From superb cuisine and historic attractions to an array of unique water and land based adventures, Honolulu offers many great things to see and do for couples.
Once you’ve had your fill of swimming, sunbathing and surfing in Waikiki Beach, enjoy some of these unique activities, including a dolphin swim, food tours, beach sunset yoga, and night time standup paddleboarding.
1. Tantalus Lookout, Puu Ulakaa State Park
A romantic scenic hike through a beautiful tropical forested area will bring you to the Tantalus Lookout in Pu’u Ulaka’a State Park. Regardless of what time of day you visit, the views from this lookout point are well worth the hike. You will access sweeping views out over southern Oahu, which stretch from Diamond Head, all the way to Pearl Harbor. There is a pleasant picnic area where you can relax and admire one of the best hill-top views you will find anywhere on the island. Please remember to bring water and sunscreen as there are no concessions at the view point.
Tantalus Lookout, Puu Ulakaa State Park, 2760 Round Top Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822
2. The Queen Emma Summer Palace
© The Queen Emma Summer Palace
Once the seasonal retreat for Queen Emma and her family, this historic Hawaiian estate is now a museum open to the public for tours. Built in the mid-1800’s for the Hawaiian Royal Family, the home has since been refurbished and is beautifully maintained. Guests are able to experience the home as it would have appeared during the Royal family’s 19th century residency.
The palace’s décor presents a unique array of historical pieces, ranging from traditional Hawaiian craft to English pieces shipped overseas as gifts from the British monarchy. In addition to admiring the striking décor, visitors can meander through the property’s extensive gardens, peruse authentic artifacts that belonged to the royal family, and view a number of historically significant portraits.
2913 Pali Hwy, 808-595-3167
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3. Dolphins and You
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The Dolphins and You tour provides guests with the unique experience of swimming among dolphin pods and sea life in the peaceful waters just off the O’ahu coast. If you are looking for romantic things to do in Honolulu, this is a great idea for couples. Beginning in the Waianea Boat Harbor, visitors are introduced to the crew before participating in a native E’ Hoi Mai Ceremony. In this ceremony, participants sing a song and offer flowers to the ocean as a prayer for a safe trip and to give thanks to the dolphins. Guests then journey by boat out into the water before donning a mask and snorkel and submerging themselves in the clear water. Aside from dolphins, swimmers have the chance to get up close to a range of diverse marine life including sea turtles and vibrant, tropical fish.
307 Lewers St #401, 808-696-4414
4. Hawaii Food Tours
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Designed for food lovers, Hawaii Food Tours offers two options for visitors who want a taste of authentic, local cuisine. Designed by Matthew Gray, a former Celebrity Chef and local food expert, the tours are specifically crafted to showcase modern foods native to Hawaii. The tour goes beyond traditional Hawaiian cuisine and introduces visitors to a globally exotic range of tastes and flavors that exist on the island.
The Hole in the Wall Tour visits a variety of Honolulu based establishments, and some of the special treats you can try include Portuguese donuts and Korean BBQ. The North Shore Food Tour takes visitors away from urban Honolulu and into the heart of Oahu for an experience that includes both high-end eateries and unique roadside stands (808-926-3663).
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5. O'ahu Photography Tours
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Inspired to share the beauty of his home and his passion for photography, local photographer Alex Wilson founded O’ahu Photography Tours and began providing island tours fused with photography lessons, offering a completely new experience to both locals and visitors. Eight diverse options are offered by O’ahu Photography Tours. Ranging from sunrise to moonscapes, the tours are spread out across the island of O’ahu.
Participants can choose an appropriate tour based on their desired environment, subject, and photography skill level. Photographers can expect to gain a unique perspective on Hawaii while receiving instruction on the technicalities and subtleties of photography, allowing participants to improve their photo taking skills (808-679-1938)
6. Chef Chai
© Chef Chai
Located in downtown Honolulu, Chef Chai offers his guests a vibrant dinner menu. Named for the resident legendary chef, the restaurant is known for its Hawaiian fusion centered cuisine. Thai born, Chef Chai utilizes local produce and farm fresh ingredients, many of which are purchased from Honolulu’s Chinatown, in every meal. Chef Chai manages to balance an upscale ambiance with a down to earth attitude.
A modern vibe permeates the restaurant, which allows its guests to enjoy a decidedly contemporary fine dining experience. The restaurant offers several location options for guests, including a private dining room, a full bar, and an outside patio complete with fire tower surrounds.
1009 Kapiolani Blvd, 808-585-0011
7. Beach Sunset Yoga Hawaii
© Beach Sunset Yoga Hawaii
Beach Sunset Yoga Hawaii gives participants the opportunity to embrace mindfulness while surrounded by beautiful Hawaiian scenery. Guests interested in taking classes can elect to participate in a variety of activities including yoga lessons, hiking the trails, and group snorkeling. Additionally, Beach Sunset Yoga Hawaii offers fully customizable private lessons, retreats, or group tours throughout the island.
Each activity offered is designed to encourage a mindful practice using gentle body movements and inspiration from the natural environment and O’ahu landscape. The company’s giving nature extends beyond their customers, as a large portion of the profits benefit a local non-profit organization that promotes a curriculum of mindfulness into elementary schools around the nation.
