Kalihi Neighborhood Guide

To the east of downtown Honolulu and to the west of Salt Lake, lies the diverse close-knit community of Kalihi. Comprised of both long-time and new residents, commercial businesses and restaurants, houses and apartments, Kalihi has various options for living and working in its neighborhoods: Kalihi Uka (the mountains), Kalihi Waena (between), and Kalihi Kai (the harbor). Residents enjoy proximity to health centers, box retailers like Costco and Home Depot, and peaceful parks, as well as educational sites sharing Hawaii’s history, like Kamehameha Schools and the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.

Kalihi is a convenient commute to downtown Honolulu, the airport, and military bases. And with three new rail stations set to open soon – Middle Street, Kalihi, and Kapalama – the neighborhood will become even more convenient and livable. The City and County of Honolulu approved plans for Kalihi to have Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), outlining a vision for the community that includes pedestrian- and biker-friendly roadways along with diverse housing and employment opportunities, new shopping and services, reinvigorated educational centers, and even a promenade along Kapalama Canal. Kalihi’s diverse history, affordable housing, pleasing parks, excellent employment opportunities, and convenient commute make it a desirable mixed-use neighborhood to call home.

History

Kalihi means “the edge” in Hawaiian. Kalihi was once an ahupua‘a, or land division, for the early Hawaiian settlers that included freshwater from Kalihi Stream and saltwater from the currently-located Sand Island. Early Kalihi residents built innovative fishponds and enjoyed the lush valleys that filled with fresh waterfalls after a rain. Hawaiian ali‘i (royalty) spent summers in Kalihi, building homes on the islands off the shore.

In the early 1900s, Kalihi was developed as a residential district for mainly middle-class Hawaiian, Portuguese, and Chinese residents. By the late 1930s, Kalihi evolved into a working-class affordable neighborhood and welcomed people from around the world – Japanese, Filipinos, Hawaiians, Chinese, Koreans, Puerto Ricans, and Portuguese – many who had come to Hawaii to work on plantations. Some military families also settled in Kalihi, enjoying the convenient commute to Fort Shafter and Pearl Harbor. During this time, commercial buildings and a jail were built, adding an industrial flair to the neighborhood. Today, Kalihi continues to be a mixed-use community for working families from around the world, but with the new rail project and a vision of revitalization for the neighborhood, its history is set to evolve.

Real Estate Statistics

Kalihi Housing and People Stats

Restaurants

Helena’s Hawaiian Food. 1240 North School Street. A long-time, award-winning, mom-and-pop shop serving delicious Hawaiian food with heartwarming service.

Liliha Bakery. 515 North Kuakini Street. Open from breakfast to dinner, this clean restaurant offers diverse local dishes that will surely satisfy. Save room for baked deserts like coco puffs.

Teishoku. 1620 North School Street. A cozy Japanese restaurant in Kamehameha Shopping Center that serves delightful miso butterfish, mochiko chicken, sushi, ramen, curry, tempura, and more.

Ray’s Cafe. 2033 North King Street. Reasonably priced local food with huge portions. Favorites include fried chicken, hamburger steak, and prime rib. They also have breakfast.

Nico’s Pier 38. 1129 North Nimitz Highway. Enjoy a waterfront breakfast, lunch, or dinner at this popular place serving fresh fish, local favorites, appetizers, beverages, and more.

Ha Long Pho Noodle House. 1414 Dillingham Boulevard. Kalihi has a Vietnamese restaurant that serve delicious dishes with decadent garnishes in a clean shop with ample room.

Alicia’s Market. 267 Mokauea Street. Grab a plate lunch on-the-go at this great takeout mom-and-pop shop. They have poke, roast pork, boiled peanuts, and more.

Palace Saimin. 1256 North King Street. A true hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a simple menu that includes handmade saimin and barbecue sticks – all served with great service.

Bob’s Bar-B-Que. 1366 Dillingham Boulevard. Bob’s serves mouthwatering meats at a reasonable price. Customers also enjoy their giant fries and onion rings. 

Alejandros Mexican Food. 2831 Kalihi Street. Deep in Kalihi Valley in a pink building, you will find delicious Cali/Tex-Mex style food. Open from lunch and dinner, they are also BYOB.

Shopping and Entertainment

Kapalama Shopping Center. 1210 Dillingham Boulevard. Near Honolulu Community College, this recently renovated center has a variety of businesses, shops, and restaurants.

Kamehameha Shopping Center. 1620 North School Street. Off the Likelike Highway, this convenient center hosts a Times Supermarket, Longs Drugs, Fun Factory, Jeans Warehouse, and variety of other restaurants and shops.

