Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawai’i

Honolulu is home to the state’s capital, 470 high-rises, the only royal palace in the United States plus the famous Waikīkī Beach and Diamond Head. These are some of the reasons for the nickname “The Gathering Place.” Enjoy your walking tour of island’s largest city.

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Alī’iōlani Hale in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

1 Alī’iōlani Hale in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

In 1872, King Kamehameha commissioned the building of a palace called Alī’iōlani Hale. This means House of Heavenly Kings. But when it opened two years later, it became the Supreme Court and the home for the legislature. When the Hawaiian monarchy was toppled in 1893, the new Provisional Government renamed it the Court House. Today, Alī’iōlani Hale houses a museum about Hawaii’s historical judiciary and court system.

417 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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King Kamehameha Statue at Ali’iōlani Hale in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

2 King Kamehameha Statue at Ali’iōlani Hale in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Fans of Hawaii Five-O will immediately recognize this bronze, gilded statue of King Kamehameha from the TV show’s opening credits. The Kingdom of Hawaii’s first monarch stands in front of the Ali’iōlani Hale building. Soon after the sculpture was created by Thomas Gould, it was lost in a shipwreck near the Falkland Islands. Although it was later recovered, the sculptor had already created this second version. The tribute was erected in 1883. The original is in the town of Kapā’au on the Island of Hawaii.

417 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Backside of King Kamehameha Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

3 Backside of King Kamehameha Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

On February 12, 1883, the day of King Kalākaua’s coronation, this statue of King Kamehameha was unveiled in front of Ali’iōlani Hale. This 8 ½ foot, gilded landmark by Thomas Gould shows the founder and the first monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii. His helmet is called a mahiole and his royal cloak is named ‘ahu ‘ula.

417 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Alī’iōlani Hale Backside in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

4 Alī’iōlani Hale Backside in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Most landmarks around the world like the Alī’iōlani Hale in Honolulu are photographed from a similar angle. But I like exploring the features of wonderful architecture. To me, the rear entrance to this 19th century, Italian Renaissance Revival design by Thomas Rowe is just as beautiful as the front façade.

417 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Hawaii Kingdom Coat of Arms in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

5 Hawaii Kingdom Coat of Arms in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This coat of arms was designed in the mid-19th century during the reign of Kamehameha III. He was the monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1825 until his death in 1854. Versions of this seal were modified when Hawaii became a republic, a territory and finally a state in 1959. One of the biggest design changes was the king’s crown was replaced with a rising sun. The coat of arms is on the entry gates of the ‘Iolani Palace.

364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

6 ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu is the only former royal residence in the United States. It also has the distinction of being the only building with an American Florentine design. The palace was built in 1882 for David Kalākaua. He was the last king of the Hawaiian Islands until his death in 1891. Queen Lili’uokalani also ruled the Hawaiian Kingdom from here after her brother’s death. Two years later, she was dethroned and imprisoned in the palace. The monarchy officially ended in January of 1895. Since 1978, ‘Iolani Palace has been a museum.

364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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‘Iolani Palace King’s Drawing Room in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

7 ‘Iolani Palace King’s Drawing Room in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

A tour of the ‘Iolani Palace offers a spectacular insight into the life of rulers from the Kingdom of Hawaii. An example is the king’s private drawing room on the second floor. It was extensively restored in 2011. Most of the furnishings in the Music Room, which is also called the Gold Room, are recreations from photos or documents from the 1880s. However, the orange chair is the actual throne of King Kamehameha III. The tusk table was a gift to King Kalākaua on his 50th birthday in 1886.

364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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‘Iolani Coronation Pavilion in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

8 ‘Iolani Coronation Pavilion in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This copper-domed, octagon-shaped gazebo is Keli’poni Hale. It was first used during the coronation of King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi’olani in 1883. Located on the southwest lawn of ‘Iolani Palace, the Coronation Pavilion is used for the inauguration of Hawaiian governors. The site is also a performance platform for the Royal Hawaiian Band and other concerts.

