Honolulu

Things to do in Honolulu

You'll likely spend most of your time here at the beach. For those times when you're not digging your toes into the soft sand, turn to this list of top things to do in Honolulu.

Catch a live performance of either an off-Broadway play or musical at the Diamond Head Theater.

For the largest collection of Asian, Western, and Islamic art in Hawaii, head to the Honolulu Museum of Art. 

The Aloha Stadium, located near Pearl Harbor, holds many American football and soccer paraphernalia. It's a great family-friendly way to spend an afternoon.

Thousands of animals, including mammals, reptiles, and birds, are on view at the Honolulu Zoo. The zoo offers gardens where you can relax and hosts overnight family camping trips.

History buffs flock to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Pair your excursion with a guided tour through Pearl Harbor to view the USS Arizona, which was bombed during World War II.

Hawaiian monarchs still reside at the grand Iolani Palace. Take one of the guided tours or classes, or attend one of the free music events, which take place each Friday.

One of the last of the old-school tiki bars, this everyman’s establishment has occupied the waterfront of Keehi Lagoon for more than five decades—in a location even island residents rarely get to.

In the mall next to the iconic Aloha Tower, this shop has hundreds of unique pieces of island jewelry in sterling silver and 14-karat gold, Chinese jade, puka shell, and Tahitian black pearl, many with tasteful designs of tropical flowers and hula girls.

Ride TheBus, and stop at historic Diamond Head Lighthouse, on the Eastern end of Waikiki Beach.

Located in the Halekulani Hotel, Lewers Lounge evokes the feel of New York’s swankiest cocktail bars with a touch of Hawaiian hospitality. The cocktail menu was crafted by Dale DeGroff, who enjoyed a stint at New York’s famed Rainbow Room.

The largest open-air flea market in Hawaii, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet takes place every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday in the parking lot surrounding the stadium. More than 700 local merchants set up tents, selling a wide variety of imported, handmade, and vintage goods.

Tobacco heiress Doris Duke stipulated in her will that her opulent and fanciful home (called Shangri La) on the shores of Diamond Head be turned into a museum.

Sit under a pink umbrella while drifting off to the island melodies of slack-key guitarist Ledward Ka’apana. Later, sip Hawaiian rum at the volcanic island’s new hot spot.

Part Irish pub and part local Hawaiian eatery, Murphy’s Bar and Grill is a casual neighborhood gathering spot for local businesspeople and residents. The bar serves 16 beers on tap, as well as a selection of wines.

Probably the best museum complex in the world for everything Polynesian (as well as Melanesian and Micronesian), the Bishop is Hawaii’s most famous museum—and worth the hassle of getting to its out-of-the-way location just off the H-1 interstate.

Hawaiian shirts sell for as little as $4, but vintage varieties from the 1930s will set you back thousands of dollars.

A must for any music lover visiting Hawaii, Next Door is known as one of the premier music venues in Honolulu. The combination bar and performance venue has an underground feel, enhanced by exposed brick walls throughout the space.

Bob’s sells one product mainly, the evocative and characteristically Hawaiian four-string guitar. There are ukes of ribbon-grained koa that cost hundreds and soprano ukes of mahogany that go for $90 and touristy ones of laminated wood for 50 bucks.

What to Expect: Framed by Diamond Head, one of the world’s most climbed (extinct) volcanoes, and with nearly two miles of continuous white sand and palm trees, this iconic beach is almost always full of tourists and surfers.

Located in the Ala Moana shopping center, Panya Bistro is an offshoot of the Panya Bakery, a Japanese bakery founded by Alice and Annie Yeung. The bistro is a sort of expansion on the original bakery concept, providing customers with a full-service restaurant, a bakery, and a full bar.

The Honolulu Museum of Art is home to a 60,000-piece collection of art, with an emphasis on Asian works, including Buddhist and Shinto sculptures and Korean ceramics. More than 10,000 examples of Japanese ukiyo-ewoodblock prints comprise the James A. Michener collection.