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Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and the main point of entry for most visitors to the state. Easily accessible by direct flights from North America, Asia, and destinations around the South Pacific, Hawaii is a major tourist destination, with visitors from all over coming here to enjoy the beaches and tropical climate.
 
The city of Honolulu falls roughly into three areas that include Waikiki, Downtown, and Pearl Harbor. Waikiki, the main attraction with it's beautiful stretch of soft sand beach, is a peninsula covering nearly half a square mile. In this small area, one of the most densely-populated in the whole of the United States, more hotels, restaurants and shops can be found than in the rest of Hawaii. Downtown, the center and historical part of Honolulu, contains a number of museums, historic buildings, and famous statues.
 
With a cosmopolitan population of 950,000, Honolulu is Hawaii's largest city. It also is the hub of cultural, educational, political, dining, shopping, business and entertainment activities in the Aloha State.Honolulu is a gorgeous city that, while quite popular, still remains untainted by all of the tourism. The small neighborhoods, nearby beaches, and sparkling waterfalls are picturesque, and the scenery is gorgeous. Modern skyscrapers provide a certain alluring contrast to the intrinsic beauty of the region. Honolulu is about twenty-six miles long and twelve miles wide.
 
The pleasant island of Oahu greets over five million visitors every year, the majority of whom at least make a stop in Honolulu. Because the island is a combination of all South Pacific people and cultures, Oahu was given the nickname The Gathering Place. This name has stuck because it continues to be true. This is the case in Honolulu as well; you can see by the fine selection of restaurants and activities that diversity is alive and well. One of the best places to visit to get a sense of true Honolulu is the Polynesian Cultural Center. It is located on the North Shore and is very appealing to both locals and tourists. As a result, it is an extremely popular gathering spot. Combining education with entertainment, the Polynesian Cultural Center is a mixture of theme park, history, and heritage.
 
Honolulu Harbor bustles with activity every day of the week. Fishing boats, tugboats, tour boats, container ships, cruise vessels and barges berth at its piers. A mega-ship, NCL's Pride of America, even homeports year-round in the harbor (at Pier 2). Its centerpiece, Aloha Tower Marketplace, is a trendy shopping, dining and entertainment complex that sprawls over 11 waterfront acres. This is your jumping-off place for an unforgettable Oahu stay.
 
Traveling around Honolulu, it becomes quite evident what a truly remarkable city it is. From perfect waves to hiking, tide pooling to golf, Honolulu has it all, not to mention the wonderful shopping. Another fabulous aspect of Honolulu is the weather. The climate in and around the city is the loveliest in all of Hawaii. Less windy than Maui, not as muggy as the Big Island, and dryer than Kauai, every day is a gift from nature. The wondrous beauty of Honolulu is complemented by the friendly locals and comfortable, relaxed atmosphere of the city. Honolulu is a dazzling tropical paradise that may resemble a big city, but it's a big city complete with gorgeous beaches, natural wonders, and terrific weather.
 
Docking & Local Transportation
Most cruise ships dock at Piers 10-11, adjacent to Aloha Tower Marketplace. NCL's Pride of America, which is based year-round in Honolulu, cruises from Pier 2, about a quarter mile south of the marketplace. As a general policy, Aloha Tower Marketplace management will provide courtesy shuttle (trolley) service to port call visits at Pier 2.
 
Hanging Around
With almost 30 stores and 8 restaurants, Aloha Tower Marketplace is a great place to pass some leisure hours. In addition, you can check out the following activities and attractions, all located at Honolulu Harbor, just a short stroll from your ship.
 
Aloha Tower: The 10-story tower was the highest building in Honolulu when it opened in 1926. On the top floor, the observation deck reveals a breathtaking view of Honolulu Harbor. It's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and admission is free. Piers 10 and 11 (808-566-2337).
 
If you're up for more cruising, Navatek (800-548-6262) and Star of Honolulu (800-334-6191) offer memorable excursions off the coast of Waikiki. From December through April, humpback whales are an additional attraction. The boats are docked at Piers 6 and 8, respectively.
 
