Hawaii is a state that is filled with history. From when King Kamehameha the Great unified all the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 to when the Hawaiian monarchy ended in 1893. From Polynesians arriving in Hawaii 1500 years ago to immigrants from Japan, China, Korea, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Russia and the Philippines coming to work on the plantations, Hawaii has such a unique combination of cultures. All of this is seen and felt in the historic sites all around Oahu.
King Kamehameha Statue
Outside Aliʻiolani Hale, across the street from ʻIolani Palace, King Kamehameha the Great will always stand tall (literally). This 18-feet tall statue is an iconic landmark on Oahu and a must stop for every tourist. Perfect for selfies! The statue is draped with flower lei on every Kamehameha Day (the Friday closest to June 11), which is always a sight to behold. There are other King Kamehameha statues including on the Big Island and Maui, but this one is probably the most well known.
Built in 1882, ʻIolani Palace was the official residence of the royal family and the only royal palace in the United States. It’s one of the best-preserved sites on the island and you can view living quarters and relics of Hawaii’s monarchy.
Pearl Harbor National Memorial
No trip to Oahu is complete without a trip to Pearl Harbor. It was a date that lived in infamy, and will always be remembered with a 184-foot memorial. The USS Arizona remains the final resting place for 1,117 members of the ships’ crew who lost their lives, and is a moving experience for everyone who visits. The memorial is open from 7 AM every day and tours are available throughout Oahu.
Waimea Valley is like a totally different experience from what you’ll find in Waikiki, the valley has deep roots in Hawaiian spirituality and tradition. Waimea was once awarded to the Kahuna Nui (High Priests) because of its abundant resources and flowing streams, and was called “The Valley of the Priests.” Today Waimea Valley is a historical nature park with rare plants from all over Hawaii and the world. Waimea Valley tours are available to explore the waterfall and natural beauty.
Hawaii State Capitol Building
Opened in 1969, the Hawaii State Capitol Building is the official statehouse of Hawaii. It replaced the ‘Iolani Palace, and was designed to reflect the natural wonders of Hawaii itself. The building has a reflective pool, which symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, and cone-shaped legislative chambers to represent volcanoes. The Hawaii State Capitol Building also contains several memorials and statues including the Queen Lili’uokalani Statue.
Historic tours, Waimea Valley tours, and Pearl Harbor tours are all available or head out on your own with a local rideshare service like holoholo.