You can't claim to have really gotten to know Oʻahu if you never even leave Waikiki. Venture downtown not just for its unmatched collection of historical sites, museums and gardens, but also to eat your way through the island's intoxicating blend of ethnic cultures, from the pan-Asian alleyways of Chinatown where 19th-century whalers once brawled, to hole-in-the-wall diners where local kids slurp saimin (local-style noodle soup), to bistros dishing up the freshest bounty from land and sea.Then escape the concrete jungle for a hike up into the lush valleys nestled beneath the jagged Koʻolau Mountains, especially in the forest reserves around Mt Tantalus, traditionally called Puʻu ʻOhiʻa. At sunset, cool off with a breezy walk along Honolulu's historic harbour front or splash into the Pacific at Ala Moana Beach Park, a rare beauty in the middle of the city. After dark, migrate over to Chinatown's edgy nightlife scene. You won't even miss Waikiki, we promise.
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Our top picks for Honolulu
Haleakalā National Park: Get ready for an otherworldly experience: the astonishing volcanic landscape here so resembles a lunar surface you could be on the moon
Bailey's Antique Shop: Get your groovy vintage aloha shirt here
Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area: Legendary for having Hawaii's most accessible beaches…what more could you ask for?
Merriman's: This gourmet restaurant pioneered Hawaii Regional Cuisine, and continues to serve up world-class organic goodness
Aloha Board Shop: Plug into the local surf culture at this helpful shop, then hit the waves!
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