Many of Hawai’i’s most important historic sites and beautiful buildings are clustered together here at the hub of the city, with the ocean just a short walk away.
Most visitors are drawn to Hawai’i’s capital by its famous beaches, but don’t dismiss the superb range of sights and sounds to be experienced in downtown Honolulu. This area is packed with gorgeous old buildings and interesting attractions, all close to one another. Walk between attractions without worrying about transport and get to the ocean within minutes.
Many of the buildings here are modern office blocks. Yet this part of the city is not just the place where Honolulu residents go about their daily business. It has a rich and varied past too. Look closely and find historic buildings scattered around between the contemporary skyscrapers. It’s also the place where Hawai’i’s history is made today, as it’s the seat of the state legislature.
Start your tour of historic Honolulu with the King Kamehameha Statue. This famous sculpture, one of Honolulu’s best-known sites, represents the revered king who first united the Hawaiian Islands. Take the essential photo next to it with the beautiful Aliʻiōlani Hale building in the background.
Then head to any one of the many sites within walking distance. Go on a guided tour of the ‘Iolani Palace, directly opposite the statue, or visit the State of Hawaii Legislature. Alternately, get your culture fix at the Hawai’i State Art Museum or in the beautiful high-ceilinged halls of the Hawai’i State Public Library.
Head to the Aloha Tower to marvel at its blend of art deco and Gothic-style architecture, then ascend to the observation deck for sweeping views of the city and the ocean. Afterwards, wander the buzzing streets of Chinatown, browsing the market stalls and shops. Look for temples such as the Japanese Izumo Taishakyo Mission Shrine and the Chinese Kuan Yin Temple.
Plan your excursion to Downtown Honolulu for the morning or the early afternoon in order to ensure entry into all the attractions. If you’re someone who comes alive in the evenings, arrive in good time to relax at one of the restaurants offering perfect views of the world-famous Hawaiian sunset.