Cruise Port Tips Hawaii 40 Best Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii (Oahu) for Cruisers

40 Best Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii (Oahu) for Cruisers

Here are are many awesome things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii for those visiting during a cruise ship vacation. Covering local tips and excursions.

We’ve got you covered with all these things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii catered for all of you who are visiting the stunning island of Oahu. For cruise visitors this is the perfect place to begin and end your cruise vacation, so read what we’ve got so you can experience the best of Honolulu and the surrounding area onshore excursions, beaches and in restaurants.

Where is Honolulu?

Located in Oahu, otherwise known as the gathering place of Hawaii, Honolulu is a large metropolitan island city ringed by beaches, volcanoes, and jungles on the southeast part of the island. The city is 2,678 miles away from Seattle, Washington on the U.S. West Coast, a popular cruise ship homeport.

Honolulu Cruise Port

Almost all major cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity and Princess cruise lines cruise to Hawaii. Norwegian actually homeports in Oahu and sails between the islands of Hawaii year out.

As such, NCL’s Pride of America is a common sight at pier 2 where it docks exclusively. All other passenger ships dock at pier 11 just outside the Aloha Tower Market Place.

What to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii?

Here’s our list of things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii in no particular order. Ideal for cruise ship passengers who spending some time on the island during a cruise port of call:

1. Wander at Aloha Tower Market Place

Next to where you dock is Oahu’s second most popular landmark, the Aloha Tower. Famous for being the first tallest building in all of Hawaii, the clock tower gracefully welcomes cruisers to the city.

With one of the largest clocks in the United States, the aloha tower is hard to miss. The market place features over 30 stores and eight restaurant/street side cafes where you can enjoy a selection of Hawaiian shirts, clothes, ukulele, crafts, and mouth-watering food.

Friendly Hawaiians are usually on-site to adorn you with a lei garland. An authentic and warm welcome to Hawaii.

There is, however, much more to see than the tourist area in the market place. Catch a bus, taxi, Uber, Lyft or rent a car at the transport stand and go explore the rest of the island. Waikiki Trolley is another option which uses color-coded routes. You can check bus routes and schedules right here. Buses and trolleys tend to be slow, so, if you are in a hurry, try Uber or Lyft.

  • Red tours the entire city
  • Pink caters for shopping
  • Yellow for eating stops
  • Purple for Pearl Harbour and other World war 2 memorial sites
  • Green takes you to Diamond Head Crater, the Zoo, Aquarium and Kapiolani park
  • Blue takes you on a panoramic coastline tour

2. China Town Food Market

Explore china food market located just a short distance from the cruise port. The Chinatown in Honolulu is one of the oldest in the United States. Enjoy the energetic bustle of the market that is characteristic of Chinatowns.

There are plenty of restaurants selling Asian cuisines, try out Filipino and Thai dishes, not forgetting Bentos, Andagi, and mochis. Let the aroma of fresh produce invigorate you while you shop for exotic tropical fruits like durian.

3. Waikiki Beach Break

Next, head on over to world-famous Waikiki Beach located about 15 minutes from the cruise port by vehicle. Enjoy the 2-mile stretch of white sand located on the south shore of Oahu. The protected waters make it perfect for swimming, snorkeling or paddle boarding.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
Waikiki Beach

Surfing is also popular, paddle away from the manmade reef and surf Hawaii’s popular large waves. You can also sunbathe, hang back, and people watch.

Lined by 5-star hotels, restaurants, and shops, it’s also a nice place to go shopping, grab lunch, and enjoy hula dance shows. The views of Diamond Crater Head in the background make for an awesome photo opportunity.

3. Go on a City Tour

The fastest way to get your bearing of Honolulu, Hawaii is on a city tour. There are plenty of city tours in Honolulu. Some take you to pearl harbor, others to the historic district, and others to major island attractions.

