Manoa and Makiki are two prominent neighborhoods of Honolulu situated in the foothills of the Ko'olau Mountains north of Downtown Honolulu. Along with Nu'uanu, these neighborhoods sit within valleys which extend into the Ko'olau Range, varying in character from unpretentious bungalows, 1960s cinderblock walkup apartments and small businesses in the lower reaches of the neighborhoods to upscale apartment and condo complexes on the hillsides above. Manoa is best known as the home of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, the main branch of the largest university in the Hawaiian Islands. Makiki sits beneath the Punchbowl crater, home to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, and has gained recent fame as the birthplace and childhood home of President Barack Obama.
Manoa and Makiki are bisected by the H-1 freeway, and are easily accessible heading East (from Downtown) via the Punahou or University exits and heading West (from Hawaii Kai) via the University or Wilder exits. You can also follow surface streets into the area, namely King Street (one way heading east) or Beretania Street (one way heading west), which run through the southern end of the Manoa and Makiki area and continue west straight into Downtown. Nu'uanu is located along the Pali Highway (State Road 61), which can be accessed from the freeway or, if coming from Downtown, by heading straight inland on surface streets.
If you're coming from Waikiki it's a 15 minute drive. Get on Kalakaua Avenue and head west, towards Downtown. For Manoa, turn right onto Kapiolani Blvd immediately after crossing the canal and continue for about half a mile before turning left onto University Avenue, which will take you straight to the UH campus. For Makiki, stay on Kalakaua Avenue until it ends at Beretania Street, where you make a left, then make a right onto either Keeaumoku Street or Ward Avenue, both of which will cross the freeway and take you into Makiki.
If taking TheBus, both the #2/#13 and #4 routes connect Makiki with Waikiki to the east and Downtown to the west, with the #2/#13 running along King and Beretania Streets and the #4 heading past the UH campus and along Wilder Avenue. The #4 also travels north of Downtown into Nu'uana.
- Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 South Beretania St (corner of Beretania St. and Ward Ave), ☎ +1 808 532-8700. Tu-Sa 10AM-4:30PM, Su 1PM-5PM, M closed. This museum, founded in 1927 by Anna Rice Cooke, encompasses 32 galleries surrounding six courtyard gardens and houses one of the largest collections of Asian art in the United States, with an impressive Western collection to boot, including Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Cezanne, Monet, Modigliani and other masters. In partnership with the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the Museum also conduct tours of Shangri La, Doris Duke's architecturally significant Honolulu estate that contains the country's largest private collection of Islamic decorative art, including more than 3,500 items, many of which--eaborate ceilings, doorways, and tiles--are part of the house itself. $10 adults; age 17 and under free; 1st Wednesday of each month free. Admission includes same-day admission to Spalding House.
- Spalding House, 2411 Makiki Heights Dr, ☎ +1 808 526-1322. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM, M closed. A division of the Honolulu Museum of Art, this is the sole museum in the state of Hawai‘i dedicated exclusively to contemporary art—specializing in art from 1940 to the present. It offers a wide array of visual art, providing interaction with art and artists in gorgeous indoor/outdoor environs. TCM's Makiki digs are located at the historic Cooke-Spalding house and gardens in a residential area. Its collection of works include artists such as Vito Acconci, Josef Albers, Robert Arneson, Jennifer Bartlett, Deborah Butterfield, Enrique Chagoya, Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, William Kentridge, Sol Lewitt, Robert Motherwell, Vik Muniz, Louise Nevelson, Kenneth Price, Andres Serrano, Kiki Smith, Frank Stella, Masami Teraoka, Mark Tobey, Richard Tuttle, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselman, and Peter Voulkos. $10 adults; age 17 and under free; 1st Wednesday of each month free. Admission includes same-day admission to Honolulu Museum of Art.
- The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, 2177 Puowaina Dr, ☎ +1 808 532-3720. Situated in the middle of Punchbowl, an extinct crater, this is the final resting place for over 38,000 personnel from WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. A shrine also commemorates the missing-in-action. It's also the resting place of Stan Dunham, Barack Obama's grandfather. The rim of the crater offers panoramic views of Honolulu. The memorial contains a series of time-line and map-based wall paintings that tell the story of Japanese advances at the beginning of WWII followed by retreat in the face of Allied advances and, ultimately, victory in the Pacific. The cemetery is open year-round (and is closed only on federal holidays other than Memorial Day).
- Queen Emma Summer Palace, 2913 Pali Highway, ☎ +1 808 595-3167. Daily 9AM-4PM. In the Nu'uanu valley is this restored historic building, built in 1847 as the summer retreat of Queen Emma, wife of King Kamehameha IV. Tours of the palace are available and offer a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Hawaiian monarchy. $6 adults, $4 residents, $1 children.
- Walking Tour of Obama's former neighborhood. This is one of the newest attractions in Honolulu; so new that there are no historical markers or signs erected by the city. In the thirty years since "Barry" Obama, as he was known as a youth, attended high school, the neighborhood hasn't changed all that much. Major landmarks along the walking tour, which takes about an hour to complete, include his grandmother's former apartment at the Punahou Circle Apartments, Punahou School (which he attended from 1971-1979), Kapiolani Hospital (where Obama was born on August 4, 1961), the Central Union Church (the site of Obama's baccalaureate), the Baskin Robbins ice cream store where he worked after school, the Washington Middle School Playground (where he learned to play basketball), and his mother's old apartment at 1839 Poki Street. For a route and detailed description of the walking tour check out the maps available on the website.
