Peruse Downtown Honolulu

Land DiversionsOahu

Honolulu, like many great cities, developed around a harbor; in fact, hono means, “bay,” and lulu means, “calm,” in Hawaiian.

Today, ALOHA TOWER and HONOLULU HARBOR bring to mind a time when Honolulu was known as the “Crossroads of the Pacific,” filled with ships from lands far and wide — first from explorers, then merchants, and now, the giant vessels of leisure travelers.

Heading inland from the shoreline, history breathes in places like IOLANI PALACE, HAWAIIAN MISSION HOUSES complex and WASHINGTON PLACE. CHINATOWN, a 15-block melting pot of multiethnic influences, dates back to the 1800s, when immigrant Chinese families began to establish stores in the area.

HAWAII THEATRE, first opened in 1922, has been restored and is now a striking multipurpose performance center.

CATHEDRAL BASILICA OF OUR LADY OF PEACE, established in 1843, is the oldest cathedral in continuous use in the United States. Hawai‘i’s first saint-the Blessed Father Damien-was ordained in the cathedral in 1864. Damien, who was canonized in 2009, died in 1889 after devoting his life to Hansen’s disease patients confined to Moloka‘i. The cathedral is located at 1184 Bishop St.

This eatery infuses East Coast fare with Waialua asparagus, Maui sweet onions and other local produce. Or, opt for delicious Chinese cuisine at LITTLE VILLAGE NOODLE HOUSE, acclaimed for its Northern Chinese fare. Popular dishes include the Honey Walnut Shrimp, Lettuce Wrap and Peking Duck. At presstime, the dining room was closed, however, takeout was still available.

THE ARTS AT MARKS GARAGE — a local arts hub that attracts more than 45,000 visitors a year — is another cultural venue worth exploring.