Top 4 Hidden Gems in Honolulu

Everyone who visit Honolulu hits spots like the Waikiki Beach, but you’ll want to be adventurous by exploring less-known attractions.

Kawaiahao Church

Photo by Tony Butler via

Step into the history of Hawaii by visiting the Kawaiahao Church in Downtown Honolulu. Also known as ‘The Great Stone Church’, the church is made of coral slabs sourced from the ocean reefs. The church is a center for worship to the locals as they attend the service held at the church every Sunday. While you’re here, consider visiting the nearby Iolani Palace, and King Kamehameha I Statue. Visitors can also sign up for a tour of the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives, which educate vistors about how the New England missionaries worked with native Hawaiians to introduce public education.

Diamond Head

Photo by trenton.badillo via

Although Diamond Head is one of the most famous volcanoes in the world, it is hardly visited by tourists. Average hikers will find the climb moderately challenging through the tunnels and stairs up the hill, however, the beautiful vista of Honolulu from the top will amaze you. Along the trail, there is an interesting monument of the World War II bunker, where you can rest during the warm climb. There is an entrance fee of $1 per person to enter the crater area. Be sure to wear hiking shoes as well as carry a sunscreen lotion and a bottled water. If you have plans to hike, it is wise to stay in Honolulu hotels close to Diamond Head or in Waikiki.

Halona Blowhole in Hanauma Bay

Photo by Amanda Williams via

Located on Oahu’s south shore, Hanauma Bay is certainly a tourist spot but very few visitors are aware of the Halona Blowhole that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The best time to see the true nature of Halona Blowhole is during the high tide on a windy day when you’ll see the sea water shoot high into the air through the cave. Spend the rest of your day exploring the Makapu’u Point trail from where you will love the magnificent views of the neighboring islands as well the lighthouse and the Rabbit Island as you hike further.

Queen Emma’s Summer Palace

Known as Hanaiakamalama in Hawaii, this palace turned museum was a summer retreat for Queen Emma in the late 1880s. The bungalow is located in the Nu’uanu valley and exhibits a vast collection of Queen Emma’s belongings, royal artifacts and paintings from around the world.  One of a particular interest is the giant silver urn filled with holy water which was a gift from Queen Victoria to her godson – Prince Albert, the son of Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV. You can ask for a guide to better understand the lifestyle of the Royal Hawaiian Monarchy. There is an entry fee of $6 per person.

A few blocks from the palace is The Pali Lookout, the site where Kamehameha I went into battle with the forces of Kalanikūpule.  

While in Honolulu, keep an eye on the Japanese, Hawaii and Chinese cultural gardens at the Honolulu Airport to learn the influences of different cultures.

Featured Photo by Kimo Ventura via

This post is published as part of the Hipmunk City Love Project.

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