Travel More. Live More.
The Travel Well Guide
City: Honolulu State: Hawai Country: United States
Honolulu is the capital and most populous census-designated place (CDP) in the U.S. state of Hawaii. In the Hawaiian language, Honolulu means "sheltered bay" or "place of shelter." It is the birthplace of Barack Obama, the current President of the United States. Like the other islands in the Hawaiian chain, Oahu is the top of a massive volcano, although it has been extinct for many tens of thousands of years and the rich volcanic soils give the island the lush green interior that acts as a backdrop to the city and beaches. Settled by Polynesian migrants since at least the 12th century, in the 19th century Honolulu became an important stopping point for merchants sailing between Asia and North America and an important naval base for the US during World War II. Its maritime history can be seen in the Bishop Museum's Hawaii Maritime Center, located on the old royal pier near the Aloha Tower, the lighthouse whose distinctive Hawaiian gothic outline has greeted seaborne visitors to Honolulu since the 1920s. The main buildings of the Bishop Museum are home to a stunning array of Polynesian artefacts, millions of insects, the Hawaiian royal regalia and a planetarium. The Honolulu Academy of Arts has a world-class collection of works of art from all round the world, while the Hawaii State Art Museum concentrates on the work of local artists. Shangri La houses the art collection of the American heiress, Doris Duke. The Hawaiian royal family was not overthrown until early in the 20th century, and their former home, the Iolani Palace, is a 19th-century spectacular, in a style variously known as Haiwaiian renaissance or American Florentine. Other buildings of the time that survive are St Andrew's Cathedral and Aliiolani Hale. As is only to be expected, given its location on trade routes, Hawaii has a thriving Chinatown, which is also home to the Arts District. With its lovely, laid-back attitude, and welcoming, friendly locals, Honolulu is truly a must-visit city.
Climate | When to Visit
Visit during: January to December
Directions | How to Reach
By Air: Located on the western end of Honolulu proper, Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is the principal aviation gateway to the state of Hawaii. By Train: Currently, there is no urban rail transit system in Honolulu, although electric street railways were once used during the early days of Honolulu's history. By Road: Several freeways serve Honolulu like the Interstate H-1, Interstate H-201, Interstate H-2, Interstate H-3. Honolulu's TheBus system operates 107 routes serving Honolulu and outlying areas on Oahu with a fleet of 531 buses.
miscellaneous | Important Information
Do Visit: The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. A helicopter ride along the coastline. The walk to the volcanic cone of Diamond Head. Shopping for souvenirs at the Ala Moana Center