364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Royal Hawaiian Band in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

9 Royal Hawaiian Band in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The Royal Hawaiian Band was formed in 1836 by the order of King Kamehameha III. They have provided free concerts ever since. This long tradition of musical excellence is currently under the leadership of bandmaster Clarke Bright on the left. 40 talented musicians make up the ensemble. They perform on the lawn of the ‘Iolani Palace every Friday at noon.

364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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‘Iolani Barracks in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

10 ‘Iolani Barracks in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Hale Koa means House of Warriors. The military structure was built in 1871 to house the Royal Guard for Kamehameha V, then ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii. It remained the barracks for the Household Troops until the monarchy was overthrown in 1893 and the Hawaiian army was subsequently disbanded. In 1965, Hale Koa was moved and now serves as the gift shop and ticket booth for the ‘Iolani Palace.

364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Queen Lili’uokalani Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

11 Queen Lili’uokalani Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The last monarch of Hawaii was Queen Lili’uokalani. She ascended the throne in 1891. The queen was deposed in about two years when troops seized the ‘Iolani Palace and formed the Republic of Hawaii. The islands were then annexed to the United States in 1898. Visitors to this “Spirit of Liliuokalani” by sculptor Marianna Pineda often pay tribute to the former queen by draping fresh flowers on the six foot statue.

415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Hawaii State Capitol Building in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

12 Hawaii State Capitol Building in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The capitol building opened in downtown Honolulu ten years after Hawaii become the 50th state in March of 1959. The open-air architecture is unique among state capitols. For example, in lieu of a dome, the warm sunshine and passing clouds are your view when looking up from the mosaic floor called Aquarius on the rotunda courtyard.

415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Side View of Hawaii State Capitol Building in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

13 Side View of Hawaii State Capitol Building in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Incorporated into the design of Hawaii’s state capitol building are multiple architectural features symbolic of the 50th state. Notice the eight columns shaped like palm trees surrounding the façade. They represent the Hawaiian Islands. The reflecting pool is suggestive of the Pacific Ocean.

415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Hawaii State Capitol House of Representatives in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

14 Hawaii State Capitol House of Representatives in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

The fifty-one members of the Hawaiian House of Representatives meet in this chamber. It is shaped like a volcanic crater which reflects how the eight islands of the Aloha State were created. This symbolism is reinforced when you enter on the first floor and find yourself in the gallery looking down on the meeting room below. The enormous golden chandelier represents the sun.

415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Father Damien Statue in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

15 Father Damien Statue in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

The bronze statue of Father Joseph Damien De Veuster stands at the entrance of Hawaii’s state capitol in Honolulu. The sculpture celebrates the love, compassion and sacrifice of this Catholic priest from Belgium. He cared for lepers on the island of Moloka’i for 16 years until he died of the disease in 1889. 120 years later, Father Damien was canonized as a saint. He is the patron saint for the Diocese of Honolulu. New York City artist Marisol Escobar created the sculpture in 1969.

415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Eternal Flame War Memorial in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

16 Eternal Flame War Memorial in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

In memory of the attack on Pearl Harbor, an eternal flame was unveiled in Honolulu on December 7, 1944. Thirty years later, it was replaced with this bronze and copper sculpture by Akaji Bumpei. This tribute to the Hawaiian men and women who served in the armed services is located on the Capitol Mall on Beretania Street.

420 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Washington Place in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

17 Washington Place in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Washington Place was built in 1847 by an American ship captain who was lost at sea before the house was finished. His son, John Owen Dominis, along with his wife, Lydia Kamakaeha Pāki, lived here until she became Queen Lili’uokalani of the Kingdom of Hawaii. She moved to the ‘Iolani Palace. In 1893, the queen retreated and was arrested here during the overthrow of the monarchy. After her release by the Republic of Hawaii, this was her home until she died in a bedroom in 1917. The following year, Washington Place became the governor’s mansion until 2002.

