Explore Hawaii

Downtown Honolulu

As the financial and commercial center of the Pacific and Hawai‘i’s state capital, downtown Honolulu wears several hats. By day, its streets are packed with people who work in skyscrapers and in city, state and federal government offices. But it’s not the typical urban center. Historical buildings and sites in the area include Ali‘iolani Hale and the highly-photographed statue of King Kamehameha the Great; ‘Iolani Palace and Washington Place, the official Governor’s residence; and the Hawai‘i State Art Museum. The Hawai‘i State Capitol Building, Honolulu Hale (City Hall), the Mission Houses Museum and Kawaiaha‘o Church, the first Christian church built in Hawai‘i, also tell Hawai‘i’s story. On the waterfront, iconic Aloha Tower (above) was once the tallest building in Honolulu, a landmark that greeted arriving cruise ships. It’s now surrounded by Aloha Tower Market Place and its restaurants, bars, cafés and gift shops. Just west of the Market Place, at Honolulu Harbor, ocean liners unload shipping containers, and fishing boats arrive before dawn with the day’s freshest catch. A new culinary scene has sprouted at Pier 38, where restaurants, such as Nico’s, serve fresh seafood from the fish auction a few feet away.