10 Oahu Historical Sites + Experiences For History Buffs

There are several Oahu historical sites and experiences to enjoy if you’re a history buff.

From Ancient Hawaii to Pearl Harbor, this post covers some unique ways to see well known historic sites, as well as highlighting some little known places that history buffs will enjoy.

Pearl Harbor Tour Experience

1. Pearl Harbor
The most well known and visited historical site in Oahu, Pearl Harbor attracts more than 1.5 million visitors each year. If you’d like to get away from the crowds and experience Pearl Harbor like it was on December 10, 1941 – just three days after the infamous attack – then consider the once in a lifetime Admiral’s Warbird Adventure offered by the flight adventure tour company, Pacific Warbird.

Pacific Warbirds immerses you in the details of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor and soars above the important sites that played a part in the “Day of Infamy” in an authentic World War II airplane. Relive history as you retrace the steps of the Army and Navy airmen in the days following the bombing. Fly on some of the same routes the Japanese attackers used into the airfields at Wheeler, Kāne‘ohe and Bellows. There are many air tours in Hawai‘i, but only one warbird airplane flight. Located in Honolulu, Hawai‘i Pacific Warbirds provides a personal historical experience making it one of the best O‘ahu historical attractions.

Experience an immersive two hour adventure that allows you to relive history as a Naval Aviator and fly Pearl Harbor like it was on December 10th, 1941. Learn more about the Admiral’s Warbird Adventure.

If you want to visit Pearl Harbor on your own, check out these Pearl Harbor sightseeing tips.

Iolani Palace

2. ‘Iolani Palace

As the only Official Royal Palace in the United States, ‘Iolani Palace is a must visit historical site to include on your list of things to do in Oahu. The Palace is a National Historic Landmark and was the home of the original Hawaiian monarchs before Liliuʻokalani was deposed. One fun fact about the Palace: it had electric lights before the U.S. White House.

To get the most out of your tour, learn about the rocky relations between the U.S. and the Hawaiian Kingdom before you go. Learn more about the tour and the Palace at http://www.iolanipalace.com/

Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site

3. Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site
With no entrance fee, visiting the Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site is well worth the visit. Discreetly located behind a YMCA, the Ulupo Heiau is the second-largest temple on Oahu. Estimated to be more than 400 years old, this sacred site was built by menehune (a legendary race of little people in the Islands) and has an altar, oracle tower and wooden images.

Learn more at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/oahu/ulupo-heiau-state-historic-site/

Queen Emma’s Summer Palace

4. Queen Emma’s Summer Palace
Home to some beautiful Hawaiian weddings today, Queen Emma’s Summer Palace or Hānaiakamalama (The Southern Cross), served as a summer retreat for Queen Emma of Hawai‘i from 1857 to 1885, as well as for her husband King Kamehameha IV, and their son, Prince Albert Edward. It is a now a historic landmark, museum, and tourist site preserved by the Daughters of Hawai‘i.

Learn more at http://daughtersofhawaii.org/2013/09/27/queen-emma-summer-palace/

He‘eia Fishpond

5. He‘eia Fishpond
A place for history buffs looking for places off the beaten path, He‘eia Fishpond was used during the 14th through 19th centuries for the fattening and storing of fish for food and also as a source for kapu (forbidden) fish. A fish was kapu to the Hawaiians during its spawning season to allow a variety of fish to reproduce. Although the chief or commoners were unable to catch fish in the sea at specific time spans, they were available in the fishponds because fishponds were considered a part of the land.

Learn more about the fishpond and the plans to restore it at http://paepaeoheeia.org/

Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

6. Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
One of the most famous battles in Oahu took place on the cliffs of Nu’uanu. King Kamehameha battled for control of the island and forced the battle uphill towards the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. Depicted often in Hawaiian artwork, more than 400 warriors fell to their deaths off the 1,000-foot Nu’uanu cliffs. The Battle at Nu’uanu was the last fight to take place in Ancient Hawaii.

When visiting the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout today, you can imagine the decision of thousands of warriors shedding blood before infamously leaping off the edge toward certain death below.

Learn more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nu’uanu_Pali

7. Kukaoo Heiau
Kukaoo Heiau is an ancient agricultural temple believed built hundreds of years ago by the valley’s earliest Hawaiian residents. Located in the backyard of one of Oahu’s most prominent homes, Kukaoo Heiau in urban Honolulu’s Manoa Valley was restored in 1933 and is considered an Oahu historic site.

Learn more by calling 808-988-1287 or visiting www.manoaheritagecenter.org)

Kawaiaha’o Church

8. Kawaiaha’o Church
Known as “The Westminster Abbey of The Pacific,” the Kawaiaha’o Church was dedicated on July 21, 1842 by 5,000 worshippers, led by Kamehameha III, as the “Great Stone Church.”

A beautiful sight to see from the outside or during a service, the Kawaiaha’o Church is located at 957 Punchbowl Street in Honolulu. Learn about the services at http://www.kawaiahao.org/.

Oahu Historical Sites

9. Puu o Mahuka Heiau
Perched on the Pupukea cliffs above Waimea Valley and Bay, Puu o Mahuka Heiau is O‘ahu’s largest heiau and overlooks O‘ahu’s North Shore.

Believed to be more than 400 year sold, the heiau is comprised of three adjoining walled enclosures covering nearly two acres. The temple was once an important element of the social, political and religious systems of the valley’s earliest Hawaiian residents. Down below, Waimea Valley itself claims 78 archaeologically significant sites, including religious temples, fishing shrines, fishponds and house sites.

Learn more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pu%27u_o_Mahuka_Heiau_State_Monument

Kukaniloko Birthstone State Monument

10. Kukaniloko Birthstone State Monument
Kukaniloko Birthstone State Monument is located on a five-acre field in the central Oahu’s upland Wahiawa town, considered the piko (Hawaiian for “belly button”) of the island. The roughly 180 lava-rock stones of the monument, once used as a royal birthsite, are believed to possess the power to ease the labor pains of childbirth. It is also estimated to be more than 900 years-old.

Learn more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kukaniloko_Birth_Site

Pacific Warbirds offers the best Hawai‘i flight adventure tours available. Be immersed in the details of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor and soar above the important sites that played a part in the “Day of Infamy.” Relive history as you retrace the steps of the Army and Navy airmen in the days following the bombing. Fly on some of the same routes the Japanese attackers used into the airfields at Wheeler, Kāne‘ohe and Bellows. There are many air tours in Hawai‘i, but only one warbird airplane flight. Located in Honolulu, Hawai‘i Pacific Warbirds provides a personal historical experience making it one of the best O‘ahu attractions.

Experience an immersive two hour adventure that allows you to relive history as a Naval Aviator and fly Pearl Harbor like it was on December 10th, 1941. Learn more about the Admiral’s Warbird Adventure.