Dillingham Plaza. 1505 Dillingham Boulevard. A popular place with a lot of convenient options: a supermarket, a thrift store, restaurants, office supplies store, dental office, and more.

The Dole Cannery. 650 Iwilei Road. Once a thriving factory where locals would turn fresh pineapples into canned goods, the building has transformed to an event space with a number of restaurants and unique shops. The Regal Dole Cannery Stadium Movie Theater is also a great place to water a new flick.

City Square Shopping Center. 1199 Dillingham Boulevard. With ample parking and many businesses – and even picnic tables – this center is a great place to grab a bite to eat or to go to the supermarket, pet shop, hair salon, toy shop, or bank.

Bishop Museum. 1525 Bernice Street. Explore Hawaiian culture, history and more at this renowned museum. They also have an incredible planetarium and science center and exhibits to engage all ages.

Wild Tiki Fun Zone. 735 Iwilei Road. Play laser tag, mini golf, arcade games, or do a round of bowling. They also party specials and a restaurant.

Parks

Kalihi Valley District Park. 1911 Kamehameha IV Road. A clean park with numerous facilities: a field, basketball courts, tennis courts, indoor gymnasium, pool, and a boxing area. The park also offers a range of organized activities for all ages.

Kalakaua District Park. 720 McNeill Street. This popular park holds games for just about any sport, BBQ parties for local families, and grass for dogs and children to play. There is a multi-purpose building that has a gymnasium and a boxing area.

Sand Island State Park. 1499 Sand Island Parkway.  Drive to the end of Sand Island Access Road, and you will discover an almost secret park. Despite its industrial surroundings and World War II remnants, the park has beautiful views, long walking paths, baseball/softball fields, clean bathrooms, a playground, and space for camping, fishing and swimming.

Kamehameha Community Park. 1400 Kalihi Street.  This park has a recently renovated children’s playground along with a multi-purpose building and green space with organized activities for all ages are held year-round.

Pu‘unui Community Park. 2555 Puunui Avenue. With a big grassy area along with a basketball court and children’s play area, this is a nice, quiet park to play a game or relax.

Peter Buck Mini Park. 1222 Houghtailing Street. Located next to Farrington High School, this park has a basketball court, a playground, picnic tables, and a large grassy field.

Hiking

Bowman Trail. Park on Na‘ai Street. The trail starts behind Kalihi Elementary School. This is a strenuous and steep hike that offers spectacular ridge views of Kalihi, downtown Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, and more. The trail is minimally maintained and is 12 miles round-trip.

Kamanaiki Trail. 1803-1807 Manaiki Place. Take the stairs at the side of the house to discover a relaxing trail filled with strawberry guava. At the end of the trail is a relaxing, cleared grassy area with fern all around.

Kalihi Ice Ponds. 3501-3699 Kalihi Street. A short hike that transgresses slippery terrain, downed trees, and thick vegetation to arrive at a pond with a beautiful, picturesque tiered waterfall. The hike starts in a residential area, so hikers should be respectful.

Nāpu’umai’a. 1852 Alewa Drive. The trail starts to the right of the Board of Water Supply park area and is marked with ribbons. This uncrowded intermediate ridge hike goes through a pine and strawberry guava forest and offers views of Honolulu and Waianae on the top of the ridge.

Surfing

Sand Island. Park at Sand Island Recreation Area by the showers. This right and left reef break offers a fun wave that is best on south swells. It is uncrowded but there are some curious sharks in the water.

Biking

Hawaii Department of Transportation Bike Map Oahu (Above): http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/bike-map-oahu/

Oahu Bicycling League Bike Map: https://www.hbl.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/OahuBikeMap_COMPLETE_14x28in_04.02.17Reduced.pdf

Schools 

Governor Wallace Rider Farrington High (Public)

1564 North King Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96817

808-832-3600

http://farringtonhighschool.or...

“Farrington High has established smaller learning communities for the entire student body. Students in grades 9 and 10 are on teams and all students in grades 11 and 12 are in one of ten interdisciplinary academies. There are several integrated vocational programs, including a health academy that was nationally recognized for excellence, business, teacher education, culinary arts, Hawaiian, engineering, international studies, law and justice, creative arts and technology and sports academies,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Governor Sanford B. Dole Middle (Public)

1803 Kamehameha IV Road

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

808-832-3340

https://www.dolemiddleschool.o...