320 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

18 Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

St. Andrew’s Cathedral was commissioned in 1862 by King Kamehameha IV. Ironically, he died on Saint Andrew’s feast day before construction began. The first phase of the Episcopal church was finished in 1886 with additions in 1888, 1908, 1958 and 1911. The cathedral is shape as an inverted ark. In front is a statue of Saint Andrew standing in a pool with dolphins spewing water.

229 Queen Emma Square, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Stained Glass Window in St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

19 Stained Glass Window in St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

When the sunlight shines through this beautiful, hand-blown stained-glass window, the interior of the Cathedral of St. Andrew is bathed in color. Called the Great West Window, it was installed above the front entrance of the Episcopal church in 1958. The designer, Carlton Winslow, must have had a sense of humor because if you look closely in the upper left corner you will see an image of Jesus on a surfboard.

229 Queen Emma Square, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Yokohama Specie Bank Building in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

20 Yokohama Specie Bank Building in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

In 1880, the Yokohama Specie Bank became the first branch in Hawaii owned by Imperial Japan. 19 years later, a famous architect named Henry Livingston Kerr designed this Italianate building. Immediately after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, the bank was seized and became a military police station for the balance of World War II. Today, this gem with its triumphal arched doorway is a daycare center. It is located in the Merchant Street Historic District.

36 Merchant St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Harbor Court in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

21 Harbor Court in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The first 18 floors of the handsome, multi-tiered Harbor Court are retail and commercial office space. The remaining 23 levels have 120 luxury condominiums. Harbor Court is aptly named. It is located in downtown near the Aloha Tower Pier overlooking the Honolulu Harbor.

55 Merchant St #3000, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Downtown High-rises in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

22 Downtown High-rises in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

You might be surprised to learn Honolulu has over 470 high-rises. This ranks it fourth among U.S. cities. What is not surprising is that nine of their ten tallest skyscrapers are not office buildings but beach-facing condominiums. The exception is the First Hawaiian Center which is peaking behind the Topa Financial Center East and West (white buildings) in this downtown cityscape. Since 1996, the headquarters of the First Hawaiian Bank has been Hawaii’s tallest building at 429 feet. The twin towers on the right are the Pacific Guardian Center.

79 S Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Aloha Tower Lighthouse in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

23 Aloha Tower Lighthouse in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The most common Hawaiian phrase is aloha. Visitors to any of the eight islands will hear this greeting for hello or goodbye several times daily. The word can also be an expression for love and compassion. The 50th state’s nickname is shown here on the Aloha Tower. This landmark lighthouse is located at the mouth of Honolulu Harbor.

1 Aloha Tower Dr # 257, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Aloha Tower and Mountains in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

24 Aloha Tower and Mountains in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

When the Aloha Tower opened in 1926, its 184 feet was Hawaii’s tallest building for about 40 years. The free observation deck on the tenth floor provides a wonderful, 360 degree view of the downtown skyline and the Honolulu Harbor. In the background is the Ko’olau Mountain Range. The elevation was formed by a volcanic eruption over 1.5 million years ago.

1 Aloha Tower Dr # 257, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Pacific Guardian Center Towers in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

25 Pacific Guardian Center Towers in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

In the heart of downtown’s financial district are the twin, high-rise towers called the Pacific Guardian Center. This office complex opened in 1979 and was designed by Architects Hawaii. The state’s top architectural firm moved their headquarters into the 31st floor penthouse in 2013.

733 Bishop St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Royal Brewery Building in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

26 Royal Brewery Building in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The landmark Honolulu Brew & Malt Co., also known as the Royal Brewery, was built in 1900 and soon began producing Primo Lager. Operations were suspended during Prohibition then resumed here until 1960. The Primo brand was reintroduced in 2007 by the Pabst Brewing Company and is popular in Hawaii. This building on Queen Street has not been as lucky. It has been vacant since 1998.

547 Queen St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Honolulu Harbor and Downtown High-rises in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

27 Honolulu Harbor and Downtown High-rises in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

O’ahu was inhabited one to two thousand years ago. The first European explorer was English Captain William Brown when his ship entered this harbor in 1794. Soon afterwards, the city of Kou was renamed Honolulu. The name means sheltered harbor. Ten years later, Kamehameha I, who was the founder of the Kingdom of Hawaii, established his government here. Now Honolulu Harbor is the major port for commercial and cruise ships and is the waterfront of downtown.

