Honolulu, situated on the south shore of Oahu island, is the capital of Hawaii and is most travellers' entry point to the US island chain. Here you'll find the country's only royal palace, the world's largest open-air shopping centre and a plethora of impressive art museums. There's also a thriving food scene in the pan-Asian alleyways of Chinatown, palm-tree fringed beaches and forested hiking trails in the mist-covered Koʻolau Range.
The city of Honolulu itself is not short of things to see and do. For an insight into the region's wartime history, head to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial dedicated to the marines who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. You'll be able to see the ship's sunken remains and can learn the history of the attack. Other sites of interest include the ʻIolani Palace, the one-time royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the Bishop Museum, which is home to the world's largest collection of Polynesian cultural artefacts and natural history specimens.
Ocean breezes rustle the palm trees of Honolulu, and for the best views of the Pacific, hike up to the top of Diamond Head – a 232-metre-tall volcanic crater and one of Hawaii's most famous landmarks. Outside the city itself, you can visit the cascading Manoa Falls, the Halona Blow Hole and Hanauma Bay – a stunning nature reserve that plays host to numerous green turtles and tropical fish.