Take the Waikiki Trolley Company’s open-air double-decker buses to different parts of the city. The trolleys use color-coded routes. For example, the redline tour is a guided tour of the whole town, while the pink tour is a shopping tour. Green, purple and blue lines take visitors to such places as Diamond Head, the coastline and the incredible sea park life.

Alternatively, you can take a Grand circle tour of the island. This sightseeing tour provides incredible views of the coastline and rugged mountainsides. It visits popular surfing spots, takes you to cultural sites and pineapple plantations. Enjoy the beauty and culture of Hawaii in just a few hours.  However, this is best done when you have an overnight stay in Honolulu.

4. Lolani Palace

Lolani Palace is located in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii on the corner of king street and Richard street. It is a National Historic Landmark that serves as a museum to showcase Hawaii Kingdom’s Royal lifestyle.

The only Royal Palace in the entire United States, Lolani showcases 19th-century architecture with an emphasis on the lifestyles of the rulers of the Hawaii Kingdom of that century.

Learn the history of Hawaiian people in guided tours of the palace. Watch the film at the visitor center and explore the gallery exhibits in the basement. Or shop for souvenirs at the gift shop. Lastly, take advantage of the photo op presented at this historical gem.

5. Bishop Museum

Visit Bishop Museum, Hawaii’s largest museum also designated as its State Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

Bishop Museum boasts of the largest collection of Polynesian artifacts. It exhibits Polynesian art, crafts, fauna, and flora. In its exhibitions are also the royal family’s heirlooms such as royal jewelry and crowns.

Located on 1525 Bernice street, this is the place to visit especially with kids. You can enjoy educational programs like how to make leis or hula dance. The planetarium at the place also commemorates astrology, an important aspect of the Pacific people. Learn how they would navigate long distances using stars. 

Bishop’s museum is the best place to learn the natural, historical, and cultural history of Hawaii.

6. Pay Your Respects at Pearl Harbor

Visit Pearl Harbor on the west side of Honolulu, Hawaii where the USS Arizona Memorial is located. Pay your respect to the 2341 people that were killed on December 7, 1941, by a Japanese surprise attack.

This surprise attack saw the United States enter into World War II. A sobering environment, Pearl Harbor is a great place to learn World War II history. There are guided tours of the site. Documentaries, photographs, survivor stories, books, and audio tours to tell the story of that fateful day.

How to Get to USS Arizona Memorial

A short boat trip takes visitors to the memorial site built on top of the USS Arizona which rests at the bottom of the harbor. Remember the names of the fallen heroes forever inscribed on the walls of the memorial monument. There are two ways to visit Pearl Harbor. You can take a guided tour or visit on your own.

USS Arizona Memorial
USS Arizona Memorial

Pearl Harbour Ticket Information

It’s free to visit the USS Arizona Memorial but you need tickets to access the place. The tickets are free and issued to walk-ins at the visitor center. You can also reserve tickets online for two months in advance or the day before your visit. Please note you are only allowed to reserve up to 12 tickets individually.

During the holidays especially the last two weeks of December, the tickets finish fast. Get there early to get the walk-in tickets. They are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, so, get there early.

If you don’t have to then don’t carry a bag of any kind. They are not allowed inside and you have to rent a locker for them.

7. Polynesian Cultural Center

The Polynesian Cultural Center located on the North Shore of Oahu is a must-visit. This is the place to learn the pacific people’s traditions and ways. Hosted on 42 acres, this cultural center showcases the cultures of the 6 island nations of Polynesia. This is done by showcasing the different culture’s dances, food, music, clothes, and way of life.

There are many fun interactive and educational activities. But the highlights include canoeing at the center’s lagoon, the Ha’ Breath of life show, and Ai’i luau dinner.

Don’t miss this stop, most refer to it as the highlight of their Oahu vacation. Check out the ticket pricing here.

8. Lookout from Pali Point

Enjoy panoramic views of Hawaii from the Pali Lookout point. The Pali (cliff) stands 1000 feet above sea level. At the top, you have a bird’s eye view of Oahu’s beautiful landscape.

