12 Famous Landmarks in Honolulu, Hawaii to Visit

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There are many famous landmarks in Honolulu, Hawaii to see

Found off the coast of the United States, Honolulu in Oahu is the state capital of Hawaii. This beautifully stunning destination is a tourist hotspot. As such, there is a multitude of famous landmarks in Honolulu, Hawaii, to explore.

Honolulu Hawaii landmarks to discover include historical and cultural landmarks, plus a range of naturally breathtaking spots.

If Hawaii is the next stop on your travel list, be sure to visit as many of the following Honolulu landmarks and monuments as possible!

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  • 12 Honolulu landmarks

12 Famous Honolulu Landmarks

Honolulu Landmarks Map

A map of Honolulu landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

The Pearl Harbor National Memorial grounds feature a range of memorials and exhibits commemorating those killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, Pearl Harbor is still an active US naval base as well as a National Historic Landmark.

When visiting, you can access the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. The USS Arizona Memorial is also found here.

Entrance is ticketed, although there is no fee. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a sobering landmark in Oahu, but one that can’t be missed while in Honolulu.

The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the most famous landmarks in Honolulu, Hawaii
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a historic site and an active US naval base

USS Arizona Memorial

Notably, the Pearl Harbor National Memorial grounds are home to the USS Arizona Memorial. It’s one of the most important historic sites in Honolulu.

The 184-foot structure commemorates the 2,388 Americans killed when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in World War II.

Interestingly, the memorial covers the area where the sunken battleship lies. This is sadly also the final resting place of more than 900 of those who died in the attack.

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A grand palace on a lush green lawn surrounded by palm trees
The Iolani Palace was the official royal residence until 1893

Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace is a famous landmark in Honolulu, Hawaii. It acted as the official royal residence from 1845 to 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown. This Hawaii landmark is of particular significance because it's one of just two royal palaces in the US.

Along with being of historical significance, the architecture of the palace is stunning. The renaissance design coupled with lush green lawns and tropical palm trees is a breathtaking sight.

Visitors to Iolani Palace can also learn more about the Hawaiian royal family while taking in the incredible design of the palace.

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Tourists enjoying a panoramic city and coastline view from a green mountain top
The Diamond Head State Monument is a popular hiking spot with a breathtaking view

Diamond Head State Monument

Hawaii is a volcanic island arc, and one of the state’s most-visited geological features is Diamond Head State Monument.

This dormant volcanic tuff cone is a popular hiking spot for tourists. The steep trail will take you 560-feet up and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Waikiki coastline.

While the incline is steep, the climb is not too challenging, and there are steps most of the way. You should be able to reach the top (and take in the stunning views) in about two hours.

A large pointy brick building with small green bushes in front, on a nice day
The Bishop Museum is the largest museum in Hawaii

Bishop Museum

Officially known as the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, this landmark is Hawaii’s State Museum of Natural and Cultural History. It’s also the largest museum in Hawaii.

This Hawaiian landmark was opened in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop. He dedicated it to his wife, Princess Pauahi Bishop, a member of the Kamehameha family.

Today, the museum has a vast collection, with exhibits focused on Honolulu’s and Oahu’s history and culture. Bishop museum also features a planetarium, and you can attend various fun and educational events throughout the year.

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Buildings in front of a sandy beach with a volcano in the background on a sunny day
Waikiki Beach is one of the best and most popular beaches in Hawaii

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous landmarks in Waikiki, Hawaii. This beach is the closest to the major hotels and resorts of Oahu. Most importantly, it's absolutely magical!

The beach features white sand, stunning turquoise waters, and lush green mountains (including Diamond Head) in the distance.

When visiting, you can hang on the beach, swim, surf, and much more. Waikiki Beach is one of the most fun beaches in Hawaii for sure!

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Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve has a beautiful reef and is an amazing snorkeling spot

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a marine conservation area that aims to protect Honolulu’s marine life while offering tourists a look at the area’s beauty.

Opened in 1967, the bay still sees thousands of visitors a day despite the number of total visitors being restricted. Hanauma Bay is an especially amazing snorkeling spot due to the beautiful reef and marine creatures that live there.

The entrance to the beach is $7.50, and there is also an education center to visit. All proceeds go toward the continued protection of the area.

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View of a memorial cemetery lawn with green grass and rows of US flags
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the resting place of 25,000 victims

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is another of the important historical sites in Honolulu, Hawaii. The memorial cemetery is the resting place of 25,000 victims of WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. It also acts as a memorial to all Americans lost in those wars.

An additional notable feature is the memorial for Ellison Onizuka, a Hawaiian astronaut who died on the Challenger. There are also the Courts of the Missing. This area features tablets listing the names of those who are still missing from the above wars.

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Close up shot of a volcano top against a clear blue sky
The Koko Crater Railway Trail is a challenging hike leading to the top of Koko Crater

Koko Crater Railway Trail

The Koko Crater Railway Trail is a hiking trail that takes you up an abandoned railway track to Koko Crater. At the top, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Honolulu shoreline and Hanauma Bay.

The Koko Crater Railway Trail is quite a challenging hike. However, if you have the activity level to tackle it, it’s well worth it! The views from the top of the crater are unbeatable, and you’ll have a memory that lasts a lifetime.

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A tall white building at the end of a pathway lined with palm trees
The Aloha Tower was built in 1926 and has an amazing observation deck

Aloha Tower

The 184-foot-tall Aloha Tower was constructed as a lighthouse in 1926. It's such a significant Hawaiian landmark that it was heavily protected during WWII.

Today, the iconic building still welcomes ships into the harbor. You can even see the friendly Hawaiian greeting for hello - Aloha - on the building’s exterior.

The tower also has an observation deck that offers breathtaking 360-degree views. You’ll additionally find shopping and dining outlets in the Aloha Tower Marketplace.

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Dark statue of a king wearing a gold robe and holding a spear
The King Kamehameha Statue, built in 1883, stands in front of the Aliʻiolani Hale

King Kamehameha Statue

The King Kamehameha Statue stands outside the Aliʻiōlani Hale building (which houses the Hawaii State Supreme Court) facing Iolani Palace. The statue depicts King Kamehameha I, a warrior and leader who helped unify Hawaii.

The statue was constructed in 1883 in Florence, Italy, and was the second built. The original was commissioned to mark the centennial of Captain James Cook’s arrival to Hawaii. Unfortunately, this statue got lost at sea on the way to Hawaii.

Queen Emma Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is another of the historical landmarks in Honolulu, Hawaii, commemorating the royal family. The regal palace was Queen Emma of Hawaii’s summer residence between 1857 and 1885.

Visitors to Honolulu can explore the 19th-century palace for a small entrance fee. Once there, you can marvel at the charming tropical residence and wander around the gardens. Guided tours are also available if you want to learn more about the palace and Hawaiian royal family.

In Conclusion

If planning a trip to the Hawaiian islands, visiting Honolulu is a must! The combination of incredible natural beauty, friendly locals, and multiple famous Honolulu landmarks to visit makes it the ideal vacation destination.

Having explored Honolulu, be sure to also visit other areas of Hawaii, such as the stunning island of Maui.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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