6 Best Things to Do in Honolulu

Honolulu beckons for its sun and surf but there is a legion of amusements in this Hawaiian metropolis.

6 Best Things to Do in Honolulu
Honolulu beckons for its sun and surf but there is a legion of amusements in this Hawaiian metropolis. Getty Images / iStock / Lauren Proctor

Honolulu isn't just sun, sand, surf, tiny-umbrella-spiked cocktails and tall beachside hotels–though we'd understand if you thought so. Oahu's main city is bustling with entertainment and intrigue. From imbibing local beer at a craft brewery to hiking to eating excellent Chinese fare, here are six great things to do in Honolulu.

View a Google Maps list of all the best things to do in Honolulu.

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

The biggest flea market in the state is also the most fun. In addition to making other peoples unwanted things one of your most precious souvenirs to take home, you can also belt out your favorite pop tune at the on-site karaoke snack bar. Rouse the sun-beaten-down locals with your best rendition of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and then drop the mic like the rock star you wish you were. It's well-positioned to combine with a trip to the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

99-500 Salt Lake Blvd.

6 Best Things to Do in Honolulu
Merchant displayed colorful trinkets on the entry door of this store to draw in shoppers. Located in Honolulu's Chinatown. Getty Images / iStock / mariloutrias

Chinatown

If geographical proximity is any sort of yardstick, then Honolulu's Chinatown must be the best of its kind in the United States, right? Right. But whatever the case, it also happens to be packed with enough deliciousness that you'll want to return for lunch or dinner or lunch and dinner again. There are also shops and stalls that sell cool Chinese-Hawaiian goods.

6 Best Things to Do in Honolulu
Diamond head seen from Kapiolani Park. Getty Images / iStock / 7maru

Diamond Head

One of the most iconic mountains in the United States, this long-dormant volcano that can be seen from all over Honolulu makes a great hike. The two-hour trudge is not as laborious as it may seem. The trail mostly consists of a series of switchbacks and then hikers are rewarded with one of the best views around.

Honolulu Beer Works

Raise your hand (and your pint glass) if you want a hoppy gulp of Honolulu. Then point yourself to this local brewery, located in Kuka'ako. The brewpub's walls are made of with repurposed wood and the room is crammed with long bench-like seating to give a Bavaria-meets-the-Pacific vibe. Tummy fillers include a Pacific salmon salad sandwich, sweet potato hummus and smoked ahi dip.

328 Cooke St.

Iolani Palace

From 1879 to 1893, this impressive palace was home to Queen Liliuokalani. That is, until a U.S.-backed coup overthrew the queen—she was imprisoned after that in a small portion of the palace. Today the palace is an intriguing and aesthetically pleasing place to tour to see things like her royal thrown and various collectibles.

364 S. King St.

Kuka'ako

Once a derelict warehouse swath of town, Kuka'ako resurrection began when street artists began coating the area's walls with all manner of amazing street art. Curious art-loving locals started to wander into the area to see what was going on. Then hip restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops followed. Today Kuka'ako is Honolulu's most vibrant neighborhood.

6 Best Things to Do in Honolulu | Culture