Local April 29, 2022

Honolulu – Hawaii’s Only True Metropolis

Honolulu is Hawaii’s only true metropolis, plus its capitol and seat of government. It is an area with a rich mosaic of history, from its humble beginnings as a fishing settlement to a modern, urban city. In 1845, Kamehameha III decreed Honolulu the capitol of the Islands from its former location in Lahaina, Maui. Shortly afterward, Iolani Palace, the Cathedral of St. Andrew and Aliiolani Hale, now the home of the Hawaii State Supreme Court were built. Today, the entire island is, in a way, Honolulu—the City and County of Honolulu. Nearly 200 years later, this evolving city is the state’s shopping, nightlife and entertainment destination, while still retaining its cultural roots and historic sites.

Aloha Tower Honolulu

Capitol District
There’s a lot packed into four blocks of Honolulu’s downtown core. A melding of Hawaiian monarchy and U.S. government, you can easily explore the city’s history and culture with a self-guided walking tour. Start off with a visit to Kawaiahao Church. Known as Hawaii’s Westminster Abbey, this beautiful church was the house of worship for Hawaiian royalty. The building is made from 14,000 coral blocks. The next block up is Aliiolani Hale. Originally designed to be a palace, the stately building was used in the 1870s as the seat of government for the Kingdom of Hawaii. Today, it’s the home of the Hawaii State Supreme Court. Fronting the building is a gold-leaf statue of Kamehameha the Great. Walking up Mililani Street, next tour Iolani Palace. The palace served five Hawaiian monarchs and had electricity and telephone lines installed before the White House. Across from the palace is Hawaii’s state capitol. Its architecture is symbolic of the Island itself, from the 40 columns representing palm trees, the legislative chambers shaped like volcanic cinder cones to the reflecting pools symbolizing the ocean. The last stop is the Hawaii State Art Museum. This free museum features the art of Hawaii and is housed in an ornate building, once an Armed Forces YMCA building.