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Honolulu

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Oahu : Honolulu
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Picture of Waikiki, taken from the lookout on the Diamond Head crater (to the east of Waikiki).


Honolulu [1], on the island of Oahu, is the capital and largest city of the state of Hawaii. It is the center of government, transportation, and commerce for the state, and home to its best known tourist destination, Waikiki Beach.

Understand

Honolulu is a thriving city, with beaches that draw crowds from around the world. The name Honolulu means "sheltered bay" in Hawaiian, and its natural harbor catapulted this humble village on the southern shore of the island of Oahu to importance when, in 1809, King Kamehameha I moved his royal court from the island of Hawaii to Oahu. Its ideally located port made Honolulu a perfect stop for merchant ships traveling between North America and Asia.

Eventually, in 1845, Kamehameha III officially moved the kingdom's capital from Lahaina on Maui to Honolulu. At the same time, descendants of missionaries who arrived in the early 1800s established their headquarters in Honolulu, making it the center of business. The late 1800s and early 1900s saw the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, annexation by the United States, and an attack by the Japanese on nearby Pearl Harbor, but Honolulu's stature never wavered.

Today, with nearly one million people in its metropolitan area (80% of the state's population), Honolulu is the cultural, industrial, commercial, and governmental center of Hawaii, with Waikiki Beach the epicenter of the tourist industry. This is definitely not the place to go for a "get-away-from-it-all" Hawaiian vacation. It is as fast-paced and dynamic as any city, with all its problems such as heavy traffic, drugs, crime, and homelessness. But Honolulu has not entirely lost the charm of the Islands' laid-back atmosphere and culture.


Districts

Honolulu extends inland from the southeast shore of Oahu, east of Pearl Harbor to Makapuu Point, and incorporates many neighborhoods and districts. You'll most often hear people refer to these districts by name -- Waikiki, Manoa, Kahala, Hawaii Kai and so on -- as though they're not part of the same city. Technically, they are. In fact, the municipal government of Honolulu covers the entire island of Oahu, including its outlying suburbs.

This guide focuses on attractions and accommodations located in Honolulu proper; for more information on Oahu's outlying communities, see the Oahu article.

For a closer look at a few popular destinations:

Get in

By plane

Honolulu International Airport (IATA: HNL), [2] is the main aviation gateway for the Hawaiian Islands. The main terminal is served by most major American airlines from the mainland U.S., and by many international airlines from other countries around the Pacific Rim. Its Inter-island Terminal is the home of Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines, both of which offer frequent local service to the other Hawaiian islands. It is quite a walk between terminals, so be sure to take the free Wikiwiki Shuttle that runs every few minutes. It's easy to miss it so be sure to ask somebody where it is.

The Airport Waikiki Express provides shuttle service to hotels in Waikiki every half hour for $9/ person. City buses #19 and #20 ($2 Adult, no change given, bills and coins accepted) also come to the airport once every half-hour, going through Aala Park downtown and on to to Waikiki. You can catch them on the outside second level of the international and domestic departure terminals.

The best way to get to Waikiki by rental car (where your hotel is most likely to be) is to follow signs for H-1 east, then follow H-1 east about 2 miles to exit 18A (Waikiki/Nimitz Highway). Follow Nimitz Highway (which turns into Ala Moana Boulevard past downtown Honolulu) straight into Waikiki. You will pass through Honolulu's industrial district, along Honolulu Harbor, and past downtown Honolulu and the Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Get around

Navigating

Unlike other cities on the U.S. Mainland, Honolulu is not laid out in a strict compass-point grid. Its street system conforms in large part to the shorelines, valleys, and ridges, with lots of twists and turns. It can be confusing for people used to straight grid systems. However, at the same time, it is not that difficult to navigate in, as long as you are familiar with the major arterials and terminology below.

