Here are the essential places to visit in Honolulu, Hawaii. The selection is made using the FavRiver scoring system which takes into account the most relevant metrics and expert reviews.
Last update : Jul 12, 2019
21Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park is a free public park on the island of Oahu, U.S. state of Hawaii, located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. This 100-acre (0.40 km2) park has a wide gold-sand beach that is over a half-mile (800 m) long.
Protected by a shallow reef offshore, it is one of the most popular open ocean swimming sites in Hawai’i, with an estimated 4 million visitors annually. However, there are sharp corals, so most people prefer the east end of the beach (the one that's closer to Diamond Head) where the ocean bottom is sandy and has no reef or rocks. The middle section and west end of the beach has rocks on the nearshore ocean bottom, which makes entering the ocean trickier. Lifeguards are stationed on the beach daily.
Ala Moana's ocean bottom drops quickly, so novice swimmers should use caution. Big grassy areas, banyans and palm trees make the park a good place to picnic, barbecue, play all kinds of ball games or go running. There are lifeguards, showers, restrooms, phones, tennis courts, picnic tables, food concessions and a music pavilion. Ala Moana Beach Park is a favorite among Honolulu residents. It is right next to "Magic Island" where many cultural events are held.
The park is closed from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Police enforce the closure with citations and arrests.
Like almost all of Honolulu's city parks, Ala Moana Beach Park had many homeless people during the day and night, until the city started closing the park for the night in 2006. Fodors travel guide rated it a "high crime area" at night after dark partly on this basis.
Ala Moana Beach Park
22Lyon Arboretum
The Harold L. Lyon Arboretum is a 200-acre (0.8 km2) arboretum and botanical garden managed by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa located at the upper end of Mānoa Valley in Hawaiʻi.
Much of the Arboretum's botanical collection consists of an artificial lowland tropical rainforest with numerous trails and small water features.
Lyon Arboretum
23Magic Island (Hawaii)
Magic Island is a small man-made peninsula in Honolulu, Hawaii, adjacent to Ala Moana Beach Park and the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. It was created in 1964 as the site of a resort complex, but was subsequently converted to a park. The name was changed to "Aina Moana," but the new name is used infrequently.
The park on Magic Island is a popular spot where people gather for picnics, frisbee, socializing, and occasional festival or drama performances. Because it was a preferred location among homeless squatters, overnight camping was recently banned in the park.
Each year, the Ala Moana Center puts on a fireworks show over Magic Island for the Fourth of July that draws numerous spectators to the surrounding parks. In conjunction with the show, the Ala Moana Center ropes off a portion of its parking lot for a Fourth of July concert featuring many local bands.
The park's hours are from sunrise to sunset daily.
Magic Island (Hawaii)
24Foster Botanical Garden
Foster Botanical Garden, measuring 13.5 acres (5.5 ha), is one of five public botanical gardens on Oahu. It is located at 50 North Vineyard Boulevard, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States, near Chinatown at the intersection of Nu'uanu Avenue and Vineyard Boulevard. Foster is in a highly urban area with strip malls, schools, and both Buddhist and Methodist religious facilities nearby.
The Garden is the oldest botanical garden in Hawaii, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Foster Botanical Garden
25Waikiki Aquarium
The Waikiki Aquarium is an aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. Founded in 1904, it is the second oldest public aquarium in the United States. Since 1919, the Waikiki Aquarium has been an institution of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Built next to a living coral reef on the Waikiki shoreline, the Waikiki Aquarium is home to more than 3,500 organisms of 490 species of marine plants and animals. Each year, over 330,000 people visit, and over 30,000 schoolchildren participate in the Aquarium's education activities and programs. The Waikiki Aquarium was designated a Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center of the Coastal America Partnership federal program.
Waikiki Aquarium
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