Honolulu is an ultra-modern city full of enormous diversity. The county of Honolulu is home to approximately 800,000 people of all races and cultures. It is what gives O'ahu the nickname, "The Gathering Place."
Waikiki Beach stretches from the slopes of
The main thoroughfare of Waikiki is Kalakaua Boulevard. Most of the hotels, shops, and restaurants are gathered along this well-populated strip. The
This diverse area is probably the first place business travelers will see, thanks to the presence of the enormous Hawai'i Convention Center. Be sure not to miss one of the largest open-air shopping centers in the country,
Chinatown is one of Honolulu's most colorful and exciting neighborhoods. The area has been a major gateway for immigrants to Hawai'i. Chinese medicine and Eastern religion have a huge presence, with Taoist, Buddhist and Shinto temples sandwiched between herbalists, shops, and restaurants. Highlights of Chinatown include
From the steely skyscrapers and luxury high rises that rise up along the waterfront to the restored palaces and fascinating museums on Beretania and Bernice Streets, the downtown area proves Honolulu to be much more than the glitzy tourist town that Waikiki would have us believe. Landmarks are numerous, but a few that can't be missed are the grand and graceful bustling
Manoa Valley, where the University of Hawaii is situated, is typical of the valleys resulting from the erosion caused by lava flows in Hawai'i. One of the best places to view Honolulu and the Ko'olau mountain range is from the Manoa Cliff Trail. The main attraction of the valley itself is the University of Hawaii, a research university founded in 1907 and the only one of its kind in the state.
Manoa and the nearby neighborhood of Makiki comprise one of the major cultural hot spots on the island. While this district isn't marketed or publicized as a cultural destination, it is home to several galleries, museums and theater companies. Among the hidden jewels in the area are
East Honolulu—Diamond Head Kahala, Hawaii Kai
There are several major tourist attractions spread out through this area. Diamond Head is great for hikers. This peak can be seen from many vantage points in Honolulu, but for outdoor enthusiasts, there's no better way to experience it than by hiking to the summit and gazing down at the island below.
Experts agree that
North Honolulu—Pearl Harbor, Pearl City & Ewa
Aside from Waikiki, this district may be the one most often visited by tourists. Site of the infamous Pearl Harbor attack, it is among the most famous
If you visit Honolulu or even read about it, you'll likely find that the term "Windward" is tossed around quite a bit. Windward, to clarify, is the Eastern shore of the island. It's a quiet, laid-back place, devoid of all the glitz and noise of Honolulu. Most locals will also tell you that it's the best part of the island.
There are no major hotels or malls here, but there are plenty of restaurants and shops, and there seems to be a B&B tucked under every hillock and at the end of every street.
Leeward O'ahu & Central O'ahu
Like Windward O'ahu and East Honolulu, Leeward (that's Western to all you mainlanders) is a quieter district with a few outstanding visitor attractions. Smart tourists—at least, the ones who can afford it—pooh pooh the jam-packed hotels of Waikiki, knowing that true paradise awaits at
Central Honolulu isn't much of a visitor destination, although the famous
It seems like every Hawaiian island has its own North Shore, where surfers from around the world come to brave the big waves in winter time. It doesn't stop there: It has great beaches, famous parks and a mellow lifestyle.