Because it is difficult to differentiate north and south on an island, directions are normally given in terms of local landmarks. The most common terms that you will run into are mauka (MOW-kah) meaning "toward the mountain" and makai (mah-KIE) meaning "toward the sea". In the case of Honolulu, "mauka" is a rough north, and "makai" roughly south. You will also hear Ewa (EH-vah) and Diamond Head used a lot...the former roughly means "west" (toward the town of Ewa on the southwest shore of Oahu) and the latter roughly means "east" (toward the famous landmark crater on the southeast shore).

It is a very good idea to invest in a good map of Honolulu before doing extensive driving. Members of the American Automobile Association (AAA) can request fold-out maps for free from their local office. Rand McNally paper fold-out maps are available in many stores; for more extensive coverage you can also purchase Bryan's Sectional Maps (a popular choice among locals) at most bookstores for about $9.50.

Major arterials

Most major streets in Honolulu run 'Ewa–Diamond Head (as described in the preceding section, roughly east-west). There are two main highways in Honolulu: Nimitz Highway (Hawaii 92) which runs from Pearl Harbor past Honolulu Airport to downtown Honolulu and Waikiki; and Interstate H-1 which runs mauka (mountain-ward) of downtown.

H-1 is some distance away from Waikiki itself and you need to go onto surface streets to and from Waikiki. If you need to access H-1 west from Waikiki to go someplace outside of the city, there are three main routes:

  1. Go mauka to Ala Wai Boulevard and follow it 'Ewa-bound to McCully Street. Follow McCully mauka for about 1 mile; it will take you over H-1. At the foot of the bridge, turn left on Dole, then left again onto Alexander to the freeway onramp.
  2. Follow Kuhio or Kalakaua Avenue Diamond Head-bound to Kapahulu Avenue. Follow Kapahulu mauka for about 1 mile, it will take you under H-1 and lead you to the freeway onramp.

To get back to Waikiki from H-1 east, take either of these routes:

  1. Take exit 23 (Punahou Street). Turn right on Punahou, and stay in lane #3 from the left. This lane is right-turn only onto the left side of Beretania. Take an immediate left onto Kalakaua Avenue from Beretania. Follow Kalakaua into Waikiki.
  2. Take exit 25A (King Street). After merging onto King Street, stay to the right. Take the second right onto Kapahulu Avenue (follow signs to Waikiki). Follow Kapahulu into Waikiki.
  3. Take exit 24A (Punahou Street). Stay straight to merge onto Bingham Street. Turn right onto McCully Street and make a slight left. Follow McCully to Waikiki.

There are also several routes from H-1 to downtown and back. To get to downtown from H-1 east, use one of these routes:

  1. Take exit 21B (Punchbowl Street). This will take you to the Capitol area.
  2. Take exit 21A (Pali Highway). Turn right onto Pali Highway, which will curve to the left and become Bishop Street. This will take you to Chinatown.
  3. Take exit 22 (Kinau Street). Turn right onto Ward Avenue, then turn right onto Beretania Street. This will take you to the Capitol area and Chinatown.
  4. Take exit 20B (Vineyard Blvd). This will take you to northern downtown.

To get to H-1 west from downtown, use one of these routes:

  1. Go north on Punchbowl Street (from the Capitol area), which will merge into a ramp at the end of the street. At the fork at the end of the ramp, go left.
  2. Go north on Alakea Street (from Chinatown), turn left onto Beretania Street, turn right onto Pali Highway, turn left onto School Street, and turn left onto the H-1 ramp.
  3. Go east on Kinau Street, turn left onto Piikoi Street, turn left onto Lunalilo Street, then turn left onto the H-1 ramp.
  4. Go west onto Vineyard Blvd, which will become Halona Street after the H-1 overpass. Turn left onto the H-1 ramp.