Getting Around
Taxis line up curbside at Aloha Tower Marketplace adjacent to Piers 8 and 9. Rental cars are available, too. Companies that run shuttles between the pier and their lot include Enterprise, Thrifty, Dollar, Hertz and others.
 
Honolulu has an extensive bus network called TheBus which can be confusing with the large number of routes. Fares are $2.50 ($1 for seniors with ID, exact change, Mar 2015) one way only with two transfers allowed within 2 hrs. You need to request a paper transfer when boarding. No single day pass is available though a 4 day pass can be purchased at ABC or 7-11 for $35. Most buses have an automatic system which announces the next stop.  www.thebus.org 

There are many transportation options in Honolulu. One of the finest for tourists is The Bus (808/848-5555). 260,000 folks use it daily, taking advantage of the minimal $2.00 fare to travel anywhere on the island. A nice transportation option can also be found on the Waikiki Trolley (800/824-8804, www.waikikitrolley.com). 

There is a hop-on hop-off style trolley service as well. The red line stops at Aloha Tower. http://www.waikikitrolley.com/
From Aloha Tower, you can catch free shopping shuttles to Walmart and Hilo Hatties.The trolley runs in a loop around Waikiki and the downtown Honolulu area. Or, if you prefer, you can take a taxi to any scenic highlight of your choice. Contact Aloha State Cab (808/847-3566) or Hawaii Kai Hui-Koko Head Taxi (808/396-6633) to schedule a pickup. Finally, you can choose to rent a car on the island as well. All the major car rental agencies are here in Honolulu, but two of the best are Avis (800/321-3712) and National Rent-a-Car (800/227-7368).
Enterprise car rental has a location near the piers at 677 Ala Moana Blvd.

Things to See and Do
 
Pearl Harbour and USS Arizona Memorial
Pearl Harbor is one of Honolulu's biggest tourist attractions. Although it is home to the Navy's Pacific Fleet, visitors can take a tour to see the USS Arizona Memorial, and the USS Missouri.
 
The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park is located at 11 Arizona Memorial Dr. (808/423-1341,www.bowfin.org) and is a wonderful historic monument where you can see a real WWII submarine. Only one of fifteen remaining submarines from the war, going below the deck of this massive vessel is fascinating. The Bowfin was called the Pearl Harbor Avenger. Inside the museum, interesting artifacts line the walls and the glass cases. You can also see the Waterfront Memorial, which pays tribute to all of the manned submarines lost during the war.
 
The Contemporary Museum is located at 2411 Makiki Heights Dr. (808/526-0232) and is known worldwide for unique characteristics that rank it high above most other museums. Its Asian Gardens stretch for three acres, and you will be surprised by how mesmerizing flowers can be. Hours can be spent perusing the gardens alone, which are a marvelous treat to the senses. The art collections and galleries are all magnificent, and the various works represented span over four decades of Hawaiian accomplishments.
 The Pacific Aerospace Museum is located at 300 Rodgers Blvd. (808/839-0777). Hawaii's aeronautic history is on display here, and the status of all planes arriving and departing from Honolulu is charted here. The museum also features exhibits on the fascinating details of space shuttles.
 
Your trip to Honolulu might well include a visit to the stirring USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor (808/422-0561, www.nps.gov/usar). The Japanese attack on the Arizona on December 7, 1941 killed 1,177 sailors, Marines, and civilians, and this historical landmark is a moving tribute to them. The memorial and museum are a must for all visitors to Honolulu.
 
Waikiki Beach
Occupying a long stretch of the coast on the south shore of Honolulu, is the famous area of town known as Waikiki. It’s the main touristy area of town where there’s a sea of high rise hotels and resorts that line the beach, nearly all the way from the Honolulu Zoo to Ala Wai harbor. Waikiki is the main beach destination of most people heading to Honolulu and the island of Oahu. This area is known for its large crescent shaped beach, where visitors come to lie out in the sun, swim, and learn to surf. Stores, restaurants, and hotels line the oceanfront street backing Waikiki Beach.
 
