Enjoy the best of Honolulu in 24 hours. While most people associate tropical paradises with a lack of urban amenities, this couldn’t be farther from the truth when it comes to O‘ahu as it is home to Hawai‘i’s state capital Honolulu. It is a city packed with a panoply of eateries, bars and clubs as well as cultural hotspots. If you’re in town for just a short time, this itinerary offers you a nice blend of these as well as sometime outdoors.
As you disembark from the plane, take your first breath of the warm tropical air and let the stress melt away. You’re in paradise – even if just for a short while – so get ready to enjoy yourselves! Catch one of the shuttles from baggage claim to the rental car companies or call EcoCab for a ride (pre-booking is a good idea).
Check in to your accommodation in Waikiki or surrounding areas and drop your bags. Before you kickback, though, it’s time to decide whether you want to have dinner at a more casual or a fine dining establishment. Should you be in the mood for the former, make reservations at Hoku’s, known for its marvelous pan-Asian offerings, located ten minutes away at the Kahala Hotel & Resort. For something more casual and right in Waikiki, the Kani Ka Pila Grille & Lounge a call. This is the best place in Honolulu to check out the best Hawaiian musicians and slack key guitarists, while enjoying great local-style food and cocktails.
For those who don’t need an afternoon nap and are jonesin’ to hit the town, put on your swimsuit or boardshorts and head to the famed Waikiki Beach or take a stroll along Kalakaua Avenue, also known as the ‘strip’ in Waikiki.
For those who enjoy a pre-dinner drink, make your way to Duke’s for a good beer or a tropical cocktail overlooking the beach. This is a great place to watch the sun go down.
It’s dinner time! Regardless of whether you’ve ended up at Hoku’s or the Kani Ka Pila Grille & Lounge, you’re in for a treat. If for any reason you couldn’t get a table at either of these, mosey on over to Home Bar & Grille.
If jet lag hasn’t gotten the the best you, hitch a ride downtown to check out the city’s best jazz bar The Dragon Upstairs. This favorite haunt of locals is tucked away in a small, nondescript building in Chinatown. If it happens to be the First Friday of the month that you’re in the area, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of special events held by local galleries, restaurants and shops. If jazz isn’t your style, Hank’s just downstairs from it is an popular choice amongst locals for a variety of live music line-ups, anything from classic rock to 80s. Whatever you do, be sure to get home safely!
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After a night on the town, you’ll probably wake up yearning for some good local coffee or a perfect latté. If so, the Honolulu Coffee Company is your best bet in Waikiki.
It’s time to fill your belly with some great breakfast eats so make your way to Bogart’s, one of Waikiki and Diamond Head’s longest established cafés. Whether you order their pancakes with coconut syrup or a bagel loaded with goodies, your tastebuds will thank you.
For those feeling energized and wanting to get active, put on your running shoes and hike up Diamond Head. You’ll enjoy sweeping views of O‘ahu’s south shore and as far east as Hawai‘i Kai whose centerpiece is the stunning Koko Crater, which recently garnered international attention when President Obama was spotted hiking it. If you’re not in the mood for outdoor activity, the Honolulu Museum of Art or I‘olani Palace are wonderful cultural options to explore.
11:30 AM to Noon
Time to return to your hotel, pack your bags and check-out. Have the front desk hold your bags for you until your ready to leave, and then go kickback on Waikiki Beach for a while. If it’s too crowded for your taste, walk the extra 5 to 10 minutes to Kaimana Beach.
If your stomach starts begging you for lunch, grab a quick and healthy meal at Tucker & Bevvy right in Waikiki on the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu Avenue, which prides itself in serving fresh salads, sandwiches and smoothies.
Once you’re feeling satiated, head back to your hotel, pick up your bags and make your way to the airport to catch your flight home or to an outer island.
If for any reason, this little taster of Honolulu inspires you to stick around and explore the city or O‘ahu further, you might want to check out our O‘ahu in 1 Day itinerary. We hope you have a blast and return to Honolulu sooner rather than later!