As the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is a bustling city set along pristine beaches and beautiful tropical vegetation. It is located on the island of Oahu, and boasts a population of about 371,000. The name Honolulu comes from a blend of words from the native Hawaiian language: “hono” (meaning bay) and “lulu” (meaning sheltered). The city is made up of a unique mix of both old and new, and visitors will be treated to modern businesses and trendy hipsters, as well as a good dose of ancient Hawaiian culture. It’s not uncommon here to be walking through busy streets filled with government and business buildings and come upon historic structures such as the ‘Iolani Palace or Kawaiaha’o Church.
Things to see on Oahu
Leahi, also known as Diamond Head State Monument – An iconic staple within the Honolulu skyline and a popular hiking destination a short distance from Waikiki Beach.
Pearl Harbor – This National Historic Landmark is home to five significant sites showcasing the beginning and end of World War II.
Haleiwa – A historic surf town on Oahu’s North Shore where the buildings are no taller than the palm trees. It’s home to surf shops, boutiques and restaurants that provide a truly local experience.
Unique shopping – Visitors will find everything from treasures available only in Hawaii, crafts and local surf styles to high-end jewelry and world-renowned designer fashions at Oahu’s malls and shopping centers.
Valley of the Temples – Showcasing the Japanese immigrants’ influence on Hawaiian culture, visitors will find a scale replica of a Japanese temple built entirely without nails in a tranquil, picturesque setting.
Chinatown – Historic buildings, local dining and shops are second only to the heart of art in this neighborhood on Oahu. Theatre, live music and a nightlife hot spot are Chinatown’s claim to fame. Visit during “First Friday,” the first Friday of every month, to experience the vibe in full swing.
Iolani Palace – The only official state residence of royalty in the U.S., this was formerly home to two Hawaiian monarchs and then turned into a capital building. This National Historic Landmark is now open for tours where you can view the private living quarters, learn the history of the royal residents and see their crowns.
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