Why Go To Honolulu - Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu blends cosmopolitan luxury and breathtaking scenery more than any other Hawaiian island. The state's capital city, Honolulu, showcases the island's urban appeal. Nearby you'll find a host of cultural and historic sites, from the ornate Iolani Palace to the austere USS Arizona Memorial at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. In the nearby Waikiki neighborhood, a skyline of high-rises and resorts contrasts with sprawling white sand beaches. For a taste of rural Hawaii, visit the North Shore. Here, you'll find the most brilliant blue waters and meandering hikes. But those three spots aren't Oahu's only must-see locales. Its top-notch restaurants, vibrant cultural events and wild nightlife further showcase this island as a "Gathering Place" of Hawaiian culture.


The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.

Honolulu is ranked as:

  • #1 in Best Hawaiian Islands

  • #2 in Best Places to Visit in September

  • #5 in Best Family Spring Break Destinations

  • #5 in Best Family Winter Vacations

  • #8 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA

  • #9 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

  • #11 in Best Family Vacations in the USA

  • #12 in Best Honeymoon Destinations in the USA

  • #12 in Best Christmas Vacations

Best Things To Do In Honolulu - Oahu


The island of Oahu has a great mix of activities, particularly in Honolulu. Take your kids surfing and snorkeling, hike around Manoa Falls or soak up local history at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace. And then there's the island's plethora of World War II attractions, including the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park and the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. But no trip to Oahu would be complete without visiting some of the island's world-renowned beaches; a few popular options include the water sports-focused Kailua Beach Park, the family-friendly Lanikai Beach and the resort-strewn Waikiki Beach. For an overview of the entire island, hop on a helicopter for a guided tour of its valleys, mountains and historical sites.

Honolulu Travel Tips

  • Oahu is a foodie's paradiseFrom celebrity chef steakhouses to mom-and-pop joints, the island's restaurants serve up varied and delicious cuisine.

  • Oahu's beaches are for surfersWaikiki Beach is renowned for its waves, but the swells at the North Shore's Waimea Bay are also ideal for surfing.

  • Oahu is filled with culture When vacationing here, you'll have access to everything from impressive collections at the Honolulu Museum of Art to authentic Asian fare in Chinatown to Hawaiian music, dances and more during the annual Aloha Festivals.

  • Oahu is best seen from the airFor a bird's-eye view of the island, sign up for a helicopter tour. 

  • Splurge to save Staying in a hotel in Waikiki might not seem as economical as the quieter options on the North Shore, but affordable properties are available away from the beach. Plus, staying here will make your commute to must-see sites like Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head State Monument much more manageable.

  • Limit your transportation expenses Oahu's top attractions are spread throughout the island, but if you bed down at a hotel with free parking or opt for a one-day car rental, you can quickly reach many of them without breaking the bank. For added savings, rely on ride-hailing or airport shuttle services instead of taxis to get to and from the airport.

  • Put down the phone Break the law by looking at a phone, tablet or video game while walking in a crosswalk and you'll likely get fined a minimum of $15. Become a repeat offender and you may owe as much as $99 per citation.

*SOURCE: Information From This Page Can Be Found at U.S. News & World Report