You can see Waikiki, the Ko’olau cliffs and the lush windward side of the island. To the right of this lookout point is the Kailua base and to the left is Kaneohe bay dotted with many little islands.

Pali is an important historical site. It’s where King Kamehameha I won the battle of 1795 and managed to unite the islands of Hawaii. The views here are incredible with strong howling winds that add to the mysterious beauty of the place.

Pali lookout is located 5 miles away from Downtown Honolulu, a 30 minutes ride will get you there. Parking costs $3.

9. Hike the Diamond Head Crater

Oahu’s most popular landmark, Diamond Head Crater is visible from virtually every place in Honolulu, Hawaii. The volcanic national landmark gives the town a dramatic backdrop. Diamond Crater Volcano which is now extinct was formed over 200,000 years ago.

You can’t really say you have been to Honolulu, Hawaii unless you have visited Diamond Head Crater. It’s a popular hike which can be challenging in parts, but luckily, it’s paved all through. It takes you 30 minutes to hike to the top.

Enjoy breath-taking views of Ko’olau mountains, Waikiki beach, the pacific, and glimpses of the Koko Crater. Get an “I hiked Diamond Crater” certificate at the very top.

How to Get to Diamond Head Crater

You can walk, drive or board a bus to Diamond Crater. Bus #23 and the green Waikiki Trolley drops visitors off at the craters tunnels.

There is free parking outside the tunnels but if you wish to park inside the crater, you’ll pay $5. The park charges $1 for walk-ins and $5 for cars.

10. Queen Emma Summer Palace

Visit the historic landmark that is Queen Emma’s summer home or Hanaiakamalama in Hawaii. This 1850s Victorian-style home was the summer place for Queen Emma and her husband King Kamehameha IV.

Learn Hawaii’s Royal Family history and their close ties with the English Royal family at the 2-acre property. Featuring 1800s furniture style, royal antiques, and a lush outdoor garden, this small comfortable home is a delight to visit.

The Palace charges $8 for Adults, $6 for seniors, and $1 for kids. It’s located in the lush Nuuanu valley. Board bus number 4 to get there.

Also Read: What to Do in the Cruise Capital of the World, Miami!

11. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay

Go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve located on the south coast of Oahu. It is a wide curved bay of turquoise water protected by coral reefs and backed by palm trees. Hanauma Preserve protects delicate marine life in the bay.

The park places an emphasis on educating tourists about natural wildlife preservation. To the extent that they limit the number of visitors.

Enjoy snorkeling in the shallow water, there are colorful coral reefs and schools of rainbow-colored fish. It costs $7.50 to snorkel at Hanauma.

12. Surf at Waimea Bay

Waimea Bay, a surfers mecca found on the north shore. It’s famous for its 30-foot tall waves experienced in the winter season. Popularly known as the original place of Big Wave surfing, Waimea, sunset beach, and Banzai pipeline are the best Big Wave Surfing beaches in Hawaii.

Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay

Waimea (reddish water) located in Haleiwa is also a good beach for snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, and fishing in the summer months, when it’s warm. Always, check the Hawaii weather information site about the safety of surfing at this beach.

13. Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives

History buffs will love the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives. This national landmark hosts the two oldest buildings in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This is where missionaries lived when they first came to Hawaii, and they stayed for a period of 40 years until their mission was completed.

At the site, you can take a guided tour to learn the history of the missionaries and how they changed Hawaii. A tour of the houses reveals how people lived in the 19th century and it’s interesting to see the era’s furniture, tools and, utensils.

There is a gift shop at the premises with an interesting book, photographs, and ceramic collection. A tour of the site costs $10 per person. Tours are done hourly from 11:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

How to Get to the Mission Houses in Oahu

You can reach the Mission Houses by taking bus number 2 and alighting at the bus stop then heading to the Hale building or church. Or you can drive/ take a taxi to the place. Look for the Mission House signage on S King Street. If you have more time, explore the gardens too.

