Oahu Historical Places

For many generations, the people of Hawai‘i have been visiting these special places for their cultural, natural, scenic, and historic significance. Take an educational tour through the Hawaii Plantation Village or visit Oahu’s many fine museums.

Drive around Oahu and you will find cultural and historically significant Hawaiian sites. Some are more accessible than others, but all are worth taking the time to visit and enjoy.

Tour Map of Oahu Island

Explore Oahu by region: HonoluluWindward CoastNorth ShoreLeeward CoastCentral Oahu.

Download Tour Map of Oahu Island

Island Highlights

- Waikiki: Once a playground for Hawaiian royalty, this historic hot spot is now a gathering place for the world.
- Pearl Harbor: This National Historical Landmark features five historic sites memorializing the December 7, 1941 attack.
- North Shore: During the winter months, this legendary surf mecca attracts the best surfers in the world.
- Iolani Palace: The only official state residence of royalty in the United States and home to the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two monarchs.
- Hawaii Regional Cuisine on Oahu: Get a taste of some of Hawaii’s most famous Hawaii Regional Cuisine chefs on Oahu.


National Memorial of the Pacific, Punchbowl

National Memorial of the Pacific, Punchbowl

Also known as Punchbowl, the National Cemetery is home to more than 49,000 internments, including more than 13,000 soldiers and sailors who died during World War II. It also features a pathway that is lined with memorials honoring America’s veterans from a variety of organizations. Known in Hawaiian as Pūowaina, this was once the site of a heiau (religious temple).

Location: Take Hwy. 1 east and exit onto Lunalilo Fwy., then head north onto Pali Hwy. Follow the marked signs towards Pūowaina (2177 Pūowaina Drive).

WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Pearl Harbor)

WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Pearl Harbor) Oahu

The attack of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 marked the beginning of World War II for the United States. The tragic event took the lives of 2,370 men, women and children. The USS Arizona is the final resting place for the 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives that day; the USS Arizona Memorial is built over the remains of the sunken battleship.

Location: 1 Arizona Memorial Place.

Diamond Head (Lē‘ahi) State Monument

Diamond Head (Lē‘ahi) State Monument Oahu

As Hawai‘i’s most recognized landmark, this unique shaped crater is known for its historic hiking trail, stunning coastal views and military history.

Location: Off Diamond Head Road between Makapu‘u Avenue and 18th Avenue.

Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline - Makapu‘u Trail

Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline - Makapu‘u Trail Oahu

Located within the Ka Iwi Scenic Shoreline, the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail is a one mile hike (one-way) along a paved roadway that leads to a lookout above the historic lighthouse.

Location: Off Kalaniana‘ole Highway. (Hwy. 72) from either Waimānalo or Hawai‘i Kai.

‘Iolani Palace State Monument

‘Iolani Palace State Monument Oahu

Dedicated in 1882, this is the only royal palace used as an official residence by a reigning monarch in the United States. It served as the setting for Hawaiian monarchs and their courts on formal occasions.

Location: Corner of South King Street and Richards Street in downtown Honolulu.

Queen Emma Summer Palace

Queen Emma Summer Palace Oahu

Known as Hānaiakamālama, the summer retreat of Queen Emma, wife of King Kamehameha IV, is located in Nu‘uanu Valley. The museum houses a collection of Queen Emma’s belongings, furnishings, artifacts, and memorabilia.

Location: 2913 Pali Hwy.

Nu‘uanu Pali State Wayside (Pali Lookout)

Nu‘uanu Pali State Wayside (Pali Lookout) Oahu

The lookout provides an impressive view of Windward O‘ahu from the pali (cliffs) at a 1,200 feet elevation. This is the site of one of the most famous battles in Hawai‘i’s history, where Kamehameha I conquered the island of O‘ahu, bringing it under his rule.

Location: Nu‘uanu Pali summit from marked access road off Pali Highway. (Hwy. 61).


Popular Oahu Activities

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Dinner Cruises Fishing Charters Golf Horseback Riding Kayaking Scuba & Snuba Surfing Zipline

Oahu Adventure Tours

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ATV Tours Dolphin Tours Eco Tours Helicopter Tours Land Tours Pearl Harbor Tours Sightseeing Whale Watching

Memberships and Certification

 Hawaii Tourism Authority

Certified Hawaii Tourism Authority 'Destination Expert'.

A member of Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

 Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

Acknowledgements & Credits


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