Honolulu, Hawaii, is a stunning city on the island of Oahu’s south shore. Cosmopolitan, yet inspired by the tropical atmosphere, Honolulu is an excellent choice when traveling solo. A hub for the military, business, as well as tourism, there are no shortage of opportunities to learn and play in Honolulu, meeting others if desired. Ranked high on the world’s livability list, as well as the second safest city in the U.S. in 2015, Honolulu is a safe and exciting place. Learn about activities and tours that are perfect when venturing on your own to the sunny city! Here are the best things to do alone in Honolulu, Hawaii.
1. Discover the wonders of Chinatown, Honolulu
Chinatown is a reflection of Hawaii’s past when Chinese workers came to work on the sugar plantations. Today Chinatown covers 15 blocks and is a vibrant scene of Chinese-American culture, as well as Korean, native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Vietnamese. Whether you seek an excellent place to dine or to do some shopping, Chinatown has it all. Fresh markets, art galleries, the Chinatown Cultural Plaza, and the oldest Buddhist temple in Hawaii, Kuan Yin, provide a multitude of attractions to explore.
Address: 100 N Beretania St, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96817-4712
Website: Honolulu Chinatown
2. Hanauma Bay State Park
Does it get any more beautiful than Hanauma Bay? We don’t think so. All you need is the sun, sand, and yourself at Hanauma Bay, a nature preserve on the southeast side of Oahu. A state park, Hanauma Bay offers snorkeling, stand up paddle board and kayak, and of course, sunbathing! Parking is only 1 USD, but the lot fills up fast and shuttles are available from Waikiki Hotels. The opportunity to see a plethora of tropical fish, turtles, and simply to bask in the sun is well worth the visit to Hanauma Bay.
Hanauma Bay State Park
Address: 7455 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, Hawaii
Website: Hanauma Bay
Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (closed on Tue)
Price: 7.50 USD
3. Scale the Diamond Head volcanic turf
The view from the top of Diamond Head is well worth the taxing ascent. Overlooking the city of Honolulu as well as the Pacific Ocean, it truly is a must-do activity when visiting Honolulu. Hike alongside the edge of a 300,000-year-old crater and stand in awe when you reach the top of the 99 stairs leading you to the final vantage point. Though the hike itself is only 1.6 mi (2.57 km) round trip, the surface is uneven and the incline sharp. Water fountains are only at the bottom, so be sure to bring water along.
Diamond Head State Monument
Address: Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
Website: Diamond Head State Monument
Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)
Price: 5 USD (per car) or 1 USD (per person)
4. Learn about marine life at Waikiki Aquarium
Waikiki Aquarium is a great place to spend a day learning about the marine life that surrounds Oahu. With exhibits that include: South Pacific marine communities, Hawaiian marine communities, and hunters on the reef, you will come away feeling enriched in your understanding of the area. The aquarium also covers seaweeds and aquatic plants, balancing out the flora and fauna. Special events like Hawaiian plant guided tour add to the experience and can be located on the website.
Address: 2777 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Website: Waikiki Aquarium
Opening hours: 9am - 4:30pm (daily)
Price: 12 USD
5. Check out the views from Manoa Falls
Manoa Falls is one of the gorgeous places in Hawaii that makes you want to pinch yourself to see if you are dreaming. It is a dream come to life, and Manoa Falls is waiting for you! The 150 ft (45.7 m) waterfall cascades into a pool that is picture-worthy. A 1.6 mi (2.57 km) round trip hike gets you working off your last meal, and breathing in the fresh air. Please note, this area often experiences heavy rainfall, so a light jacket is advised, and always let someone know where you are headed when hiking solo.
Address: Na Ala Hele, Honolulu, HI 96822
Website: Manoa Falls
Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)
6. Explore Waikiki Beach and neighborhood
Waikiki is a neighborhood in Honolulu named after its beach, Waikiki Beach. Once favored by the royals as a great place to do some longboard surfing, Waikiki is a must see in Honolulu. Many high-end hotels are in Waikiki, as well as designer shops. It’s also the place to go if you want to try your hand at surfing, which admittedly takes more than just one lesson to learn.
Address: Kalakaua Avenuue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815
7. Be a local at the Honolulu Fish Auction
Foodies and fish lovers, this is a food experience not to miss. The Honolulu Fish Auction is long-standing since 1952 and is the only live tuna fish auction between Tokyo and Maine. Fishermen tie up their boats just a few feet away from the auction and unload. Tours through the Honolulu Fish Auction are available, and advised, as you can learn so much more that way! Enjoy a dockside discussion then move to the live auction to see the fishy action in play.
Honolulu Fish Auction
Address: 1131 N Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817
Website: Honolulu Fish Auction
Opening hours: 4am - 2pm (closed on Sun)
8. Stroll along Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park is one of those places that may have you plotting your move to Hawaii. Great for all ages, Ala Moana is a half-mile (0.8 km) stretch of white sand beach, beckoning for play. Tennis courts, three concession stands, and an additional crescent-shaped beach magnify the experience of Ala Moana Beach Park. Protected by a coral reef, Ala Moana is a popular spot for swimmers and family gatherings. Always free, Ala Moana can’t be beat!
Ala Moana Beach Park
Address: 1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
Website: Ala Moana Beach Park
Opening hours: 4am - 10pm (daily)
9. Get spooked on a ghost tour
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Viator offers a number of excellent tours in Honolulu, one being the “Ghosts Haunts Walking Tour”. A two-three-hour tour, the ghost tour explores Iolani Palace, the State Capital Building, Chinatown, and downtown Honolulu. Get ready to have your hair raised, and your Hawaiian history enriched as you learn true stories from your guide. Complimentary pick-up and drop-off from most major hotels in Honolulu are included.
10. Discover a royal past at Iolani Palace
Visiting the Iolani Palace is a key experience when understanding Hawaii’s past. Built in 1882 by King Kalakaua, and his sister who succeeded him, Queen Liliuokalani, the palace has been carefully restored to reflect the original design. Not your average tour, rooms showcased include Queen Liliuokalani’s imprisonment room where she was held for eight months during the overthrowing of the monarchy. No wonder there are ghosts at Iolani Palace, a place steeped in the tumultuous past of Hawaii.
Traveling solo means travel tailored to you
Traveling alone doesn’t have to be lonely. Not when you have amazing places like these to explore and the right attitude of adventure! Honolulu, Hawaii, is a playground for people from all walks of life. Chill at the beach, or get energized by the nature of Oahu. Whatever you love to do, you will find your tropical dream here in Hawaii!
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