Living in the mom-and-pop neighborhood of Kaimuki, Hawaii

Just mauka (or to the mountains) of Waikiki and Diamond Head is the cute village-like neighborhood of Kaimuki. This historic town still retains its original feelings of community, peacefulness, and aloha that attracted the founding inhabitants at the start of the twentieth century. Walk along Wai‘alae Avenue, the central street in Kaimuki, and stop in one of the many shops – cafés, salons, exercise studios, restaurants, and boutiques – that are housed in the historic buildings. The neighborhood also has parks that are both kid-friendly and dog-friendly, and its range of housing options, an abundance of good schools, and proximity to downtown, beaches, and the Kahala Mall add to Kaimuki’s appeal. 

What makes Kaimuki special? Here are four interesting facts about this quaint Honolulu neighborhood.

  • There is an outdoor produce stand at 12th and Mahina Avenue that provides a farmers’ market nearly every day for residents.
  • Queen Theater sits near the top of Wai’alae Avenue and has been in existence for more than 75 years. The iconic building is on a list of national historic theaters, and many people hope it will one day be restored.

  • In addition to good public schools, Kaimuki is home to many private and charter schools – Saint Louis School, Sacred Hearts Academy, St. Patrick School, Kaimuki Christian School, Wai‘alae Elementary Public Charter School, SEEQS.
  • Keep It Kaimuki is a grassroots organization founded by small business owners in the neighborhood. In addition to being an organization for collaboration amongst the owners, they also organize events and offer discounts to shoppers.

Getting Around Kaimuki and to Downtown Honolulu

Commute Time. With minimal traffic, it takes 10 minutes to arrive in downtown Honolulu. 
TheBUS serves Kaimuki with routes 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 9s, 14, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 80, 80A, 80B, 82, PH6, 234, and 235.

What’s the weather like in Kaimuki?

Like most of Oahu, Kaimuki has warm weather year-round. They hottest month is typically in August at 81 degrees, and the coolest month is typically in January at an average monthly temperature of 73 degrees. The rainiest month is in March with an average monthly precipitation of 2.9 inches. The skies are typically clear with minimal cloudy days and a high air quality index, making Kaimuki a great neighborhood to walk and shop or take your dog to the park.

Menehune, a fire, and streetcar routes: What is the history of Kaimuki?

Legends of Menehune, or small beings, who magically built tī ovens overnight in these lands abound. In fact, the name Kaimuki comes from the Hawaiian words ‘ka imu kī,’ which mean 'tī oven.’  

The Kaimuki hills, lush forests, and dry areas remained mostly untouched until the turn of the twentieth century. When Kamehameha I was in his quest to unite the islands, he used Kaimuki as a lookout to spot enemies arriving from the ocean. In 1884, Dr. Trousseau, who was King Kalakaua’s physician, won Kaimuki’s 324 acres for $2,325 in an action. Dr. Trousseau used the land as a place for King Kalakaua’s ostriches to roam. And in 1887, he gave land to businessman Daniel Paul Rice Isenberg, who used it for his Wai‘alae Ranch. Cattles and racehorses roamed in the area that now is Wai‘alae Golf Course for around a decade.

The 1900 Chinatown fire was a catalyst for the residential development of Kaimuki. The devastating fire left many Chinese immigrants homeless, and they moved to Kaimuki for a new start. Theodore Lansing and A.V. Gear bought the land from Dr. Trousseau in 1898 and sold small lots – creating Honolulu’s first subdivision. After streetcar routes were expanded in the 1920s, even more people decided to call the Kaimuki community home, buying inexpensive lots along Wai‘alae Avenue and into the into the valleys and hills and also establishing restaurants and businesses in central Kaimuki. The small-town community feel that the early residents created is still enjoyed by residents and visitors today.

Homes in Kaimuki

Kaimuki Housing and People Stats

Dine in or dine out, breakfast or dinner – Kaimuki’s restaurants are delicious

Earl Sandwich. 1137 11th Avenue, Ste 102. A cute sandwich joint serving epic sandwiches – that are fresh, unique, and addicting. 

12th Avenue Grill. 1120 12th Avenue. Sit down to a decadent dinner with incredible service. Customer favorite dishes include the grilled porkchop, Maui cattle, grilled marinated jidori, and Caesar salad.

Himalayan Kitchen.1137 11th Avenue. A local favorite and Kaimuki's only Indian/Nepalese restaurant. It has a low-key intimate atmosphere - great for dates.

