Things to do in Honolulu

About Honolulu

Must-see attractions in Honolulu include the iconic Waikiki Beach, historic Pearl Harbor National Memorial, and Diamond Head State Monument. Visitors should not miss exploring the cultural significance of the Iolani Palace and the serene beauty at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Each location is steep in history and natural splendor, with self-guided audio tours available to enrich the experience.
For families, the Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki Aquarium, and the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center rank as top destinations. These spots provide interactive learning experiences alongside the fun, perfectly tailored to pique the curiosity of young visitors while offering entertaining educational opportunities.
Outdoor enthusiasts should not miss hiking the trails of Manoa Falls, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, and surfing in Waikiki. These activities offer a chance to connect with nature and experience the unique landscapes of Honolulu, from lush rainforests to vibrant marine life.
Indoor aficionados will enjoy the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Bishop Museum, and 'Iolani Palace. These venues offer a look into the art, history, and royal heritage of Hawaii, with the option of self-guided audio tours to delve deeper into their stories and significance.
The best Honolulu tours include guided walks through Downtown Honolulu's historic sites, audio-guided excursions at Pearl Harbor, and cultural tours within the Polynesian Cultural Center. These tours captivate with engaging storytelling and introduce visitors to the rich tapestry of Honolulu's history and its vibrant present.
Popular museums in Honolulu comprise the Bishop Museum, showcasing Hawaiian culture and natural history, the Honolulu Museum of Art presenting global artistic wonders, and the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park for a deep dive into naval history—all complemented by immersive audio guidance.
On rainy days, visitors can enjoy indoor audio tours at attractions like the 'Iolani Palace, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the Bishop Museum. These tours offer sheltered, yet enriching experiences, showcasing the arts, history, and spirit of Hawaii.
For those with limited time, there are engaging tours under one hour that include a historic walk at 'Iolani Palace, a quick visit to the King Kamehameha Statue, and brief explorations of the Aloha Tower Marketplace, each offering compact insights into Honolulu's landmarks.

1 review for audio tours in Honolulu

June 2022
Honolulu In-App Audio Tour: Historical & Cultural Treasures of the Heavenly City
Solid tour but I wish there was actually more detail, specifically about the native history/experience tied to each setting. It was great to see that part of town though and to have a succinct understanding of how each building came to be.

Best Things to Do In Honolulu

Discover the vibrant essence of Honolulu through our expertly curated audio tours. Delve into a city rich in culture and stunning sceneries.

Honolulu: Kailua Beach Park

What is it?
A pristine beach ideal for kayaking, windsurfing, and enjoying O'ahu's natural beauty.
Why you should go?
Kailua Beach Park presents visitors with postcard-worthy turquoise waters and powdery sand, making it a quintessential Hawaiian experience. Renowned for its excellent watersport conditions, the beach offers an array of Honolulu activities, from kayaking to kite surfing. The self-guided audio tour narrates the area's geographical wonders and local lore, enhancing a day of sunbathing with enriching cultural knowledge, while the nearby town offers charming boutiques and cafes for a perfect day trip.

Honolulu: Aloha Tower

What is it?
A historic lighthouse and marketplace offering panoramic views of the city and harbor.
Why you should go?
The Aloha Tower stands as a beacon of welcome to island visitors, an emblem of Hawaii's hospitality. Climbing the tower is among the top things to do in Honolulu as it provides a unique vantage point over the bustling port, city skyline, and distant mountains. The adjacent marketplace teems with live entertainment, shopping, and dining, while the audio tour narrates the tower's significance and transformation throughout Hawaii's modernization. A visit here offers a mosaic of cultural and historical insights.

Honolulu: Bishop Museum

What is it?
The premier place to experience the history, arts, and culture of the Hawaiian people.
Why you should go?
As the state's largest museum dedicated to preserving the local heritage, Bishop Museum is a treasury of Polynesian artifacts and natural science specimens. This cultural institution ranks high on the list of things to see in Honolulu, offering a deep dive into the rich traditions and historical narrative of the Pacific Islands. An audio tour here is not simply educational; it's an intimate journey through time, unveiling the stories and knowledge of the Hawaiian ancestors, amidst a backdrop of spellbinding exhibits.

Honolulu: Lyon Arboretum

What is it?
A tropical rainforest preserve and botanical garden nestled in the lush Manoa Valley.
Why you should go?
Visiting the Lyon Arboretum is a breath of fresh air for those looking for things to do in Honolulu that are off the beaten path. This living laboratory houses an extensive collection of tropical plants, awe-inspiring gardens, and waterfall trails. The audio tour complements the visual splendor with fascinating facts about the diverse plant life and the ecosystem they support. Engulfed in this verdant sanctuary, one finds tranquility and an educational escapade harmoniously intertwined.