Even if you’re not staying in Waikiki, you can still visit the area, take walks along the beach, go shopping or dine at one of the many restaurants. For breakfast be sure to stop by the well known Eggs ‘n Things restaurant, and you’re looking to taste some awesome local Hawaii style food right in Waikiki, here’s a place you’ll want to eat at.
 
Also, right next to Waikiki is Honolulu’s largest shopping mall known as Ala Moana Center, a gigantic shopping destination. You’ll find mostly designer and higher end stores, but there are also plenty of other stores to browse around and many restaurants to eat at. Ala Moana is the epicenter of shopping in Honolulu.
Local Tip: Also for a great beach, located right in Honolulu, and a little away from the main touristy section of Waikiki, check out Ala Moana beach park. The beach is great for swimming, or for taking walks and exercising, it is perfect place to jog.
 
Lyon Arboretum and Manoa Falls
The Lyon Arboretum is a 194-acre botanical garden in a rainforest, featuring a collection of over 5,000 tropical plants from Hawaii and Polynesia. It is said to have one of largest collection of palms found in a botanical garden. This facility is also an active research facility, working on preserving the state's tropical forests. The Arboretum maintains a number of theme gardens that visitors can easily wander through. Among these are an herb and spice garden, bromeliad garden, the Beatrice H. Krauss Hawaiian Ethnobotanical Garden, and many others. The facility is both beautiful and educational.
 
A path at the entrance to the Lyon Arboretum leads 1.5mi/2.4km to the Manoa Falls where bathing is permitted. Address: 3860 Manoa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822-1180, United States
Official site: http://www.hawaii.edu/lyonarboretum/gardens

To/From the Airport

Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is located eight miles northwest of Waikiki Beach. There is public bus service though they don't allow large bags and don't have luggage racks. Transport options are listed here http://hawaii.gov/hnl/ground-transportation

Things to See and Do
 
Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace is an impressive neo-classical building, completed in 1882 for King Kalakaua. It is the official residence of Hawaii's monarchy. The building has been restored to its former glory and is a great place to experience Hawaiian history. The palace was the residence of Hawaii's royalty until they were deposed by American settlers in 1893. It then served as the state capitol until the modern one was constructed in 1969. The palace was restored in the 1970s and opened as a museum in 1978. The interior boasts elaborate wood paneling and carving of native woods like Koa and several imported species. The throne room still has the original carved throne and chandelier. Stained glass and elaborate decorations grace the façade.
 
Located in the palace grounds are the Royal Barracks where the king's bodyguards lived. Originally built in 1871 close to the site of the present Hawaii State Capitol, the barracks only moved to their current position when the Capitol was built. The building resembles medieval battlements with embrasures, which appear somewhat odd in these surroundings. The palace is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 
Ala Moana Park
Tucked between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, Ala Moana Park and Beach provides a good view of Waikiki. There is a fine beach for swimming with a man-made reef protecting it from the open sea, meaning the water is generally calm. The sand here is coarse. On its western end, Kewalo Basin, also known as Fisherman's Wharf, is a small picturesque port where it's possible to hire a boat to go fishing out in the open sea.
 
Manoa Falls
While Diamond Head and Koko Head, two amazing hikes in Honolulu, are dry hikes, Manoa Falls is a lush green jungle hike. It’s actually not so much of a hike, but more of a 20 – 30 minute walk through the dense tropical forest with a pretty nice waterfall at the end of the trail. Hiking Manoa Falls is a good chance to stretch your legs and see some of the beautiful plants and trees of Hawaii. Though there’s a sign and rope around the pool at the bottom of the waterfall with a warning to be cautious of falling rocks, many people take a quick refreshing swim in the beautiful water.
Entrance fee: They charge $5 for parking, but if you park down the street and are willing to walk a bit to get in, you can avoid the fee all together.
 
