Commissioned for construction by King David Kal’kaua, ‘Iolani Palace is the only royal palace in the United States. Construction was completed in 1882, and featured electricity, indoor plumbing, incandescent lighting, and telephones, making it one of the world’s modern structures of the 19th century. Following extensive research and structural and furnishings restoration, the palace was reopened to the public as a museum in 1978.
The Pacific War Memorial
The Pacific War Memorial is a bronze replica of the National Iwo Jima Memorial at Newington, Connecticut. Dedicated on March 16, 2002 at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, the monument immortalizes the timeless photograph depicting the raising of the American Flag at Mt. Suribachi during the WWII Battle of Iwo Jima.
Pu’u o Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site
The Pu’u o Mahuka Heiau, or “hill of escape,” is the largest heiau on Oahu. Overlooking beautiful Waimea Bay, this two-acre ancient Hawaiian temple provides a spectacular panoramic view of the North Shore to Kaena Point.
Located on a small peninsula just past the Polynesian Cultrual Center, La’ie Point offers expansive panoramic views of the Windward Coast, Koolau Mountains, and parts of the North Shore.
The Byodo-In Temple sits just below the 2000-foot Koolau Mountains in the Valley of the Temples. Built in the 1960’s, this tranquil Buddhist temple is a replica of the 950-year old Byodo-In Temple in Uji, Japan. It was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant workers who came to work on the Hawaii sugar plantation fields.
Diamond Head Lighthouse
The original Diamond Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1899. Today, a reconstructed 55-foot lighthouse sits 147 feet above sea level, and marks the finish life of the biennial Trans Pacific Yacht Race that starts 2,225 miles away in Long Beach, California. Now operated by the US Coast guard, the lighthouse features 60,000 candlepower and 18-mile visibility.
Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve
Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve was once a volcanic crater that has been eroded by waves and time. Today, the protected cove has been transformed into a Nature Preserve and Marine Life Conservation District featuring pristine waters, vibrant coral reefs, and hundreds of unique marine life and fish including the majestic Honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle) and Humu-humu-nuku-nuku-apua’a (trigger fish).
Halona Cove and Blow Hole
Hiding along the scenic coastline of South Oahu is the Halona Cove and Blow Hole. A 30-foot geyser of ocean water erupts from an underwater lava tube. The small cove to the bottom right of the Blow Hole is the site of the love scene from the Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr movie From Here to Eternity.
The University of Hawaii Lyon Arboretum is a lush, 200-acre botanical garden located in upper Manoa Valley. Featuring spectacular island trees, flora, birds, and wildlife, the Lyon Arboretum and Botanical Garden is the only university botanical garden located in a tropical rainforest.
Honolulu Academy of Arts
Once the family home of Anna Rice Cooke, the Honolulu Academy of Arts was founded in 1927, and has since become Hawaii’s premiere art museum, with over 50,000 collected works. The Hawaii-style building, now registered as a National and State Historic site, was redesigned by New York architect Bertram Goodhue, and features off-white exteriors, tiled roofs, and airy showcases that highlight the museum’s mission style.
Pu’u ‘Ualaka’a Park
Pu’u ‘Ualaka’a Park on Mt. Tantalus offers sweeping panoramic views of southern Oahu, including Diamond Head, Waikiki, downtown Honolulu, Punchbowl Crater, and the Honolulu International Airport. This is also the famous picnic spot featured in the Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii.