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10 Best Honolulu Attractions Worth Discovering

Honolulu attractions offer a perfect blend of stunning beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture.

There are some great Honolulu Attractions to discover, experience, and remember when visiting Oahu!  From the simple pleasures of visiting the popular Waikiki Aquarium and the Honolulu Zoo, to swimming with the many colorful fish at Hanauma Bay, there are many wonderful Oahu Attractions worth discovering.

Once you’ve had enough sun & sand and need a little break, and looking for other things to do, you can learn some of Hawaii's history at Pearl Harbor, the Iolani Palace Honolulu , Pali Lookout, and the Bishop Museum.

Marine Life & Animals

Hanauma Bay Oahu

Hanauma Bay in Oahu is a stunning marine ecosystem and underwater park, offering pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, and incredible snorkeling opportunities.

I can’t recommend a better way to view Oahu’s colorful array of tropical fish, than jumping right into the water with them!  The volcanic crater that once exploded into a crescent moon-shaped beach, is home to hundreds of Hanauma Bay fish & marine life.

Hanauma Bay Oahu is located just a half hour outside of Waikiki.  It’s worth an early start to beat the crowds that seek this popular Honolulu attraction daily.

Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii is an educational and captivating attraction that showcases a diverse range of marine life, including coral, jellyfish, sharks, turtles, and seals.

Originally built in 1904 and remains as today’s 3rd oldest Aquarium in the world, the Waikiki Aquarium still attracts big crowds everyday–both local and visitors.

How's this for Honolulu attractions...the aquarium hosts an impressive 3,500 species of Hawaiian marine life and fish, including monk seals, octopus, squid, reef sharks, jellyfish, crabs, sea horses, and hundreds of colorful reef fish.

The Waikiki Aquarium is located across from Kapiolani Park next door to the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial and San Souci Beach.  It’s a fun activity for the whole family!

Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is a delightful and family-friendly attraction that houses a wide variety of exotic animals from around the world, providing an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.

The Honolulu Zoo is very popular amongst the Honolulu attractions!  You may forget for a moment that you are actually in Hawaii once you step into the zoo and into the African Savannah, or the Reptile Garden, and a bird sanctuary.

Don’t forget to take the kids to the Keiki (kid) section of the zoo...

The monkeys, elephants, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, lions, alligators, tropical birds and many other zoo members will be waiting to greet you with aloha!

The Honolulu Zoo is located just after the long stretch of Waikiki Hotels, and just before you enter Kapiolani Park.

Honolulu Attractions & Museums

Visiting Pearl Harbor Honolulu

Take a moment to pay respect and honor to the soldiers who fought and perished during the battle that took place at Pearl Harbor – a moment  in history that sent shock waves around the world. Sign up for a small group tour and avoid long lines.

The Pearl Harbor Memorial Flag is a powerful symbol of honor and remembrance, representing the sacrifice and resilience of those who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Arizona Memorial and the Missouri Battleship monuments have a powerful presence that will leave you in awe and full of emotion.

Visiting Pearl Harbor is a great half to full day excursion – one that you should plan accordingly and start very early in the morning.  It's the most visited site amongst other Honolulu Attractions.  Pearl Harbor is an amazing lesson in history for the entire family.

Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum is a fascinating and comprehensive museum in Honolulu that showcases the rich history, culture, and natural heritage of Hawaii and the Pacific region.

Built in the late 1800’s the Bishop Museum has an amazing collection and preservation of the Hawaiian Islands and the Polynesian culture.

The newly renovated great hall is an interactive experience with an active erupting volcano, an ancient cave to explore, an impressive collection of shark skeletons, hula demonstrations and fun workshops…and much much more.

Located just 15 minutes outside of Waikiki, the Bishop Museum in Honolulu is a fun, educational, and life enriching experience for the whole family.

Oahu background images capture the breathtaking beauty of the island, featuring stunning beaches, lush landscapes, majestic mountains, and vibrant cityscapes.

Check out the top 12 Oahu background images for Zoom and other virtual meets, computer screen savers, Pinterest favorites, and more.

Iolani Palace Honolulu

Iolani Palace in Honolulu is a magnificent and historically significant royal residence, serving as a symbol of Hawaii's monarchy and cultural heritage.

This amazing National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu was originally built by King Kalakaua in 1882.

It became the official residence of Hawaii's intriguing monarchy.

King Kalakaua and his sister, Queen Lili'uokalani, who later became his successor, enjoyed this opulent and grand  palace as their official residence.  Ironically, and shortly after it was built, Hawaii's monarchy was ended and Queen Lili'uokalani was imprisoned in her very own Iolani Palace.

The Iolani Palace was lovingly and meticulously restored to its former glory so you can enjoy a piece of Hawaii's royal heritage!

I recommend taking a guided docent tour, which you can schedule ahead of your visit.  The tour is inexpensive and fascinating to listen to, as you walk the Koa wood floors and explore the grand halls and rooms that are full of Hawaiian history.

Honolulu Museum of Art

The Honolulu Museum of Art is a captivating and diverse art museum that showcases a wide range of artistic styles and cultural treasures from around the world.

An impressive display of 50,000 pieces of Asian, European, American, and Polynesian art!  The Honolulu Museum of Art was founded in 1927 by Anna Rice Cooke, who converted her Missionary home into a museum, which continues to grow over the years.

Today, you’ll find a gift shop, an outdoor café, a 280 seat theater, and many more extensions on and off site! 

Explore the many different gallery rooms that have a nice flow and elegantly display the artworks.  The Museum design itself has a Spanish Moorish architecture that’s photogenic and considered artwork itself!

900 South Beretania Street, Honolulu - Phone 808-532-8700

Scenic Spots

Nu'uanau Pali Lookout

The Honolulu Museum of Art is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces and cultural artifacts, offering a captivating journey through different artistic styles and global cultures.

Not far from Waikiki, and just a quick drive up the lush Nu’uanu Valley, is the famous Pali Lookout.  This Honolulu attraction provides some of the best views of the eastern side of the island, from Kailua to Chinaman’s Hat in the far distance.

The lookout sits about 1200 feet up from the majestic blue Pacific Ocean below, and surrounding by 3000 foot skyscraping Ko’olau Mountains in the  background.

The scenic lookout is also located in an area of great significances in Hawaiian history, as one of the largest and fiercest battles took place.  Learn about King Kamehameha I and his conquest to unite the islands.

Honolulu Attractions in Neighborhoods

New Kaka'ako & Historic Chinatown

Chinatown in Honolulu is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood filled with a rich blend of Asian cultures, delicious cuisine, unique shops, and colorful markets.

Chinatown and Kaka'ako neighbor each other and have become Oahu attractions themselves, with the surge of new Hawaiian art galleries, boutique shops, dynamic restaurant, bars and clubs.

These town-side neighborhoods are evolving areas where new hip life is starting to occupy the century old buildings.

Mixed in with the farmers market, beautiful flower lei stands, lots of building mural paintings, and rustic character of the surrounding buildings, Chinatown Honolulu and New Kaka'ako have become Oahu destinations worth visiting.

Chocolate Bar Creation Class

Make you own chocolate bar experience!  Sign up for fun an hour workshop in Chinatown or Kailua, learning about the chocolate making process, and create your own unique bar using spices and/or fun ingredients.  Reserve your spot now...

Things to do in Waikiki

Waikiki in Hawaii is a world-famous beachfront neighborhood known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, luxury resorts, and iconic Diamond Head backdrop.

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that Waikiki is one of the most popular Honolulu attractions and perhaps the most well-known, but I would love to take a moment to point out a few unique points of interest in this bustling city.

Take a stroll along Waikiki Beach and check out the old surf racks with hundreds of vintage surfboards.

Perhaps you might be inspired to take surf lessons and experience some of the most gentle and consistent beginner's waves in Oahu.

Don't forget to check out some of the bigger main attractions like the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium with the family.

Waikiki Trolley

Waikiki Trolley Tours offer a convenient and enjoyable way to explore the attractions of Waikiki, providing a narrated tour with multiple stops and the flexibility to hop on and off at your leisure.

The Waikiki Trolley visits many of the featured Honolulu Attractions. There are 4 different routes to explore including: Scenic Tour, Historic Tour, Shopping Tour, and the Island Tour. Tickets start around $9 for a child day pass, and go up to $25 - $49 for an Adult 7 day pass. 

Purchase your pass now

Other Oahu Attractions

Oahu attractions offer a diverse range of experiences, from pristine beaches and scenic hikes to historical landmarks and cultural sites, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Also take time to check out the top 10 Oahu Attractions.  Find your favorites and see how they rank in popularity.  Can you guess what the number 1 attraction is?

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