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Honolulu Guide

As the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu combines the best of both worlds when it comes to vacationing: it’s a thriving city, yet it’s also surrounded by lush tropical foliage and turquoise Pacific waters. It’s where you’ll find Hawaii’s most recognizable landmark: Diamond Head, a 300,000-year-old crater formed by a volcanic eruption.

Honolulu is best known for its white-sand beaches, among them the famous Waikiki beach and quieter alternatives such as Ala Moana and Kailua. When not sprawled on the sand, explore sunny avenues lined with everything from upscale boutiques and nightclubs to craft booths and street performers.

What to Eat and Drink

  • Fresh catches: There’s no shortage of seafood—or inventive ways to prepare it—in Honolulu. Try Ono Seafood’s ahi poke, a seafood salad made with diced raw tuna, seaweed, and onions seasoned with chili pepper and sesame oil.
  • Plate lunches: Asia’s influence on Hawaiian cuisine is evident in these meals, which usually have two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad, and a meat entree. Common choices include teriyaki-like barbecue chicken, beef, or pork and spam musubi—white rice sandwiched between grilled Spam patties and wrapped in seaweed.
  • Shave ice is made from fine ice crystals, which absorb flavored syrups better than crushed ice. Island Snow in nearby Kailua offers passionfruit and other Hawaiian varieties; for extra sweetness, get an order with condensed milk on top or ice cream at the bottom.
  • Bar 35 pours more than 150 beers from 21 countries, including more than a dozen Hawaiian brews.

Where to Shop

  • Honolulu Night Market: Part street festival, part boutique. At this monthly event, you’ll find local art and clothing vendors and live entertainers. Take a cab, as parking can be hard to find, and get there early to avoid long lines at food trucks and stalls.
  • Bob’s Ukulele: This shop stocks hundreds of Hawaiian-made ukuleles, many crafted from native koa wood.
  • Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace: Three times a week, more than 400 vendors sell handmade gifts and other products at this open-air flea market. Ship your packages home from the onsite post office.
  • High end: Royal Hawaiian Center and Ala Moana Center house about 400 retailers and restaurants between them, including the likes of Tory Burch, Hermès, and Versace.

History on Display

  • Statue of King Kamehameha I: This 18-foot bronze figure pays tribute to the leader who united the Hawaiian islands in 1810. It stands in front of Aliiolani Hale, a government building opened in 1874 and now the home of the state’s Supreme Court.
  • Iolani Palace was built in 1882 under the direction of King Kalakaua. Tour the National Historic Landmark, including the room where Kalakaua’s sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, was imprisoned after the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in 1893.
  • USS Arizona Memorial: The site of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is now a memorial to the sailors and marines who lost their lives during the Pacific campaign of World War II. Tranquil, informative, and free, the memorial is reachable by boat only.

Where to Stay

  • For luxury: Known as the “First Lady of Waikiki,” the Moana Surfrider has a star-studded guestbook—including Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, and Amelia Earhart—that dates back to 1901. A $20 million renovation of the Beaux Arts hotel brought remodeled guest rooms and a beachfront spa.
  • For families: Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort occupies an idyllic stretch of Duke Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoon. More than 60 bird, fish, and turtle species live on the property, and you can watch penguin and turtle feedings. The hotel’s Camp Penguin treats kids to games, art projects, and field trips based on a daily theme about Hawaii.
  • For staying on budget: At the Ambassador Hotel Waikiki, you’ll be a quick walk or trolley ride from Waikiki’s restaurants, shops, and nightlife.
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Market PicksHotels Selected for Top Ratings and Value + 5% Groupon Bucks Credit

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Pacific Beach Hotel
Pacific Beach Hotel
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Pacific Beach Hotel in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Waikiki Beach and International Market Place. This beach resort is close to Diamond Head and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

5% Credit

Embassy Suites Waikiki Beachwalk
Embassy Suites Waikiki Beachwalk
Honolulu, Hawaii

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Located in Honolulu (Waikiki), Embassy Suites Hotel - Waikiki Beach Walk is minutes from Fort DeRussy and Royal Hawaiian Center. This resort is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

5% Credit

Doubletree Alana Hotel Waikiki
Doubletree Alana Hotel Waikiki
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Alana Waikiki, you'll be centrally located in Honolulu, convenient to Hawaii Convention Center and Waikiki Beach. This hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Halekulani
Halekulani
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Halekulani in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Fort DeRussy and Waikiki Beach. This 5-star resort is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Courtyard Waikiki Beach
Courtyard Waikiki Beach
Honolulu, Hawaii

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A stay at Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach places you in the heart of Honolulu, walking distance from Royal Hawaiian Center and International Market Place. This hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Ilikai Hotel
Ilikai Hotel
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Ilikai Hotel & Suites- an Aqua Boutique in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be convenient to Hawaii Convention Center and Waikiki Beach. This hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Aloha Tower.

