The capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is also the business and financial center of Hawaii. There are a few hotels in the downtown area but except for businessmen, most people prefer to stay in Waikiki. On the western edge of downtown, Chinatown has some of the best Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants on Oahu. There are also herb shops, meat and produce markets, art galleries and lei stands in Chinatown.
Honolulu is on the southern coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The name Honolulu means ""protected bay"" - Honolulu is protected by the Koolau Range to the north and Sand Island protects the harbor to the south. This bustling city has a culturally diverse population of around 800,000. The tropical climate and some of the world's best beaches draw visitors from all nations. Honolulu has many historical and cultural attractions as well as Waikiki; known for its beautiful beach and Diamond Head, an extinct volcano that has a 360-degree view from its summit. Waikiki Beach is the main visitor destination in the Honolulu area. In addition to the beautiful white sand beach and crystal clear surf, Waikiki, just west of Diamond Head, includes points of interest such as the Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki Aquarium, and Kapiolani Park. For shopping, the Ala Moana Shopping Center, located between Downtown and Waikiki, has over 200 stores and is one of the largest open-air malls in the country. Nearby, Ala Moana Beach Park has a great reef-protected swimming beach that is popular with visitors. Just west of Downtown Honolulu is Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, another popular tourist spot. The USS Arizona Memorial is a tribute to the men that lost their lives in the bombing at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. The USS Missouri was the last battleship built during World War II.
Honolulu has two distinct neighborhoods. Downtown Honolulu, which also includes Chinatown, and Waikiki.
Waikiki, at only 2 x miles long, is one of the main tourist destinations in the world. The beautiful blue waves breaking against the white sand beach lures families and surfers alike to play in the sun. Kalakaua Boulevard, Waikiki's main strip, has restaurants, shops, and hotels.
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