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Right before the airplane lands, you will see Diamondhead in all of her radiant glory and will see Pearl Harbor as it is not far from the airport. What a magnificent masterpiece Diamondhead is, as she is standing like a guard over Honolulu and Kahala, day in and day out. After landing at the Honolulu Airport from wherever you are from, and then going to your hotel, you may want some food and relaxation. Cheeseburger in Paradise is a popular stop for visitors in Waikiki. You can also go to Dukes for oceanfront dining in a casual atmosphere... and the food is great no matter what meal you are eating! You can also find Hard Rock Cafe, PF Changs, and lots of other familiar places to eat... Roys and Michel's at the Colony are great for fine dining, and the Wailana is great for breakfast ( a favorite for locals and tourists)...
From one end of Waikiki to the other is a decent walk, but very doable. There is shopping all over the place, tons of restaurants, you may come upon a "newspaper mime" from head to toe all in newspaper doing his or her thing on the sidewalk. Watch the surfers, the outriggers, the paddle boarders, and the boogie boarders as they ride the waves; relax on the beach watching the waves, the sunrise over Diamondhead, the sunset; take a dinner cruise--there are so many things to see and do once you arrive in Honolulu, but first things first, get to your hotel and relax!!
The Hilton Hawaiian Village (showcased on Hawaii Five O) has great fireworks on the beach on Fridays!!! And there is a Benihana in the complex, as well as the Tropics Bar and Grill, which is also highlighted in the show. Check out the banyan tree on the east side of Waikiki close to Diamondhead, where you will also find the Aquarium, and and zoo) Whether day or night, Waikiki is alive with people and things to do! Be sure to stop in and see Roy Tabora's galleries, (an amazing Hawaiian artist) located in two locations in Waikiki, and of course, the famous muralist, and sculptor, Wyland's gallery on the west end of Waikiki (on Lewers).
There is a Walmart, a Costco, in case you forgot anything back at home... ABC Stores are literally everywhere in Waikiki, and are a great place for tee shirts, shorts, sarongs, as well as souveniers and gifts for friends and family at home... There are two Safeways in the area, but it is recommended that you take a taxi to them... a great way to save money if your room has a kitchen.
Don't forget Hanauma Bay for snorkeling... and a great beach day. Snorkel Bob 's will supply and fit you up for a day rental. If you are interested in rentals for about the same price or cheaper, go to Great Life Tours on Seaside Ave. Ann Dowie, owner, is not only a great source for rentals, but will point you in the right direction for things to do.
The Honolulu Star, which leaves close to the famous Aloha Tower, has a high energy show... just make sure you get a seat well into the dining room. It is known for being the largest catamaran in Hawaii, and offers a great sunset- dinner cruise off the coast of Honolulu... It is very pricey, and it is not recommended that you wear your finest clothes... as you may be wearing part of your dinner!
Hiking Diamondhead is moderately strenuous, as it includes a lot of stairs. Once at the top, the views are amazing. Bring water, and wear good strong, comfortable shoes. it is strongly recommended that you dress in light layers.
Go to the PCC (Polynesian Cultural Center). There you will see people from the various islands, do demonstrations of their islands, Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, etc....
Stop by Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial to pay respects to those who protected American and European freedom during the WWII. Viewing the USS Arizona from the Memorial, standing and looking down into the water, is an awesome sight. You will also see the very place on the deck of this magnificent ship where the Japanese surrendered at the close of WWII. There is also the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (locally known as Punchbowl) which is part of several tours, and there is the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial (a war memorial from WWI--Diamondhead end of Waikiki, next to the Aquarium) which is finally being renovated. It is gorgeous architechurally. As the Natatorium was constructed as both a memorial, and a "beach side" swimming area, the locals say it is also a great place for snorkeling.
If you want to tour the island, The Bus offers a Circle Island Tour that is an excellent choice. Plenty of bus tours offer a similar route, but The Bus (the official public transport) offers the cheapest option. However, other tour companies, such as VIP Trans and Roberts Hawaii, will give you scheduled stops, and will inform you of the local history, and culture, so paying a bit more, gives you a lot more if you are interested in familiarizing yourself with the islands. While on the circle tour, stop at one of the Giovanni Shrimp Truck... well worth it. The Dole Plantation, mid island is also worth seeing.
There are several snorkeling adventures available... leaving from the Hilton Hawaiian Village and from Ko Olina Marina on the island's west side. Two to consider are Hawaii Nautical (from the Hilton) and Dolphin Excursions out of Ko Olina). They were both great.
The people of Oahu are very nice and friendly. If by chance you get lost, they will surely tell you how to get back on track. They enjoy respectful travelers who come to visit their "paradise." The people work very hard; most work two jobs to be able to afford to live in their own state; so be generous in tipping when you get good service. The Hawaiian people are some of the kindest, and hardest working people on the planet!