|OAHU The south shore of Oahu spans from Moanalua
to Hawaii Kai, encompassing Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Ala Moana, the University
of Hawaii, Waikiki, and Diamond Head.
Named for the oysters once harvested there, Pearl Harbor, located in
the Ewa District of Oahu, is the largest natural harbor in Hawaii. On
December 7, 1941,
the day that lives in infamy, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and attacked
U.S. Navy ships based there. This action forced the United States into
World War II. Because of the many lives that were lost and the destruction
that had occurred, Pearl Harbor was the only naval base in the United
States to be designated a National Historical Landmark.
Today, Pearl Harbor Naval Base is home to the U.S.S. Bowfin, U.S.S. Missouri
and U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. The Arizona symbolizes the start of World
War II, while the Bowfin showcases the critical role submarines played
in winning the war by sinking 44 enemy ships in the Pacific. Lastly, the
battleship Missouri represents the end of the war with the peace treaty
signed on its deck.
Pearl Harbor is also the headquarters and home base of the U.S. Pacific
Fleet, which is the worlds largest naval command.
From Pearl Harbor, 10 minutes away heading east on Nimitz Highway, lies
Honolulu International Airport, which handles more than 20 million passengers
a year. A few minutes further down the road is the 500-acre man-made Sand
Island, the home of the U.S. Coast Guard Base and the expansive Sand Island
Another few miles away is downtown Honolulu. For more than a century
and a half, todays State Capitol District has been the heart of
Hawaiis politics. King Kalakauas ornate Iolani Palace was
completed in 1882 and was the royal residence until 1893 when the last
Hawaiian monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, was overthrown. Iolani Palace is
the only royal palace on United States soil. As the Executive Building,
the former palace served the Governor and the Legislature from 1900 until
the new Hawaii State Capitol was dedicated in 1969.
Throughout downtown Honolulu, historic sights abound. Adjacent to the
palace is the Archives of Hawaii, which houses one of the worlds
largest collections of Hawaiiana and historical photographs. Across the
street from the palace is the often-photographed golden statue of King
Kamehameha. One block away is the Kawaiahao Church built of coral and
timber in 1841. Next door to the church is the Mission Houses Museum,
which shows a glimpse into the missionary lifestyle with the oldest existing
buildings erected by the first missionary contingent to Oahu.
Within the downtown area, a mix of architectural styles stand side-by-side
offering a delightful contrast of historic and contemporary buildings.
The low-rise buildings of neighboring Chinatown do not diminish the vibrant
colors, sights and sounds of the small lei shops lining the streets. Chinese
medicinal herbal shops, acupuncture practices, martial arts schools, old-fashioned
barbershops, mom and pop restaurants, temples, and mahjong (Chinese dominoes)
players are among the many attractions Chinatown has in store.
In contrast, just a short drive away is Ala Moana Shopping Center, one
of the largest in the world, full of activity with more than 200 stores.
Across from the Center is Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island, two of
Oahus most popular parks. Opened in 1934, Ala Moana Beach is separated
from the reef by a lagoon, dredged and originally used as a small boat
Minutes away from Ala Moana Shopping Center are Victoria Ward shopping
centers, where visitors and residents continue their exciting shopping,
dining and entertainment experience.
Between Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island and Diamond Head, more than
a quarter-million people find their piece of paradise daily in Waikiki.
Oahus south shore is the playground of the Pacific. Known for its
fabulous climate, multi-cultural lifestyles and beautiful beaches, Waikiki
attracts millions from around the world.
One-and-a-half-mile-long Waikiki (spouting water) measures
0.7 square miles and has perhaps the best-known beach in the world. Originally,
Waikiki was mostly a marsh. Its transformation began in 1922 when its
springs were capped and the land behind the beach drained and filled.
