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Best Landmarks in Honolulu

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Wedged between the Hawaii State Library and the Iolani Palace, the original archives building was the first building in the USA to be solely dedicated to archival purposes. Designed by architect Oliver Green Traphagen and completed in August 1906, it still is the repository dedicated to collecting and preserving government records that include many documents from the Hawaiian monarchy to present legislative sessions. There is an invaluable collection that includes photographs, documents on Hawaiian history, royal documents and even logs of Pacific Ocean voyages. The building is a reflection of Hawaiian renaissance revival architecture that includes a 30x40 foot fireproof steel vault. - Lottie Tagupa

The Falls of Clyde is a historic ship that was constructed in 1878. In the present day, it remains as the sole oil tanker that is sail driven. Occupying great monumental significance, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in the year 1989 and further it stands stern as a museum ship. In 1968, it was surrendered to the Bishop Museum and was opened to the civic public. However, the condition of the iron-hulled ship has depreciated over time and it is no longer accessible to the general public. The year 2008 marked the transfer of ownership of the celebrated ship to a non-profit organization called The Friends of Fall of Clyde, which intends to restore her.

On December 7, 1941, the battleship USS Arizona was sunk, taking 1100 sailors with it. In 1961, a solemn white monument was erected above the midsection of the ship. The deck of the Arizona lies now six feet (1.83 meters) below the surface of Pearl Harbor and is clearly visible from the monument. Take the shuttle launch from shore to the monument and view the dark shape of a once-great ship with its silent crew. Free guided tours are offered 8a-1p daily. Visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial afterward.

Also known as Le'ahi, this crater of an extinct volcano got its name when Western explorers mistook calcite crystals they found there for diamonds. Framing the fabric of the island, the crater is riddled with a tracery of vents and volcanic remnants. The historic trail to the 761-foot (231.9 meter) summit starts inside the crater and is an easy, but steep, 0.8 mile (1.3 kilometers) hike to the top. Adorned with craggy corrugations and tufts of sun-bleached grass, Diamond Head affords astounding views of Oahu's charming landscape, including some exceptional views of its beaches and locales.

Located just a few steps from the Iolani Palace, this classic medieval fortress was originally built in 1871 on the grounds of where the Hawaii State Capitol Building is. Halekoa (as it is historically called) was the home of the Royal Guard of the Hawaiian Kingdom until the overthrow in 1893. In the post monarchy years, it was the headquarters of the Hawaii National Guard. It also served as an annex for government offices and disaster shelters. In 1965, the building was moved stone by stone to the Palace grounds. Today, the building is home to the offices for the Friends of Iolani Palace, a gift shop, visitors and ticket office of the Palace Grounds.

Built in 1882 by Hawaii's last king, David Kalakaua, this stately three-story building is a real treat to explore. After the overthrow of the King's sister Queen Liliuokalani in 1893, the structure served as the territorial and state capitol until 1969. The Palace Galleries showcase jewels and regalia from the days of Hawaiian royalty. Guided tours are offered every 30 minutes and reservations are suggested.

Stand on the deck of this imposing old structure that has been painstakingly cared for and extensively renovated. The "Mighty Mo" is where General Douglas MacArthur proclaimed the end of World War II in September of 1945. The great vintage battleship now sits at permanent anchor across from the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. You can visit the Arizona Memorial first to get a sense of the complete story.

This graceful pink, tile-roofed California-Spanish mission style structure was built in 1929 and now serves as Honolulu's City Hall. Hale (pronounced HA-lay) means "house" in Hawaiian. The open interior courtyard is patterned after the Bargello, a 13th-century palace in Florence, Italy. Public space in the high-ceilinged lobby is often used for art exhibits, concerts and other public events. Between mid-December and the beginning of January, huge statues of Santa and Mrs. Claus in Hawaiian attire, penguins, reindeer and other winter decorations cavort across the expansive lawn and fountains. Admission is free.

Built by Christian missionaries in the 1830s and 1840s, this church has always been frequented by Hawaiian royalty. The handsome gray edifice, listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, was constructed of 14000 coral blocks. The upper gallery houses a collection of portraits of Hawaiian monarchs. Traditional Hawaiian-language services are held here every Sunday. The pews at the rear are still reserved for descendants of Hawaii's royalty.

This beautiful white historical structure was the home of Captain John Dominis, a rich merchant who built it in the 1840s. Queen Lili'uokalani married his son, John Owen, and also lived here at one time. Up until 2001, it served as mansion to the governor, following which a new residence was built in its vicinity to serve this same purpose. Washington Place is now a museum open to people eager to learn of Hawaii's history. The vintage furniture and elegant architecture are its distinguishing features, and it is definitely worth a visit. Admission is free, but donations by visitors are encouraged. Reservations for touring must be made 48 hours in advance.

Koko Crater Railway Trail is a trail for every nature enthusiast. The old railway tracks here, which were used once for transporting goods, are now defunct and used as stairs to head up to the mountain. The trail covers a large part of the Koko Head and offers spectacular views of the Honolulu shoreline. The panorama is a major highlight and is definitely worth the challenging climb. Visitors can also explore the Botanical Garden located at the top of the Koko Crater.

Designed by American artist T.R. Gould, the King Kamehameha Statue sits in front of Aliiolani Hale in the heart of historical Honolulu. This statue is the more popular of four, two of which are located on the big Island of Hawaii and another in Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. The Honolulu statue was dedicated in 1893 as a part of King David Kalakaua's coronation ceremonies that took place just across the street on the grounds of Iolani Palace. The statue pays homage to King Kamehameha the Great, who unified the Hawaiian Islands under the Kamehameha dynasty that continued uninterrupted until overthrown in 1893. - Lottie Tagupa

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