Hawaii may be the perfect place for surf, sun and sand, but there’s a lot more to do on the island of paradise than you think. Next time you’re on Oahu, be sure to add these activities to your list of things to do. From historical battleship sites and royal museums to outdoor swap meets and the world’s largest outdoor shopping center, here are 10 of the best things to do on a weekend in Honolulu.
10 Best Things To Do On A Weekend Getaway In Honolulu
1. Diamond Head
One of the world’s most famous volcano craters, Diamond Head is a prime spot for hiking to see some of the island’s most incredible views. Tip: Go in the morning or later afternoon if you want to avoid crowds. 3,500-feet in diameter with a 760-feet summit, Diamond Head has a trail that lasts about an hour to reach the summit, climbing the inside slope for 0.6 miles. There are numerous lookout points and some of the finest panoramic views in Oahu at the top.
2. Pearl Harbor
Visit some of the island’s most famous historical sites at Pearl Harbor: the USS Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri. Learn about Hawaii’s culture and history while you watch a film containing dramatic footage of the actual attack, listen to a historical narration by an expert guide, and much more. Pearl Harbor is open daily from 7am to 5pm.
3. Honolulu Zoo
The 42-acre zoo is located in Queen Kapiolani Park between Diamond Head and Waikiki, and is the only zoo in the country to be established by grants made to a sovereign monarch. The zoo has more than 905 different animals including Komodo Dragons and elephants. Hours are from 9am to 4:30 pm daily.
This museum of history and science houses a large collection of artifacts and royal family heirlooms, and offers a wide variety of tours including a monarch tour and tours for younger visitors. They also offer a daily lava pour and demonstration for children. The museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
5. Waikiki Beach
The most famous beach on the island of Oahu, Waikiki Beach offers more than just surf and sand. Take a stroll along the Waikiki Beach Walk, stop into the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for a quick drink, pose for a picture next to the Duke Kahanamoku Statue, take in live sidewalk performances, and visit the many boutiques and award-winning restaurants.
Step inside the royal residence of former rulers King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani, the last monarchs of Hawaii. Walk through the different rooms of the palace including the Grand Hall and the State Dining Room as you get a history lesson during your tour. Iolani Palace is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 4pm.
This fine arts museum is the largest in Hawaii and was founded in 1922 by Anna Rice Cooke. The museum has one of the largest collections of Asian and Pan-Pacific Art in the country, along with various educational programs and theater activities. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. Tours are also available in Japanese.
The largest shopping mall in Hawaii and the largest open-air shopping center in the world, Ala Moana Center is a popular shopping center that has a wide range of stores, from Sephora and Burberry to Chanel. The mall also is home to several restaurants including The Pineapple Room, and the popular Mai Tai Bar.
One of the oldest public aquariums in the United States, the Waikiki Aquarium has been open since 1904 is home to many unique exhibits, including Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, giant clams and jellyfish. They also offer a variety of classes and activities like exploring the reef at night, which make great family and kid-friendly excursions.
Twenty minutes away from Waikiki, this is Hawaii’s largest open-air flea market that attracts shoppers looking for great deals. The stadium is also home to the University of Hawaii Warriors football team and NFL Pro Bowl game. The swap meet is open three days a week (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday) from 8am to 3pm.
This article was written by Kamala Kirk.