14. Visit Oahu’s North Shore

The North Shore of Oahu encompasses the 17 miles of North-facing coastal areas between Keana and Kahuku. The Northshore is popular for Big Wave Surfing. Storms thousands of miles offshore cause the huge waves experienced at its beaches, that surfers love so much.

Watch surfers at Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline, and Sunset Beach. Or sunbathe, stroll, and people-watch at these beaches.

The best months to watch surfing is from November to February. The north shore waves calm down from May to September making it safe for swimming, snorkeling, and beginner surfing. But always heed to warnings and alerts.

It takes about 45 minutes to get to the North Shore from Waikiki. Don’t miss out on the incredible food spots in Haleiwa, the popular surf town in the region. Definitely try shave ice cream.

15. Tour Popular Hollywood Movie Sets at Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa is a beautiful, tranquil place that was made famous by countless Hollywood blockbusters. At least 79 TV shows and movies have been filmed at Kualoa Ranch. The likes of Jurassic Park, Jumanji, Hawaii Five-0, 50 first dates, and more.

Kualoa meaning Long Back for its deep valleys and high peaks is a 4000-acre open space on the windward side of Oahu that is best known for outdoor adventures. You can take a Jurassic Park tour at this park. Or go ATVing, Horseback Riding, and Ziplining. There are endless possibilities.

16. Checkout Honolulu by Air

Pressed for time, see Honolulu, Hawaii (Oahu) by air. A helicopter ride is just the best way to capture the panoramic views of Hawaii. Fly over Pearl Harbor, Kualoa ranch, Hanauma bay, and get it all documented on a complimentary DVD. Have your camera out on this spectacular ride to capture all the incredible vistas. Here are some helicopter tours.

17. Relax at Lyon Arboretum Botanic Garden

Lyon Arboretum is a University of Hawaii research unit located 5 miles from Waikiki. Opened in 1972, the 165-acre arboretum located deep in the Manoa Valley boasts of over 5000 Hawaiian plants.

Explore native Hawaiian plants like the Red Ohia Lehua that once covered the mountains in red and Loulu Palm. Or explore labeled gardens of gingers, bromeliads, heliconias, and aroids.

Lyon Arboretum Botanic Garden
Lyon Arboretum Botanic Garden

Take advantage of the garden’s close proximity to the less crowded Aihualama falls, located about 25 minutes from the arboretum.

Admission is free but you can always donate towards a noble cause. It’s best visited after the rainfall season. This is when the flowers are in full bloom. You can find out more about the garden right here.

18. Go Whale watching

Whale watching is another thing to do in Honolulu, Hawaii. Humpback (Kohola) whales can be seen on the island’s southern coast.

The majestic creatures come to Hawaii’s warm waters to mate and calve. The best time to see these gentle creatures is from December to April.

Charter a whale-watching cruise and enjoy the views of Honolulu’s coastline while you go to see the whales. You can book such tours here.

19. Atlantis Submarine Adventure

See Honolulu, Hawaii from a different perspective in a submarine tour of its waters. Atlantis Submarine-launched in 1988, descends 100 feet into the water to showcase Oahu’s rich marine life.

Atlantis boasts of being a safe submarine. The sub is powered by a battery which helps minimize pollution from alternative power sources. The Atlantis Submarine Adventure also glides silently along the ocean floor to avoid disturbing adjacent marine life.  

You are likely to see schools of rainbow-colored fish, sharks or even whales. There is a food ticket if you want to eat in the submarine. Go for an early morning dive before the water is disturbed, it gets cloudy.

20. USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

Also located within Pearl Harbor is the USS Bowfin submarine (the pearl avenger) museum and park. This National Historic Landmark is a world war II submarine that sunk 44 major enemy ships.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum

There are two tours at this park, the Submarine Museum Tour and USS Bowfin Submarine Tour. Cruisers can take a self-guided audio tour of the submarine. The tour provides a learning opportunity of how sailors lived aboard the submarine.