521 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96813
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One Waterfront Towers in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

28 One Waterfront Towers in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

One Waterfront Towers were the tallest buildings in Honolulu at 400 feet for a couple of years after opening in 1990. On the left is Mauka Tower meaning mountain. On the right is Makai Tower meaning ocean. The twin high-rises offer 45 floors of condominiums with floor-to-ceiling windows providing great views of the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

425 South St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Hawaiian Woman Mural by Prime in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

29 Hawaiian Woman Mural by Prime in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

If you like street art, then you must visit Honolulu’s warehouse district called Kakaako. It is an amazing outdoor art gallery. The rundown area began to be revitalized in 2011 when Jasper Wong organized POW! WOW! Hawaii. He then invited talented muralists from around the world to create enormous paintings like the one called The Hawaiian Gods Wall. The woman is a small detail of the artwork covering the wall facing the Jaguar Parking Lot. The lead artist was John Prime Hina, a local graffiti legend. He mentors at-risk youth in his 808 Urban program.

744 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Sideways Woman Mural by Sean Rone in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

30 Sideways Woman Mural by Sean Rone in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Sean Rone is an extremely gifted wall muralist from Melbourne, Australia. He is best known for his large scale portraits of beautiful women like this one from 2012 on the corners of Cooke and Auahi Streets. In addition to Australia and Hawaii, the work of this prolific artist can be seen in Miami, Queenstown, London, Berlin, New York, Hong Kong and several other cities around the world.

401 Cooke St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Tūhoe Pōtiki Mural by Askew in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

31 Tūhoe Pōtiki Mural by Askew in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

At first glance, this huge mural of a man with an orange face and hat at the corners of Pohukaina and Cooke Streets in Honolulu’s warehouse district looks curious. This is Tūhoe Pōtiki, a distant relative of Hawaiians who migrated to New Zealand over 1,000 years ago. There are approximately 35,000 in the Tūhoe tribe today. Many of them struggle because of land restrictions. This urban art was painted by Askew in 2013.

Cooke St & Pohukaina St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Woman’s Face Mural by Hader and Rone in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

32 Woman’s Face Mural by Hader and Rone in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

POW! WOW! is an annual art festival in Honolulu. The organizers bring together about 100 talented mural artists from around the world to adorn the walls of the Kaka’ako industrial district into a fabulous outdoor gallery. A beautiful example is this woman’s face on the corners of Cooke and Pohukaina Streets. It was a collaborative effort in 2013. One artist was Sean Rone from Melbourne. He specializes in painting gorgeous images of women on a large scale across the world. The other muralist and local festival event organizer was Hawaiian artist Kamea Hader. Reportedly, the image is Kamea’s partner Shanna.

501 Cooke St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Whale Mural by Eric Hawkey in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

33 Whale Mural by Eric Hawkey in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This wall mural of whales in the Kakaako district of Honolulu is named “New Beginnings.” It was painted on an eight story wall at Waimanu Street by Eric Hawkey. His studio, Hawkey Designs, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He collaborated on this larger-than-life street art with Reese Sutfin.

899 Waimanu St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Sailboat Leaving Ala Wai Canal in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

34 Sailboat Leaving Ala Wai Canal in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This sailboat is leaving Ala Wai Canal, a 1,000 foot waterway leading into the Ala Wai Harbor. Along some of the western shoreline is the Ala Moana Park. In Hawaiian this means path to the sea. It includes a peninsula that jets into the ocean named Magic Island. There are plenty of paths that are perfect for biking, jogging or a scenic stroll with your partner.

