Walking Tour of Honolulu, Hawaii
The capital of the Hawaiian Islands is a modern city which revolves around the Pacific Ocean. Because the island is so mountainous, the majority of activity and population is found in a narrow strip of land parallel to the shoreline. The most well-known part of the city is the celebrated Waikiki Beach area, however, there are other sights which should be experienced during any visit to Oahu.
My walk begins in Kappolani Park, at the eastern end of Waikiki Beach. There are numerous activities available in the park, including a zoo and aquarium, for the kids, and the Queen Kapiolani Gardens, a showcase of hibiscus and other tropical plants.
Leaving the park, walk west on Kalakaua Avenue. Be sure to walk on the shoreline side of the street, occasionally glancing back at Diamond Head, looming to the east. Look for the Statue of Duke Kahanamoku, one of Hawaii’s greatest surfers and the Hawaii Visitor Center, on the left. At some point you should leave the street and walk along the beach. This enables you to stop at the "Pink Palace," the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, for a look at this "institution." Further down the beach is the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Take the elevator up to the Hanohano Room for unparalleled views of Waikiki and Diamond Head.
From the hotel, walk back to Kalakaua Avenue and turn left. Next, turn left on Kapiolani Boulevard and walk all the way to King Street. Now turn left on King Street. On the left is the Kawaia Hao Church, the oldest in the city. Further ahead, on the left, is the distinctive King Kamehameha Statue, a tribute to the uniter of the islands and their first ruler. Directly across the street is Iolani Palace, the only "royal" residence in the entire United States. The palace actually became the capitol when the monarchy ended in 1893.
Continue on King Street to Bishop Street and turn right. On your left is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States, erected in 1843. Now turn right on Beretania Street to visit the new Hawaii State Capitol building. Its very modern and unusual architecture is loaded with symbolism.
As you continue walking east on Beretania Street, notice Washington Place, the Governor’s mansion (not open to the public). Further along, stop in at the Honolulu Academy of the Arts, the city’s best museum. It is on the left side of the street, just beyond the intersection with Ward Avenue.
Following your visit, return to Ward Avenue and turn left, walking all the way to Ala Moana Boulevard. Turn left here. Ala Moana Park is on the right, just ahead. Stroll around the park grounds, continuing to head eastward. Further ahead, across the street, is the Ala Moana Center, a major shopping complex.
Continue walking on the boulevard to Kalakaua Avenue and turn right. It leads back to Kapiolani Park where the walking tour began. You may consider extending the walk by continuing through the park and onto Diamond Head Road, but it is probably better to drive to Diamond Head State Monument and then walking to the crater rim along the trail (be sure to bring a flashlight and good walking shoes).