Insider’s Guide to Honolulu: Things to Do

Budget-minded visitors can easily experience the adventurous side of Honolulu by considering essential factors like festival season, hotel rates, airfare, and weather. Here’s an ultimate guide for planning your itinerary.

Where to Eat?

gorilla in the cafe_honolulu

With a relaxed ambiance, most restaurants in Honolulu aim to take all its visitors on a culinary adventure. La Mer restaurant, the Hula Grill and Duke’s Waikiki serve delicious 3 course meals with the views of the ocean. Another well-known lunch spot is the Lucky Belly in Chinatown. Locals recommend Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha for the best Hawaiian shave ice in town.

The farmers market, held at Kapiolani Community College, offers diverse food options like Vietnamese street food from The Pig and the Lady. Be sure to try the delicious cheesecakes made from fruits that are locally sourced.

Where to Stay?

As the epicenter of Hawaii, Honolulu hotels are generally expensive with prices starting from $199 USD per night. If you’re on a vacation to splurge, hotels like The Trump, The Royal Hawaiian and The Kahala offer opulent services that are worthwhile. Guests on a budget can try the Aqua Waikiki Wave or the Equus.

Honolulu hotels

There is no better way to travel local than staying with a local. Airbnb offers studio, private rooms and an entire home for less than $90 USD a night. Even better, many homes are centrally located near Waikiki Beach.

What are Some Major Festivals and Events?

Honolulu is a mecca for all visitors who like to experience a lively buzz on the streets. There is a grand parade in Waikiki during the Honolulu Festival, a 3-day event featuring art, dance, and music. First Friday is another famous festival held on the first Fridays of each month, where you’ll enjoy street entertainment, wine tasting and live music. The highlight is the lantern floating on every Memorial Day when locals light lantern and let it float on the water as a gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives in the war.

What’s the Best Time to Visit?

The best time to visit Honolulu is during the off-season in April and May. It is wise to avoid visiting during the holiday season in December as hotel prices and airfares tend to skyrocket. Although the weather is warm and sunny throughout the year, many tourists also avoid July and August as it can get excessively hot and humid.

What are Some Things to See and Do?

Photo by Amanda Williams via

Apart from Waikiki Beach, the beach at the Ala Moana Park is also ideal for beach-combers seeking a calmer swim.

Soak up Hawaiian history in Bishop Museum, where you’ll find an array of Hawaiian artifacts. The scenic landscapes in Hawaii are nothing less than spectacular. Hike the Diamond Head trail where you’ll love the magnificent panoramic view of the city. Nu’uanu Pali Lookout and the Punchbowl Crater are other hills from where you can enjoy equally beautiful vistas.

Whether you visit Honolulu for the weekend or a few days, Waikiki and Pearl Harbor are some areas you shouldn’t miss.

Featured Image by Isa

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

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