The museum, on the other hand, holds military war artifacts such as torpedos and missiles. Check out the Japanese Keitan torpedo, the only one its kind remaining today and the missile regulus. There are free audio tours and a nice place to grab lunch when you get hungry.

21. Encounter Dolphins at Sea Life Adventure Park

Sea Life Adventure Park is a wildlife park offering fun and educational animal experiences. The park focuses on educating people about their animals and conservation. They do this through interactive programs, shows, and exhibits.

You can swim with dolphins, pet sharks, or meet sea lions. You can also interact with rays in the touch pool. Or visit the turtle and penguin habitats. Then finish off with an Ohana session in the award-winning production of Luau at Ka Moana Luau. All in all, this is an incredible day for you and the kids.

Don’t miss the dolphin and sea lion shows. Sealife Adventure Park’s Prices range from $23 to $260. You can check them out here.

22. Visit the Waikiki Aquarium

Visit the United States second oldest Aquarium. Waikiki Aquarium is 115 years old and features 500 species of marine life.

Located on the shoreline of Waikiki Beach in Kapi‘olani Park. Waikiki Aquarium is a nice place to see a diverse collection of pacific fish. The most interesting marine life at the aquarium, however, is the jellyfish and sea horses. 

Waikiki Aquarium charges $12 for adults, $8 for military, $5 for seniors, ABD, and kids 4-12 years old. You can get to the aquarium via bus 14, 19, 20, or 22 and on the green Waikiki Trolley line. There is limited outside parking.

23. Hike to Manoa Falls

Want to go for a quick short adventure, well Manoa Falls are the most recommended. Located just a 15-minute drive from Waikiki, the 150-foot-tall falls are easily accessible.

The hike itself is easy and laid out on a well-marked out path. You will probably recognize the rainforest valley on which the trail meanders through. The Manoa falls have been featured in movies such as ‘Jurassic Park’ and extensively on the famous TV show ‘Lost’.

Manoa Falls, Honolulu, Hawaii
Manoa Falls

The hike should take you about an hour round trip. Enjoy the lush dense rain forest valley exploring the exotic flora of the jungle.

Swimming in the waterfall’s pool is strictly forbidden and for your own good too. The water contains Leptospirosis which causes a 1 to 2 days’ flu. Also, wear good sturdy closed shoes and don’t be put off by a little rain, you are in a rainforest after all. You can drive to the site or go by bus. The trail is free but parking will cost you $5.

24. Try an Acai Bowl

Try the famous superfood of Hawaii, the Acai Bowl. A delicious bowl of tropical fruits with a topping of granola, coconut, honey, or even peanut butter. This is the best snack to have after a tiring day outdoors, hiking, swimming, and exploring.

The best places to try this include Makai Bowls found near Kuhio beach, the Tropical tribe near Mcdonalds, or Nalu health bar. These locations have parking, though it’s metered parking at the Tropical Tribe.

25. Eat Like a Hawaiian

Try Poke (Poh-Kay) a tasty dish served widely in Hawaii. Made of marinated Ahi, chopped into cubes tossed with rice, and topped with vegetables. This tasty and filling dish is the number one go-to dish in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Some great places to try poke include Alicia’s Market in Kalihi, Ono Seafood in Kaimuki, Maguro brothers in Chinatown Market, Da Hawaiian Poke company and many more places.

Other popular dishes include the lunch plate, a nice lunch of mac n cheese salad, rice and a side of all sorts of savory meats. Refreshment options include the famous Mai Tai drink and of course, shave ice cream.

26. Makapu’u Lighthouse

Makapu’u point lighthouse built-in 1909 is located on the south-eastern point of Oahu. The short trail along a sea cliff offers outstanding views of the Koko Head, Hanauma Bay, and other Hawaii islands in the distance.

Enjoy watching seabirds and migrating humpback whales during winter. The lighthouse trail offers great vistas of the windward coast and the offshore islet.

It’s an easy 2-mile hike that takes about 30 minutes to cover. The south-eastern side of the island is much warmer and dry, so carry water and put on sunscreen.

