.
Offered by the Kahala Hotel and Resort, Dolphin Quest Oahu is available in several different packages.
The most basic “encounters” involve wading in the dolphin pool and snapping some commemorative photos.
The more advanced packages involve feeding, petting and socializing with them, and when everyone is acquainted, you can snorkel underwater with the dolphins swimming all around you.
It’s easy to see why Dolphin Quest Oahu is one of the best attractions in the entire state of Hawaii.
It’s a must do for animal lovers, but it’s also an unforgettable experience for visitors of all types.
How many people can say that they truly swam with dolphins?
If you’re creating a shortlist of what to do during your Honolulu vacation, put Dolphin Quest Oahu near the top.
Address: 5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
You’ve probably heard of Waikiki, but you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t a city in Hawaii.
It’s a neighborhood in Honolulu.
It’s just so famous that many people dream of traveling to Waikiki more than anywhere else on the island!
What makes Waikiki so special?
For starters, it’s a bustling tourist destination filled with all kinds of shops, cafes, restaurants, resorts, theaters and museums.
High-rise buildings loom over its beaches, and colorful shopfronts display souvenirs and surfboards.
It’s exactly what you dream of when you fantasize about quitting your job and moving to a tropical paradise.
There are also a lot of fun activities to enjoy in Waikiki.
You can hit the beach, take a lei-making class, shop at outdoor markets or picnic under a fireworks show over the bay.
If you travel to Waikiki in the springtime, you can enjoy events like the Honolulu Festival.
There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Honolulu, especially if you have time to explore neighborhoods like Waikiki.
Mark it on your map for a spectacular Hawaii vacation!
Planning to visit Waikiki? Why not check out some of the things to do in Waikiki?
5. Diamond Head
Hawaii is a land of volcanoes, and Diamond Head is one of its most famous.
You might know the head by several different names.
The natives call it Le’ahi (“Tuna Brow”) because of its resemblance to a fin, and 19th-century sailors named it “Diamond Head” because they mistook its glittering calcite crystals for diamonds.
Regardless of what you call it, Diamond Head is definitely one of the top things to do in Honolulu.
A hike will take you to the summit of the crater, and you’ll enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the land, water and sky.
You can also drop by some of the local shops and restaurants for snacks and souvenirs.
When you’re done, you can say that you munched on lomi-lomi while atop a volcanic crater!
Long story short, you can’t visit Honolulu without visiting Diamond Head.
It’s one of the best attractions in the city, and it might even be one of the most beautiful places in the United States.
You won’t regret a moment of the summit when you’re standing on top of the world.
Address: 18th Ave., Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815, USA
6. Ala Moana Center
There are plenty of malls in Honolulu, but there’s only one Ala Moana Center.
This four-story shopping complex is one of the largest in Hawaii, and it also holds the distinction of being the largest open-air shopping center in the entire world.
Stepping into the Ala Moana Center is like stepping into an independent city.
Sidewalks and staircases lead you across the land, and its stucco architecture makes you think of residential buildings rather than commercial businesses.
The businesses are there, however, and they’re booming.
From expensive boutiques to cheap kiosks, you can find everything at the Ala Moana Center.
There’s even a public amphitheater where bands come to play!
You can eat, drink, shop, lounge and groove to good music without having to leave the mall.
If your money is burning a hole in your pocket, consider a trip to the Ala Moana Center.
You’ll help the Honolulu economy and get some cool trinkets to take home and put on your shelf.
Address: 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA
7. Leonard’s Bakery
You might not think much of Leonard’s Bakery when you first arrive there.
It’s a small establishment with a candy-striped awning that gives it a vintage sort of look, and it’s tucked between several other businesses in a non-glamorous part of Honolulu.
When you take a deep breath, however, you’ll realize why Leonard’s Bakery is a local hot spot.
It’s one of the best places in Honolulu to get malasadas: fried, hole-less doughnuts covered in powdered sugar.
Malasadas are a cultural touchstone in Hawaii. Everyone eats them. Everyone has a favorite flavor or filling.
If you want to experience Hawaii like a native, part of your journey will involve getting sugar all over your face from some malasadas.
Consider a stop by Leonard’s Bakery if you’re looking for non-touristy things to do in Honolulu.
To enjoy the island like a native, you’ll have to eat like one!
Address: 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
8. Polynesian Cultural Center
With a name like “Polynesian Cultural Center,” you might expect this Honolulu attraction to be a dull, museum-like institution.
You’d be wrong!
The Polynesian Cultural Center is a living theme park where you can find everything from hula dancing to spear throwing.
It’s divided into six villages that represent different regions of the Polynesian islands, including Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa and Hawaii.
Each village is filled with exciting activities that come from its homeland.
For example, the Tonga village lets you paddle a canoe down the water while painted drummers give you the performance of a lifetime.
The Aotearoa village has games and dances with poi balls.
The Samoa village has natives climbing 40-foot coconut trees with bare feet.
If you’re looking for fun stuff to do in Honolulu, consider the Polynesian Culture Center.
Not only will it teach you more about Hawaii and its surrounding regions, but it will also give you incredible stories to tell when your Honolulu vacation is over!
Address: 55-370 Kamehameha Hwy, Laie, HI 96762, USA
9. Downtown Honolulu
The streets are alive in downtown Honolulu.
Known as the beating heart of Hawaii, it’s a thriving, bustling place where you can find everything from luxury resorts to cheap food trucks.
People of all ages, genders, nationalities and social classes mingle together on the sidewalk. It’s a true melting pot in Oahu.
Your experience in the downtown area of Honolulu will depend on the kind of trip that you’d like to have:
– If you’re traveling in style, you might want to book a suite at the Hilton Hawaiian Village where you can swim laps in infinity pools between spa sessions and golf games.
– If you’re with the kids, you can let them burn off some energy at the Wild Tiki Fun Zone or Children’s Discovery Center.
– If you’re on a budget, you can walk the plazas, listen to street music and enjoy homemade ice cream as you pose for Instagram pics in front of colorful, locally-painted murals.
Downtown Honolulu has a little something for everyone, so it’s definitely a must see during your Honolulu vacation.
Don’t skip downtown as you wander through the city!
10. Shark’s Cove
Hawaii boasts more than 1,200 feet of coral reef, so it should come as no surprise that it’s one of the biggest destinations in the world for snorkeling and scuba diving.
If you want to strap on an oxygen tank and explore the coral for yourself, Shark’s Cove is the place to go.
Despite the moniker, you won’t find any sharks at Shark’s Cove.
It gets its name from the fact that its coastline looks like a shark head when viewed from above.
You can see this in person if you want to take a helicopter tour of Honolulu.
The best view, however, is the one underwater.
Fish will dart right in front of your goggles; fronds will wave with every ripple.
There’s an entire series of caves and caverns to explore thanks to past volcanic eruptions.
They range from 15 – 45 feet below the surface, so there’s a little something for every diver regardless of skill level.
Snorkeling is one of the best things to do in Honolulu, so don’t miss the aquatic opportunities provided by Shark’s Cove.
It answers the question of “what to see” with “everything.”
Put on your wetsuit and get going!
Planning to explore other parts of Hawaii? Why not check out some of the things to do in Maui?
11. Honolulu Zoo
Home to more than 900 species, the Honolulu Zoo showcases a variety of rare and exotic animals.
From poisonous tree frogs to gigantic lions, it’s a place where the whole family can get up close and personal with nature’s critters.
There are other cool things that you can do at the Honolulu Zoo, too.
There are camps for every season and special events during the holidays.
“Twilight Tours” are available after the zoo closes, and the “Snooze at the Zoo” program lets you sleep at the zoo overnight and wake up to a hot breakfast the next morning.
Marvel at the diverse wildlife of Hawaii when you take a trip to the Honolulu Zoo.
Don’t wait; call them today and ask about their upcoming schedule.
You don’t want to miss a great event at one of the premier attractions of Honolulu!
Address: 151 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
12. Pearl Harbor
There’s a sober shadow amidst the glittering beaches and resorts of Honolulu, and that shadow is named Pearl Harbor.
It was the site of the attacks on December 7, 1941, and it’s “a date that lives in infamy” even now.
There are a number of ways that you can pay your respects to Pearl Harbor while in Honolulu.
