The downtown area of Honolulu, located just minutes from Waikiki, offers many wonderful attractions.
Aloha Tower is famous for greeting all who arrive in the port of Honolulu by ship. Recently restored, you can take an elevator to the top and get the best views of Honolulu and the surrounding area.
The Bishop Museum is a must see for anyone interested in the history and culture of Hawaii. The museum contains the world's largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts. The museum is not within walking distance of downtown or Waikiki, but there is plenty of free parking available and public transportation does service the museum.
The historic area of downtown Honolulu should not be missed. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:15 pm, the ʻIolani Palace, built in 1882, is the only royal palace on American soil.
The palace served as the residence of the last two Hawaiian monarchs from 1882 to 1893. The Palace is now operated by the non-profit Friends of ʻIolani Palace. Renovations are ongoing as are the efforts to regain the original furniture and belongings that stood in the palace in the days of the monarchy.
Located nearby to the palace is the State of Hawaii Capitol Building which offers tours on a limited basis.
Also nearby is the Mission Houses Museum which honors the memory and lives of the missionaries who came to Hawaii in the 19th Century.
While you're visiting the historic area be sure to see the famous statue of King Kamehameha I which stands across the street from the ʻIolani Palace in front of the Hawaii Judiciary Building.
I recommend that you read our related feature A Walking Tour of Honolulu's Historic District.
Sitting atop Punchbowl Crater is the National Cemetery of the Pacific, the final resting place for more than 40,000 war veterans who served the United States in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. This is a solemn place but one filled with much beauty and peace.
Other sites of interest include the Queen Emma Summer Palace, the summer retreat of Queen Emma, wife of Alexander Liholiho (King Kamehameha IV). The home is wonderfully maintained by the non-profit Daughters of Hawaii.
Located at 2261 Nuʻuanu Avenue is the Royal Mausoleum, where the remains of six of the eight Hawaiian monarchs are interred.
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