Embark on an itinerary-packed Honolulu City Tour, and you’ll soak up views ranging from historic architecture in vibrant urban neighborhoods to lush volcanic craters overlooking golden sandy strips. Besides staggering views, Honolulu is home to former royal palaces, beachfront promenades, luxury high-rises, fascinating museums, and momentous sites like Pearl Harbor. And that’s not to mention all the hidden gems that only the locals know about.
The best way to gain a true insight into the city’s culture, history, and beauty is to join a guided Honolulu city tour. Even if you attempt to traverse the city without help, make sure you visit these incredible attractions.
Kick off Your Honolulu City Tour at Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach is a two-mile stretch of powdery golden sand lapped by the warm azure waters of the Pacific. Along Kalakaua Avenue, the beachfront promenade, you’ll see luxury high-rise hotels and a diverse array of dining options.
Throughout the day, popular activities include sunbathing, surfing, and paddleboarding. At night, you can watch hula dancers and musicians showcase Hawaiian culture under the stars.
While you’re here, you might want to visit attractions like Honolulu Zoo or the International Market Place. Remember to pack your camera – the backdrop of the Diamond Head State Monument to the east of the beach (your left when facing the ocean) is one of the most iconic views in Hawaii.
Explore the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites
The Pearl Harbor Historic Sites commemorate the infamous attack of 1941 that propelled the United States into WWII and changed the course of history. You can find out about the events that took place here at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Some of the most notable sites include the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri, which hosted the surrender ceremony that effectively ended the war.
Discover Royal Life at the Iolani Palace
Dating all the way back to 1882, the Iolani Palace is the only former royal palace on United States soil. On top of being a testament to the island’s unique history, the palace is considered a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance architecture.
Embark on a tour inside to see opulent rooms like the state dining room and the grand throne room. You can also walk in the footsteps of Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, the late Queen Liliuokalani, while exploring her private quarters.
Take in the history of Kawaiahao Church
As one of Hawaii’s oldest Christian churches, Kawaiahao Church is a must-visit stop on a Honolulu city tour for those interested in the island’s rich cultural heritage.
This early 19th-century monument combines New England Congregationalist and Hawaiian architectural styles, making it a standout feature of Honolulu’s cityscape. Its vibrant atmosphere is best enjoyed during services, but its striking looks and iconic coral block façade make it an impressive landmark to visit at any time.
Pay Your Regards at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
If you want to pay your respects to the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, take a stroll through the beautifully landscaped National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, affectionately known as the Punchbowl Cemetery by the locals. You can expect emotions to run high at this final resting place, but you’ll appreciate the site’s serene location within a volcanic crater.
Browse Works Through the Ages at the Honolulu Museum of Art
At the Honolulu Museum of Art, you can admire collections of Asian, European, American, and Pacific art in a captivating gallery that opened all the way back in 1927. While the focus is on Asian art, you’ll see works from a diverse array of cultures, both ancient and modern. Besides paintings, artifacts on display include ceramics, textiles, and sculptures. You can also watch indie and international film screenings at the attached HoMA Doris Duke Theater.
Hike the Diamond Head State Monument
Last but not least on our list of must-visit attractions on a Honolulu city tour is the Diamond Head State Monument, which is probably Hawaii’s most recognizable natural attraction. Known locally as Leahi (which means ‘brow of the tuna’), Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone by the coast.
After a two-hour scenic hike to the summit at an elevation of about 232 meters, you can take in panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Waikiki Beach, and Honolulu. Inside the crater, you’ll discover the remnants of the former Fort Ruger, one of the first US military installations in Hawaii.
Discover Our Top-Rated Honolulu City Tour
With its gorgeous coastal location, world-class cultural institutions, and breath-taking natural surroundings, it’s no wonder Honolulu is one of the top bucket-list destinations for travelers the world over. As well as the attractions detailed in this article, Honolulu is home to amazing sites such as Hanauma Bay, Bishop Museum, Shangri La, Manoa Falls, Foster Botanical Garden, Hawaii State Capitol, and so much more. Learn more about our best-selling Honolulu City Tour to find out how you can squeeze as much as possible into your trip.