Waikiki today, with its bustling beach center, tree-rimmed Kapiolani Park
and residential neighborhoods reaching halfway up the Koolau Mountain
Range, is full of activity and excitement. Shopping, ethnic festivals,
special events, galas and nightlife activities abound in Waikiki.
Nestled in the verdant valleys behind Waikiki is Manoa. The University
of Hawaii at Manoa, the flagship of a nine-campus statewide system, offers
its 20,000 students degrees in more than 90 fields. The distant Manoa
Valley residential neighborhood retains much of the charm of older Honolulu
with quiet streets, enormous shade trees, graceful island-style homes
with broad lawns and the cool mists and winds for which the valley is
Just five minutes away is Diamond Head, Hawaiis most famous natural
landmark. The Hawaiians originally called it Leahi, brow of the
yellowfin tuna. It was aptly nicknamed Diamond Head by visitors
coming to the island because it was once speckled with calcite crystals,
mistaken by early sailors for diamonds. The 200,000-year-old cone remnant
looms 760 feet over Waikiki. Beyond Diamond Head is Kahala. In recent
years, Kahala Beach and the adjacent Waialae-Kahala Coast stretching from
Diamond Head to Black Point and further, has been the most expensive residential
real estate on Oahu.
Twenty minutes from Waikiki and still considered part of Honolulu is
Hawaii Kai. The development of Hawaii Kai as a Honolulu suburb began in
the 1950s. Today it nears the crest of Kaluanui Ridge.
Upscale residential complexes amid the commanding beauty of the south
end of the Koolau Range are the hallmark of the area. Hawaii Kai also
is known as a water sports playground because of the natural lagoons and
Warring chiefs long battled for control of the island of Oahu. According
to legend, Kamehameha I seized power in 1795 by pursuing an opposing army
up to and over the cliffs of Nuuanu Pali, north of Honolulu. Several years
earlier, the British had discovered Honolulu Harbor, a natural
anchorage destined to be one of the Pacifics key seaports. Over
the years, the harbor proved ideal for whalers and sandalwood traders,
and eventually for freighters and ocean liners.
In 1850, the city developed around the shipping port and became the focus
of Oahu, as well as the archipelago. In 1893, a band of foreign businessmen
with the aid of armed American marines, illegally overthrew the native
Honolulu, in the 1930s, was a multicultural Pacific port with graceful,
low-rise buildings neatly nestled between the greenish-blue waters of
the harbor and the dramatic verdant Koolau Mountains. The tallest building
in town was Aloha Tower, a 10-story structure rising from Honolulu Harbor
that was built in 1926 to welcome ships from around the world.
Almost a half-century after the overthrow, in an ill-advised but brilliantly
executed military maneuver, the Japanese drew the United States into World
War II with a devastating air strike against the huge naval base at Pearl
Waikiki once served as a retreat for Hawaiian kings and queens. By the
1880s-1890s, it was favored by writer-adventurers such as Jack London
and Robert Louis Stevenson. During World War II, GIs on leave soaked up
the sun. Then in the jet age that followed, it became a resort area.
During the winter, temperatures reach highs of 80°F and dip to 65°F.
During the summer, temperatures range from 88°F to 72°F. For more
information about Oahu weather forecasts, please call (808) 973-4381.
For surf report information, please call (808) 596-7873.
Ala Moana Shopping Center
Aloha Tower Marketplace
The Contemporary Museum
Diamond Head Beach Park
Diamond Head Lighthouse
Diamond Head Lookout
Dole Cannery Square
East-West Center Japanese Garden
Falls of Clyde
Foster Botanical Garden
Hawaii Maritime Center
Historic Hawaii Theatre
Honolulu Academy of Arts
King Kamehameha Statue
Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park and Kaalawai Beach
Mission Houses Museum
National Memorial Cemetery
Queen Emmas Summer Palace
Saint Andrews Cathedral
State Capitol Building
Tantalus and PuuUalakaa State Park
U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii
Victoria Ward Centers
Waialae Beach Park