Rainbow Drive-In. 3308 Kanaina Avenue. Popular among residents and tourists, this diner serves local plates from morning to night. 

Mud Hen Water. 3452 Wai’alae Avenue. With a casual, trendy vibe, this fun restaurant has innovative small dishes that use local ingredients. They also have amazing cocktails. 

Koko Head Café. 1145 C 12th Avenue. A cute café serving delicious and decorative brunch dishes. Popular picks include the cornflake french toast, short rib loco moco, and the banana Chantilly pancakes.

Saigon’s Restaurant. 3624 Wai’alae Avenue. Dine in or take-out Vietnamese food, including pho, vermicelli, spring rolls, papaya salad, and more.

Tenkaippin Ramen. 617 Kapahulu Avenue. Kotteri ramen, miso ramen, paitan ramen – there is a great place in Kaimuki to satisfy ramen cravings.

Asuka Nabe + Shabu Shabu. 3620 Wai’alae Avenue. Choose your soup base, meats, vegetables, rice, noodles, and sauces, and then enjoy a delicious dinner among family and friends.

Shaloha Pita. 3133 Wai’alae Avenue. Middle Eastern food like fresh-baked pita, hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, and more. They offer take-out and catering. 

A mix of large shopping malls and mom and pop shops

Wai’alae Avenue. Walk along and around Wai’alae Avenue, and you will discover an array of mom-and-pop shops, ranging from clothing boutiques to gaming centers to dog shops to a car dealership.

Kaimuki Shopping Center. 3221 Wai’alae Avenue. This shopping center provides convenience for Kaimuki residents with a Times Supermarket, Longs Drugs, banks, restaurants, and more.

Kahala Mall. 4211 Wai’alae Avenue. Located just outside Kaimuki in neighboring Kahala, this mall has an abundance of shops and entertainment: Whole Foods, Macy’s, boutiques, restaurants, a movie theater, and more.

Kaimuki’s parks have a swimming pool, dog facilities, epic views, and more

Puu O Kaimuki Mini Park. 951 Koko Head Avenue. Also known as Christmas Tree Park for the metal structure that is lit during the holiday season, this peaceful park provides breathtaking panoramic views of Honolulu, Manoa, Kahala, and even Hawaii Kai – perfect for picnics.

Petrie Community Park. 1039 20th Avenue. Located next to Wai’alae Elementary, this park provides grassy areas, a playground, basketball courts and more for the whole family to enjoy the outdoors.

Kapaolono Community Park. 701 11th Avenue. A large neighborhood park with a swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, field, and restroom facilities. 

Kaimuki Community Park. 3521 Wai’alae Avenue. A park in the heart of Kaimuki with a playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, and an indoor gym for league games.

Kilauea District Park. 4109 Kilauea Avenue. With a huge gymnasium, baseball/softball field, tennis courts, and more this is a great park to play sports and exercise.

Diamond Head Bark Park. Diamond Head Road & 18th Avenue. This park provides a doggie paradise: water fountain, poop bags, well-maintained grounds, mini-park for small dogs, and plenty of parking.

Hikes in Kaimuki transgress ridges and rugged terrain

Diamond Head. Park in the Diamond Head State Monument. Bring water and comfortable shoes and be ready for a beautiful panoramic view of Oahu. They hike typically takes around two hours and is paved for ease.

Lanipo and Mau‘umae Trails. A dirt path starts off Maunalani Circle. This ridge hike is for advanced hikers as most of the trail has 500 to 2000 foot drops off the mountains and rugged terrain.

Surf spots are right down the road at Diamond Head

Diamond Head. Park off the road on Diamond Head Road by Diamond Head Beach Park. Down Diamond Head’s slopes lie a variety of reef breaks: Cliffs, Lighthouse, Mansions, and more. There is consistent surf and a constant crew. Waves are best during south swells with north winds.