1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
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Dusk over Ala Wai Harbor Hotels in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

35 Dusk over Ala Wai Harbor Hotels in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Imagine how wonderful the sunsets are from your lanai high above the Ala Wai Boat Harbor. You get great views of the Pacific Ocean, Kahanamoku Lagoon, Magic Island and the sailboats floating into the canal. These hotels include Hawaii Prince Hotel’s twin towers. To the right of them are several of the Ilikai properties.

1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
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Sunset at Ala Wai Harbor in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

36 Sunset at Ala Wai Harbor in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

After a delightful day of sailing in the Pacific Ocean along the coast of O’ahu, it is reluctantly time to anchor your sailboat in the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor. But as you look back, the gorgeous Hawaiian sun paints the sky with hues of orange and red as it slips below the horizon of palm trees.

1599 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
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Fresh Catch Fish Hanging in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

37 Fresh Catch Fish Hanging in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

A popular activity among tourists in Honolulu is fishing. There are plenty of charter options available at the Ala Wai Harbor. Consider a short excursion in shallow waters. Or plan a full day of deep sea fishing. You might catch a mahi-mahi (on left) or a skipjack tuna (on right) or several other species of game fish such as yellowfin tuna, wahoo and blue marlin.

83 Holomoana St, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Earth Day Hawaii Mural by Wyland in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

38 Earth Day Hawaii Mural by Wyland in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Robert Wyland is a famed marine artist, photographer, philanthropist and environmentalist. One of his homes is in Hawaii. So, it seems fitting that nine of his 100 Whaling Walls are in the state. This is #67, called Earth Day Hawaii. The painting features three humpback whales. It is located on the side of the Royal Aloha Condominiums on Ala Wai Boulevard. The artwork was painted by Pat Morita in 1995 in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Earth Day.

1909 Ala Wai Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Hawaiian Dancer Sculpture in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

39 Hawaiian Dancer Sculpture in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

This close up of a Hawaiian dancer in the hula noho position is called Ka Leo o Haukani. The translation is Voice of the Wind. She is one of three, larger-than-life bronze sculptures by artist Kim Duffett called “The Hawk Soars with the Winds.” They are located at the entrance of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

2005 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Tapa Making Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

40 Tapa Making Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This bronze statue honors Puanani Kanemura Van Dorpe, a master tapa maker, and two legendary sisters named La’ahana and Lauhuki. They perfected the craft of converting tree bark into fine, colorful cloth. This detail of one of the three bronze sculptures by artist KaMille was erected during a ceremony for Van Dorpe at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in 2006.

2005 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Aerial View of Ala Wai Harbor and Downtown in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

41 Aerial View of Ala Wai Harbor and Downtown in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This aerial view of Honolulu’s downtown skyline and the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor was taken at the western edge of Waikīkī Beach. The harbor has 700 berths to accommodate sailboats and other small watercraft. The towers in the center are several of Honolulu’s tallest condominiums. The green spaces below them are Magic Island and the Ala Moana Park. In the foreground is the Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon.

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Water Falls and Palm Trees in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

42 Water Falls and Palm Trees in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Waikīkī Beach can get extremely crowded during high season. If you want a quiet oasis, seek out Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon. It was named after the famous Hawaiian Olympian. There you will find this gorgeous island waterfall. The man-made, salt-water pond is surrounded by a sandy beach and boardwalk.

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Island in Lagoon with Paddle Boarders in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

43 Island in Lagoon with Paddle Boarders in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The Pacific Ocean waves along Honolulu’s coast are ideal for surfers but can be challenging for other water sports. But the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is perfect for paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and snorkeling around this island and waterfalls. All equipment is available for rent. Spend a glorious Friday there and then stay for the spectacular fireworks at night.

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Boy Paddle Boarding on Open Blue Sea in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

44 Boy Paddle Boarding on Open Blue Sea in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

A child’s imagination is infinite, like this little boy who is captain of a ship in the vast blue ocean while he is paddle boarding in a five-acre lagoon.

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Parents and Child at Beach with Palm Tree Silhouette in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

45 Parents and Child at Beach with Palm Tree Silhouette in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Waikīkī Beach is arguably one of Hawaii’s most famous beaches. But it also draws lots of tourists. Families who want reef-protected water, pristine sand and fewer people favor Duke Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoon in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. This is an ideal place to let your child safely swim and play in the shallow warm water.