In central Honolulu, the two main streets are King Street and Beretania Street. The two streets are one-way for most of their route; King Street runs from 'Ewa to Diamond Head, and Beretania Street from Diamond Head to 'Ewa. Both streets run through downtown Honolulu. Despite their rough west to east orientation, addresses on these streets are designated North and South respectively; the dividing line between the two is Nuuanu Avenue in downtown Honolulu, which runs mauka-makai. Ala Moana Boulevard is a key route leading out of Waikiki to Downtown Honolulu. Past Honolulu Harbor, Ala Moana becomes Nimitz Highway and runs all the way to the airport and beyond. Tree-lined Kapiolani Boulevard is another major thoroughfare traversing east-central Honolulu, linking the Waikiki district and points east with downtown Honolulu.

In Waikiki, the three main streets, from makai to mauka, are Kalakaua Avenue (one way Ewa to Diamond Head, along Waikiki Beach), Kuhio Avenue (two-way), and Ala Wai Boulevard (one way Diamond Head to Ewa, along the Ala Wai Canal).

Traffic

Traffic in Honolulu, and on Oahu in general, is a persistent problem. With almost one million people living in a relatively small space, and only a few main routes serving the major populated areas on the island, a single traffic incident has the potential to induce gridlock across the entire island. The likelihood of such traffic jams is relatively low, but someone visiting Oahu and traveling during a weekday should be aware of traffic problems. Normal weekday rush hour in Honolulu is 6 to 8 a.m. going inbound and 4 to 7 p.m. going outbound. Expect heavy traffic on Interstates H-1 and H-2, Nimitz Highway/Ala Moana Boulevard, and the surface streets in downtown Honolulu and Waikiki. Traffic is less heavy during the summer and over the holidays when the University of Hawaii at Manoa is not in session. All in all though, driving on Oahu is pleasurable once you get off of the Interstates. Having a car on Oahu gives a visitor a chance to visit the whole island in just a few days. Once you get a little ways inland the traffic is not too bad and in the agricutural areas, there is little traffic. Unless you are familiar with this climate, convertible tops should be up when the sun is intense, or you will soon burn to a crisp. Locals will look at you and shake their heads and warn you about this. Heed their advice.

By bus

The local bus service in Honolulu is called, with remarkable succinctness, TheBus. Fares are $2 for adults, $1 for children and seniors(no change given - dollar bills accepted). TheBus runs intercity services to other parts of Oahu as well. Ask for a free transfer ticket if you are continuing on another bus. Monthly bus passes are available at 7-Elevens and supermarkets. Monthly bus passes begin on the first of each month and cost $40(all-you-can-ride) regardless of which day of the month you purchase the pass. The best value for The Bus is to get a $20 4-day pass, which can be purchased at an ABC Store. You scratch off the Month and day of your first use and each subsequent day (up to four total days) and enjoy unlimited rides. You can use the pass to take any bus including the Circle Island route and see the entire island. It is way better than renting a car. Yearly bus passes are also available for $400. Most buses in the 500+ fleet are equipped with bike racks that can hold two bikes. Buses are also wheelchair accessible. Larger groups may want to tour the city via charter bus.

See

Also see Oahu for details on attractions located outside Honolulu proper.

Beaches

  • Waikiki Beach.

Military Memorials

  • Battleship Missouri Memorial. On Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. See Arizona Memorial below for directions. +1 808 423-2263, [3]. Every day 9AM - 5PM (ticket window closes at 4PM). Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. A perfect companion to the USS Arizona Memorial, this battleship is best known the site where World War II ended when the Japanese military surrendered to the Allied forces. Tickets may be purchased at the nearby U.S.S. Bowfin Museum; visitors board buses to the USS Missouri itself. No private non-military vehicles can cross the Clarey Bridge to Ford Island without a pass. Adults $16, children under 12 $8.
  • USS Arizona Memorial. 1 Arizona Memorial Place, [4]. From Waikiki, H-1 west to exit 15A (Arizona Memorial, Stadium), onto Kamehameha Hwy. (Hawaii 99); or Honolulu public transit buses #20 and #42. Every day, 7:30AM-5PM. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. This memorial, built over the hull of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, commemorates the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the U.S. into World War II. It also serves as the final resting place for many of the 1,177 who died here. Visitors view an interpretive film, then board ferry boats which run from the visitor center to the memorial. Free admission; tickets are given out on a first-come-first-served basis and are limited; tickets may run out by noon on busy days. Expect wait times of about one hour.
  • National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 2177 Puowaina Drive (within Punchbowl Crater mauka of downtown), [5]. Everyday, 8:00AM-5:30PM. From Waikiki, H-1 west to exit 21B (Pali Hwy.), then follow signs. The final resting place of over 45,000 Americans who served their country in the military, the crater's rim also provides a panoramic view of Honolulu. The Courts of the Missing, a large marble shrine inscribed with the names of over 28,000 soldiers missing in action in World War II, serves as the centerpiece. Free admission.