Queen Emma Summer Palace
The white colonial mansion, built in 1848, was a summer home for King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. The museum contains koa furniture and quilts as well as Emma's wedding dress.
The house consists of six rooms, with the one across the back added in 1865 to accommodate the Duke of Edinburgh during his visit. The room's highlight is a Gothic curved glass cabinet given by Queen Victoria for the wedding of the royal couple. It was made in Germany from Koa logs shipped from Hawaii.
The front parlor room has a round dining table in an early mission style and is one of the only pieces remaining from John Young II, a missionary who built the house and left it to Queen Emma. The 1865 baby grand piano was picked up on the royal family's grand tour of Europe. The rosewood bookcases display symbols of royalty such as a woman's feather cape and a chief's helmet made of roots. The front bedroom across the hall contains an 1842 four-poster bed made of Koa wood, a sleigh bed with a crown, and a cradle in the shape of a canoe decorated with shells.
 
Three rooms across the middle of the house display Hawaiian feather capes, one of which contains 100,000 feathers, wooden bowls, glass, silver, jewelry, and tapa cloths.
The house has been a museum since 1913 and is operated by the Daughters of Hawaii. While the King and Queen had six houses, this is one of only two which remain standing.
Address: 2913 Pali Highway, Honolulu, HI 96817-1417, United States
Official site: http://daughtersofhawaii.org/
 
Foster Botanical Garden
Foster Botanical Garden was established in 1853 and bequeathed to the City of Honolulu as a public garden in 1930. Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of particular interest is the Prehistoric Glen with its ferns and cycads. Other areas include the Lyon Orchid Garden, the oldest section known as the Main Terrace, the Butterfly Garden, the Economic Garden of herbs and spices, the blooming orchid display in the Orchid Conservatory, and a number of "exceptional trees" which are spread throughout the property. Address: 50 North Vineyard Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96817-3937, United States
Official site: http://www1.honolulu.gov/parks/hbg/fbg.htm
 
Bishop Museum and Planetarium
Bishop Museum, Hawaii's state museum, contains one of the best collection of Polynesian arts and artifacts in the state. On display is an important collection of the feathered royal standards (kahilis) which essentially served as flags for past royalty. Hawaiian feathered capes and helmets are other highlights. Also of note is a large collection of artifacts from the South Pacific, and objects brought by the Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Portuguese, German and other early settlers. Natural history exhibits, including whaling artifacts, complete the museum. Also on site is the J Watumull Planetarium.
Address: 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, HI 96817-2704, United States -- Official site: http://www.bishopmuseum.org
 
Mission Houses Museum
This museum maintains three historical properties from the early 19th century. These restored homes, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, document the lives and living conditions of early missionaries. They are the oldest western style buildings still standing. The properties include the Mission House (1821), the printing works (1841) and the Chamberlain House (1831), built by Levi Chamberlain for himself and his family of eight when they came to Honolulu from Vermont in 1823. It was here that books in the Hawaiian language, used by missionaries as a written language, were first printed.
 
The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park is located at 11 Arizona Memorial Dr. (808/423-1341,www.bowfin.org) and is a wonderful historic monument where you can see a real WWII submarine. Only one of fifteen remaining submarines from the war, going below the deck of this massive vessel is fascinating. The Bowfin was called the Pearl Harbor Avenger. Inside the museum, interesting artifacts line the walls and the glass cases. You can also see the Waterfront Memorial, which pays tribute to all of the manned submarines lost during the war.
 
The Contemporary Museum is located at 2411 Makiki Heights Dr. (808/526-0232) and is known worldwide for unique characteristics that rank it high above most other museums. Its Asian Gardens stretch for three acres, and you will be surprised by how mesmerizing flowers can be. Hours can be spent perusing the gardens alone, which are a marvelous treat to the senses. The art collections and galleries are all magnificent, and the various works represented span over four decades of Hawaiian accomplishments.
 
The Pacific Aerospace Museum is located at 300 Rodgers Blvd. (808/839-0777). Hawaii's aeronautic history is on display here, and the status of all planes arriving and departing from Honolulu is charted here. The museum also features exhibits on the fascinating details of space shuttles.
 