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Waikīkī Beach and Diamond Head in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

46 Waikīkī Beach and Diamond Head in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Waikīkī means Spouting Water. The famous beach was named for the Kuekaunahi stream that once filled this area with fresh water. This 1.5 mile stretch on O’ahu’s south Pacific shore is lined with high-rise hotels, timeshares and condominiums. They house international tourists who come for the sandy beach, warm sun, high-end shopping and views of the dormant volcanic mountain called Diamond Head or Lē’ahi.

2161 Kalia Rd # 117, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Fort DeRussy Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

47 Fort DeRussy Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Fort DeRussy is an U.S. Army installation named after Civil War General Renè Edward De Russy. It was built on the shore of Waikīkī in 1911. Surrounding it is a park with shade trees, picnic benches, volleyball courts and, best of all, a wide beach. For some reason, this stretch of sand does not attract a lot of people.

Fort DeRussy Boardwalk, 2055 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Row of Bare Feet Relaxing in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

48 Row of Bare Feet Relaxing in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

“Put your feet up, relax and stay awhile,” should become the marketing slogan for attracting tourists to Waikīkī Beach. These three tourists enjoyed every minute of their winter holiday in Hawaii’s tropical sun where the average temperature is 80F degrees.

2255 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

49 Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The Royal Hawaiian has been a landmark on Waikīkī Beach since it opened in 1927. Nicknamed the “Pink Palace of the Pacific,” the hotel has been a favorite destination of the rich and famous. An extensive renovation in 2008 restored the luster of this gem’s Spanish and Moorish design. It is part of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ Luxury Collection. As you would expect, the property is rated with five stars.

2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Royal Hawaiian Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

50 Royal Hawaiian Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The Royal Hawaiian Beach section of Waikīkī is also called Royal Manoa Beach. The spot is a great place for swimming, people watching and staring at the grandeur of Diamond Head. Royal Hawaiian Beach is also where you can arrange for a catamaran charter or rent an outrigger canoe.

2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Top of Waikiki Revolving Restaurant in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

51 Top of Waikiki Revolving Restaurant in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

On the 21st floor of the Waikiki Business Plaza is O’ahu’s only revolving restaurant. Its excellent location along Kūhiō Beach gives you a 360°, panoramic view of Waikiki Beach, the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head. The Top of Waikiki is an excellent place to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset. Then stay for a fine dinner of regional cuisine.

2270 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Duke Kahanamoku Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

52 Duke Kahanamoku Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This nine foot, bronze statue on Kūhiō Beach honors Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. The Big Kahuna was a four-time Olympic swimmer, the father of modern surfing, an original Waikīkī Beach Boy and the Hawaiian Ambassador of Aloha. This local legend has been inducted into the surfing, swimming and Olympic halls of fame. Visitors to this sculpture by Jan Gordon Fisher typically drape fresh leis on his outstretched arms.

2428 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Crowd Sunning at Prince Kūhiō Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

53 Crowd Sunning at Prince Kūhiō Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Waikīkī is the most famous beach in Hawaii. And fame attracts crowds. One of the busiest sections is Prince Kūhiō Beach. The popular spot starts at Kapahulu Avenue and stretches west. The beach is named after Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole. He was the adopted son of Queen Kapi’olani.

1 Kuhio Beach, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Family Walking on Prince Kūhiō Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

54 Family Walking on Prince Kūhiō Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Families with children like this strolling couple often favor the Prince Kūhiō Beach section of Waikīkī. There are two, forty foot breakwaters that eliminate the waves and create a calm swimming area. That is why Prince Kūhiō Beach has earned the nickname The Ponds.

2605 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Sun Setting behind Palms at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

55 Sun Setting behind Palms at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

As the crowds begin leaving the beach for the day and dusk arrives, the sunsets along Waikīkī are magical. You will be thrilled to watch as the sky and the ocean become radiant behind the gently swaying palm trees.

2425 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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