The most well-known memorial is the USS Arizona Memorial; it was built over the remains of the bombed battleship that claimed more than 1,700 lives.
There are also several museums and visitor centers that you can investigate.
Together, they make up a series of monuments and memorials known as the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.
It can be difficult to confront such a painful history head-on, but you’ll regret it if you don’t visit Pearl Harbor while you’re in Honolulu.
It’s an extremely meaningful destination, so make the most of it while you’re on the island.
13. Atlantis Adventures
Anyone can wander the streets of Honolulu. Only a select few can say that they’ve seen Honolulu through the porthole of a submarine.
Atlantis Adventures is a tour company that offers underwater submarine trips for Honolulu visitors.
If you’re brave enough, you can climb into their 48-seat cruiser and descend to the bottom of the ocean while surrounded by fish, sharks, stingrays, eels and coral reefs.
You might even spot a shipwreck or two!
If you’re a little squeamish at the thought of a deep-sea trip, you can also book a regular cruise through Atlantis Adventures.
Their tours above the water are just as fun as the ones below.
No matter which trip you choose, however, one thing is for certain: Atlantis Adventures will make sure that you have a great time in Hawaii.
There’s a reason why we consider them one of the best things to do in Honolulu!
If you’re wondering what to do while on your vacation, honeymoon or getaway, take a trip with Atlantis.
14. Halona Blowhole
The Halona Blowhole is one of the most dangerous landmarks in Hawaii.
There are fierce currents beneath the cliffs that can drag unsuspecting divers to sea, and the waves that crash against the rock formations are the reason for the “blowhole” name.
The water is forced past the rocks in a way that shoots it up like a geyser.
When viewed from a distance, however, the Halona Blowhole is perfectly safe.
It’s also beautiful: It’s considered a natural wonder of Hawaii, and many films, television shows and music videos have been shot with the gushing geyser in the background.
The best time to visit the Halona Blowhole is in the summer.
The tides are strong on hot, windy days, and they force the water to shoot higher than usual.
If you can’t make it during the summer, there’s good wintertime viewing as well.
The annual migration of humpback whales goes right past the cove, so that’s always something to see; you can also look for nesting birds and sea turtles.
You won’t find the Halona Blowhole listed in a lot of travel brochures, but it’s still one of the top places to visit in Honolulu.
It’s particularly awesome if you’re looking for non-touristy things to do.
You can just enjoy the site of the geyser for the pretty, powerful picture that it is.
15. Kuhio Beach Park
You can’t throw a rock in Honolulu without hitting a beach, but since it’s such a popular vacation destination, it can be a challenge to find a stretch of sand that isn’t teeming with joggers, surfers and dog walkers.
The good news is that the crowds haven’t overrun Kuhio Beach Park yet!
Located off the shores of Honolulu, Kuhio Beach Park is known for its calm, clear waters and laid-back atmosphere.
It’s the kind of place where you can stretch out on a beach towel without the fear that someone will smack a volleyball over your head.
Another feature of Kuhio Beach Park is that it’s home to several local landmarks.
The “Wizard Stones of Kapaemahu” are believed to have healing properties for anyone who visits them; the statues of Duke Kahanamoku and Prince Kuhio stand as testaments to Hawaii history.
The former is especially famous; it’s one of the most-photographed spots in Honolulu.
All things considered, Kuhio Beach Park is a great place to visit in Honolulu.
It’s a way to get a taste of leisurely beach life without having to elbow through a bunch of tourists to claim your spot in the sand.
If you’re looking for the best places to vacation in Hawaii, put Kuhio on your list!
Address: Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815, USA
Looking for more thrills in Hawaii? Why not check out some of the things to do in Kona?
16. Honolulu Botanical Gardens
The Honolulu Botanical Gardens are actually a series of botanical gardens.
They’re scattered across the city, and each of them offers their own unique flowers, trees and landscapes based on their geographic biodiversity.
For example, the Koko Crater Botanical Garden has a hot, desert-like climate thanks to its location in a volcanic crater, so it grows cacti and shrubs.
The Wahiawa Botanical Garden is found on a high plateau with cooler temperatures, so it has lush greens and colorful flowers.
