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Honolulu: 5 Things We Love

Head to Hawaii's biggest city for art, food, and culture.

Reef trigger fish, Hawaii, image
Photo caption
The reef trigger fish is called humuhumunukunukuapua'a in Hawaiian.

Long cherished for its stunning beaches, enchanting weather, and tiki entertainments, Hawaii’s capital boasts a lively arts scene and a locavore food movement. Area code is 808.

1  Two kapok trees’ massive buttress roots make a dramatic architectural statement among the bounty of orchids, bromeliads, and extraordinary tropical trees at the Foster Botanical Garden—the actual “tree museum” of Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi.” 522-7066,

2  Samples of ginger-and-passion-fruit jam fly out of the Honomu Jams & Jellies booth in the Saturday farmers’ market at Kapi‘olani Community College, where 65 vendors, all local, draw throngs of shoppers. 848-2074,

3  A pair of scowling women—Alice Neel’s 1981 Marisol and the unsigned 19th-century Portrait of a Woman—adds a wry note to the year-old Portraiture Gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Current exhibits present board shorts, tattoos, and erotic Japanese paintings and prints. 532-8700,

Colorful reef triggerfish await snorkelers in the waters off Honolulu. For a sighting, you can indulge in a scuba trip from the Waikiki Ocean Club’s double-decker boat (380-6800) or amble down to the underappreciated Waikiki Aquarium (923-9741,

5  Dulcet notes of the doxology, sung in Hawaiian, and the spoken Lord’s Prayer waft from the 170-year-old Kawaiaha‘o Church, built of 14,000 coral slabs. 522-1333,

Photography courtesy of Dwijnker/Wikimedia Commons

This article was first published in January 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.