- Lyon Arboretum, 3860 Manoa Rd, ☎ +1 808 988-0456. M-F 8AM-4PM, Sa 9AM-3PM. A massive botanical garden at the top of Manoa that's run by the University of Hawai'i with a wide variety of tropical plants as well as scenic waterfalls and views of Manoa. Free; donations requested.
- Manoa Falls, 3860 Manoa Road (trailhead at end of Manoa Road, at the entrance to Lyon Arboretum). A 1.5 miles hike to a very tall waterfall. Parking is available a little bit before the trailhead.
- Nu'uanu Pali Lookout (6 miles NE of downtown Honolulu on Hawaii 61 (Pali Highway), right at the Pali Lookout exit). Apr 1-Labor Day: Daily 7AM-7:45PM; Labor Day-Apr 1: Daily 7AM-6:45PM. One of the more popular scenic vistas on O'ahu and the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history, the Pali Lookout provides a panoramic view of Windward O'ahu. Also interesting at this site is the Old Pali Road, formerly the highway connecting Windward O'ahu to downtown Honolulu. A note of caution: due to its location between two high cliffs, the Pali Lookout is often buffeted by high winds. Free.
- Pu'u Ualaka'a State Park. Above Makiki, this park provides a stunning view of southern O'ahu which includes Diamond Head, Waikiki, downtown Honolulu, Punch Bowl Crater and the airport. There are also hiking trails which allow you to completely forget that you are in a city, taking you into a lush rainforest. Tantalus/Round Top Drive is winding mountain road which takes you about 2,000 above sea level to various viewpoints providing panoramic views, including the Pu'u Ualaka'a State Wayside. From Makiki, take Makiki Street from Nehoa Street and make a left on Round Top Drive.
- University of Hawaii Athletics. The southern end of the UH campus is home to most of the university's sports facilities. The baseball team plays at Les Murakami Stadium, while the men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams play at Stan Sheriff Center. Adjacent to these two facilities are the university's swimming pool, tennis courts, track and field stadium, and softball and soccer fields. The football team plays at Aloha Stadium in Western Honolulu.
- Manoa Marketplace, 2851 E Manoa Rd (between East Manoa Road and Woodlawn Drive). A strip mall with about twenty shops including a Safeway grocery store, Long's drugstore (operated by CVS/pharmacy), McDonald's restaurant, a bank and a post office.
- Alan Wong's Restaurant, 1857 South King St, ☎ +1 808 949-2526. Serving top-notch Pacific-Rim cuisine that changes daily. Enjoy your food in style in a restaurant that has a glassed-in terrace and open kitchen. Alan Wong's was the only restaurant in Hawai'i to be listed in Gourmet magazine's List of Top 50 Restaurants in America (it ranked #8). Reservations recommended. Street or valet parking.
- Bangkok Chef. As good and as cheap that an amazing delicious Thai meal can get. The place started as a Thai market, but has grown as a local favorite. The high quality of the food, associated with fresh ingredients and low prices make this spot a must try while in Honolulu.
- Champion Malasadas, 1926 South Beretania St, ☎ +1 808 947-8778. Bakery specializing in a local variety of doughnuts called Malasadas. Malasadas are hole-less doughnuts made fresh and dusted in sugar. It's best to eat the malasadas hot right out of the fryer.
- Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant, 2239 S King St, ☎ +1 808 941-1151. While there are many Thai restaurants on Oahu, this is one of the best and most reasonably priced. The Panang Curry is especially good. You have to drive or take a cab if you're staying in Waikiki, but it's well worth it!
- Eastern Paradise Restaurant, 1403 South King St, ☎ +1 808 941-5858. Basic, decent Korean food at a budget price.
- Hakkei, 1436 Young Street, Suite 103, ☎ +1 808 944-6688. Great Japanese eatery—the food is beautiful to look at and equally pleasurable to eat. Try the "A Course" dinner menu.
- Honolulu Museum of Art Cafe, Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 South Beretania St, ☎ +1 808 532-8734. Situated in an indoor/outdoor setting, it's usually packed with locals. It's the place to go for imaginative salads and sandwiches at a reasonable price. The art isn't bad either.
- Jimbo, 1936 S. King St., Suite 103, ☎ +1 808 947-2211. Specializing in authentic Japanese udon and soba, freshly made on-site. Parking can be difficult, but there are additional parking spaces behind the building. They don't take reservations.
- Sushi Company, 1111 McCully St, ☎ +1 808 947-5411. Owned and operated by a Japanese couple. They offer high grade take-out sushi at budget prices. You can enjoy lunch or dinner here for well under $10.
- Waiola Shave Ice, 2135 Waiola Ave, ☎ +1 808 949-2269. 7:30AM-6:30PM. One of the best places to get shave ice (local equivalent to snow cones). Popular with both locals and visitors. Very long lines during the summer heat, extremely limited parking, but still worth it.
- Zippy's. The island equivalent of Denny's, though far more popular with the locals. There's a wide variety of food, including plate lunches at reasonable prices; their signature dish is their chili, which they prepare in many different ways: served over rice, over a burrito, or over french fries, to name a few.
- Manoa Valley Inn, 2001 Vancouver Dr, ☎ +1 808 947-6019, fax: +1 808 946-6168. 8 B&B rooms in a large cottage. There are no hotels or motels in Manoa, because it is primarily a neighborhood of single-family residences.
- The Plumeria Hostel, 1111 Piikoi St (corner Piikoi and Young Streets), ☎ +1 808 596-2080. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. 2 bed dorms (no bunkbeds) and private rooms, 5 person limit per bathroom 25+.