With a cosmopolitan population of 950,000, Honolulu is Hawaii's largest city. It also is the hub of culture, politics, dining, shopping, business and entertainment in the Aloha State.
After Captain James Cook put the Hawaiian Islands on the map of the world in 1778, Honolulu became an increasingly important stop for ships traveling between America and Asia. First came fur traders, who made fortunes exchanging otter pelts from the Pacific Northwest for teas, spices and silks from China. Later, fragrant sandalwood became such a prized commodity that island forests were nearly stripped clean of it.
Then came the whalers, who plied the seas relentlessly in search of the gentle giants that were the source of rich oil. Around 1843, recognizing the importance of the harbor to local commerce, King Kamehameha III moved the capital of Hawaii from Lahaina, Maui to Honolulu, and it has held that designation ever since.
Honolulu Harbor bustles with activity every day of the week. Fishing boats, tugboats, tour boats, container ships, cruise liners and barges berth at its piers. Its centerpiece, Aloha Tower Marketplace, is a trendy shopping, dining and entertainment complex that sprawls over 11 waterfront acres. Whether you arrive by air or sea, Honolulu is your jumping-off place for an unforgettable Oahu stay.