Biking on Waialae

Hawaii Department of Transportation Bike Map Oahu
Oahu Bicycling League Bike Map

Schools serve kindergarten to 12th graders

Kaimuki High (Public)
2705 Kaimuki Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

“Kaimuki High provides a student-centered learning environment aimed at preparing students for college and careers. It also has one of two high school Performing Arts Centers on Oahu and boasts several Smaller Learning Communities via its Academies to support student success. The campus offers specialized programs for students with limited English skills and special education needs, vocational-technical programs and a broad co-curricular and athletic program. Kaimuki has an active School Community Council, which is comprised of school and community members who meet monthly to help guide the school's academic and financial plans,” according to

William P. Jarrett Middle (Public)
1903 Palolo Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

“Jarrett Middle, in partnership with families and community, strives to teach students to be caring, responsible lifelong learners who make a difference. The school offers a challenging standards-based curriculum, an array of student activities, a positive behavior program and academic support services. Technology resources are widely used as an important instructional tool to increase student learning. Jarrett Middle has implemented Advancement Via Individual Determination, a program that equips students with skills and organizational tools to be successful in their learning and promotes a college-going culture. The School Community Council collaborates with administrators and faculty as an important advisory board to help promote student achievement,” according to

Kaimuki Middle (Public)
631 18th Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

“Kaimuki Middle promotes interdisciplinary instruction, teaming, differentiation, technology use, and guidance to allow students to become personally and academically prepared to graduate from high school ready for college and careers. Courses are aligned to state standards-based benchmarks, which teachers utilize to create grade level curriculum maps. The school has been recognized for band, math and athletic teams, along with service honors. Kaimuki Middle values partnerships with organizations, most notably the Optimist Club of America, and has active parent and community involvement. The School Community Council collaborates with administrators and faculty in approving financial and academic plans,” according to

Aliiolani Elementary (Public)
1240 7th Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

“Aliiolani Elementary's mission is to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment to ensure students acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes to become contributing and caring members of society. The school assembled a robust faculty and staff to deliver a balanced academic and enrichment program. Through the support of our parent organization, The Friends of Aliiolani, as well as various business/community organizations, the school built a learning community rich in technology and dedicated to fostering lifelong learners,” according to

Hokulani Elementary (Public)
2940 Kamakini Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

“Hokulani Elementary continually strives to enhance the curriculum with enriching and differentiated learning activities that integrate concepts across content areas. Along with the teachers’ high expectations for student achievement is the staff’s commitment to providing personalized support for any student who has difficulty in learning or school adjustment. The school’s comprehensive student support system enables all students to benefit from a wide array of academic and social support services. In 2005 and 2012 Blue Ribbon School designations were bestowed upon the school for students’ excellent academic achievement in reading, math and science,” according to

Prince Jonah Kuhio Elementary (Public)
2759 S. King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826

“At Kuhio Elementary, teachers discuss student work to analyze needs and share effective strategies. Part-time teachers tutor selected children in reading and math, and students have access to an afterschool homework help and tutoring program. Based on student data, each grade level develops curriculum and instruction, teacher professional development and activities to meet the specific needs of their students. The school's academic program is enriched and reinforced by a strong music and arts component,” according to

Palolo Elementary (Public)
2106 10th Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

“Palolo Elementary is focused on literacy and science, integrated with math, language arts and social studies to help prepare students for college and careers upon graduation. Sustainability and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are among the school priorities. Tutoring is provided through support from various partners, including the Rotarians of East Honolulu and the Service Learning Programs (P-20 Palolo Pipeline) from Chaminade University, Kapiolani Community College, the University of Hawaii. The school community council annually reviews the academic and financial plan, along with strategic goals. Palolo Elementary is implementing courses to assist parents with their children's education,” according to

Hospitals and Health Centers

The Queen's Medical Center
1301 Punchbowl St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Open 24 Hours

Straub Medical Center
888 South King Street
Open 24 hours

Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children
1319 Punahou Street
Open 24 hours

Kaiser Permanente Honolulu Medical Office
1010 Pensacola Street
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday

Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center
3288 Moanalua Rd, Honolulu, HI 96819
Open 24 hours

Minute Clinic
4211 Wai’alae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, Located in Longs Drugs in Kahala Mall
Open 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Island Urgent Care Kapahulu
449 Kapahulu Ave #104, Honolulu, HI 96815
Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Everyday

Emergency Hurricane Shelters

The following hurricane evacuation shelters are provided by the City and County of Honolulu Department of Emergency Management to offer some protection from high winds, flying debris, storm surges, and flooding. If possible, the Department of Emergency Management recommends the public to “Shelter-in-Place.” Note that more information about shelters will be broadcast over local media and official social media sites during an emergency. Also, you should bring a three-day supply of food, water, clothing, medication, personal hygiene items, and a mat or cot for sleeping, since the shelters are not stocked with supplies. 

Kaimuki Middle 
631 18th Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

William P. Jarrett Middle 
1903 Palolo Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

Aliiolani Elementary 
1240 7th Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

Prince Jonah Kuhio Elementary 
2759 S. King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826

Palolo Elementary 
2106 10th Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816