The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is centered around a lake.
The Liliuokalani Botanical Garden contains a waterfall.
Nature lovers, you won’t want to miss the Honolulu Botanical Gardens.
You can even make a challenge out of visiting them all. It’ll be a neat way to spend a weekend in Hawaii!
17. Corsair Wreck Dive Site
Honolulu is home to many diving sites, but quite a few of them are artificial.
They’ve had fish and coral transplanted to the area, or they’ve been given man-made wrecks as points of interest for swimmers and divers.
The Corsair Wreck Dive Site is an anomaly.
It’s the genuine remnants of a WWII plane that crashed into the ocean, and it’s attracted native populations of jacks, stingrays and garden eels that swim among the rusted hulls and halls.
You might not want to attempt this dive if you’re a beginner.
It’s 115 feet below the surface, and you’ll need to hire a boat and guide from a local Honolulu port just to get there.
If you have the skills, however, and you’re intrigued by the thought of exploring the underwater remains of a WWII plane, the Corsair Wreck Dive Site is one of the coolest non-touristy things to do in Hawaii.
It’ll be a challenge, not a cheap attraction.
18. Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design
“Shangri La” might be a mythical land, but the Shangri La Museum is a very real place located just outside of Honolulu.
Commissioned by the famous heiress Doris Duke, Shangri La was started as a mansion where she could collect and display Islamic artwork.
She’d been fascinated by it during her honeymoon to the Middle East, and she wanted a place where she could keep all of her portraits, tiles, jewelry, embroidery and wood carvings.
Today, the Shangri La Museum is open to the public thanks to the Doris Duke Foundation, and it’s become a mecca for those who are interested in Islamic art and culture.
It’s one of the most unique places to see in the entire state of Hawaii, so reserve your ticket well in advance!
Address: 4055 Pāpū Cir, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
19. Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is a tropical paradise. There’s no other word for it.
The waters are clear; the sands are full of seashells and bits of coral.
Sea turtles are a common sight, and so are amazing schools of parrotfish.
It’s definitely one of the top things to do in Honolulu.
Visitors to Hanauma Bay can take part in all kinds of aquatic fun.
Whether you’re looking to swim, snorkel, surf, dive or just lounge under a beach umbrella with a good book and a fruity cocktail, you can enjoy yourself at this Honolulu beach.
The only downside of Hanauma Bay is that it can get a bit crowded.
It’s such a popular destination in Honolulu that thousands of tourists flock there every year, and they’ve had problems with things like erosion and marine life displacement.
For this reason, the bay is closed every Tuesday to keep the area stable.
Plan your trip for the weekend instead!
20. Aloha Tower
Located on the Honolulu Harbor, the Aloha Tower is a 184-foot lighthouse that has welcomed millions of sailors and explorers since its original construction in the early 20th century.
It’s so important to the island’s history that it’s considered the Hawaiian equivalent of the Statue of Liberty!
While it still functions as a lighthouse today, the primary purpose of the Aloha Tower has shifted to tourism.
Visitors are allowed to climb to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of the Honolulu coast, and a marketplace has been set up at the base of the tower for shopping and dining.
Let us give you a travel hack for visiting Aloha Tower: Go at night.
It was built in a gothic architectural style, so when night falls and the interior lights come on, it looks like something out of a spine-tingling monster novel!
Address: 155 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
Visiting other areas of Hawaii? Why not check out some of the things to do in Kauai?
21. Honolulu Museum of Art
The Honolulu Museum of Art is the largest of its kind in Hawaii.
It boasts more than 50,000 pieces of artwork, and these aren’t just paintings and sculptures.
You can find everything from knitted yarns to hand-painted dolls recovered from indigenous tribes.
You might also enjoy the special events and exhibitions at the Honolulu Museum of Art.
If you visit on the right weekend, you’ll get to watch films, take pottery classes or attend printmaking workshops with aspiring artists.
There’s no limit to the courses, lectures, exhibits and social gatherings that are offered by the museum.
The Honolulu Museum of Art is a must do for history buffs who are traveling to Hawaii.
It’s one of those rare tourist attractions that manages to be both entertaining and educational, so you’ll learn something even as you’re beating the heat in its air-conditioned halls.