Museums and Galleries

  • Bishop Museum. 1525 Bernice St. (H-1 west from Waikiki to exit 15B Houghtailing St., right on Houghtailing, then left on Bernice), +1 808 847-3511, [6]. Everyday, 9AM-5PM. Founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop, the husband of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of Kamehameha I, who founded the Kamehameha Schools, this non-profit institution seeks to "...record, preserve and tell the stories of Hawai`i and the Pacific, inspiring our guests to embrace and experience our natural and cultural world." They have an excellent permanent collection of Hawaiian artifacts, as well as a number of science-based exhibits. The new Science Adventure Center is centered around vulcanology, with a large simulated volcano in the center that "erupts" regularly. The museum also features a planetarium. The museum is the leading repository of natural and cultural history in the Pacific, recognized throughout the world for its cultural collections, research projects, consulting services and public educational programs. It also maintains one of the largest natural history specimen collections in the world. The museum's J.L. Gressit Center for Research in Entomology houses some 14 million prepared specimens of insects and related arthropods, including over 16,500 primary types, making it the third largest entomology collection in the United States and the eighth largest in the world. Adults $14.95, seniors (65+) $11.95, children 4-12 $11.95, children under 3 free. Discounts: local residents (ID required).
  • The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu. 2411 Makiki Heights Dr., +1 808 526-1322 or +1 866 991-2835, mailto:info@tchmi.org/ info@tchmi.org], [7]. T-Sa 10AM - 4 PM; Su noon - 4PM. This museum, occupying an old estate overlooking Honolulu, is devoted exclusively to contemporary art. In addition to the galleries, including a permanent installation by David Hockney, visitors are encouraged to spend time outside in the museum's garden area.
  • Hawaii State Art Museum. 250 South Hotel St., occupies the second floor of a beautifully restored historic building near Iolani Palace and the state capitol. Funded by the Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
  • The Honolulu Academy of Arts. 900 South Beretania St (corner of Beretania St. and Ward Ave.), +1 808 532-8700, [8]. Tu-Sa, 10AM - 4:30PM, Su 1PM - 5PM, M closed. This museum, founded in 1927 by Anna Rice Cooke, encompasses 32 galleries surrounding six courtyard gardens. The Honolulu Academy of Arts houses one of the largest collections of Asian art in the United States, with an impressive Western collection to boot, including Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Cezanne, Monet, Modigliani and other masters. In partnership with the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the Academy also conduct tours of Shangri La, Doris Duke's architecturally significant Honolulu estate that contains the country's largest private collection of Islamic decorative art, including more than 3,500 items, many of which--eaborate ceilings, doorways, and tiles--are part of the house itself. Adults $7.00; seniors (62+), students (13+), and military $4.00; children 12 and under free; 1st Wednesday of each month free.
  • The Workspace. 3624 Waialae Ave. Suite #201, [9]. For those looking for contemporary art produced by local artists, the Workspace is a must see.

