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Historic Places of Hawaii

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Walk in the footsteps of Hawaii’s fascinating history. From early Hawaiian ruins to wartime Oahu, it’s easy to take a journey to Hawaii’s past today.

Koloa, Kauai

Located in southern Kauai, old Koloa town was the home of Hawaii’s first sugar plantation, founded in 1835. This marked the start of an influx of Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipino and Korean plantation workers. This wide mix of ethnicities makes up the diverse population of Hawaii today.

Although sugar is no longer produced in Hawaii, you can still experience Kauai’s plantation past in downtown Koloa. Browse though the shops in the restored plantation style buildings, visit the remains of the old sugar mill or learn about the plantation era in the History Center.

Downtown Honolulu, Oahu
The epicentre of business in Hawaii, the home to the Hawaii State Capitol, and located right next to Chinatown, downtown Honolulu is a place to see noteworthy architecture from Oahu’s past.

Built in 1882, the Iolani Palace is a Renaissance Revivalist structure and an enduring symbol of the Hawaiian monarchy. Aliiolani Hale across the street is a neoclassical structure famous for the King Kamehameha I statue and being the fictional police headquarters for the TV show “Hawaii 5-0”. The Spanish Mission-style No. 1 Capitol District Building was completed in 1928. Today the Hawaii State Art Museum is located in its elegant halls.

Discover other impressive buildings including the Alexander & Baldwin building, Kawaiahao Church, the Hawaii Theatre and Honolulu Hale on your next visit downtown.

Pearl Harbor, Oahu
On December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor was hit by a devastating aerial attack by Japanese forces. Pearl Harbor honours this history-changing event with the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites: The USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, the Pacific Aviation Museum and the USS Oklahoma Memorial. 

Lahaina, Maui  
Lahaina or “Lele,” as it was once known in Hawaiian, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Once the royal capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom until 1845, Lahaina’s history spans ancient Hawaii, the whaling era of the 1850s, and Maui’s sugar plantation industry.

Grab a historic walking trail map from the Lahaina Visitor Center by the famous Banyan Tree and follow the Lahaina Historic Trail to uncover the gems of history hidden throughout this seaside town.

Kona, Hawaii’s Big Island  
The vast western coast of Hawaii’s Big Island is not only blessed with waters filled with exotic marine life, but it also has a bounty of significant Hawaiian landmarks.

Puuhonua o Honaunau on the black lava fields of south Kona is a national historical park with temples, kii (sacred wooden statues) and ponds capturing life in ancient Hawaii. The bustling town of Kailua-Kona is home to Hulihee Palace, the summer residence of Hawaiian royalty, Mokuaikaua Church, Hawaii’s first Christian church, and Ahuena Heiau, a temple built by King Kamehameha I himself.