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Walking Tours in Honolulu

The statue of King Kamehameha in front of Ali’iolani Hale

The statue of King Kamehameha in front of Ali’iolani Hale.

Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu has some of the most beautiful restaurants, beach-front properties, designer stores and countless adventurous for you and the family to enjoy. Walking through Waikiki, and getting to enjoy the various shops and resort districts of Honolulu, will prove an entertaining event for all. However, some of the most iconic historical sites of Honolulu are best experienced by exploring other areas of the city on foot. Below are some of the best places to walk in Honolulu where tourists can gain unforgettable glimpse into the city’s historic locations.

Iolani Palace in Honolulu

Iolani Palace.

Iolani Palace – This is the only royal palace in all of the United States, making it one of the most unique locations in Hawaii. The stunning building was constructed in 1882 and was home to the last two official Hawaiian monarchs, King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. The grounds of Iolani Palace also have a picturesque gazebo where the kings and queens celebrated their coronation. Entrance fees for Iolani Palace are priced around $21 for adult tickets for guided tours and a mere $14 if you prefer the self-guided option. Tickets can be purchased at the Iolani Barracks; and the palace is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Mission House Museum – Part of the rich and varied history of Hawaii’s religious heritage, the Mission House dates back to the 1800’s and was once a printing house, a storehouse and lodgings for the early missionaries to Hawaii. Hawaii’s ancient religious foundations and cultural dynamic drastically changed when Christian missionaries came to the islands and the kapu system began to decline, To get a better understanding of this period, visitors can walk through the buildings to see relics of the bygone times, meander through the auditorium and stop by the gift shop. Tickets for guided tours and general admission range from $6 to $10 per person.

King Kamehameha Statue – This famous statue is located in front of the Ali’iolani Hale building where the Hawaiian Supreme Court and State Law Library stand. Ali’iolani Hale, featured in numerous film and TV projects, was built in 1874 and originally intended to be a palace for the royals. In front of this building is the majestic statue of King Kamehameha in striking hues of black and gold.

Chinatown in Downtown Honolulu

Chinatown in Downtown Honolulu.

Chinatown – The first Chinese immigrants to Hawaii arrived in the 18th century, with their numbers continually increasing through to the 19th century when they began to work in sugar plantations. They congregated in small communities of family-owned restaurants and businesses, known from the 1870’s as Chinatown. This historic area of Honolulu has suffered fire, plague, war and severe crime, yet somehow has still managed to be one of the most vibrant parts of the capital city. Guests can explore the streets and try authentic Chinese food, buy Chinese crafts, and gifts or visit nearby temples.

State Capitol Building – While many governmental buildings may seem uninteresting at first blush, the State Capitol Building in Honolulu has numerous intriguing aspects that make it an important site to visit on any walking tour on Oahu. One unique feature is that the building was designed to reflect aspects of nature in Hawaii. The mirror-like pools are meant to serve as reminders about the all-surrounding ocean revered by the Hawaiian people. Additionally, some of the legislative chambers of the building have been created to resemble the walls of a volcano. A statue at the front of the building honors Father Damien, the courageous man who gave his life to serving lepers on the island of Molokai in the 19th century. One cannot go on a walking tour of Honolulu without stopping at the State Capitol Building.

Hawaii Maritime Center in Honolulu

Hawaii Maritime Center in Honolulu.

Hawaii Maritime Center and the Aloha Tower – Located at Pier 7 in Honolulu Harbor, the Hawaii Maritime Center offers vast amounts of information about Hawaii’s enduring relationship with the sea. Whether you want to learn about surfing heroes like Duke Kahanamoku, see how the ancient kings used to surf or learn more about the voyages of Captain Cook, the Hawaii Maritime Center is a must-do. This will particularly suit families who enjoy hands-on activities, as there is a whaling exhibit where kids can observe the skeleton of a humpback whale and learn about whaling life in the 19th century. Sea-lovers will greatly enjoy the Maritime Center and iconic Aloha Tower lighthouse of the 1920’s nearby. At the Aloha Tower, visitors can learn about the history of this beautiful building, including the creative way the Hawaii residents preserved the tower during World War II. The Aloha Tower could be the perfect segue into a relaxing evening on the water, as the Star of Honolulu Sunset Cruise also sets sail from the dock below. A trip to the Maritime Center is a great final stop before you sail out into the horizon at the end of a long strenuous day.

Though these recommendations merely scratch the surface of the many fantastic places to explore on the streets of Honolulu, there are also other areas in Waikiki, shops and stores, outdoor trails and hiking grounds, scenic gardens, culinary tours, museums, art galleries, cemeteries, theaters, zoos, exhibitions and festivals  that occur for those who plan to travel to Hawaii  in the near future.


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