Scenic

  • Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. 10 miles E of Waikiki off Kalaniana’ole Highway, Route 72, [10]. Closed on Tuesdays. During the summer, open other days from 6:00 am to 7:00pm and on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month open until 10:00 pm. Hanauma Bay is not a place for beach sports but is instead a bay formed in the crater of an extinct volcano and filled with a wonderful coral reef and many fish. It is a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving. You'll want to get there early in the morning (by 8:00 am) to ensure you get in as they control the number of visitors per day in an effort to preserve the reef. Admission $5.00 for adults, Hawaii residents and children under 13 free. Parking $1.00. Snorkel rental available.
  • Pali Lookout. 6 miles NE of downtown Honolulu on Hawaii 61 (Pali Highway), right at the Pali Lookout exit. Everyday, 7AM-7:45PM Apr. 1 - Labor Day; 7AM-6:45PM Labor Day-Apr. 1. One of the more popular scenic vistas on Oahu and the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history, the Pali Lookout provides a panoramic view of Windward Oahu. Also interesting at this site is the Old Pali Road, formerly the highway connecting Windward Oahu to downtown Honolulu. A note of caution: due to its location between two high cliffs, the Pali Lookout is often buffeted by high winds. Admission Free.
  • Diamond Head State Monument. Off Diamond Head Road between Makapuu Ave & 18th Ave, across Kapiolani Community College. Daily 6AM-6PM. This ancient volcanic crater is a former US military site, but portions are open to the public. Specifically, there is a hiking trail that winds up the inside of the crater to the summit on the western side of the crater wall, 761 feet above sea level. To reach the trail, you can drive or walk up the road that lead into the crater basin (through a tunnel in the crater wall). There is a park fee of $1 to enter, after which a winding path up the crater wall leading to a World War II-era bunker with a steep staircase of over 100 steps, takes you to the top.
  • Tantalus/Round Top. In Makiki Heights on Tantalus and Round Top Drives. From Waikiki, Kalakaua Ave west, right on King St., left on Punahou St., left on Nehoa St, right on Makiki St., left at fork to Makiki Heights Dr, follow Makiki Hts. Dr. to Tantalus Dr. Winding mountain drives take you about 2,000 about sea level to various viewpoints providing panoramic views of the south shore of Oahu. (NOTE: Heavy rains in March 2006 washed out part of the lower portion of Round Top Dr.; this section is closed while the road is being repaired.)
View of the Diamond Head crater basin, as seen from the lookout spot at the end of the hiking trail.

Do

Running

Hawaii's year-round tropical weather provides perfect running weather all year, so bring your running shoes. Kapiolani Park and Ala Moana Park are where most joggers in Honolulu congregate; the loop around Diamond Head is a popular route. Honolulu is also home to one of the world's largest marathons. The Honolulu Marathon [11], held annually on the second Sunday in December, has become a huge event that attracts from 20,000 - 25,000 runners annually. Niketown Honolulu, 2080 Kalakaua Ave., has group runs on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:00 a.m.

Ice Skating

An ice rink is probably the last thing you'd expect to find in a tropical city, but at least it makes for the perfect getaway if the hot climate is too much for you. The Ice Palace [12], 4510 Salt Lake Boulevard, offers instruction in figure skating and hockey. The rink is an affiliate of the Ice Skating Institute.

Treasure Hunt

If you're ready to see more of the island and learn its history, Ravenchase Adventures [13] offers a unique treasure hunts and adventure races on each of the islands.

Learn

  • Learn to surf, beach boys give private surfing lessons daily at Waikiki Beach. One hour lesson includes dry land and in-the-water instruction. Instructors teach paddling, timing and balance skills. No reservations required, just sign up at the stand on the beach located Diamondhead of Waikiki Police Station.
  • Yoga Yoga is very popular on the islands, you will find many places to practice or learn.
  • Meditation is also very popular and one with an interest, will find many who teach.

Work

Currently, Hawaii's below-average unemployment rate and high number of service and hospitality industry employers make finding an entry-level job in Honolulu easier than in much of the rest of the US. The State of Hawaii Employment website has comprehensive information for job seekers.

Buy

Many of the chain grocers provide discount cards to the regulars and will give you one if you request it. It will save you over 20%.