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Hilton Waikiki Beach
Hilton Waikiki Beach
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Hilton Waikiki Beach in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Ala Wai Golf Course and close to Diamond Head. This 4-star hotel is within close proximity of Royal Hawaiian Center and Waikiki Aquarium.

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Outrigger Catamaran
Outrigger Catamaran
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at The Outrigger Reef on the Beach, you'll be centrally located in Honolulu, steps from Fort DeRussy and minutes from Royal Hawaiian Center. This 4-star hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Royal Hawaiian Center and Waikiki Beach. This 5-star resort is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Waikiki Beach and International Market Place. This 4-star resort is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Waikiki Beach (Waikiki), you'll be convenient to Fort DeRussy and University of Hawaii at Manoa. This 4-star resort is within close proximity of International Market Place and Magic Island.

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Miyako Japanese Restaurant
Miyako Japanese Restaurant
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Kapiolani Park and Waikiki Aquarium. This beach hotel is close to Diamond Head and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be convenient to Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. This 4-star resort is close to Diamond Head and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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Trump International Hotel & Tower
Trump International Hotel & Tower
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk in Waikiki Beach (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Fort DeRussy and Royal Hawaiian Center. This 5-star hotel is close to Diamond Head and Aloha Tower.

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Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki
Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be convenient to Magic Island and Waikiki Beach. This 4-star resort is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Aloha Tower.

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Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Queen Kapiolani Hotel in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Honolulu Zoo and close to Diamond Head. This family-friendly hotel is within close proximity of Kapiolani Park and International Market Place.

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Ohana Honolulu Airport Hotel
Ohana Honolulu Airport Hotel
Honolulu, Hawaii

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When you stay at Airport Honolulu Hotel in Honolulu, you'll be near the airport and close to Navy Marine Golf Course and USS Arizona Memorial. This hotel is within close proximity of Mamala Bay Golf Course and USS Arizona Memorial.

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Ramada Plaza Waikiki
Ramada Plaza Waikiki
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Ramada Plaza Waikiki, you'll be centrally located in Honolulu, convenient to Magic Island and Waikiki Beach. This family-friendly hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Aloha Tower.

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Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from International Market Place and Waikiki Beach. This hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Aston Waikiki Beach Tower
Aston Waikiki Beach Tower
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Beach. This beach hotel is close to Diamond Head and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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Sheraton
Sheraton
Honolulu, Hawaii

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Located in Waikiki Beach (Waikiki), Sheraton Waikiki is minutes from Royal Hawaiian Center and International Market Place. This 4-star hotel is close to Diamond Head and Aloha Tower.

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Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach
Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach
Honolulu, Hawaii

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A stay at The Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach places you in the heart of Honolulu, steps from International Market Place and Waikiki Beach. This 4-star resort is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from International Market Place and Waikiki Beach. This hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Ohana Waikiki West
Ohana Waikiki West
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at OHANA Waikiki West in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from International Market Place and Waikiki Beach. This hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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PacificIslands.com
PacificIslands.com
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from International Market Place and Ala Wai Golf Course. This hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Park Shore Waikiki Hotel
Park Shore Waikiki Hotel
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Park Shore Waikiki an Aqua Hotel in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Honolulu Zoo and close to Waikiki Beach. This beach hotel is close to Diamond Head and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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Waikiki Parc Hotel
Waikiki Parc Hotel
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Waikiki Parc Hotel in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Royal Hawaiian Center and Waikiki Beach. This 4-star hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Outrigger Luana Waikiki
Outrigger Luana Waikiki
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Outrigger Luana Waikiki in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Fort DeRussy and Waikiki Beach. This hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Aqua Waikiki Wave
Aqua Waikiki Wave
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Aqua Waikiki Wave in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from International Market Place and Waikiki Beach. This hotel is close to University of Hawaii at Manoa and Diamond Head.

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Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach
Honolulu, Hawaii

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With a stay at Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach in Honolulu (Waikiki), you'll be minutes from Ala Wai Golf Course and Honolulu Zoo. This family-friendly hotel is close to Diamond Head and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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