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Discover Honolulu with Checkin Accommodation

Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and the main point of entry for most visitors to the state. The city includes three areas Waikiki, Downtown, and Pearl Harbor. Waikiki, the main attraction with it's beautiful stretch of soft sand beaches, is a peninsula covering nearly half a square mile. In this small area, one of the most densely-populated of the United States, there are more hotels, restaurants and shops than in all the rest of Hawai island. Pearl Harbor, first developed in 1911, occupies a large part of the city, stretching for many miles to the west. Naval bases, military bases and the Honolulu Airport are located here as well.

Here in Honolulu, away from the crowded haunts of Waikiki, you get to shake hands with the real Hawaii. A boisterous Polynesian capital, Honolulu delivers an island-style mixed plate of experiences. Eat your way through the pan-Asian alleys of Chinatown, where 19th-century whalers once brawled and immigrant traders thrived.

Gaze out to sea atop the landmark Aloha Tower, then walk past Victorian-era brick buildings, including the USA’s only royal palace. Browse at the world's largest open-air shopping center at Ala Moana, then poke your nose into the city's impressive art museums.

Ocean breezes rustle palm trees along the harborfront, while in the cool, mist-shrouded Koʻolau Range, forested hiking trails offer postcard city views. At sunset, cool off with an amble around Magic Island or splash in the ocean at Ala Moana Beach. After dark, migrate to Chinatown’s edgy art and nightlife scene.

  1. Pearl Harbour and USS Arizona Memorial - Set in a bay where Hawaiians once harvested clams and oysters, the infamous World War II site is still a key military base. The harbor’s relics and memorials, which incorporate the resting place of the doomed battleship Arizona and the final berth of the historic USS Missouri, are visited by 1.5 million people each year. A museum of military aviation is also nearby.

Must-See Site: Officers’ Quarters: The expensive but highly recommended 90-minute Captain’s Tour of the Missouri takes you into areas for officers. The quarters may be small by civilian standards but are plush compared to the sailor’s “racks”

  1. Waikiki Oceanfront - Waikiki’s two-mile-long oceanfront street, running from Ala Wai bridge to the magnificent Diamond Head, epitomizes the dream of Hawaii – gentle surf and vibrant nightlife. Names for Hawaii’s playful last king, the street is lined with storied hotels, parks, and a host of attractions. The city has spruced up the street and Waikiki Beach with plantings, seating areas, and a waterfall that’s a favourite “photo op” spot.

Must-See Site: Waikiki Beach: It’s all happening here just as it has for more than a century – beachboys giving surf lessons; old-timers playing checkers in the pavilions; canoe teams practicing; locals mingling with tourists in the gentle waves. The whole beach is open, including the areas in-front of the Royal and Moana hotels.

  1. Kane’ohe - The area loosely known as Kane’ohe is both commuting distance from Honolulu and a world away, the gateway to the North Shore and its country-style life. Many native Hawaiians live here and the area is peppered with historic sites. You notice the difference at once – more pickup trucks, parked vehicles selling fresh fish and Hawaiian foods, and a slower pace. Must-See Site: Mokoli’I (Chinaman’s Hat): A lopsided conical island (pictured), visible from He’eia to Kualoa, Mokoli’I is oft-visited by kayakers. It is said to be the remains of a giant mo’o (lizard god)
  2. South Shore - O’ahu’s south shore changes rapidly from suburb to barely touched landscapes of azure bays, botanical gardens, and a shoreline from which whales can be seen in the winter surf. Though close to the city’s action, the coast has almost no services – no stores and few restrooms. An occasional lunchwagon at Sandy Beach and a snack stand at Hanauma Bay provide respite. Must-See Site: Wawamalu & Kaloko: These two beaches are fine for shoreline pleasures, such as sunbathing or flying a kite, but don’t even think of taking on the killing shore break and swift currents.
  3. Capitol District - If you had but one day to spend in Honolulu, there’s an argument to be made for spending it right here. Concentrated within a few misshapen blocks is a clutch of historic landmarks, a toothsome Asian marketplace, a neighbourhood of fragrant lei stands, and alluring shops, galleries, and restaurants. And when it’s time to sit and contemplate, there’s also an ample store of shady mini-parks and cool retreats on hand.

Must-See Site: Chinatown: This 15-block historic district should more properly be called Southeast Asia town. Cohabiting amicably are food purveyors, farmer’s markets, gift shops, lei stands, and an area of art galleries and eateries.