  • ABC Stores[14] are found on practically every block in Waikiki. They are the Waikiki equivalent of 7-Eleven, selling items such as food, sundries, and tourist-related merchandise. This level of convenience does come at higher prices, however.
  • International Market Place, 2330 Kalakaua Ave.[15] A virtual warren of over 100 market stalls and shops laid out amongst a jungle-like backdrop of banyan trees. All tourist goods and local shlock (mumus, aloha shirts, shell jewelry) available. Prices are not much better or worse than anywhere else, but worth a trip just to look at the trees and tourists.
  • Aloha Stadium Swap Meet - Hawaii's Largest - Open every Wed, Sat & Sun 6am-3pm. Admission $.50 per buyer, under 12 free. Bring your hat and sunscreen and plan at least 1/2 day. It surrounds Aloh Stadium in the enormous parking lot, with numerous circles around the stadium, merchants offering lot's of local food items, clothing and Hawaiian souvenirs. The prices are reasonable, haggeling allowed, unique items from local artists and merchants abound. Located at the Aloha Stadium, 99-500 Salt lake Blvd. (808) 486-6704

Shopping malls

  • Ala Moana Center[16] is the largest shopping mall in Hawaii and the largest open-air shopping mall in the world. With about 250 stores on four levels, a food court with many different cuisines, and everything from the practical (groceries and medicine) to high-fashion (Chanel, Prada, etc.), for alternative clothing and style check out Hot Topic clothing and accessory shop, you can find almost anything that you might be looking for. Currently anchored by Sears, Macy's, and Neiman Marcus, the mall is currently undergoing a major expansion that will add another anchor store (Nordstrom).
  • Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center[17] is the main shopping mall in Waikiki, with levels of many tourist-oriented shops and restaurants. Currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation. Includes more than 100 shops and restaurants ranging from Cheesecake Factory to high-end boutiques (Hermes, Bvlgari, Fendi, Cartier etc.), to art galleries and lei stands.
  • DFS Galleria (Duty Free Shops)[18] is a shopping court built around a cruise theme. Included in the mall is one of the largest duty-free shops in the state.
  • Waikiki Shopping Plaza on Kalakaua Avenue includes five levels of small shops, including a food court on the lower level.
  • Victoria Ward Centers,[19] located between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, is a four-block destination of 120 stores ranging from The Sports Authority and Borders to small one-of-a-kind boutiques, 23 restaurants, a farmers market and 16-screen megaplex and entertainment center. Encompasses Ward Centre, Ward Warehouse, Ward Entertainment Center, Ward Farmers Market, Ward Village Shops and Ward Gateway Center.
  • Aloha Tower Marketplace, near Aloha Tower on the downtown Honolulu waterfront is best known for several well-known restaurants, such as Gordon Biersch and Don Ho's Island Grill.
  • Kahala Mall, just off H-1 in the Kahala district, this regional mall is known for its more upscale shops. It is anchored by Macy's, Barnes and Noble Bookstore, and an 8-plex movie theatre.
  • Koko Marina Shopping Center is one of the main shopping centers in East Honolulu, with smaller shops and restaurants and a 10-plex movie theatre.

For other shopping malls, also see the Buy section under Oahu.

  • China Town Some will advise staying out of China Town. That may be good advice after dark, but it is an extremely interesting place to visit and shop during the day, if you like to walk. The food and seafood markets are full, on many corners you will find women manufacturing "Lei's" (the ornamental flowered necklace), so popular on the island. And, you can have one made to your specifications, usually fresher and for far less money than you can find them in other places.

Eat

For general information on the kind of food available in Hawaii, see the Eat section in the Hawaii article.