“Dole Middle extends learning time and offers structured levels of support for students to meet their varying needs. Dole has partnered with College for Every Student, the YMCA, and After-School All-Stars to provide academic training, support and enrichment activities. Enrichment activities include basketball, volleyball, cross country running, computer fun, Japanese language, music, arts and crafts, cooking and dance.,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

King David Kalakaua Middle (Public)

821 Kalihi Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

808-832-3130

http://www.kalakauamiddle.org/ 

“At Kalakaua Middle, a Title 1 school, learning teams and continuous professional development assist teachers with improving instruction for student success. The school includes double periods of language arts and mathematics for 6th-8th graders, safety net classes after school, on Saturdays, during the winter, spring intercessions and summer. In addition to intramural and extramural programs, Kalakaua Middle has a chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, seventh- and eighth-grade classes targeting gifted and talented students in English and math and various afterschool clubs, including Book Club, Science Club, Robotics & VexBots Club, and a Morning Broadcast Club. The school is implementing Advancement Via Individual Determination strategies to promote college readiness and is supported by UPLINK funds to provide afterschool programs on character education. The school uses all of its state and federal funds and community donations to implement its academic and financial plan and to provide comprehensive student support service interventions,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Mayor Joseph J. Fern Elementary (Public)

1121 Middle Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

808-832-3040

http://www.fernschool.k12.hi.u... 

“Fern Elementary's teachers monitor student progress and utilize data collected from monthly tests and class work to assist in additional small group instruction. Students in all grades needing additional help with reading mastery to attain grade-level proficiency are tutored by part-time teachers. The school's math curriculum encourages students to problem solve and explain processes using a variety of methods. Students are encouraged to use critical thinking skills while problem-solving. Science, social studies, music, technology, physical education, art and guidance are also part of the curriculum,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kaewai Elementary (Public)

1929 Kam IV Road

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

808-832-3500

http://www.kaewaielementary.co... 

“At Kaewai Elementary, a veteran team of professionals works diligently to provide rigorous and relevant learning activities for students. The Success for All reading program and Investigations math program serve as the core academic agenda. The school remains steadfast in its commitment to continuously improve its services to more effectively meet the needs of students and strengthen their learning experiences,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kalihi Elementary (Public)

2471 Kula Kolea Drive

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

808-832-3177

https://www.kalihielementary.o... 

“Kalihi Elementary sets high expectations for all students, provides challenging curricula and effective teaching. All teachers participate in professional development focused on efforts to improve reading and math skills of all students. Timely analysis of formative and summative data guides instruction through scheduled progress monitoring of all students in reading and math. The school's academic and financial plan is reviewed annually by the School Community Council and then presented to parents and the community. Kalihi Elementary has strong partnerships with organizations and businesses that support students and families as the school and community strive to accelerate student achievement,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kalihi Kai Elementary (Public)

626 McNeill Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96817

808-832-3322

http://kalihikai.org/ 

“At Kalihi Kai Elementary, teachers are challenged to provide all students with experiences to develop their language and thinking skills as they build background knowledge and experiences necessary to meet the new Common Core State Standards. All classroom instruction includes the development of speaking, reading, writing, thinking and listening skills, through standards-based integrated units developed by grade-level teams. Based on the analysis of student results, each grade level team continuously revises and refines their respective standards-based integrated units that are taught consistently through the Kalihi Kai Literacy System,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kalihi Uka Elementary (Public)

2411 Kalihi Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

808-305-6200

https://www.ukaeagles.k12.hi.u... 

“Kalihi Uka Elementary provides early intervention and prevention strategies to support students in their academic achievements. Students with specific learning barriers may have their needs addressed through the English language learners and special education programs. Small group instruction and individual tutoring in reading and math are provided during the school day and after school. The faculty and staff implement the Positive Action Character Education program and school-wide Rituals and Routines as part of its Positive Behavior System focusing on the three expectations for students to be always safe, responsible and respectful. Enrichment clubs include the Kids in Sports Teams, Performing Arts, Robotics and Book Club. The A+ program serves families for afterschool care needs. Parent involvement is encouraged and supported through the Classroom Parent Program. The School Community Council has elected faculty, school staff, student, parent and community representatives who advise the school on planning, budgeting, implementation and evaluation of the academic and financial plan. Monthly meetings are held to provide a collaborative forum for all role groups,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kalihi Waena Elementary (Public)

1240 Gulick Avenue

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 

808-832-3210

http://www.kwes.k12.hi.us/ 

“Kalihi Waena Elementary fosters a climate of collaboration and aligns its curricular and instructional efforts with Hawaii state standards. The school has a comprehensive network of formal and informal student supports to meet the diverse needs of its students and provide quality services. A GATE program helps students excel in technology, fine arts and physical education. Kalihi Waena Elementary, in partnership with Fern Elementary and Linapuni Elementary, Headstart and KCCA preschools, is part of a P-3 grant to build transitions for students moving through the educational system. The grant supports efforts to have all students reading on grade level by third grade. Kalihi Waena Elementary has benefited tremendously from the continuing partnership with the Coast Guard and other volunteer programs that have provided opportunities and experiences for the school, families and community. Parent involvement is a critical component to support the success of each student,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kapalama Elementary (Public)

