Waikiki Neighborhood Guide

On the south shore of Honolulu lies the iconic neighborhood of Waikiki. Known worldwide for its view of Diamond Head crater, beautiful beaches, pristine waters, constant sunshine, luxury hotels, incredible shopping, and amazing entertainment, many people also call Hawaii’s tourist mecca home. Residents enjoy condos with incredible views, amenities, and proximity to the beach. Some Waikiki condos can even be used as short-term vacation rentals. The spirit of aloha and natural beauty of Hawaii remain in Waikiki, as the urban densely-populated neighborhood has nicely maintained parks, colorful tropical flowers, an aquarium, a zoo, art galleries, surfing, boating, biking, and more. Living in Waikiki is like being on vacation year-round. 

Interesting Facts

  • Every Friday night look up to the sky to view a spectacular fireworks show presented by Hilton Hawaiian Village.
  • One of many festivals in Waikiki is the annual Spam Jam, which is a street festival that celebrates the people of Hawaii’s love for Spam. The festival features great food and entertainment in a family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Waikiki Beach has difficulty maintaining its shoreline. Erosion has been a problem since the late-1800s, and attempted solutions have ranged from bringing in the sand to building walls.

Transportation

Commute Time. With minimal traffic, it takes 10 minutes to arrive in downtown Honolulu. 
Buses.
TheBUS serves Waikiki with routes 2, 4, 8, 13, 19, 20, 42E, 14, 22, 23, 24, 98A, W1, W2, W3, and 2L.

History

Waikīkī means sprouting water in Hawaiian, describing the freshwater springs that filled the marshy lands hundreds of years ago. In the 15th century, the Oahu chief created an irrigation system, utilizing the fresh water to grow taro, and built innovative fishponds – supplying his people with an abundance of food and allowing time for leisurely activities like surfing. In 1794, King Kamehameha landed in Waikiki on his quest to unite the islands. His victory resulted in Waikiki becoming a royal retreat for the next one hundred years.

At the turn of the twentieth century, tourists began to discover the royal retreat, and entrepreneurs wanted to capitalize on Hawaii’s paradise market. To treat erosion problems, rid of pesky mosquitos, and make more solid land, the Ala Wai Canal was dredged. The canal successfully created more land, and soon many resort hotels and private homes were built, including the Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Waikiki would turn into a military base with the Royal Hawaiian Hotel serving as soldiers’ barracks. After the end of the war, the tourism boom began again, with private residences being converted to high-rise condominiums and new shopping, parks, and entertainment centers being built in the urban Hawaii paradise.

Real Estate Statistics

Waikiki Housing and People Stats

Restaurants

Duke’s Waikiki. 2335 Kalakaua Avenue.  A famous restaurant with delicious dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy the beachfront views while listening to live music at happy hour. 

Marukame Udon. 2310 Kuhio Avenue. With lines that often stretch out the door, this famous udon joint serves a variety of dishes – noodles and more.

Tikis Grill & Bar. 2570 Kalakaua Avenue. Tiki torches and beautiful waterfront views of Waikiki compliment this place’s local food dishes and drinks.

Hula Grill Waikiki. 2335 Kalakaua Avenue. Located above Duke’s this classic Hawaiian restaurant has a broad menu and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. They also have an oceanfront view and excellent customer service. 

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin. 255 Beach Walk. Delicious Japanese food is served in this quaint restaurant. Enjoy delicious tonkatsu and more along with unlimited cabbage salad.

House Without a Key. 2199 Kalia Road. Dine in this classy, clean restaurant located inside the Halekulani Hotel. Favorites include the coconut cake and mai tais. They also have live hula dancing some evenings.

Arancino di Mare. 2552 Kalakaua Avenue. Decadent Italian dishes can be found just across the street from Waikiki Beach. Sit inside or out.

Oahu Mexican Grill. 2520 Kalakaua Avenue, Floor 2. Serving farm-to-table ingredients messed between fresh tortillas or scattered on salads, this made-to-order Mexican joint offers scrumptious food in a modern cantina style ambiance.

Tucker & Bevvy. 2586 Kalakaua Avenue. Walk from the beach to the bottom floor of the Park Shore Hotel to grab refreshing acai bowls, smoothies, sandwiches, and more at this cute café.

Azure Restaurant. 2259 Kalakaua Avenue. Sit down to a fine dining experience inside the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Popular dishes include the lobster tails, the scallop and foie gras, and the ribeye steak. 

Shopping and Entertainment

International Market Place. 2330 Kalakaua Avenue. This recently opened shopping center features over 80 stores and restaurants, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Fabletics, Eating House, and Swarovski. Multiple events – like yoga, lei-making, and hula – add to the bustle of beautiful center.

Royal Hawaiian Center. 2201 Kalakaua Avenue. Spot celebrities while enjoying the many restaurants and shops – from luxury brands to local boutiques. 

Honolulu Zoo. 151 Kapahulu Avenue. Elephants, tigers, and lions – enjoy a day at this well-maintained zoo with a variety of animals, both large and small.

Waikiki Aquarium. 2777 Kalakaua Avenue. With an oceanfront location, enjoy viewing a variety of marine life: jellyfish, seals, fish. They also have a unique gift shop and event space.

Parks



Kapiolani Park. 2840 Paki Avenue. Park in one of the many spots on both sides of the park to enjoy a few hours or an entire day in this picturesque park. Festivals and fairs are held almost weekly. There are tennis courts, workout equipment, many open fields, and an abundance of clean restroom facilities. Walk across the street to take a dip in the pristine Waikiki waters.

Fort DeRussy Beach Park. 2161 Kalia Road. This park is open to both military members and civilians. Soft sand and an array of amenities for rent along with restroom facilities. The shallow water makes it a nice place for the whole family to enjoy.

Kuhio Beach Park. 2453 Kalakaua Avenue. In the center of Waikiki, this beach park is home to beautiful sunsets, surfers, restroom facilities, and more.

Kaimana Beach. 2863 Kalakaua Avenue. A clean beach near the Natatorium. The park is more peaceful than central Waikiki beaches and attracts local residents for BBQs on the weekends.

Golf

Ala Wai Golf Course. 404 Kapahulu Avenue. A well-priced public course that is one of the most golfed courses in the world. The 18-hole mini course is decently maintained and also offers club rentals.

Hiking

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.

Surfing

Kaisers. Park at Ala Moana Boat Harbor. This consistent reef break draws both locals and tourists. It is a crowded wave that holds in small to overhead waves. Beware of the shallow rocky bottom, especially during low tide.

Ala Moana Bowls. Park at Ala Moana Boat Harbor. South shore surf contests are typically held at Bowls. This world-class wave is known for its barrel in the shallow rocky waters. Beware of urchins and pollution from the Ala Wai Canal.

Threes. Park in the Fort DeRussy lot. Paddle out to the right of Halekoa Hotel. Due to the long paddle out and stronger undertow, this right and left, long break is not as crowded. Fast, hollow waves form during a south swell with southeast winds.

Queens. Immediately past the Duke statue. Paddle out in front of the main rental board area to be greeted by this consistent right-and-left fun wave. The break hosts professionals to beginners and is fun for longboarding.

Walls. Park at the zoo. This break is located off the pier-like structure near the zoo. Jump off the wall and into the water to surf wedging waves. For experienced surfers only.

Tonggs. Park near Kapiolani Park and walk through neighborhoods to find beach access between houses. This reef wave breaks right and left and typically does not have not the learn-to-surf crew. It is in front of the Gold Coast housing.

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Not for traditional surfing, but perfect for stand-up-paddle boarding.

Biking

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

Schools 

President George Washington Middle (Public)
1633 S. King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
808-973-0177
https://sites.google.com/a/washingtonms.k12.hi.us/washington-middle-school-2/ 

“Washington Middle offers a variety of relevant and rigorous educational opportunities to meet the needs of its diverse population. Support programs provide services to disadvantaged, second language, special needs, at-risk and academically gifted and talented students. Community service remains an integral part of the educational experience, with teachers planning service-learning opportunities for their students. The school is a state MATHCOUNTS champion and a national champion in chess. Students compete in science fairs, botball and first Lego league robotics, spelling bee, video production, art and music competitions and chess. Athletically, the school offers canoe paddling, wrestling, grade 6 track, cross country, an intramural and extramural program and Special Olympics. Washington Middle is fortunate to have an active parent organization, the WMS Ohana, as well as the School Community Council to assist in school improvement initiatives,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

President Thomas Jefferson Elementary (Public)
324 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
808-971-6922
https://www.jeffersonsurfers.k...
 

“Jefferson Elementary's Primary School Adjustment Program has received national certification from the Children’s Institute in Rochester, New York. Students are guided to achieve proficiency in the Common Core State Standards and are able to take music, physical education, library, Hawaiian studies and character education classes. They may also participate in Student Council, Garden Club, Junior Police Officers, Art Club, Speech Team, Math Team, Spelling Bee, and Hawaiiana programs. Jefferson Elementary is happy to be home to two classes from the Hawaii Community Action Program - Head Start Program. Afterschool activities include the A-Plus After School Program run by the Moiliili Community Center and the 21st Century After School Program, which is funded through the 21st Century Learning Center grant. The school has an active School Community Council,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Waikiki Elementary (Public)
3710 Leahi Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
808-971-6900
http://www.waikikischool.org/
 

“Waikiki Elementary's vision is to nurture and practice thinking, collaboration and thoughtfulness. The school offers such programs as Philosophy for Children, creative movement and dance, Hawaiian studies, computer, peer mediation, drama, reading improvement to support emergent readers and afterschool enrichment academies. Flourishing partnerships with the Master of Education in Teaching program and the Philosophy Department at the University of Hawaii provide exceptional opportunities for professional growth supportive of student achievement. Waikiki Elementary's emphasis on developing thinking skills and promoting mindful behaviors has not only resulted in enhanced student performance but has led to the emergence of students with a strong sense of civic responsibility. The school has a strong School Community Council and regularly involves all factions of the school community in essential decision making,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Hospitals and Health Centers

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

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 Rd, Honolulu, HI 96819
Open 24 hours
808-432-0000

Urgent Care Clinic of Waikiki
2155 Kalakaua Ave #308, Located in the Bank of Hawaii Building
Open 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
808-924-3399

Urgent Care Hawaii
1860 Ala Moana Blvd #101, Honolulu, HI 96815
Open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday
808-921-2273

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. 

Waikiki Elementary
3710 Leahi Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815

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