Honolulu, Sheltered Bay
When one hears the name Honolulu, a tropical vacation is the first thing that comes to mind. But this Hawaiian city has depth and history far beyond the miles of beautiful shoreline and sky-rise resorts. The word Honolulu comes from the Hawaiian term hono for sheltered and lulu for bay. The world-famous state capitol building in Honolulu is one of the most visited tourist destinations in all the Hawaiian Islands.
Honolulu History and Fun Facts
Honolulu is not only the most populated city in Hawaii, but is also the most expensive city to live in the United States, following Anchorage, Alaska.
Queen Lydia Liliʻuokalani, the last monarch of the Hawaiian Islands who reigned from 1891 to 1893, was born in Honolulu.
Honolulu was occupied by the French, Russians and British on different occasions before finally being annexed as a territory by the United States in 1898. Hawaii did not become a state until 1959.
Honolulu is home to the oldest symphonic orchestra in the western United States and was established in the year 1900. Concerts and performances are a popular attraction for those vacationers lucky enough to be in town when they are scheduled.
Le’ahi Crater, more popularly known as Diamond Head, is an extinct volcanic cinder cone and is one of Honolulu’s as well as Hawaii’s most famous natural landmarks. Because of its strategic prominence, it once had five military batteries and fortified observation points built within the sides of crater between the years 1910 to 1943 that can still be seen today.
The Hawaii International Film Festival is hosted in Honolulu annually and draws many vacationers and film fanatics to the capital city.
Honolulu was ranked as America’s Fittest City in Men’s Fitness magazine largely because of it hosting major marathon races each year as well as offers innumerable outdoor sports and activities. Families who enjoy staying active while on vacation will love traveling to Honolulu.
Being that Hawaii has a strong Asian influence and a diverse culture it is not surprising that Honolulu has over 30 Buddhist temples, making it one of the largest concentrations of practicing Buddhists in the US.
The climate is semi-tropical and the trade winds keep Honolulu fresh and cool until the warm southern winds, called Kona wind, blow during summertime. Honolulu produces the least amount of seasonal variation of all the cities in the US, making Hawaii a prime honeymoon and vacation destination for those seeking warm weather year round. Temperatures vary only a few degrees in winter and in summer with the average being between 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in July and 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in January.
There are some notable districts within Honolulu. Downtown Honolulu is the financial, commercial and governmental center of Hawaii. Also within the downtown area are Honolulu’s vibrant arts and Chinatown districts. The Ala Moana area of town has the world’s largest open-air shopping center as well as other great shopping, entertainment and dining complexes. Waikiki is the world famous tourist destination area of Honolulu. Waialae and Kahala are the affluent districts of Honolulu, located just east of Diamond Head, where there are many highly priced homes, the Waialae Country Club and a five-star resort.
Must-see Honolulu Attractions
Downtown Honolulu is home to Washington Place, the governor’s residence, Honolulu Hale, the city hall of the City and County of Honolulu and Kawaiaha’o Church, a historic church established by American Protestant missionaries during the early 1800s. Another downtown must-see is Iolani Palace, which is the only royal palace in the United States and a great destination to visit on your trip to Honolulu.
Foster Botanical Garden, located not far from Iolani Palace, was established in 1855 and is the oldest botanical garden in the State.
Bishop Museum is Hawaii’s largest museum, showcasing the culture and artifacts of ancient Hawaiian history.
Mission House Museum displays artifacts from Hawaii’s 19th century missionary period. The museum is comprised of three notable buildings: the Oldest Frame House, a communal missionary home that was crafted in New England and brought to Honolulu to be reconstructed on site; the Chamberlain House, a home built from coral blocks cut from local reef; and Print House, a reef-block covered porch and balcony next to the Chamberlain House.
Chinatown Art-Walk is a must-do for all art-lovers on their trip to Honolulu. Tours are scheduled from 5 pm to 9 pm on the first Friday of every month. Chinatown also hosts a dynamic art walk featuring unique galleries, boutiques, cafes, trendy bars and restaurants in this popular Honolulu district.
The Hawaii Theatre in downtown Honolulu was opened in 1922, painstakingly restored in 2005 and has been recognized as one of the outstanding historic theaters in America.
Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese naval aircraft on December 7th, 1941 and led the United States into World War II. Several notable memorials and museums in Pearl Harbor draw millions of visitors each year, including the: USS Arizona Memorial, where 1,102 sailors are still entombed within the battleship’s sunken hull, USS Battleship Missouri Memorial, which showcases the ship upon which Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, where you can enter one of the few surviving WW II submarines left in the world, and Pacific Aviation Museum, where you can view a collection of restored classic World War II aircraft.
The US Army Museum of Hawaii showcases warfare artifacts and memorabilia as well as Hawaiian history from King Kamehameha in 1738 to the present day.
Honolulu is the ideal city to travel to on your vacation. Being rich in history, culture, arts and entertainment makes it one of the world’s premier vacation destinations.