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Famous for white-sand Waikiki Beach, Hawaii’s tropical state capital is a laid-back place. The city is not too big, but not too small either – it’s just right for a weekend escape or short vacation. Spend sunny days at the beach, then sip sunset cocktails while ukuleles strum and hula dancers sway.
Whether you want to learn to surf on the North Shore, go snorkeling at aquamarine Hanauma Bay or hike to a spectacular jungle waterfall, the rest of the island of Oahu is an easy day trip from Honolulu or neighboring Waikiki Beach. Back in town, head to Honolulu’s historic Chinatown for inexpensive and creative eats day or night. It’s also bursting with art galleries, independent boutiques, bars and clubs.
Downtown Honolulu is where locals get things done – it’s Hawaii’s business, government and cultural hub. Visitors come to walk the royal halls of Iolani Palace, connect with ancient Hawaiian history and traditions at the venerable Bishop Museum, and take solemn boat tours of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.