27. Hike the Koko Crater Trail

Koko Crater Railway Trail is an old railway line that was constructed from the bottom to the top of the crater. It was created by the military to transport goods and supplies to the top. Located across Hanauma Bay, hiking the Koko crater has become a popular activity for tourists visiting Honolulu, Hawaii.

The hike at Koko is one of the most challenging on the island. In fact, part of the railway trail is suspended several feet above the ground. If you are scared of heights, then take the wooden bridge alternative.

Koko Crater Trail
Koko Crater Trail

Enjoy incredible views of Hanauma Bay and the Honolulu shoreline as you ascend the crater. At the top, you will see the Koko botanical garden and horse located inside the crater.

The crater is free to visit but wear good shoes, carry lots of water using bottles like this, and use the bathroom before the hike.

28. Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Learn aviation history especially of world war 2 at the Pearl Harbor Pacific Aviation Museum. This museum is located on the battlefield hanger of historic Ford Island.

It preserves Pacific aviation history and helps honor aviators and freedom fighters of the Pacific region. The museum showcases its history in two hangers, one of which features static exhibits. Watch a 12-minute historic video of World War II starting with the attack at Pearl Harbor. 

Enjoy combat flight simulators in which you can virtually fight the battle at an extra fee.  Or check out bombers, fighter planes, and helicopters at the museum’s gift shop. This place also has a café where you can enjoy a drink or snack.

29. Visit Honolulu Zoo

Visit the only zoo in the United States established by grants from a sovereign monarch. Honolulu Zoo is located at the corner of Kapahulu Avenue and Kalakaua Boulevard in Waikiki. The 42-acre Zoo hosts over 1230 animals made up of reptiles, mammals, and bird species.

The zoo is segmented into ecological zones such as tropical rainforest, Pacific island, and the African savannah. The children also have something interesting to explore in the Keiki children’s zoo. Explore the zoo, enjoy Hawaiian cultures, or shop for souvenirs at the gift shop. It might be good to know that parking costs $1 per hour.

30. Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center

Vacation is not only for the grownups, take your kids to Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center. Here they will learn, play, and enjoy an interactive environment that helps them develop.

There are exhibits from the rain forest, airplane, and community setups that help kids understand what grownups do daily. The center is located in downtown Honolulu opposite Kakaako waterfront park. The children museum charges $12 admission and has discounts for military. Kids under 1 year, are free.

31. Surf at Ala Moana Beach Park

Ala Moana is a lovely beach park set opposite the famous Ala Moana Mall. The park lined by the Ala Wai canal features half a mile-long sandy beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming or walking. The green playgrounds adjacent to the beach feature plenty of palm trees for shade and the entire place is lined with a paved path, perfect for strolls and jogging.

Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu, Hawaii
Ala Moana Beach Park

However, the most popular thing to do at this beach is surf. Many surfers including amateurs come to ride the south surf. It takes a bit of paddling to get to the surf but it’s well worth it.

32. Shop at Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

If you are in Honolulu on a Wednesday, Saturday, or Sunday then visit Aloha Stadium for a swap meet. There are countless vending stalls selling all manner of souvenirs from shirts, necklaces, art, food, and all manner of souvenirs. The best thing is that their prices are considerably lower than in the malls and island shopping zones. The market opens at 6:30 am.

33. Kapiolani Park

Kapiolani Park, named after Queen Kapiolani, represented by her symbolic statue is located on the east end of Waikiki. This is the largest park in Honolulu and the second oldest aswell.

Located beyond the Kuhio Beach Park, the 300-acre park is home to the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki shell. This is the place to take a walk, run, picnic or enjoy lunch. The beautifully landscaped park is also a great place for bird watching.

34. Shop at Royal Hawaiian Center

Stop by Oahu’s most upscale shopping scene at the 310,000 square feet long Royal Hawaiian Center. It is located on the famed Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki.