Just make sure that you call ahead: It’s closed every Monday, and it can shut down for other reasons as well.
If you want to visit tomorrow, call today.
Address: 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96814-1495, USA
22. Magic Island
You won’t need a wand to visit Magic Island, but it’ll still offer a spellbinding time!
Despite its name, Magic Island isn’t actually an island.
It’s a man-made peninsula located a short distance from Honolulu, and it’s adjacent to another recreational area called Ala Moana Beach Park.
There are a lot of fun things to see and do at Magic Island.
The biggest draw is the beach; it’s protected by large rocks that break off the worst of the waves, so its waters are usually calm and mild.
You can swim, tan, jog or even join a yoga class on the sand.
If you’re willing to scoop up your flip-flops and walk a bit, Magic Island is also close to a number of shops, restaurants and movie theaters.
Wear yourself out on the beach during the day; relax over a shrimp platter as the sun goes down.
Magic Island is one of the top things to do in Honolulu.
It might not be the fanciest, but it’s still magical.
Channel your inner Dumbledore and book your trip tonight!
Address: 1201 Ala Moana Blvd, At the end of Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96814-4205, USA
23. Hawaii Food Tours
Sightseeing in Honolulu can work up quite the appetite.
Thankfully, Hawaii Food Tours is here to recharge and refuel you.
Founded by a former celebrity chef, Hawaii Food Tours will take you a journey to the best eateries in Honolulu.
They offer several guided trips throughout the city, but their most famous tour is their “Hole In the Wall” tour that specializes in getting tourists off the beaten path and into the diners and dives that only locals know about.
Are you in the mood for juicy pineapple pizza?
Have you always wanted to try a bowl of poke?
Do you crave homemade ice cream, salty crack seeds or powdered doughnuts?
Hawaii Food Tours will fill your belly with beloved dishes from Hawaii cuisine.
Best of all, since it’s a “hole in the wall” activity, it’s one of the rare non-touristy things to do in the city of Honolulu.
Enjoy authenticity and great tastes!
Known as one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Honolulu, Kaka’ako is a must see for visitors who enjoy art and culture.
It has a vibrant atmosphere where young people gather for everything from outdoor concerts to food truck competitions.
Kakaako wasn’t always a picturesque place.
In fact, it used to be an industrial ghost town filled with empty warehouses and auto body shops.
Things only changed when artists started using its buildings and bridges for outdoor murals.
There was a renewed interest in the neighborhood as creatives started flocking there, and trendy businesses quickly followed its trendy artists.
Today’s Kakaako is unrecognizable from the old Kakaako.
It’s fresh and colorful, and you can’t turn a corner without seeing a bar, bistro or microbrewery.
If you’re wondering where to go in Honolulu for a cup of bubble tea, this is it!
25. Royal Hawaiian Center
When planning your trip to Honolulu, you’ll want to know all of the best spots for shopping.
Where else can you buy bobble-headed hula dancers as souvenirs?
The Royal Hawaiian Center isn’t the only shopping complex in the city.
In fact, we’ve already talked about the Ala Moana Center, the largest shopping mall in Hawaii.
But the Royal Hawaiian Center is a bit different than the larger-than-life counterpart: It’s focused on luxury brands.
“High end” is the name of the game when it comes to the Royal Hawaiian Center.
From expensive boutiques to five-star restaurants, everything is dripping with decadence.
You don’t have to drop a lot of money to enjoy your time at the Royal Hawaiian Center.
It’s one of the major points of interest of Honolulu just because of its sophisticated design, layout, architecture and atmosphere.
You can enjoy some good old-fashioned window shopping as you wander its corridors, and who knows?
You might just find a bobble-head on sale.
Address: 2201 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
26. Sans Souci Beach Park
Some people don’t like cliff-diving or wave-skimming.
Rather than soaking themselves in adrenaline, they just want to enjoy a nice, relaxing time at the beach.
If this describes you, Sans Souci Beach Park is the place to be.
Sans Souci Beach Park offers shallow waters and clean shorelines where you can enjoy the waterfront without needing a board, helmet or oxygen tank.
The waves are mild; the palm trees offer plenty of shade. It’s a great place to unwind in Honolulu.