2735 Kalakaua Ave, 808-321-3297
8. Honolulu Museum of Art
© Honolulu Museum of Art
Located right in the heart of Honolulu, the Honolulu Museum of Art invites all art lovers to come and spend an hour or two feasting your eyes on their wonderful collection of visual arts. The museum was originally established to offer the multicultural community of Oahu the opportunity to admire the arts and crafts of their original homelands without having to travel away from Hawaii. Over the decades the museum’s modest collection of 875 pieces has grown by leaps and bounds, and today totals well over 50,000 pieces, spanning an amazing 5000 years. Regular exhibitions are held and the museum also offers art classes and guided tours.
Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania Street, Honolulu, HI 96814, 808 532 8700
9. Buho Cantina
© Buho Cantina
With an emphasis on using fresh ingredients and high quality products, Buho Cantina serves O’ahu and modern Mexican cuisine. Located in Waikiki, Bohu Cantina serves lunch, dinner, and late night fare. The menu features several Mexican classics fused with bold Hawaiian ingredients and flavors. The result is an authentic Mexican restaurant whose chefs take fresh and modern approach to traditional meals.
Buho Cantina prioritizes the use of farm fresh produce, locally grown right on the island. The casual eatery welcomes guests into a trendy and upbeat atmosphere. The rooftop location allows for both indoor and outdoor seating, and a live cantina band performs regularly for guests’ entertainment.
2250 Kalakaua Ave, Suite 525, 808-922-BUHO
10. The Lyon Arboretum
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The Lyon Arboretum is a pristine 200-acre botanical garden just five miles outside of Honolulu. The Lyon Arboretum is a lush and tropical location where visitors can immerse themselves in a truly scenic environment. Lyon Arboretum offers seven miles of trails, ranging from simple and pleasant strolls through the rain forest to hikes in higher elevations.
With twelve gardens to choose from, visitors have the opportunity to experience over 5,000 types of tropical plant species. Included in this selection is a Native Hawaiian Garden, which showcases a collection of indigenous and endemic Hawaiian plants, the Herb and Spice Garden, and the Children’s Garden, an interactive learning site.
3860 Manoa Rd, 808-988-0456
11. Nocturnal Adventures Hawaii
© Nocturnal Adventures Hawaii
Nocturnal Adventures Hawaii provides visitors with the unique Oahu experience of nighttime standup paddleboarding (SUP). Nocturnal Adventures currently offers its guests two tour options. Haleiwa Sunset SUP guides paddlers through the waters of Hawaii’s epic North Shore, the perfect location from which you can view the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.
Firework Fridays SUP, on the other hand, allows tour goers to experience an evening paddle under the weekly firework show at Oahu’s famous Waikiki Beach. Both options are available for paddlers with any level of experience. Nocturnal Adventures provides guests with specially designed paddleboards that are equipped to light the water below with unique glow-in-the-dark abilities (808-233-9472).
12. Bishop Museum
© Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum was established in 1889 with the express purpose to preserve and showcase the natural history and culture of Hawaii and the Pacific. Over the last 130 years the museum has amassed an incredible collection of more than 25 million historic and cultural artifacts, each of which has a special story to tell. The museum hosts regular educational programs and events designed to educate the community about everything from the heavens above our heads to the amazing range of crafts which are unique to Hawaii. You can learn all about our universe at the on-site Watumull Planetarium.
Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, HI 96817, 808 847 3511
13. Koko Crater Railway Trailhead
The Koko Crater Railway Trailhead is located just a short drive from Waikiki and Diamond Head. The trail is not for the faint-hearted, as it climbs straight up the side of the Koko Crater, following the “stairs” left by Koko Head Railway which was built during WWII to transport troops and supplies up to the top of the crater. Although the hike is quite short at just 1.4 miles long, the increase in elevation is quite dramatic and even some fit hikers will doubt their ability to reach the summit. However, if you are up for the challenge you will be rewarded for your efforts by sweeping views of Hanauma Bay and Hawaii Kai.
Koko Crater Railway Trailhead, 7644 Koto Head Park Rd, Honolulu, Hawaii
14. La Mer Dining
La Mer Dining is undoubtedly the ideal spot for a romantic dinner in Honolulu. You will find this opulent restaurant at the prestigious Halekulani Hotel, where it offers a fine-dining experience in an unbeatable setting. You and your partner can gaze out over the dazzling Pacific as you feast on an inspiring menu of perfectly prepared delicacies. All the ingredients used are sourced from local Hawaiian farms and producers and all are served at the peak of their perfection. The 6 course set dinner menu changes with the seasons and may be enjoyed with or without wine pairing. There is also a vegetarian version available.
La Mer Dining, 2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, 808 923 2311
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Located at the Royal Hawaiian Resort in Waikiki, Azure Restaurant provides an ideal location to enjoy a romantic waterside dining experience. When the sun sets on another perfect Hawaiian day, the romantic candles are lit and Azure Restaurant prepares to serve another amazing dinner. The dinner menu features a 4-course set menu of fresh seasonal local produce, prepared to perfection and served with panache. There is usually a single appetizer followed by a choice of 2 starters and 3 mains (including a vegan option) and a choice of 2 desserts. There is optional wine pairing for those who wish to take their fine-dining experience to the next level.
Azure Restaurant, 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki, HI 96815, 808 931 8642
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