"Home Away From Home" Top 5 Page for this destination Honolulu by Hopkid

Honolulu Travel Guide: 2,020 reviews and 4,843 photos

My parents both grew up in Hawaii and I have a lot of relatives still living there. We used to go quite often to spend a couple of weeks during the summer when I was young (and kids under 12 flew half-price...those were the days!). So going back to Hawaii, and mainly Oahu, is like going home for me. Although it's touristy my family still enjoys hanging out in Waikiki because that's what we remember from when we were young.

We've seen most of the tourist spots in and around Oahu. Our visits nowadays focus mainly on food, visiting relatives, eating, shopping, talking about where to eat next, and well, food. We'll go to some of the nicer spots for meals if they are new or if we really like them. Mainly we hit the spots the locals frequent because that's where you really get the flavor of what cuisine is really like in the Islands. Plus it's usually very affordable without the tourist "surcharge" you may experience in Waikiki.

I will include tips for the places we like to go to over and over again and never get tired of. I'll include tips on new spots we try out during subsequent visits. You aren't likely to see a lot of tourists in many of these spots but believe me it will be a great experience. I hope other VTers will find these tips helpful and make their trip to the Islands memorable.

***** UPDATE ****

We made a trip to Oahu in April 2006 and because it was with my in-laws (parents and sister-in-law's family) we did more touristy things. I am including our itinerary which will be a good starting point for anyone wanting an idea of what to do on their trip to Honolulu. Some of what we did was outside the city but I will keep everything on this page for easy access. Also, look for more tips and definitely some photos as well.

Day 1 - FRIDAY (arrived HNL @ 2:30pm): Check-in hotel (The Breakers); walk to The House Without a Key at the Halekulani Hotel for drink and appetizer; stroll through Halekulani and Royal Hawaiian Hotels; shop at Newt; Japanese oden dinner at Hakkei.

Day 2 - SATURDAY: Farmers Market at Kapiolani Community College for fruit, flowers, baked goods (breakfast stuff for following days), and breakfast; pick up road bike rental at the Bike Shop; Honolulu Academy of Arts and Shangri-La tour; lunch in Chinatown at the Little Village Noodle House; Mililani Memorial Cemetery to visit my grandparents' gravesites; shop at Aloha Tower Marketplace; dinner with cousins at Chai's Island Bistro.

Day 3 - SUNDAY: Bike ride up Pali Highway to Hanauma Bay; snorkeling at Hanauma Bay; Beard Papa's cream puffs for snack at the Foodland in Hawaii Kai plus more breakfast foods for the rest of the week; late lunch at Rainbow Drive-In; hang out at hotel; walk down Kalakaua Avenue to Queen's Beach and Sunset on the Beach for dinner and a movie.

Day 4 - MONDAY
: Short bike ride around Diamond Head and Kahala areas; Pali Lookout; Ho' omaluhia Botanical Gardens in Kaneohe; Hong Kong style Chinese lunch at Pah Ke's in Kaneohe; hike to Manoa Falls; visit Hank Wittington's home in Kailua to view his Hawaiian wood bowl/calabash art; authentic Japanese noodles at Nakamura Ramen; stroll along Kalakaua Avenue and buy aloha shrits at Avanti.

Day 5 - TUESDAY: Bike ride up Tantulus/Round Top Roads; Iolani Palace tour; Chinatown stroll and lunch at Little Village Noodle House; return bike; meet cousin at Ala Moana Shopping Center to receive hand-delivered lilikoi chiffon pies from Kauai; dinner at the Pineapple Room.

Day 6 - WEDNESDAY: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial; Aloha Stadium Swap Meet; relax at hotel; drinks at the Banyan Court at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider; dinner at Ono Hawaiian Foods; stroll through the Halekulani and Outrigger Reef hotels to hear live Hawaiian music and walk off dinner!

Day 7 - THURSDAY: Surf lesson on Duke's Beach in Waikiki; trip to North Shore; Waimea Bay Beach Park; lunch at Holy Smokes shrimp wagon in Haleiwa; shave ice at Matsumoto's in Haleiwa; dinner at friends' home in Hawaii Kai.

Day 8 - FRIDAY: Traditional Japanese breakfast at Sushikoh at the Breakers Hotel; last minute shopping in Waikiki; purchase food for the plane ride home at Shirokiya at Ala Moana Shopping Center on the way to the airport; leave HNL at 12:50pm.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Home away from home and Aloha spirit!
  • Cons:Honolulu traffic, trip never long enough
  • In a nutshell:A tropical paradise in so many ways
  • Last visit to Honolulu: Apr 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (52)

Comments (13)

  • Apr 14, 2009 at 8:34 AM


  • junecorlett's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2009 at 7:31 AM

    Birhday Greetings for yesterday and thanks for the good tips.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    Wow! Andy, thanx for your detailed page! Greetings to Richmond!

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2008 at 8:32 PM

    You write well and make Honolulu come alive.

  • nora_south_africa's Profile Photo
    Apr 20, 2008 at 9:23 AM

    The Bay is beautiful

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2008 at 10:02 PM

    Hello Andy & Rita. I really enjoyed your page full of interesting & well-written tips. I guess Hawaii is a place to see at least once in a lifetime! Greetings from the desert/ Jess in Dubai :-)

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2008 at 11:09 AM

    Who are you calling a haole? ;-) Awesome tips on Honolulu, you are ALMOST making me want to go with Robert ha ha Your page should be in the top 5!

  • ellielou's Profile Photo
    Jul 22, 2007 at 11:36 AM

    Market was great and lively as always! You'll really have to come with us next time, and have fun with you guests today!

  • April1985's Profile Photo
    May 22, 2007 at 11:01 AM

    wow ! that was a great tip on going to the Ala Moana Shopping Center to get the prepared meals , my brother lives in oahu , and is always traveling back home . the airline foor does leave a bad taste in your mouth !

  • Hexepatty's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2006 at 4:31 PM

    These restaurant tips are ... like MINE!!! hahaha... Very good, dude! You and me have GOOD taste. BUT YOU ARE THIN!!! Lucky we visit Hawaii. I put on 20 lbs living there!!!

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