If you’re looking at a list of Honolulu attractions and wondering what to do, consider Sans Souci Beach Park.
It won’t give you any near-death experiences, but it’ll provide a wonderfully rejuvenating atmosphere as you relax in on the Hawaii coastline.
You don’t have to travel to distant lands like Aruba to enjoy tropical beaches!
Address: 2863 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-4016, USA
Considered one of the four great neighborhoods of Honolulu, the “Chinatown Historic District” is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the entire state of Hawaii.
It covers more than 10 acres and is buzzing with shops, stalls and markets that celebrate Chinese culture.
Are you hungry?
Spend a few yuan and enjoy delicacies like dazhu gansi (tofu soup) and lazi ji (stir-fried chicken with chili).
Do you want some keepsakes to remember your Honolulu vacation?
Shop for good luck charms, or wrap yourself in a cheongsam to display your Chinese fashion to the world.
Chinatown is also home to some incredible landmarks that you won’t find anywhere else in Honolulu.
For example, Kuan Yin is a Buddhist temple with red columns and a green roof, and it’s filled with flowers, statues and artifacts that make its interior just as vibrant as its exterior.
It’s the kind of thing that has to be seen to be believed!
28. Waiola Shave Ice
Shaved ice is another one of those quintessential Hawaiian snacks that you can find on every street corner.
It’s so popular that the locals have turned it into an art form.
It isn’t just ice with red syrup dumped on top; it’s a specialized dessert that combines thousands of flavors, toppings and juices.
Waiola Shave Ice is considered one of the best places to visit in Honolulu because of its creativity in serving shaved ice desserts.
It has all of the usual flavors like cherry, mango and passionfruit, but it also shakes things up with chocolate, haupia, green tea, mochi and margarita.
You can also mix and match flavors if you’re dying for some salty plum sauce on top of your watermelon ice topped with papaya seeds.
Consider a trip to Waiola Shave Ice if you’re looking for cool things to see in Honolulu.
Even if you want to stick to well-tested flavors like strawberry, it’s fun to people-watch as they egg each other on to try something new!
Address: 2135 Waiola St, Honolulu, HI 96826, United States
29. Kualoa Ranch
You’ve seen Kualoa Ranch.
Even if you’ve not stepped foot in Hawaii, you’ve seen Kualoa Ranch.
It’s been used as a set piece for everything from Lost to Hawaii Five-O, so you’re probably quite familiar with its hills, fields and cliffs.
Its greenery stretches as far as the eye can see!
You don’t have to wander it on foot, either.
Kualoa Ranch will let you explore the grounds in a number of exciting ways, including ziplining through the trees and riding an ATV or a landrover expedition.
You can also go biking, kayaking or horseback riding.
Kualoa Ranch is about a half-hour drive from Honolulu, so we’re lying a little when we call it one of the best things to do in Honolulu.
It’s technically one of the best things to do in the greater Honolulu area.
If you have a car, however, roll down the windows and put your foot on the pedal; you won’t want to miss Kualoa Ranch.
Address: 49-560 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA
30. Sea Life Park
Located a few miles north of Honolulu, Sea Life Park is a great place for aquatic adventures.
It mixes elements of a zoo, aquarium, natural park and wildlife sanctuary, and the results are a rollicking good time for all.
What are the best activities in Sea Life Park?
It depends on what you’re looking for:
– Its most famous feature is probably its “ocean theater” where you can view tricks and shows from dolphins, penguins and sea lions.
– If you don’t mind getting wet, there are places where you can interact with live marine animals. You can swim with dolphins, splash with sea lions and wade right into the sea turtle feeding pool.
– If you’re interested in animals outside of the water, stop by the bird sanctuary or penguin habitat for drier fun.
Sea Life Park will provide all-ages entertainment for anyone and everyone who walks through its gates.
It’s one of our top 10 things to do in Honolulu for family-friendly fun, so you’ll definitely have a good time here!
Start Planning Your Trip To Honolulu
If you’re wondering what to do in Honolulu, these are some of the major points of interest in the city.
There are many, many more, so don’t feel limited by the suggestions here.
Your Hawaiian vacation can be crafted just the way you like it!