Welcome to the Aloha State! Hawaii is a place that is likely near the top of most peoples dream destination list and for good reason. From the rugged and peaceful island of Maui to the remoteness of Lanai to the bustling city of Honolulu, Hawaii has so much to offer that it would take months if not years to see it all. But in this itinerary, we’re going to be focusing on the city of Honolulu and how to get the most out of a single day there. Whether you're on a cruise and at port for a short visit, or you’re island hopping and only have a short time to explore this part of the island, this itinerary is for you! But first, a little more about Honolulu…
Serving as the state capital, Honolulu has a plethora of sites and activities to offer. From historic landmarks to fine dining to world-class shopping to unforgettable natural beauty there is something for everyone. Honolulu is located on the South Shore of the island of Oahu and is home to the majority of the island’s population and spans from Pearl Harbor to Makapuu Point, encompassing world-famous Waikiki Beach along the way.
Looking for accommodations for your time in Honolulu? Check out some of our recommendations HERE!
*Be sure to check out our “One Day in Honolulu” travel vlog for a closer look at our time in the Aloha State!
Now, let’s get into the fun stuff!
Tropical Tribe (where we went - 1778 Ala Moana Blvd #101)
This casual counter-service spot specializing in Brazilian açaí & guarana berry-based smoothies & fruit bowls shouldn’t be missed!
Aloha Kitchen (432 Ena Rd)
Goofy Cafe & Dine (1831 Ala Moana Blvd #201)
Hiking Hawaii Cafe (1956 Ala Moana Blvd)
Heavenly Island Lifestyle (342 Seaside Ave)
10:00am: Diamond Head Crater Hike at Diamond Head State Monument
This 1.6 mile out and back hike starts in the crater of the extinct volcano and climbs 560 feet to the summit where you’ll have panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the island's rugged terrain. The trail was built in 1908 as part of Oahu's coastal defense system which makes it a super unique hike with narrow tunnels, steep staircases, and bunkers. This hike is well worth the effort and is a must on your visit to Oahu.
NOTE: Since our visit the Hawaii Division of State Parks has started requiring advanced reservations for out-of-state residents. Here’s what their website says…
“DIAMOND HEAD STATE MONUMENT - As of May 12th, 2022 all out-of-state visitors must have an advanced reservation to enter Diamond Head State Monument. The reservation system will activate on April 28th, 2022 allowing for reservations to be made 14 days in advance. Hawaii residents continue to enjoy free access without reservations, but entry may depend on parking availability. Commercial tour and trolley patrons must have a reservation. Registered PUC carriers will have access to a PUC-only reservation portal.”
12:00pm: Dole Whip at Honolulu Pineapple Co. (located in Diamond Head Trail parking lot)
After your 1.6 mile hike, you’ll probably have worked up a sweat and appetite, so be sure to stop by the Honolulu Pineapple Co. trailer located in the parking area of the Diamond Head Crater Monument for some fresh Pineapple and Dole Whip! You won’t be disappointed… Unless you don’t like Pineapple, then you might be disappointed. No worries though… They have lots of other treats for the non-pineapple loving people!
1:00pm: Lunch in Waikiki:
Duke’s (where we went - 2335 Kalakaua Ave #116)
Named in honor of the Hawaiian icon and surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku, Duke’s offers some of the freshest seafood and premium with incredible beachfront views of Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
Paia Fish Market (2299 Kūhiō Ave)
Marugame Udon (2310 Kūhiō Ave)
2:45pm: Pearl Harbor (1 Arizona Memorial Pl)
The USS Arizona Memorial, at Pearl Harbor is an absolute must for anyone visiting Honolulu. It marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona during the Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. With the historic films, museums, and memorials, 2 hours is probably the minimum amount of time needed to experience the Pearl Harbor/USS Arizona Memorial, so if you have more time in your schedule, we highly recommend giving some more attention to this stop. There is no entry fee to the memorial, and while reservations aren’t required they are recommended. You can visit the National Park Service website for more info on planning your visit.
5:00pm: Beach Time/Sunset
Ala Moana Beach (where we went - 1201 Ala Moana Blvd)
Located in the Ala Moana Regional Park, Ala Moana Beach is a much more local experience for sunset in comparison to Waikiki Beach. Although, you can’t really go wrong with either!
Waikiki Beach (2259 Kalakaua Ave)
Poké Bar (where we went - 226 Lewers St # L106)
Although this isn’t a true local place (we found that out after the fact that they started in California), that doesn’t change how fresh and delicious these poké bowls are. They are made to order and fully customizable with endless toppings, proteins, mix-ins and more, including hand selected Hawaiian Fresh Ahi (Tuna) everyday! So good!
Maguro Spot (Japanese quick bites - 2441 Kūhiō Ave)
Ono Seafood (quick bites - 747 Kapahulu Ave)
Lahaina Shave Ice (where we went - 247 Beach Walk Ste 100)
This unassuming walk-up, counter-service stand serves up overflowing bowls of some of the best Hawaiian Shaved Ice on the island with tons of flavors and toppings to choose from.
Island Vintage Shave Ice (2201 Kalakaua Ave)
Double Fat Ice Cream (2490 Kalakaua Ave)