Just west of Waikiki, downtown balances historic Honolulu with contemporary Honolulu culture. Ask THE MODERN HONOLULU Concierge for itineraries (or recommendations for Honolulu history tours) – it's simple to connect landmarks like Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha I's statue, Aloha Tower and the Hawaii State Capitol on a walkabout.
Old Hawaii meets the natural world at The Bishop Museum, featuring royal Hawaiian heirlooms, a planetarium and interactive science exhibits.
Travel back in time to learn about Polynesian island life, honoring the ancient ways of living off the land.
Iolani Palace was the last home to Hawaiian monarchs. Experience the spirit and ostentation of old Hawaii.
A side trip to neighboring Chinatown is a must – its historic buildings reveal lei-makers, antiques dealers, temples and a global smattering of eats. By day, shop the district's markets for exotic souvenirs. By night (particularly during monthly First Fridays), go face-to-face with Oahu's contemporary arts and social scene. If performance is your medium, ask THE MODERN HONOLULU Concierge what's happening at Hawaii Opera Theatre or what event coincides with your stay. Spectators come for the PGA TOUR Sony Open, NFL Pro Bowl and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
So much Waikiki history is woven with world influences, such as the Japanese-styled New Year's Ohana Festival or July's Dragonboat Festival. For pure Waikiki, target May or September. May begins with Lei Day, observed on the islands since 1927, while September's age-old Aloha Festivals distill Hawaiian music, dance and history into street parties and concerts.
Summer encourages art appreciation through the respected Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival and juried Haleiwa ArtFest. Foodies savor the Oahu Food Festival, honoring staples like pineapple, coffee and the Aloha State's own James Beard Foundation Award-winning chefs Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, who co-chair the annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival.
“If you are visiting between November and February, don’t miss Waimea Bay on the North Shore where the island’s top surfers take on 30-foot waves”