Things To Do In Honolulu
Looking for different things to do in Honolulu? Everyone knows the most-popular sites in Hawaii, but what about those off the beaten path places that you might never know exist?
While these might not be the top things to do in Honolulu, these fun activities might just set your vacation apart from all the others.
Imagine returning home and sharing your experience with friends and family. The look of intrigue and wonder might shock them (and you) after having visited some of the lesser known things to do, all located around Downtown Honolulu!
Pay Respects to Influential Figures
Nu’uanu Cemetery – Alexander Joy Cartwright Grave Site
Address: 2162 Nu’uanu Ave., Honolulu, HI 96817
Is visiting a cemetery not on your to-do list of things to do in Honolulu? It is understandable if it is not, however, both the Nu’uanu Cemetery and the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl inter some very influential figures.
Baseball fans will be amazed (much as I was) to learn that Alexander Joy Cartwright made his home in Honolulu and is buried at the Nu’uanu Cemetery.
Who is Alexander Joy Cartwright? He is the inventor of modern baseball, having rewritten many of the rules to what is now played in the game, including 3 strikes per batter, 9 players in the field, and flat bases at uniform distance. He also created the diamond shaped field, moving from the square shape that was originally used during games.
A member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in the Executive Category, Cartwright served as Fire Chief of Honolulu from 1850-1863, and among other roles, served as an adviser to King David Kalakaua, and Queen Emma.
Punchbowl National Cemetery - Sailor Jerry and Ellison Onizuka Grave Site
Address: 2177 Puowaina Dr., Honolulu HI 96813
The National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl might be a more common stop than the smaller Nu’uanu Cemetery, mostly because of its historic significance and the beauty of the cemetery. After visiting the cemetery with us on one of our Pearl Harbor Tours, make a return trip and pay respects to a few of the prominent figures that are interred here.
Many of us are most familiar with Sailor Jerry (aka Norman Collins) because of the delicious spiced rum that bears his name. But did you know that he was a sailor who is considered the father of modern day tattoo? Sailor Jerry created needle formations for tattoo guns that caused less trauma to the skin and utilized hospital quality sterilization. His tattoo style of bold outlines and bright colors remains one of the most popular in the world.
Ellison Onizuka is the first Asian-American to have reached space. Born on the Big Island in Kealakekua, Kona, Ellison was aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger and is the first astronaut from Hawaii, reaching the rank Lieutenant Colonel. Following the tragedy aboard the Challenger Spacecraft, Onizuka was promoted to Colonel.
Address: 22 Craigside Place, Honolulu, HI 96817
The Sanju Pagoda is one of the oldest pagodas in Hawaii, and though the pagoda is in poor shape due to the financial difficulties of the cemetery, it is still quite a site to see. Standing at 116-feet tall, the Sanju Pagoda can be seen from the scenic lookout off of the Pali Highway. For an up close look, you’ll have to enter the Kyoto Gardens at Honolulu Memorial Park, but is well worth it.
Relax in a Botanical Garden
Foster Botanical Garden
Located on the outskirts of Chinatown and downtown Honolulu are lush escapes from the busy city and the chance to unwind amid beautiful flora and fauna.
Address: 50 North Vineyard Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96817
The Foster Botanical Garden draws more than 75,000 visitors each year, and features a number of terraces and gardens with flowers and plants from around the world. Be sure to check out the Butterfly Garden, and take a guided tour starting at 1:00pm Monday-Saturday. General admission for the Foster Botanical Garden is only $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for children 13 and up, and $1.00 for children 6-12. Children under 6 are free.
Liluokalani Botanical Gardens
Address: North Kuakini St. Honolulu, HI 96817
The Liluokalani Botanical Garden is located just north of the Foster Botanical Garden and sits on 7 1/2 acres of land. The grounds are devoted to native Hawaiian plants, and were the favorite picnic grounds of Queen Liliuokalani.
Address: 1130 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813
Perhaps the Hawaii Theater is not that hidden or unknown, but it is certainly a wonderful destination to visit while in Hawaii. Located in the middle of downtown Honolulu, the theater opened in 1922 and is known as the Pride of the Pacific. Hosting a number of plays, concerts, and performances, the Hawaii Theater is ripe with history, and you can feel it as soon as you enter. The theater is still in full use, and even offers frequent tours.
After you’ve finished your tour with us, be sure to check out some of the lesser known things to do in Honolulu. You’ll be glad you did.