Your trip to Honolulu might well include a visit to the stirring USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor (808/422-0561, www.nps.gov/usar). The Japanese attack on the Arizona on December 7, 1941 killed 1,177 sailors, Marines, and civilians, and this historical landmark is a moving tribute to them. The memorial and museum are a must for all visitors to Honolulu.
 
Hanauma Bay
On the very east side of Honolulu, near an area of town called Hawaii Kai, is Hanauma Bay, one of the most famous places on the entire island for snorkeling.
The bay, sunken into a crater with a gorgeous stretch of golden sand, is a nature reserve and marine sanctuary.
 
When you arrive at Hanauma Bay, you’re normally required to watch a short video about the marine life and the preservation of it, and you can then take the short 5 minute hike to the bottom of the crater to get to the beach and get in the cool clear water.
If you’re interested in snorkeling while you’re in Honolulu, Hanauma Bay is the place to visit.
 
Open hours: Wednesday through Monday from 6 am – 6 pm , closed every Tuesday
Entrance fee: $1 parking, $7.50 per person, and if you don’t have your own mask and snorkel, you can rent it from them at the steep price of $12.50
Local tip: If you have your own car and are willing to wake up early, you can arrive at Hanauma Bay from after 6 am and before 7 am, for free parking and free entrance. It’s legal, and you save a lot of money on the entrance fee!
 
Honolulu Zoo / Waikiki Aquarium
Located on the east side of Waikiki is the Honolulu Zoo. The zoo is spread out over 42 acres and is home to 905 different animals, most of the them natives of tropical climates. Don’t miss the komodo dragon or the orangutan!
Along with the diversity of different animals at the Honolulu Zoo, the grounds are also neatly designed with many different lush tropical gardens, showcasing a variety of native Hawaiian plants and flowers.
 
The Waikiki Aquarium is just down the road from the Honolulu Zoo, and while it’s quite small, it’s a good place to learn about the local marine life in the oceans of Hawaii, and a chance to see the playful Hawaiian monk seals.
Especially if you have kids, visiting both the zoo and the aquarium in Honolulu makes for a fun day activity and attraction in the city.
Open hours: Zoo from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm daily, Aquarium from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm - Entrance fee: Zoo – $14, Aquarium – $12
 
Don't Miss
Honolulu's Chinatown district is roughly bordered by King, Smith, Beretania and River streets. The Hawaii Heritage Center offers tours on Wednesday and Friday at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $20 per person (no reservations are needed; groups of 20 or more can book any day of the week by calling 808-521-2749). The Chinese Chamber of Commerce conducts tours on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $5 per person (808-533-3181).
 
Foster Botanical Garden (50 North Vineyard Boulevard, 808-522-7066)is an urban oasis featuring 4,000 species of tropical flora. The venue is often used as a site for weddings and other special events. Guided tours are available Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, $1 for children aged 6 through 12 and free for visitors under 6.
 
Hawaii State Art Museum (No. 1 Capitol District Building, 250 South Hotel Street, Second Floor, 808-586-0900) features select works from the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts' eclectic collection are displayed in changing themed exhibits.
 
Hawaii State Capitol (415 South Beretania Street, 808-586-0178) is the heart of the state's political system. The imposing structure emulates a volcano, with the legislative chambers on either side shaped like cinder cones and the surrounding pools suggesting the ocean that embraces the Hawaiian Islands. Visitors can take self-guided tours Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
 
Dubbed the "Carnegie Hall of the Pacific," Hawaii Theatre (1130 Bethel Street) opened on September 6, 1922, as the most lavish venue in Honolulu. Tours, usually offered Tuesday at 11 a.m., include a mini organ concert. Cost is $10 per person. Call 808-528-0506 for general information about the theatre and current performances.
 
