Honolulu is your golden gate to Hawaii, and while you can continue onwards, you will want to spend at least a few days in Hawaii’s bustling epicenter. Three days in this wonderful place is a great way to start your trip. You can then move on to other islands or other areas on Oahu itself, depending on your budget, time, and what you want to do. That being said, one day in Honolulu is just not enough. Two days are ideal, so three in total (that includes your arrival and departure) is a great entry point. 

So, how do you spend those three days in Honolulu? You follow this guide: 

Stay in the Best Neighborhood – Waikiki 

Waikiki is a famous neighborhood that’s walkable, full of amazing things to do, and home to some of the city’s best resorts. A Waikiki resort is excellent for its stunning views, proximity to local attractions, and its on-site amenities. You can enjoy Hawaii with a more residential feel, authentic Hawaiian culture, see art, and enjoy live performances in one place. There’s no pressure to fit everything in since you’ll be right in the thick of things and find it easy. 

Take an Island Tour

If you’re off to a different island after your stay in Honolulu (and Oahu as a whole), then you’ll want to spend at least one of those days on a full island tour. This will take you around the island, where you can see all the best of Oahu, even if it’s just passing by on a scenic road trip. Not only will you see great sights, but you’ll also be introduced to the island by your knowledgeable guide. These can book up fast, so book early and aim to make this one of your lazy days. The tours will take around 10 hours to complete, so you’ll have time for a late night event afterwards but not much else. 

Hike Up Diamond Head 

The Diamond Head State Monument is a great way to see the island and embrace nature. It takes between an hour and a half to two hours to complete this short trail, making it a great choice for those early birds. Do keep in mind that tourists need to make an advance reservation. This is true for every out-of-state visitor, not just international tourists. 

Visit Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor carries massive significance in American history, so if you’re in any way interested, then visiting this museum is a must. Not only will you be treated to a robust exhibit, but you’ll also be able to visit a submarine and walk around the USS Bowfin. 

Watch the Hula Show 

Every Saturday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 from November to January, there’s a free Torch Lighting and Hula Show at Kuhio Beach Park. If you can’t make this or it’s not on, then make sure to find and watch at least a few shows. There are grand versions hosted by hotels and resorts (very likely your own included) and authentic ones at the Polynesian Cultural Center.