Any short list of “must-sees” is highly subjective. Eventually, you’ll make your own, but we’re glad to offer ours: the expanse of Honolulu from Round Top Drive on Tantalus; the North Shore, whether the surf is up or not; the sea cliffs from Hanauma Bay to Sandy Beach; the windward coast as we round Makapuu Point; the Koolau Mountains as seen from anywhere between Waimanalo and Kahaluu; and three truly special attractions: the Honolulu Zoo, Iolani Palace and King Kamehameaha Statue. There are so many opportunities for fun in the sun activities, whether you stop at the Dole Plantation’s Pineapple Gallery Maze, which incidentally holds the record for the largest maze from the Guinness Book of World Records, on your way to cruise the North Shore or perhaps decide to head westward to spend a few hours at Bishop Museum, or learn about marine life at the Waikiki Aquarium. Fun for the entire family abounds and with so many activities to choose from, the challenge will be figuring out just what to do first!
The third-oldest aquarium in the country is world-renowned as the first facility in the world to successfully propagate the Chambered Nautilus. With a living reef, monk seals, coral farm and reef exploration programs plus Jun Kaneko ceramic sculptures flanking the entrance, it’s one of Oahu’s jewels. Open daily.
The magisterial palace is the former home of the Hawaiian monarchy and the only official royal residence in the United States. Self-guided audio tours: adults - $14.75, youth ages 5-12 - $6. Reservations recommended for docent-led tours: adults - $21.75, youth - $6 Basement gallery exhibits: adults - $5, youth - $3.
With its six native island villages, a Hawaiian lū‘au and “Ha: Breath of Life,” a Polynesian show, the PCC is a living museum and entertainment center. With Polynesian dance, music and fire-knife dancing, the show tells the story of Mana and his beloved Lani. Daily except Sunday.
Doris Duke’s artistic vision is finally available for public viewing. She called her Black Point residence Shangri-La and it lives up to its name in every way. The artwork that is showcased here is categorized as Islamic, and was purchased by Duke during her trips to the Middle East.