Honolulu is the largest city of Hawaii and is the state’s major hub for international business, military defense, as well as its cultural events such as festivals and Pacific culture. Well known for its tourist destination, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu is consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in the United States. Although Waikiki Beach is a tourist destination, those coming to the city for the stereotypical Hawaii getaway would be wise in heading to the neighboring islands as Honolulu is as fast paced as any other city.
Honolulu is divided into five districts: Downtown which is the historic heart of the city, home to the capitol, museums, and the commercial center of the Hawaiian Islands. Waikiki is the tourist center of Hawaii with white sand beaches, and a plethora of high end restaurants, shops, and hotels. Waikiki is popular with various types of crowds and is an excellent place for swimming, sunbathing, and surfers. Manoa-Makiki is much quieter than the latter districts and is home to the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the Koolau Mountains. Eastern Honolulu is a mostly residential area and home to rocky shorelines, scenic beaches, and the famous snorkeling spot, Hanauma Bay. Western Honolulu is home to the island’s airport, the Bishop Museum, and the military memorials of Pearl Harbor.
Other highlights of Honolulu include Ala Moana Park, a green space with trees and grass and a beautiful beach with locals and a perfect place to swim. Eastern Honolulu has excellent beaches with the most popular being Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay is set in the crater of an extinct volcano which provides for warmer calmer waters that make for a perfect scenic swim. Near Hanauma Bay is Halona Beach Cove, which is a small cove that has good waters for swimming. Makapu’u Beach which is close by is a scenic beach that tends to have large waves that are perfect for experienced surfers.
For those that want to take in a bit more culture than just beaches, Honolulu has a great museums including the Bishop Museum (houses a large collection of Hawaiian artifacts), ‘Iolani Palace (official residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two monarchs), Mission Houses Museum, and the Hawaii State Art Museum. The Honolulu Zoo houses plenty of exotic animals and the Waikiki Aquarium houses marine life from all over the Pacific Ocean.
Due to it being part of the larger Hawaiian set of islands, Honolulu has great options for day trips. Never more than an hour long plane ride away, Honolulu visitors can visit any of the other Hawaii islands: Kaua’i (oldest island and known for its beaches, landscapes, and laidback lifestyle), Moloka’i (those looking for traditional Hawaii heritage), Lana’i (the most remote island), Maui (arguably best beaches in America), and Hawaii Island (best known for hiking, wildlife, and culture.)
Due to it being one of the premier vacation destinations, Honolulu has no shortage of accommodation options for visitors including vacation rentals, luxury hotels, midrange hotels, bed and breakfast establishments, and inns. Each of Honolulu’s five districts has an array of accommodation options.
Traffic in Honolulu can be bad at times, so if visitors opt for renting a vehicle this is something to be made aware of. Honolulu also has an extensive bus system which runs to other parts of the island of Oahu as well. The private Waikiki Trolley is a trolley line exclusively for tourists which runs every half an hour across Honolulu.
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