The Polynesian capital of Hawaii offers a real mix of island living and experiences. As the largest city in the central Pacific Ocean, Honolulu has over one million residents. Perhaps one of the most famous spots is the Waikiki Beach, where surfers and sun worshipers gather on the white sand that stretches for about 2 miles. There's also Diamond Head to explore: an impressive dormant volcano. The capital has had something of a turbulent history with the monarchy overthrown in 1893 followed by Hawaii being annexed by the U.S. in 1898. Then, there was the infamous 1941 attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbour -- a spot that tourists can visit today. A 30-minute drive away from the city centre, the Koʻolau mountain range offers quiet forest hiking trails. Back in the capital, by Ala Moana Beach Park lies Magic Island, a lovely place for a sunset beach walk. Events-wise, the capital has spectacular fireworks every 4th of July, a lively International Film Festival and a sparkling New Year's Eve Festival.
Things to Do
Honolulu is a place where visitors can enjoy historic landmarks and famous monuments as well as designer shops and many artistic and cultural offerings.
Absorb Some History
Visit Pearl Harbour for a theatre show and a tour to learn how the U.S. entered World War II. It's an incredibly moving experience. Also, a short ferry journey leads out to the Arizona Memorial, where visitors can see the USS Missouri Battleship.
Experience the Great Outdoors
Diamond Head State Monument makes for a great hike from Honolulu, taking a leisurely couple of hours. The climb to the monument is testing but well worth the effort for the incredible panoramic views of the volcano crater, Waikiki and the surrounding landscapes.
Indulge in Chic Shopping
Waikiki shopping is unmissable and Honolulu hosts the world's largest outdoor shopping centre Ala Moana. There's also Waikiki's Luxury Row and the Waikele Premium Outlets, where shoppers can browse, try on and buy designer clothing and accessories -- The city could almost rival London and Paris!
Calendar of Events
Of all the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu really knows how to dazzle visitors with fabulous events throughout the year, ranging from cultural events to spectacles and shows in the capital city.
The 4th of July Festival. On the 4th of July, Honolulu celebrates Independence Day with fireworks. Ala Moana Beach Park has a display for both island residents and visitors. This free show starts around 8:30 p.m., igniting the skyline and dazzling the crowds.
Hawaii's International Film Festival. This event takes place in early November, recognising new and up-and-coming talent with original film projects that promote a cultural exchange through the cinematic arts.
New Year. Every New Year's Eve, from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Honolulu comes alive with a spectacular fireworks display, food, shows and music to see in the new year. This event is billed as Hawaii's number one New Year's Eve party, not to be missed by those on the island!