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Non touristy things to do in Honolulu?

I have one week in Honolulu and would like to avoid the main touristy sights. Are there any special places to see and places to eat, maybe local secrets you could recommend?

4 Answers

top answer by
Charles from Boston

Rent a car and drive up along the north shore.  We drove anti-clockwise, stopping at the Halona Blowhole Lookout, Kualoa Regional Park (which was one of the highlights of our trip, with a beautiful beach, a few geocaches, and an excellent view of Mokoliʻi), and Ted's Bakery.  We also stopped at a roadside produce cart, where the woman running it specializes in ice cold coconuts.  When you're finished drinking the coconut water, she'll scoop out the meat for you to take home.  The Dole Plantation was a bit over-touristy, but the pineapple whips were worth a quick stop.  There are plenty of other places you can stop, especially if you like coconut prawns.

The Iolani Palace is the only royal residence in the United States.  Used for decades as an office building, it's been restored to a semblance of its former glory, and uses several of its smaller rooms as exhibits focusing on particular members of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Bishop Museum surprisingly doesn't get overwhelmed with tourists, despite having an entire wing of early Polynesian artifacts, a demonstration area where they melt basalt, examples of pretty much all lifeforms in the Pacific, and the oldest planetarium in Polynesia.  And don't forget to have lunch at nearby Helena's Hawaiian Food.

Finally, you might look at taking a day trip to another island.  You'll want to decide what you're planning to see beforehand, though, as one day really isn't enough to see everything.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Halona Blowhole Lookout (attraction)
  2. Kualoa Regional Park (attraction)
  3. Ted's Bakery (restaurant)
  4. Dole Plantation (attraction)
  5. Iolani Palace (attraction)
  6. Bishop Museum (attraction)
  7. Helena's Hawaiian Food (restaurant)
4 thanks

answered by
Michael from Honolulu

CHINATOWN I'm not talking go to the Chinese Cultural Plaza but actual Chinatown like Kekaulike Market and the Oahu Open Market . There are many great places to eat around there.

  • Ying Leong Look Funn Factory for couple of shrimp look funn or charsiu (chinese roast pork) look funn. Look funn is a type of noodle that is hard to explain but tastes really good (will update later with a pic).
  • Oahu Open Market for charsiu & roast pork.
  • Maguro Brothers for super fresh sashimi (sliced raw fish).
  • Sing Cheong Yuen Chinese Bakery for baked manapua (Chinese bread with different fillings).


  • Bon Dances these are a cultural/religious/community events that take place from June to September at different places around the island. Plenty of local food, with sometimes baked goods and other types of treats.
  • Cultural Events like our Okinawan Festival (held in September), Korean Festival, etc.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chinatown (attraction)
  2. Ying Leong Look Funn Factory (attraction)
  3. Maguro Brothers (restaurant)
  4. Sing Cheong Yuen Chinese Bakery (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by
Kalea from Honolulu

I love Diamond Head State Monument, it's a good hike, beautiful view, and you'll see locals on the way (we love it). 

Nuuanu - Punchbowl has the best view on the island in my opinion. I love it up there and most tourist don't know about it. 

Ala Moana Beach Park- great beach away from most tourists :)

Makapu'u Point Lighthouse is really beautiful, a bit of a trek over there but worth it. There's a hiking trail as well!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Diamond Head State Monument (attraction)
  2. Nuuanu - Punchbowl (attraction)
  3. Ala Moana Beach Park (attraction)
  4. Makapu'u Point Lighthouse (attraction)
1 thanks

answered first by
Brooke from Nashville

Mitch's Sushi Restaurant was a fun stop for us. Not just a restaurant but also a fish market :) Valley of the Temples Memorial Park is also worth a visit, especially if you were a fan of the show "Lost"

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mitch's Sushi Restaurant (restaurant)
  2. Valley of the Temples Memorial Park (attraction)
1 thanks

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