  1. Lyon Arboretum and Manoa Falls - The Lyon Arboretum is a 194-acre botanical garden in a rainforest, featuring a collection of over 5,000 tropical plants from Hawaii and Polynesia. It is said to have one of largest collection of palms found in a botanical garden. This facility is also an active research facility, working on preserving the state's tropical forests. The Arboretum maintains a number of theme gardens that visitors can easily wander through. Among these are an herb and spice garden, bromeliad garden, the Beatrice H. Krauss Hawaiian Ethnobotanical Garden, and many others. The facility is both beautiful and educational. A path at the entrance to the Lyon Arboretum leads 1.5mi/2.4km to the Manoa Falls where bathing is permitted.
  2. Iolani Palace - A National Historic Landmark, this is the only state residence of royalty in the U.S. It was built for King David Kalakaua and his queen, Kapi’olani, and was the home of his sister, Queen Lili’uokalani, until her reign ended in 1893. From 1893 to 1968 ‘Iolani was the seat of the Hawaiian government. Heavily restored, it includes priceless object and gorgeous decorative touches.

Must-See Site: Throne Room: The king and queen would sit in state and receive their visitors. In 1895, however, in less happy times for the monarchy, Queen Lili’uokalani was put on trial in these august surroundings.

  1. Ala Moana Park - Tucked between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, Ala Moana Park and Beach provides a good view of Waikiki. There is a fine beach for swimming with a man-made reef protecting it from the open sea, meaning the water is generally calm. The sand here is coarse. On its western end, Kewalo Basin, also known as Fisherman's Wharf, is a small picturesque port where it's possible to hire a boat to go fishing out in the open sea.
  2. Queen Emma Summer Palace - The white colonial mansion, built in 1848, was a summer home for King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. The museum contains koa furniture and quilts as well as Emma's wedding dress. The house has been a museum since 1913 and is operated by the Daughters of Hawaii. While the King and Queen had six houses, this is one of only two which remain standing.
  3. Foster Botanical Garden - Foster Botanical Garden was established in 1853 and served to the City of Honolulu as a public garden in 1930. Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of particular interest is the Prehistoric Glen with its ferns and cycads. Other areas include the Lyon Orchid Garden, the oldest section known as the Main Terrace, the Butterfly Garden, the Economic Garden of herbs and spices, the blooming orchid display in the Orchid Conservatory, and a number of "exceptional trees" which are spread throughout the property.
  4. Bishop Museum and Planetarium - Bishop Museum, Hawaii's state museum, contains one of the best collection of Polynesian arts and artifacts in the state. On display is an important collection of the feathered royal standards (kahilis) which essentially served as flags for past royalty. Hawaiian feathered capes and helmets are other highlights. Also of note is a large collection of artifacts from the South Pacific, and objects brought by the Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Portuguese, German and other early settlers. Natural history exhibits, including whaling artifacts, complete the museum. Also on site is the J Watumull Planetarium.
  5. Mission Houses Museum - This museum maintains three historical properties from the early 19th century. These restored homes, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, document the lives and living conditions of early missionaries. They are the oldest western style buildings still standing. The properties include the Mission House (1821), the printing works (1841) and the Chamberlain House (1831), built by Levi Chamberlain for himself and his family of eight when they came to Honolulu from Vermont in 1823. It was here that books in the Hawaiian language, used by missionaries as a written language, were first printed.
  6. Polynesian Cultural Center - Covering 42 acres on O’ahu’s scenic north shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore the seven Pacific Island nations in one place on a single day. Though undeniably kitsch in places, the center has been immensely popular since the 1970s and welcomes around one million guests annually. Must-See Site: Rainbows of Paradise: Each day at 2:30 p.m., the quiet lagoons come alive. Dozens of Polynesians in traditional costume present an interpretation of 5,000 years of Pacific island cultural lore in a rousing pageant.
  7. Maritime Port - This busy port, maritime museum, and the neighbouring Aloha Tower Marketplace recall the days when Hawaii’s primary link to the world was by water. Hawaiians arrived by extraordinary voyaging canoes; Westerners followed in ships with billowing sails. For decades, the ports were paramount, the subject of constant news reports, and a source of income for dockworkers, lei sellers, and coin-divers. Must-See: History of Surfing; California and the Beach Boys may have popularized surfing, but Hawaii invented the art of he’e nalu (literally “flowing over the waves”). Displays chronicle the evolution from huge, heavy wooden boards to today’s sharp shooters.
  8. Honolulu Academy of the Arts - Hawaii’s only general art museum, comprising 30 galleries, was founded in 1927 by the eclectic collector Anna Rice Cooke, whose home had become crammed with more than 4,500 pieces of artwork. The gracious stucco-and-tile building in the style of what islander’s call “Territorial” was erected on the site of her original house. Must-See Site: Asian Paintings: A centerpiece of the academy’s Asian holdins is the James Michener Collection of ukiyo-e paintings, which also includes some of Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji. The Asian Collection is equally strong on Japanese scrolls and Ming-dynasty Chinese paintings.
  1. Pacific Rim Restaurant - Rotating restaurant known for its 360-degree island views offers cocktails & Pacific Rim cuisine. Address: Waikiki Shopping Plaza, 2270 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA. Phone:+1 808-923-3877
  2. Alan Wong's - Hawaiian Restaurant where famed chef Alan Wong presents his innovative, colorful Hawaiian fare in an upscale, 3rd-floor space. Address: 1857 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96826, USA. Phone:+1 808-949-1939
  3. Ono Hawaiian Foods - No-frills, family-owned eatery draws locals with a menu of traditional Hawaiian plates. Address: 726 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA. Phone:+1 808-737-2275
  4. The Pig and The Lady - Vietnamese Restaurant. Featuring globally accented, modern Vietnamese cooking in a lively setting with communal tables. Address: 83 N King St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA. Phone:+1 808-585-8255
  5. Orchids - Global fare & a popular Sunday brunch in a casually elegant space filled with the namesake flower. Address: Halekulani Hotel, 2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA. Phone:+1 808-923-2311
  6. Duke's Waikiki - Seafood Restaurant. Popular option known for its beachfront location, surf 'n' turf, tiki vibe & umbrella drinks. Address: Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, 2335 Kalakaua Ave #116, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA. Phone:+1 808-922-2268
  7. Hula Grill Waikiki - Pacific Rim Restaurant. Beachside eatery is a sandy hub for pupu, fish tacos, tropical drinks, live music & people-watching. Address: 2335 Kalakaua Ave #203, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA. Phone:+1 808-923-4852
  8. Bar 35 - Bar is a go-to for craft beers, cocktails, pizzas & a brick-walled loungey space with DJs & a patio. Address: 35 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA. Phone:+1 808-537-3535
  9. RumFire Lounge - The Sheraton's posh, beachside lounge known for unique cocktails, comfort food & coveted fire pits. Address: Sheraton Waikiki, 2255 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA. Phone:+1 808-922-4422
  10. Mai Tai Bar - Royal Hawaiian's beachfront bar is a festive, slick spot for umbrella cocktails, appetizers & music. Address: The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki, 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA. Phone:+1 808-923-7311

Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu is Hawaii’s major airport, serving as the entry point for most of Hawaii’s visitors. All major domestic carriers and many international carriers serve Oahu, so you can get here from just about anywhere.

You can get around by car rental, shuttle, taxi or Oahu’s public transportation system (TheBus). Many visitors also enjoy taking bus tours to conveniently explore the Island. Others rent mopeds and motorcycles. But to really experience all that Oahu offers, you should consider reserving a rental car in advance from the Honolulu International Airport.

Oahu’s city transportation system is aptly named “TheBus.” Fares are reasonable, routes are extensive and there are special visitor passes for multiple day uses.

Visitors should not expect to rely on the bus sytem for the neighbor islands, though there are plenty of shuttles and trolleys to most tourist attractions. Oahu is the most developed, and the easiest to travel using public transportation. Adult fare is $2.50 which includes one transfer, Seniors (65yrs.) 1.00 per ride or $5 a month , (requires a $10 senior bus pass card available from the bus office), and a 4 day pass for visitors is $35.00.

If you’re looking for Waikiki transportation and an easy way to visit nearby attractions, the trolley is an affordable option. The routes and destinations are not as extensive as TheBus but the trolley goes to most major visitor attractions and offer tickets for unlimited rides over a certain number of days.

Taxis are a great way to travel when in a group and the cost can be shared. You can find taxi stands at most major shopping centers, in the business district and at the airport. Note that rather than hailing a cab, finding taxi stands at major shopping centers and businesses as well as calling for pick-ups via hotel concierge or phone is the norm in Hawaii.

  1. Pearl Harbour and USS Arizona Memorial - Address:1 Arizona Memorial Pl, Honolulu, HI 96818, USA. Phone:+1 808-422-3399
  2. Waikiki - Address:South shore of the island of Oʻahu, Hawaii, United States
  3. Lyon Arboretum and Manoa Falls - Address: 3860 Manoa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822-1180, United States. Phone:+1 808-988-0456
  4. Iolani Palace - Address:364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA. Phone:+1 808-522-0822
  5. Ala Moana Park - Address:96815, 1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States. Phone:+1 808-768-4611
  6. Queen Emma Summer Palace - Address: 2913 Pali Highway, Honolulu, HI 96817-1417, United States. Phone:+1 808-595-3167
  7. Foster Botanical Garden - Address:180 N Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA. Phone:+1 808-522-7060
  8. Bishop Museum and Planetarium - Address:1525 Bernice St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA. Phone:+1 808-847-3511
  9. Mission Houses Museum - Address:553 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA. Phone:+1 808-531-0481
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