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Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

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Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

I have a 11 hour layover in Honolulu from 930Am to 830PM. I wont be having any check-in bags. I have booked the USS Arizona memorial at 1130, but can skip that if required. I would be without my swimsuits so snorkeling/swimming are out. I am interested in any Oahu specific experience that can't be found in Kauai or Maui (have been to those recently)

I can rent a car if required, but would prefer not to drive.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Burr Ridge, Illinois
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1. Re: Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

There are several threads on TA on this topic so you may want to peruse.

IMO, I would get a car and a map (iPhone is fine) and drive and do whatever comes your way).

If you want a plan then go to:

Arizona Memorial

Schooners for lunch

Punch Bowl

Pali over-look

Kailua for a beverage

Walk Kailua or Lanikai beach

Drive south from Kailua

Stop at sights that grab you - there are many

Park and Walk Waikiki

Dinner either in Waikiki or on way to airport

Return car

Just one suggestion among many wonderful Hawaiian options

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2. Re: Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

You could take a tour of Doris Duke's home - Shangri La. The tour is done through the Hawaii Museum of Art and includes admission to the museum. Tours are give Wednesday to Saturday, 3 times a day. I think the property is closed to tours for all of September.

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3. Re: Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

Honestly, for anyone looking for a quintessential Oahu experience and who doesn't want to go to the beach, Pearl Harbor is the No. 1 pick.

I would just do Pearl Harbor/Arizona Memorial then spend the rest of the time experiencing Waikiki: walking around, window shopping, touring the grounds at the Royal Hawaiian and Halekulani, having a meal or pupus at one of the oceanfront places like the Banyan Court at the Moana Surfrider or the House Without a Key at Halekulani. That will give you all the best, most unique experience Oahu has to offer!

I *think* you can take a bus from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki, but there might be better ways to get there, too. Check with others on those logistics.

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4. Re: Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

Bishop Museum, Iolani Palace! You won't find anything like them anywhere. Stroll Waikiki ... have meal there. Absolutely - the Arizona Memorial! And rent a car to maximize the time you have.

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5. Re: Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

I finally decided the following:

head first to Arizona Memorial

Go to Diamond head (or should I replace it with the Palace and Museum?)

Sunset at Waikiki and head back to airport?

Does this sound like a doable plan 930AM-830PM?

How bad is the parking at Waikiki and Diamond head?

Restaurant suggestions? I am traveling alone so don't need ones with elaborate setting. I would rather appreciate hole-in-the-wall restaurants with unique menu items.

Thanks a lot for helping me plan the trip.

Perth, Australia
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6. Re: Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

I would replace it with the palace and museum .... you can get The Bus outside Pearl Harbor on the main road ... just 10 yards to the left you will see the bus stop. This will take you for a nice drive through metropolitan Honolulu .. and will be about 30 minutes.

Get off in downtown ... and visit the Palace and Museum.

Then get on The Bus again and go into Waikiki for a look around and an early dinner on the beach. (or cab it, it's about a 10/15 minute ride)

There are some nice restaurants on the beach inside the hotels ie... the Sheraton, Royal Hawaiian or even the Halekulani .... Shorebird and Dukes Restaurants may be too noisy for you.

Cab it back to the airport ... takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic.

I wouldn't bother with a hire car, saves looking for a parking spot.

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7. Re: Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

I'm not a fan of the Diamond Head hike -- it's long and strenuous and a lot like climbing stairs. I am a fan of Ioalani Palace.

However, in your case, I'm torn because it would be a shame on such a short trip to spend so much time indoors/away from Waikiki. And the Diamond Head view lets you "take in" all of Waikiki and beyond.

Tough call.

Either way: Bear in mind that both the Iolani Palace and the Diamond Head hike are pretty time-consuming. At Iolani they make you wait a bit then sit through a brief talk before they let you in. Add that to transportation there and it adds up to a good chunk of time. So I guess my point is: stay flexible!

Re where to eat: I would reconsider your hole-in-the-wall strategy. Hole-in-the-wall places with great food can be found in any city. But there aren't many places where you can sit outdoors at a place like House Without a Key or the Banyan Courtyard at the Moana Surfrider and take in that spectacular view over a meal.

If you absolutely insist on looking at four walls and not the sky and ocean while you eat, I recommend Arancino.

And, yes, parking in Waikiki will be a pain -- and expensive. If you rent a car, you'll need to plan your Waikiki parking in advance. Folks in here can help.

Not sure about Diamond Head parking (I took a bus there).

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8. Re: Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

For history buffs, take in the USS Missouri too while at Pearl Harbor. You can do a self-tour that doesn't take too long. Waikiki is very touristy and parking is very limited, you'll pay hotel parking prices unless you park at the zoo. I would head down to the other end of Kalakaua Ave by the aquarium and have lunch on the beach at the Hau Tree Lani in the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. Valet is easy. We stayed there in the Robert Louis Stevenson Suite once. Older but quaint. Great view of Waikiki, beautiful beach whether you swim or not and one of the few if only natural reefs left in Waikiki. The white railing is from the original structure, the McInerny estate. The Nadatorium next door is where Duke Kahanamoku swam and competed. Hooray for the county taking it over to restore! You could ride the bus but I'd rent a car so you can get more done and less waiting. Just beware of very unusual onramps! Iolani Palace is worth the wait though, right behind the AZ memorial. Punchbowl Cemetary would be an option instead of hiking Diamond Head, great panoramic view of the leeward side with out the sweat! Have fun!!

9. Re: Advice: How should I spend 11 hour layover in Honolulu?

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