Honolulu: Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

What is it?
A center for Islamic arts and cultures, set against a backdrop of Hawaiian landscape.
Why you should go?
The Shangri La Museum offers a unique cultural experience, blending Islamic art with Hawaiian surroundings. This haven of art and architecture introduces visitors to the global narratives of Islamic cultures through the extensive collection of a philanthropist. The guided audio tour enhances the experience, with tales of the artifacts' origins and the vision behind this seaside retreat. A visit to Shangri La is one of the best Honolulu tours for those wishing to explore the cross-cultural connections within a historical Hawaiian residence.

Honolulu: Diamond Head State Monument

What is it?
A historic hiking trail leading to breathtaking panoramic views of O'ahu.
Why you should go?
Ascending the famous Diamond Head Crater offers more than just physical activity; it's a chance to immerse oneself in natural splendor. The trail, rooted in geological and military history, culminates in a stunning lookout point. Gazing out from the summit, you capture a memory of Honolulu's skyline, the vast Pacific, and the lush surroundings. This is certainly one of the places to visit in Honolulu for unforgettable vistas and a sense of accomplishment at the peak.

Honolulu: Iolani Palace

What is it?
The United States' only official royal residence, rich in Hawaiian history.
Why you should go?
Iolani Palace, a cornerstone of Hawaiian heritage, invites visitors to step back into a regal past. Experiencing this national historic landmark through an audio tour not only educates on Hawaiian history and culture but also allows visitors to appreciate the intricately restored architecture and royal artifacts. It's an essential what to do in Honolulu for history buffs and those interested in understanding Hawaii's unique monarchial legacy, all within the heart of the vibrant capital.

Honolulu: Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

What is it?
An idyllic snorkeling spot formed within a volcanic cone on the southeast coast of O'ahu.
Why you should go?
Among the best things to do in Honolulu is snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Hanauma Bay. This natural preserve, teeming with marine life and coral formations, is not only an opportunity for underwater exploration but also a lesson in conservation. The self-guided audio tour enlightens visitors on ecological efforts and marine species identification, making it an educational and captivating excursion deeply connected with the Aloha spirit of respecting nature.

Honolulu: North Shore Beaches

What is it?
A collection of world-renowned beaches, famous for their winter surf swells.
Why you should go?
The fabled North Shore is a mecca for surf enthusiasts and beachgoers alike, offering some of the most exhilarating Honolulu activities. With legendary spots like Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay, visitors can observe professional surfers tackling monstrous waves. The audio tour also guides listeners through the laid-back surf culture and picturesque landscapes that make these beaches a must-visit, whether to catch a wave or to simply relish in the sun-kissed, sandy serenity.

Honolulu: Honolulu Museum of Art

What is it?
One of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the state, featuring collections from around the world.
Why you should go?
Art enthusiasts seeking things to do in Honolulu will find solace in the Honolulu Museum of Art. With over 50,000 works spanned across various mediums and cultures, the museum serves as a crossroad of artistic expression from the East and West. The audio guide enhances the experience, providing context and stories behind the exhibitions, ensuring that the visual spectacle is matched with insightful commentary, for a rich, cultural excursion in Hawaii's art world.

TOP-5 tours in Honolulu for first-time visitors

  • Embark on a journey through the bustling streets with our "Heart of Honolulu" tour, highlighting the best things to do in Honolulu for cultural enthusiasts.
  • Experience the serenity of nature with "Manoa Falls Trail," a guide for those seeking things to see in Honolulu away from the city buzz.
  • "Historic Pearl Harbor" audio tour provides a somber what to see in Honolulu, illustrating pivotal moments in history.
  • "Waikiki Walkabout" showcases fun things to do in Honolulu, spotlighting lively markets and breathtaking beach vistas.
  • "Chinatown Charms" tour, immersing visitors in unique Honolulu activities and culinary adventures in this vibrant district.

Fun things to do in Honolulu with kids

The capital city of Honolulu is a playground of adventure and discovery for families. Engage young minds at the Children's Discovery Center, a vibrant facility bursting with interactive exhibits that cater to children's curiosity and learning through play. Encourage hands-on exploration and educational fun in themed areas that cover everything from the human body to a Hawaiian town. Experience the wonders of marine life at the Waikiki Aquarium, where kids can come face-to-face with colorful fish, corals, and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. With knowledgeable staff and engaging audio tours, learning becomes an exciting underwater journey. For a day filled with nature and wildlife, the Honolulu Zoo offers an opportunity to see exotic animals and engage in kid-friendly activities. The zoo's diverse inhabitants range from komodo dragons to African elephants, making it an unforgettable excursion into the animal kingdom, perfectly complemented by insightful audio commentary that brings the stories of these creatures to life.

Things to do in Honolulu with family

Honolulu beckons families with its blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. The iconic Waikiki Beach is a hub for families, offering gentle waves perfect for a child's first surf lesson or a relaxed day building sandcastles. The beachside promenade is full of excitement, with street performers and tropical treats to enjoy while the sun sets over the Pacific. For a hands-on educational experience, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center engages kids of all ages with interactive exhibits, ranging from a simulated voyage across the Pacific to exploring the wonders of a rainforest. Finally, no family trip to Honolulu would be complete without visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center. Through engaging exhibits and live performances, families can journey through the traditions and daily life of Hawaii and its neighboring islands. Interactive experiences and an educational self-guided audio tour ensure that every family member leaves with a deeper appreciation for Polynesian heritage.

Free things to do in Honolulu

The spirit of aloha is alive in Honolulu, with numerous free attractions that promise unforgettable experiences for travelers. Stroll amidst the natural beauty of Waikiki Beach, where azure waters and golden sands offer relaxation and iconic views of Diamond Head. This legendary beach is perfect for picnics, sunbathing, and simply soaking in the Hawaiian ambiance. Venture to the historic grounds of the State Capitol building to witness Hawaii's unique architectural approach representing the island's volcanic origins and open-air style, and learn through the available audio commentary about the rich political history of the state. For a serene escape, the lush pathways of Liliuokalani Botanical Garden invite visitors to explore tropical flora and the tranquil Nu'uanu Stream without spending a dime. An audio-guided walking tour explains the origins of the garden and the significance of native plant species, making this a picturesque and educational outing.

Cheap things to do in Honolulu

Honolulu's enchanting lure isn't just for those with deep pockets; there are plenty of budget-friendly attractions as well. For a minimal fee, hike the trail to the summit of Diamond Head Crater where the reward is a panorama of the island's stunning coastline and Honolulu's cityscape. Equip yourself with an informative audio guide to enhance the trek with historical and geological facts. Art lovers will relish the diverse collection at the Honolulu Museum of Art, boasting a minimal entrance fee. Embark on a cultural expedition with their self-guided audio tour featuring pieces from across the globe. Another affordable must-visit is the Byodo-In Temple; located at the Valley of the Temples, this serene replica of a Japanese temple offers tranquility and a chance to learn about Japanese culture amidst the Ko'olau Mountains, a small admission fee grants access to this picturesque sanctuary that includes a striking large Buddha statue, a meditation pavilion, and lush koi ponds.

Things to do in Honolulu for couples

Honolulu offers a romantic backdrop for couples seeking a blend of adventure and relaxation. Start with a leisurely walk along the picturesque Waikiki Beach at sunset, where the fading light casts a warm glow over the sands, offering a classic romantic setting. This experience can be enriched with an audio narrative detailing the historical significance of the area. For a more adventurous outing, couples can hike the Manoa Falls trail, where the lush terrain and cascading waterfall create an idyllic environment for shared discovery. The trail's beauty is complemented by self-guided audio tours that reveal the area's ecological and cultural stories. Finally, delight in the tranquility and impressive views from the Tantalus Lookout at Puu Ualakaa State Park. The panoramic sights of the city, Diamond Head, and the ocean are perfect for a serene picnic or a heartfelt moment between partners, away from the hustle and bustle below.

Things to do in Honolulu at night

As the sun sinks into the Pacific, Honolulu lights up with nocturnal charm offering memorable night-time attractions. One can’t miss experiencing the magic of a traditional Hawaiian Luau, where couples and families alike can indulge in local cuisine, enjoy mesmerizing hula performances, and learn about Hawaiian culture through an immersive audio experience. For those interested in astronomical wonders, the stargazing sessions at the Waikiki Starlight Luau fuse romance with science, gifting visitors an unforgettable celestial journey above the island's silhouette. Take a nocturnal walk down the Waikiki Beach Walk, brimming with live music, street performers, and an array of dining options that can turn a simple evening stroll into a vibrant night out. An accompanying audio guide offers insights into the area's history, pointing out significant landmarks and hidden gems, further enriching the night-time exploration of this Hawaiian capital.