What to do in Honolulu for a day?
I’m travelling to Honolulu Hawaii in February and I’ll have a spare day. What should I see?
I hear the Pearl Harbor Memorial is powerful. What can I do that will honor the Brady Bunch Hawaii Vacation double episode? What else?
hike up diamond head
Fly around in a helicopter above the volcanoes–I hear everybody does that :) – Swim on a Hawaii beach, collect seashells and frolic in the waves, swim with the dolphins, eat spam.
brady bunch hawaii vacation reference, nice.
recall a scene w a tiki in a cave.
hit the beach/surf?
I agree with Charlotte about the helicopter. I did it on a layover. Well worth it.
This is going to be great! And hi Tom! 24 years no see!
Oh, it’s going to be great. I was there twice last year and once the year before (my aunt lives there, the better half had business there), and let me tell you the first thing you do is RELAX. I found it easy to do almost instantly after getting off the plane.
My perfect day would start dim sum for breakfast. I know there’s dim sum in SF, but it’s just one of my favorite breakfasts anyway. There’s a fantastic hole in the wall joint at the Chinese Cultural Center in Chinatown that I’ve visited with my aunt and uncle a few times that rocks.
Then something cultural. One day makes it hard to decide, so it depends on what’s open and what you feel like. I am a huge fan of the Bishop Museum. You will learn more about Hawai’i than you ever thought possible in their beautifully renovated old building. There’s some cool sciencey stuff and a planetarium, too, but the real attraction for me was the history and culture. (There’s also a Micronesia room, which I wish I’d paid even more attention to when I was there since I’m now immersed in those cultures all the time.. Palau, Yap, Truk, etc.)
Another good option is the Iolani Palace. I’m kind of a monarchy freak, so this was extra-special. The building is stunning, and the tours are packed with very cool history. I have earrings modeled after the hinges on the doors there to give you some idea of the general beauty…
If you want to soak up the WWII history, the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor is the obvious choice. Usually, though, unless there’s an online system I don’t know about, you go there and get a reservation for a few hours later. Much more worth it (to me) was the USS Missouri, aboard which the Emperor surrendered. It’s a much more interactive visit (since it’s above water, which is admittedly unfair), has shorter waits, and the tour is fascinating. (We just tagged along on someone else’s, oops.) It’s right next to the USS Arizona so you can pay your respects easily.
Lunchtime! Plate lunch or sushi, yum. Pick up an extra spam musubi from a gas station or store for your afternoon at the beach. (I think the spam musubi in Guam are better, but who’s counting…)
Head over the Pali Highway (rent a convertible if you can…) to the Pali Lookout. Observe, marvel, then head down to Kailua to Lanikai Beach. One of my favorite beaches of all-time. SERIOUS VEG TIME.
If you have time, head the scenic way back to Waikiki around the windward side. For dinner, consider La Mer if your expense account is endless, Michel’s if you want something pricey, totally schlocky, but the most on-the-beach you’ll get. I liked the original Roy’s, too. A friend of mine runs the Next Door nightclub downtown, where we danced to some sweet tech-house one night.
I have lots of pics from my trips, so I’m happy to shoot some your way! As for the helicopter tours, I really really wanted to go, but my aunt wouldn’t let me! She said she’s met lots of the pilots and many not stable and she wouldn’t feel safe enough to justify it to my dad if anything happened. She’s probably paranoid, though, so take that with a grain of salt. Probably saved me some dough, though. :-)
Bon voyage! (And remember, it’s just another little flight down to Guam…)
Guess I was stuck on the big stuff, because one of my favorite places totally slipped my mind: The Contemporary Museum. It’s on the former Spalding Estate and the grounds are incredible. If you dig contemporary art, check what they have at the moment. The whole place is quiet, almost meditative. A great break. And an excellent café on site, too. The drive through the rainforests around Tantulus is awesome, too. There are some nice vista points. I visited the National Memorial Cemetery near Punchbowl when I was there, which also has a cool vista point, but it shouldn’t be on a one-day list…
I didn’t get to do too much in Hawaii. There wasn’t enough time. But here’s a post about what I did.