Budget/Mid-range

  • Ono Hawaiian Foods, 726 Kapahulu Ave, +1 808 737-2275, [[20]]. Easily the best place to get Hawaiian food in the islands -- popular with kama'aina and the savvy traveler willing to venture beyond the tourist track. Get the combination plate for a sampling of both kalua pig and lau lau (with some pipikaula, lomi salmon and poi on the side).
  • Zippy's, (various locations in Honolulu and Oahu), [21]. Zippy's is the island equivalent of the 24-hour eatery Denny's; while Denny's has branches here, they are nowhere near as popular with locals as Zippy's. They provide a wide variety of food, including plate lunches at reasonable prices. Most are open 24 hours and as such are very popular late-night spots to hang out. Zippy's signature dish is their chili, which they prepare in many different ways: served over rice, or over a burrito, or over french fries, to name a few.
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise, 2500 Kalakaua Ave #A, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815. (808) 923-1070. Centered around the "island" theme. Big portions of, obviously, burgers of all kinds. Right near Waikiki Beach, so it's conveniently located. The food is good, and not too overpriced, and the waiters are all nice.
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., on the second floor of the Ala Moana Shopping Center. This is a touristy place centered around the movie Forrest Gump. Decent for seafood, expensive mixed drinks, and good old fashioned American cooking. Although this may sound unappealing, the waiters are friendly and the food is tasty. Worth a visit if you're in the area, but don't go out of your way.
  • Sushi Company, 1111 McCully St. Owned and operated by a Japanese couple. They offer high grade take-out sushi at budget prices. You can enjoy lunch or dinner here for well under $10.
  • Jimbo, 1936 S King St Ste 103, specializing in authentic Japanese udon and soba, freshly made on-site. Parking can be difficult, but there are additional parking spaces behind the building. They don't take reservations.

Splurge

  • L'Uraku, 1341 Kapiolani Blvd. (ground floor of the Uraku Tower condominium), Honolulu, Hawaii 96814. +1 808 955-0552, [22]. M-Su 11AM-2PM lunch, 5:30PM-11PM dinner. This Japanese-European fusion restaurant originally revolved around chef Hiroshi Fukui's renditions of Japanese seafood prepared European style. Fukui has since left to start his own restaurant, but the tradition continues. The menu is heavy on the seafood with sauces that combine European and Japanese elements (e.g. miso cream sauce). Lunch entrees about $9-18, dinner entrees from about $15-30. They offer "Weekender" prix fixe lunch menus. Service is attentive. Reservations recommended.
  • Alan Wong's Restaurant, 1857 South King Street. +1 808 949-2526,[23]. serving top-notch Pacific-Rim quisine. Alan Wong's was the only restaurant in Hawaii to be listed in Gourmet magazine's List of Top 50 Restaurants in America (it ranked #8). Reservations recommended. Street or valet parking.
  • Roy's Restaurant, Hawaii Kai Corporate Plaza, 6600 Kalanianaole Highway, +1 808 396-ROYS.
  • Chef Mavro, 1969 South King Street. +1 808 944-4714.
  • La Mer, and Orchids, Halekulani Hotel, 2199 Kalia Road. +1 808 923-2311.
  • Hoku's, 5000 Kahala Avenue, +1 808 739-8780.
  • Sam Choy's Diamond Head Restaurant, 449 Kapahulu Avenue, +1 808 732-8645,[24].
  • 3660 on the Rise, 3660 Waialae Avenue.
  • Hy's Steak House, 2144 Kuhio Avenue, +1 808 922-5555.
  • Ruth's Chris Steak House, Restaurant Row, 500 Ala Moana Blvd.
  • Morton's, The Steak House, Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. +1 808 949-1300.
  • Kyo-ya Restaurant, 2057 Kalakaua Avenue, +1 808 947-0552.
  • Palomino, Harbor Court, Mezzanine Level, 66 Queen Street. +1 808 528-2400.
  • Sarento's Top of the I, Ilikai Hotel, 30th Floor, 1777 Ala Moana Blvd., +1 808 955-5559.
  • Aaron's Atop the Ala Moana, Ala Moana Hotel, 36th Floor, 410 Atkinson Drive, +1 808 955-4466.
  • Mariposa, Neiman-Marcus Ala Moana.