It has over 100 stores and 30 dining locations. This is the place to shop brand names. Enjoy delicious mouth-watering food and of course, join in on Hawaii’s infectious culture at the Royal Grove. It’s a great place to experience Hawaiian traditions, dance, and music.

Learn how to hula dance, play the ukulele, or make lei in one of the cultural classes at Royal Grove.

35. Admire Kamehameha’s Statue

Check out the impressive King Kamehameha I statue standing in front of the Aliiolani Hale building which is now the Hawaii state court.

You can visit this place for photos right after you cross over from Lolani Palace near the Kawaiahao Church. King Kamehameha 1 was the first king of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He is best known for uniting the island nations of Hawaii into one kingdom.

36. Attend a service at Kawaiahao Church

Visit the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii. Kawaiaha’o Church located in downtown Honolulu was the national church of Hawaii back in the days. The church was also the royal family’s chapel.

This Christian church is one of the oldest churches in Hawaii and services are still partly held in Hawaiian. The church was commissioned by Queen Kaʻahumanu, King Kamehameha 1’s favorite wife in 1836.

Today you can visit the church during your historic walk of Honolulu. You can attend a service or a music concert here. And explore the history of the Royal family which is still visible in the church through portraits and tombs.

The second floor of the church bears portraits of the Hawaiian royal family while the grounds host King Lunalilo’s tomb.

37. Punchbowl National Cemetery

Pay your respects at the Punchbowl Cemetery. The cemetery is located at the crater head of Pouwaina Volcano or the ‘sacred hill’ to the Hawaiians.

Punchbowl is the resting place and memorial grounds for many men and women who gave their lives to protect the United States in World War 2, Vietnam, and Korean wars.

The cemetery features a stone monument with names of those who went missing in action, a chapel, and the burial grounds. It’s a peaceful place to visit and pay one’s respects. Combine this with a visit to the USS Arizona. The cemetery is also free to visit.

38. Pu’u ‘Ualaka’a Lookout

Enjoy panoramic views of Honolulu’s skyline, diamond head crater, and the sea at Pu’u Ualaka’a lookout point.

The forested park has a short walkable trail called the Ualaka trail. This trail takes you to the Tantalus lookout point. There are picnic benches at the park and it’s a nice place to picnic. Enjoy the breath-taking views especially on a clear sky day.

Pu'u 'Ualaka'a Lookout, Mount Tantalus, Honolulu, Hawaii
Pu’u ‘Ualaka’a Lookout

To get to Mount Tantalus, hail a taxi, Uber or Lyft or rent a car. You will enjoy going through the narrow road with hairpin turns.

39. Honolulu Museum Art

Visit Honolulu’s museum of art. It’s the largest in all of Hawaii and one of the finest in the world. Enjoy it’s large Asian and Pan-pacific art collection. This contemporary art museum boasts of over 50,000 works of art. With pieces from world-famous artists like Van Gogh, Gauguin, Hokusai, Warhol, and Picasso.

The museum has two locations, one at downtown Honolulu and another at Spalding House in Makiki Heights. Both museums are housed in gorgeous buildings with cafés and sculpted gardens. Peruse the many exhibitions at the Museums and pick up souvenirs from the gift shop.

Best Time to Travel to Honolulu, Hawaii

The best time to travel to Honolulu, Oahu will depend on your needs. There are two seasons, the peak and low season. Each has its pros and cons.

The high season in Hawaii tends to be during winter break. That is Late December to April. Summer breaks can also be busy because of families traveling with kids.

On the other hand, there are two low seasons or shoulder seasons. They run between May and June or September to Mid-December. Honolulu’s weather remains pretty consistent with highs of 85 during summer and lows of 78 during winter.

Also Read: What to Do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on a Cruise Vacation

Over to You…

There you have it, 40 best things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii (Oahu) on a cruise. Of course, this list is not exhaustive but it’s the best one can do with limited hours on the port. If you wish to experience more, try visiting the island on a longer vacation.

Happy Cruising!!

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