Reflecting the opulence of the royal courts of Europe, Iolani Palace (364 South King Street, 808-522-0832) was the residence of Hawaii's last reigning monarchs, King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. Construction was completed in 1882; 11 years later, the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown. Tours -- self-guided and guided -- are available Tuesday through Saturday. Guided tours cost is $21.75 for adults and $6 for children aged 5 through 12. Self-guided tours are $14.75/$6. Kids younger than 5 are not allowed on the guided tour.
 
Dating back to 1842, the stately Kawaiahao Church was built with more than 14,000 coral blocks quarried from reefs off Honolulu. It has been the site of numerous notable events, including the marriage of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. Services in English and Hawaiian are held at 8 and 10:30 a.m. every Sunday (957 Punchbowl Street, 808-522-1333).
 
Learn how Hawaii's first missionaries lived at Mission Houses Museum (553 South King Street, 808-531-0481), a complex of original 19th-century dwellings, including a white frame house that was pre-cut in Boston, shipped around Cape Horn and assembled in 1821. Tours are set Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. (every hour on the hour). Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids age 6 to college (with ID) and free for children under 5.
 
Washington Place (320 South Beretania Street, 808-586-0240) is the former home of Queen Liliuokalani. It's been the official residence of the governor of Hawaii since 1921. Free tours of the historic mansion are scheduled Thursdays at 10 a.m.; among the treasures visitors can view is the Queen's koa piano (she was a gifted musician and composer). Reservations for the tour must be made 48 hours in advance.
Been There, Done That
Farmers' Market: Produce, flowers, baked goods, beef, seafood, cheese, fruit preserves, snacks, seasonings and more -- all made or grown in Hawaii -- draw huge crowds to the Farmers' Market, held on Saturday mornings at Kapiolani Community College in Kaimuki, 4303 Diamond Head Road.
 
Celebrate First Friday: On the first Friday of each month, more than a dozen galleries in downtown Honolulu stay open until 9 p.m. to celebrate local art in all mediums. Be on hand for new exhibit openings; meet the artists; watch hands-on demonstrations; and enjoy refreshments, talks and live music. Free maps are dispensed at participating venues.
 
Make a feather lei: Although it was practiced throughout Polynesia, the ancient art of featherwork reached its zenith in Hawaii. At Aunt Mary Lou's Na Lima Mili Hulu Noeau (762 Kapahulu Avenue, 808-732-0865), you not only can purchase hatbands, hairpieces and other lovely feather items, you can learn how to make them. Cost applies for an initial two-hour lesson; supplies are extra. First-timers should call in advance to schedule their lesson.
 
Visit the home of an heiress: Built in the late 1930s on five gorgeous acres overlooking the ocean and Diamond Head, elegant Shangri La was the home of the reclusive heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke. Striking architectural features and more than 3,500 treasures from throughout the Islamic world (including marble screens, tile panels, ceramics, textiles, carpets and paintings) are the highlights of tours which are offered Wednesday through Saturday at 8:30 and 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Reservations are required. Cost is $25 per person; this tour is not appropriate for children under 12.
 
Getting face-to-fin with sharks: North Shore Shark Adventures (808-923-3483) whisks you three miles from Haleiwa Harbor on Oahu's North Shore to meet Galapagos, sandbar, gray reef, hammerhead and tiger sharks ranging in size from four to twelve feet. You'll descend into the sea for a close look at these fearsome creatures, all the while perfectly safe within the confines of a seven-foot-tall barred cage. Tour times are 6, 8 and 10 a.m. and noon. Cost is $96 per adult, and $60 for kids ages 3 to 13 and. If you prefer, you can just ride along in the boat and observe other tour participants' shark encounters for $60/$35. Kids under three can ride in the boat for free.
 
Iolani Palace / Downtown Honolulu
Iolani Palace is a historical landmark in downtown Honolulu that was originally built in 1879 by King Kalakaua. The palace was constructed in an effort to make Hawaii become more prestigious and more recognized as a nation throughout the world. It was initially known as Hale Alii, but King Kamehameha V changed the name to Iolani.
 
The palace is now open to the public for both self and guided tours. The first and second floors include a series of elegant greeting rooms like the Grand Hall, the Throne Room, and the Blue Room. The second floor of the Iolani Palace is home to the King’s private suites, and also the famous Queen Kapiolani’s suite. The palace is beautifully restored and decorated with luxurious interior designs and furnishings. For a peek into the history of royal Hawaii, Iolani Palace is well worth a visit.
 
Also, when you’re in downtown Honolulu, be sure to check out the other important buildings in the area like the Hawaii State Capitol. Address: Located in downtown Honolulu on the corner Of King St. & Richard St. Open hours: Monday – Saturday from 9 am – 4 pm, closed Sunday Entrance fee: Self tour – $14.75, Guided tour – $21.75
 
Beaches
Waikiki Beach is just minutes from downtown Honolulu and is an ideal paradise for swimming and water sports. It is one of the great spots for snorkeling as well, and a favorite destination for families because of the golden sands and tranquil seas. Unless you are looking for pounding surf to ride big waves, Waikiki Beach is the ideal environment for just about everything else. Oneula Beach features outstanding swimming and fishing, as well as spectacular snorkeling and huge swells whenever a storm hits the coast of Honolulu. Ewa Beach is right next door to Oneula, and like virtually all of the beaches in and around Honolulu, when winter comes or a storm rolls in, steer clear of the water unless you are a professional big wave surfer. The coast of Oahu gets some serious surf, and pounding waves don't mix with novice beachgoers.
 
Shore Excursions
Shore excursions that include these activities and attractions are sure bets.
 Best Choices for Nature Lovers: Great options include Hanauma Bay, Pali Lookout, Halona Blowhole, Diamond Head, North Shore beaches, Atlantis submarine tour, Waimea Valley Audubon Center.
 
Best Choices for History Buffs: Try the Pearl Harbor (USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri and USS Bowfin); Historic Honolulu (Iolani Palace, Mission Houses Museum, Kawaiahao Church, Mission Houses Museum, Chinatown); National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific; U.S. Army Museum; Hawaii's Plantation Village; Queen Emma Summer Palace
 
Best Choices for Active Travelers: Hiking, biking, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, horseback riding.
Best Choices for Aficionados of Art and Polynesian Culture: Bishop Museum, Bishop Museum at Kalia, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Contemporary Museum, Polynesian Cultural Center.
Best Choices for Families: Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, Kualoa Ranch, Sea Life Park, Dole Plantation
 
Dining
You can either head to Helena’s, a famous Hawaiian restaurant, or  the Hawaiian plate from People’s Cafe which was excellent. Make sure you try laulau, kalua pig, and poi, a taro paste which is the staple of Hawaiian cuisine.
For other local Hawaii food make sure you try poke, plate lunches, a loco moco, and Sp musubi, just to name a few.
If you love Asian food as much as I do, you’re going to love everything there is to eat in Honolulu. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and a few Thai restaurants are scattered throughout the city.
 
The Pineapple Room is located at 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. (808/945-8881, www.alanwongs.com) and is a restaurant where the food is out of this world. Featuring delectable Hawaiian cuisine, the Pineapple Room is a number one favorite with tourists and cherished by locals. A great menu for the whole family and wonderful lunch specials make this establishment a real gem. Seafood dishes are the ahi, shrimp, and salmon. Open all day, anytime is the perfect time for a meal at the Pineapple Room. L'Uraku is located at 1341 Kapiolani Blvd. (808/955-0552, www.luraku.com) and is another outstanding spot that is open for both lunch and dinner. On weekends you will not find a better lunch on all of Oahu, so be sure to try it out. The pasta, seafood, and Japanese dishes are all scrumptious.
 
Shopping
For travelers who've spent days or weeks at a time on a cruise, it may be time to restock some necessities, or maybe just enjoy some retail therapy. Honolulu has plenty of shopping, from off beat out door markets to luxury designer clothing, the city is loaded with unique shops and many are in close proximity to the cruise port. Whether they're within walking distance or a quick taxi ride away, these are the best places to shop near the Honolulu cruise port.
 
