7 Things to Do in Honolulu

Honolulu is located in the world’s largest mountain range, but most of this range is located underwater. Kamehameha III founded this city in 1850 to serve as the capital city of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Honolulu serves as home for more than 374,000 people. Those residents enjoy a hot semi-arid climate making the city the perfect place for outdoor activities. There are a wide variety of things to do in Honolulu, so consider this list of the best things to do in Honolulu if you plan on visiting there soon.

7. Participate in the Honolulu Marathon Weekend

Runners and walkers from throughout the world can enjoy Honolulu’s beautiful December weather by participating in the Honolulu Marathon Weekend. This marathon is traditionally the fourth largest marathon in the United States. The event starts with a 1 mile fun run the day before the marathon along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki followed by live music and a luau on Queen’s Beach. This marathon has no time limit, so everyone is encouraged to participate. Participants who do not feel like completing the whole marathon are encouraged to participate in the 10K event running along the first part of the Honolulu Marathon course. A free shuttle from the Honolulu Zoo allows everyone to enjoy the event.

  • Best for: Couples and adults
  • Season: This event has been held the second weekend in December for over 44 years.
  • Address: Ala Moana Boulevard Honolulu, Hawaii 96850

6. Hear the Birds Squawk at the Honolulu Zoo

People have been flocking to the Honolulu Zoo ever since 1876. Many of the original animals were purchased by King Kalākaua as part of his private collection. This zoo now features over 1,230 animals. It is located in Queen Kapiʻolani Park. One of the best things to do in Honolulu for children is to attend the summer day camps held at this zoo. These age-divided camps have a special weekly theme allowing children to attend all summer long without getting bored. Everyone can also enjoy seeing a variety of art while visiting the zoo making it one of the most artistic things to do in Honolulu.

  • Best for: Couples and families
  • Season: The zoo is open between 9:00 am to 4:30 pm every day except December 25. Some special events are held only seasonally.
  • Address: 151 Kapahulu Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96815

5. See the Stars and Guitars at the Bishop Museum

things to do in Honolulu

One of the most educational things to do in Honolulu is to visit the Bishop Museum. This museum contains the largest collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts and natural history specimens in the world. Consider meeting at the Hawaiian Hall front steps for a guided tour allowing you to understand more about Hawaii’s history on select dates. The Bishop Museum is also home to the Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium where visitors can watch daily star shows along with participating in special night viewing events. Splurge on the Monarchs Tour as it allows you to tour Iolani Palace along with eating a traditional Hawaiian lunch. Participants in this tour should be able to climb stairs easily.

  • Best for: Couples and families
  • Season: The museum is open from 9 AM to 5 PM each day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Address: 1525 Bernice Street Honolulu, Hawaii 96817

4. Go on a Catamaran Dinner Cruise

Enjoy watching the sun set over Diamond Head while dining on a buffet dinner featuring many of Hawaii’s traditional foods by climbing aboard the catamaran owned by Makani. Visitors on this sail lasting two hours frequently see sea turtles and dolphins. Guests also often see humpback whales from January to March while on this dinner cruise. Alternatively, one of the most beautiful things to do in Honolulu is to go on the Friday night catamaran sail allowing you to see the firework show from the water. On the other hand, consider an afternoon sail allowing you to see the Ko’olau Mountains, Honolulu and Waikiki skylines and Diamond Head.

  • Best for: Couples and families
  • Season: Catamaran sails occur on most days except Mondays and select holidays. Be sure to check calendar for different options.
  • Address: 1009 Ala Moan a Boulevard Slip FFA Honolulu Hawaii 96814

3. Dine at the Waikiki Starlight Luau

While enjoying the immense beauty of Waikiki, enjoy dining on the fabulous food at the Waikiki Starlight Luau. This luau occurs at Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach. Enjoy listening to Hawaiian music and Polynesian chants while being mesmerized by traditional Hawaiian dancers is one of the most fun things to do in Honolulu. Hold your breath as four acrobatic fire knife dancers perform death-defying stunts. Participate in the cooking and hula lessons to make the most of your time at this luau. Upgrade your reservation to get a fresh orchid lei greeting and better seating to see the night’s events. Make plans to come early so that you can stroll around the small pond containing a variety of small Hawaiian marine life.

  • Best for: Couples and families
  • Season: Program and dinner starts at 5 PM Monday through Thursday throughout the year. Reservations are highly recommended.
  • Address: 2005 Kalia Road Honolulu, Hawaii 96815

2. Relax at the Prince Lot Hula Festival

People who are fascinated by hula dancers will not want to miss the Prince Lot Hula Festival held each July. This non-competitive festival gives visitors the chance to see over 20 hula groups perform. This festival occurs on the beautiful Moanalua Gardens of ‘Iolani Palace. In addition to watching hula groups perform, hear native chanters perform traditional Hawaiian music. Food vendors will be on hand offering traditional Hawaiian favorites like poi mochi. Throughout the festival, local artisans will be demonstrating traditional Hawaiian crafts including kapa making, ukulele making, feather lei making and lauhala weaving. Learning these traditional crafts is one of the most fun and educational things to do in Honolulu.

  • Best for: Couples and families
  • Season: This annual festival occurs on the third weekend of July.
  • Address: 2850 Moanalua Road A Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

1. Surf at Sunset Beach

The winter months from October thru April are the perfect time to go surfing at Sunset Beach as waves often reach up to 30 feet tall allowing for thrilling action. The inside walls can be extremely powerful. Conditions at this beach can change very rapidly, so make sure to be alert at all times. This beach serves as one of three locations for the annual Triple Crown Surfing Contest. This scenic beach has been the setting for several surfing movies. After the waves die down in April, this beach becomes a popular spot for snorkeling because of the reef located just a few feet off shore.

  • Best for: Couples and families
  • Season: Surfing conditions are ideal from October through April while snorkeling is great for April through October.
  • Address: 59-104 Kamehameha Highway Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii 96712

There are many great things to do in Honolulu.  You can enjoy playing in the water while surfing or snorkeling. Alternatively, relax on a catamaran while dining. Honolulu is an awesome place to learn more about Hawaii’s culture at the hula festival and the Bishop Museum. Do not leave this city without experiencing a luau. The Honolulu Zoo is a great place for everyone to reconnect with nature. Since you are in Hawaii, also check out the cool things you can do in Oahu. If you have been to Honolulu or are a resident, then share your favorite things to do in Honolulu with us.

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