Honolulu is home to Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, Iolani Palace and the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Waikiki Beach is best known for surfing and the "beach boys" who still teach visitors how to ride the waves. Kapiolani Park, on the eastern end of Waikiki, features the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium. Diamond Head, locally called Leahi, offers visitors a chance to hike to the top for panoramic views of Oahu and the Pacific Ocean.Continue Reading
Iolani Palace, the only royal residence on American soil, was built by King David Kalakaua and finished in 1882. It was built with indoor plumbing, electric lights and telephones. The palace served as the residence and house of state for the Hawaiian monarchs until the independent island nation became part of the United States. Queen Liliuokalani was the last royal to live at Iolani.
As of 2015, Iolani Palace is open for guided tours Monday through Friday. If the palace looks familiar, it's because it's used as the headquarters for the "Hawaii 5-0" television show. The palace was used in the original series as well.
The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument includes the USS Arizona Memorial, a monument that sits over the actual ship that sank on Dec. 7, 1941. Just across the bay is the battleship USS Missouri, now a museum. The Japanese surrender was signed on her deck, formally ending World War II in the Pacific. A Navy launch takes visitors out to the USS Arizona. A cable car-styled shuttle takes guests from the Arizona Visitor Center, which is on civilian soil, onto the military base to explore the USS Missouri.Learn more about Geography