In 1888, when Hawaii was still a monarchy, King Kalākaua commissioned a magazine under royal charter to be Hawaii's ambassador to the world. That magazine was Paradise of the Pacific. For nearly a century, Paradise of the Pacific promoted local business and tourism by assuring citizens of the United States that the Islands were civilized. Noted contributors to Paradise of the Pacific included Henry B. Christian, Helen Thomas Dranga, Arman Manookian, and Edwin North McClellan.
In 1966, Paradise of the Pacific became HONOLULU Magazine. Honolulu shifted its focus to news and features aimed at an affluent residential audience. It covers dining, culture, arts, politics, entertainment in and around Honolulu and throughout Hawaii. Today, Honolulu is among the handful of publications in the U.S. that have chronicled the events of an entire century. It is the oldest magazine in the state of Hawaii.
Honolulu is also known for its annual dining awards called the Hale Aina Awards. In 1984, Honolulu established its Hale Aina Awards as the Islands’ first local restaurant awards. Before then, culinary awards in the Islands had only been given by Mainland travel interests.
Since 2004, Honolulu has held a photo contest which is open to all photographers and asks them to submit photos they've captured of Hawaii throughout the last year.
Honolulu is also known for its annual statewide fiction contest, though the last contest took place in 2006.
Its parent company is PacificBasin Communications which is a part of aio Hawaii family of companies. PacificBasin Communications also publishes Hawaii Business Magazine, Hawaii Home and Remodeling, Hawaii Magazine, HONOLULU Family Magazine, Lei Chic, Whalers Village Magazine and HONOLULU Shops Waikiki Magazine.