Anything a person could possibly need shopping wise can be found at Ala Moana Shopping Center, just minutes from the Honolulu port. Here shoppers will find a huge array of stores, from designer duds, to pharmacies and electronics shops. Whether visitors need a new computer or pajamas, they can find it here.
 
Those in search of some serious souvenir shopping don't need to look any further than an ABC Store. In addition to all trinkets Hawaiian, they also sell beer and wine, beach gear, and clothing. Just down the street from the cruise port is Ward Center. Located across the street from the ocean, this shopping center is home to numerous clothing, jewelry and art boutiques as well as several restaurants and a coffee shop. So whether cruisers are in need of a phone charger or to stock up on souvenirs, this list is the ultimate guide for shopping near the cruise port.
 
Near the Honolulu Cruise Port Ala Moana Shopping Center --This enormous, open-air extravaganza is Hawaii's largest shopping center, and with 230+ businesses to explore, you're certain to find one or two to monopolize your energy. Anchor stores include Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Sears, and Shirokiya. Other temptations include A/X Armani Exchange, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Hilo Hattie, Prada Sport, Baccarat, Chanel, DKNY, and Max&CO. A host of eateries and services is also available. The mall is set among lush landscaping and features koi ponds as well. Ala Moana Shopping Center can be more than a shopping experience since there's plenty of restaurants and bars to provide a break between shops. (808-955-9517)
 
Ala Moana Shopping Center -- This enormous, open-air extravaganza is Hawaii's largest shopping center, and with 230+ businesses to explore, you're certain to find one or two to monopolize your energy. Anchor stores include Neiman Marcus, Macy's,
Kahala Mall -- Set away from Waikiki's bustle, this friendly shopping mall offers browsing in air-conditioned comfort. Its 90 stores include Macy's, Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Aveda, and Ann Taylor. 4211 Waialae Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816 -- Phone: 808-732-7736 -- www.kahalamallcenter.com 
Waikele Premium Outlets -- Discount shoppers will swoon with delight at the prospect of all these fabulous shops, located about 20 miles from downtown Honolulu. Brand-name merchandise is marked down from retail prices, located at 94-790 Lumiaina St Waipahu, HI 96797 Phone: 808-676-5656 -- www.premiumoutlets.com
Kai Ku Hale -- Unique, unique, unique - describes Kai Ku Hale on the North Shore in Haleiwa. Loaded with gorgeous Hawaiian style home decor, clothing, trinkets, jewelry and art, the shop is a must stop for amazing locally find goods... address: 66-145 Kamehameha Hwy # 3-4 Haleiwa, HI 96712 Phone: (808) 636-2244 www.kaikuhale.com
Hound & Quail -- Simply put, Hound & Quail is a melting pot for trinkets and collectibles from around the world and offers some of the most unique souvenirs and home decor you'll find. Full of collectibles, this isn't your.
Guava Shop is a casual beachy-chic boutique located on the famed North Shore of Oahu opened in 2008 by two local girls. Guava Shop features a blend of dresses, tops, denim, beach essentials, product, swimwear and more. Adress: 1400 Kapiolani Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96814 Phone: 808.779.8436 www.houndandquail.com

Aloha Tower Marketplace -- Marked by the stately Aloha Tower, this harbor side shopping complex provides a glimpse of old Hawaii, complete with docked ships and crowds of tourists. The array of shops offers great souvenir options and all sorts...
Kailua Farmers Market -- At the Kailua Farmers Market, a flood of vendors selling locally made and grown arts, crafts, and food - both ready to eat meals and fresh produce. One of the rare farmers markets on the island that is actually...
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet -- Can't pass up a bargain, even while on vacation? You'll definitely want to make your way to this expansive flea market, which is held three days each week. All sorts of merchandise are available located 4285 Lawehana St -- Honolulu, HI 96818Phone: 808-486-6704 - Phone: 808-486-9555 www.alohastadiumswapmeet.net





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