1601 North School Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96817

808-832-3290

http://www.kapalama.k12.hi.us/ 

“Kapalama Elementary is focused on addressing learning gaps in student achievement and improving instructional practices. Parents, educators and staff at Kapalama Elementary all nurture children’s self-esteem and promote literacy and critical thinking. The school annually conducts a curriculum fair to display student work and to promote a better understanding of standards-based learning. The school enjoys strong partnerships with area businesses and organizations that help provide learning opportunities and promote civic responsibility. It also offers several parent workshops on topics such as physical education, science, reading, math, career planning, bullying, disaster preparedness and safety,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Linapuni Elementary (Public)

1434 Linapuni Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 

808-305-2150

http://www.linapunischool.org/ 

“Linapuni Elementary focuses on student achievement using developmentally appropriate practices through a standards-based curriculum and comprehensive support for all students. Literacy through reading and love of books and writing are reinforced throughout the curriculum. The school uses Harcourt Trophies and Singapore Math as its reading and mathematics programs, respectively. The school's pre-k programs include Creative Curriculum and Literacy, a science-based reading program. Linapuni Elementary's School Community Council meets monthly. The Parent Community Networking Center Facilitator established a Tuesday Club for parents to strengthen meaningful parent involvement,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Puuhale Elementary (Public)

345 Puuhale Road

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

808-832-3195

http://www.puuhaleschool.org/ 

“Pu'uhale Elementary strives to enrich the quality of community life by providing students and staff an environment that is safe, nurturing and caring. The school is committed to maintaining effective communication, goal-oriented teamwork and data-driven planning focused on student achievement. Pu'uhale Elementary provides literacy, math, science and technology supports, as well as programs to develop students' artistic abilities. Parents, volunteers and neighboring businesses work side by side in supporting the school and students,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Hospitals and Health Centers

The Queen's Medical Center

1301 Punchbowl Street

Open 24 Hours

808-691-1000

Straub Medical Center

888 South King Street

Open 24 hours

808-522-4000

Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children

1319 Punahou Street

Open 24 hours

808-983-6000

Kuakini Medical Center

347 North Kuakini Street

Open 24 hours

808-536-2236

Kaiser Permanente Honolulu Medical Office

1010 Pensacola Street

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday

808-432-2000

Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center

3288 Moanalua Road

Open 24 hours

808-432-0000

Ho’ola Health and Urgent Care

2055 North King Street, Ste 101

Open 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Everyday

808-208-8700

Kalihi Kai Urgent Care

2070 North King Street, Ste A1

9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday

808-841-2273

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. 

Governor Wallace Rider Farrington High 

1564 North King Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96817

Governor Sanford B. Dole Middle 

1803 Kamehameha IV Road

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

King David Kalakaua Middle 

821 Kalihi Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

Mayor Joseph J. Fern Elementary 

1121 Middle Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

Kaewai Elementary 

1929 Kam IV Road

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

Kalihi Elementary 

2471 Kula Kolea Drive

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

Kalihi Kai Elementary 

626 McNeill Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96817

Kalihi Uka Elementary 

2411 Kalihi Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

Kalihi Waena Elementary 

1240 Gulick Avenue

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 

Kapalama Elementary 

1601 North School Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96817

Linapuni Elementary 

1434 Linapuni Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 

Puuhale Elementary 

345 Puuhale Road

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

Transportation

Commute Time. With minimal traffic, it takes 8 minutes to arrive in downtown Honolulu and 28 minutes to arrive in Kapolei. 

Buses. TheBUS serves Kalihi with routes A, 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 43, 53, 85, 85A, 88, 88A, and PH4.

Interesting Facts

  • Stories have been told about wallaby sightings in Kalihi Valley. These 10 to 15 pound mini-marsupials native to Australia were brought to Hawaii in 1916 and seem to still have a home in the Kalihi hills.
  • An older name of the Kalihi ahupua‘a was Kalihilihiolaumiha, which translates to “the eyelashes of Laumiha.” Laumiha, a goddess said to have once roamed the lands, has a name that means “intense silence,” perhaps alluding to the peace of Kalihi Valley.
  • Fifty percent or more of Kalihi residents use other modes of transportation than cars, such as bicycles and the bus.
  • Taro once thrived in the freshwater near Kapalama Canal. Lo‘i Kalo Park has restored taro farming to the area and hosts educational events for the community.
Close