Drink

Mai Tai Bar, Ala Moana Shopping Center, Upper Level 4, was voted the best bar in Honolulu in 2002. It is popular among locals, especially on weekends and Wednesday nights. Live local music is played between 4-7PM Monday-Friday, and 1-4PM on the weekends and nightly 9:30PM-12:30AM. Happy Hour 8PM-11PM.

Sleep

Not surprisingly, most hotels in Honolulu are found in Waikiki or its vicinity. Generally Hawaii is most popular when the weather is the worst on the U.S. mainland. High season in Hawaii is mid-December to March (high rates and tight booking), and June to September (high rates but somewhat easier booking). Low season is from spring (April to June) and fall (September to mid-December), when the best bargains are available.


Budget

  • Waikiki Beachside Hostel, 2556 Lemon Road, +1 808 923-9566, [25]. Located one block from Waikiki Beach near Honolulu Zoo. Dorm-style and semi-private rooms. US$20-$74 per night, weekly rates available.
  • Ohana East Hotel, [26]. Located just steps from the International Market place and Kalakaua Avenue shopping.
  • Ohana Islander Waikiki Hotel, [27]. Just a five minute walk to world-famous Waikiki Beach.
  • Ohana Waikiki West Hotel, [28]. Centrally located in the heart of Waikiki.
  • Ohana Waikiki Malia Hotel, [29]. A short stroll to Royal Hawaiian Shopping center and DFS Galleria.
  • Ohana Maile Sky Court Hotel, [30]. Just steps from King Kalakaua Plaza and a half mile from the Hawaii Convention Center.
  • Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel, [31]. Fashionably set on Kalakaua Avenue, just one block from Waikiki Beach.

Mid-range

  • Best Western The Plaza Hotel, 3253 North Nimitz Highway, [32]. Located 1/2 mile from the Honolulu Airport and offers rooms and suites in a tropical setting. Features an outdoor pool, a restaurant and lounge and meeting facilities.
  • Hilton Hawaiian Village, 2005 Kalia Road, (corner of Kalia Road and Ala Moana Blvd.), +1 808 949-4321, [33]. The largest resort in Waikiki, covering 22 acres fronting Waikiki Beach. Five towers with 2,545 units, 90 shops, and 22 restaurants. US$199 and up.
  • Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, 2552 Kalakaua Avenue, [34]. Retreat to a brilliant tropical playground at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa - situated only steps from world-famous Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Outrigger Waikiki Hotel, [35]. Perched right on the sands of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Outrigger Reef on the Beach Hotel, [36]. Beachfront hotel on the world-famous sands of Waikiki Beach.
  • Outrigger Luana Waikiki Condo, [37]. New deluxe condominium on Kalakaua Avenue.
  • Outrigger Waikiki Shore Condo, [38]. Waikiki's only beachfront condominium.

Splurge

  • Halekulani Hotel 2199 Kalia. The only 5 star luxury hotel on the Waikiki Beach.
  • Royal Hawaiian
  • Ihilani Resort
  • Kahala Hotel & Resort, [39]. Formerly the Kahala Mandarin Oriental.
  • Doubletree Alana Hotel

Contact

Stay safe

Although Honolulu is relatively safe as far as violent crime goes, the risk of property crime is much greater. Take particular care when parking vehicles in popular tourist spots, especially Diamond Head and the Halona Blowhole near Sandy Beach; always lock your vehicle; and do not leave ANY valuables in your car. Keep all valubles within sight and within reach at all times. Your car is not a safe place to store anything: thiefs have commonly dismantled locks and broken into vehicles. Use extra caution when visiting less savory parts of town, including the Chinatown district after dark, but during the day you should have no problem.

Get out

Don't spend all your time on Waikiki Beach; the whole island of Oahu, with more secluded beaches, hiking opportunities, and the sight of huge waves in the winter, awaits you. Most of the island's major attractions can be seen in a day trip, or spread out over several days.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!




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