Honolulu is the largest city and the capital of the state of Hawaii.
Living in Hawaii, the phrase “it pays to live in paradise” is something us locals take into consideration. Specifically here on Oahu, trying to find the “right” place for an affordable price can be difficult. Even before purchasing a home on Oahu, there are factors to consider before making any decision.
Surrounded by lush beauty and an endless amount of adventures, no wonder we should feel “lucky to live Hawaii.” Oahu is a good example of a “melting pot”. With so many cultures around us, we’re able to learn and understand more about the world in various ways.
Each neighborhood on Oahu is unique in its own way. Everywhere you go, you’ll notice a rich diversity of distinct neighborhoods, communities and cultures.
Ala Moana could be considered the “heart” of Honolulu. If you just drive along Kapiolani Boulevard, there are so many shops, restaurants, bars and weekly events happening in the area. Ala Moana is so convenient that everything is just walking distance, which means you don’t have to drive a lot AND you SAVE GAS. If you’re lucky enough, you could even catch a fireworks show happening every Friday!
Just a few minutes away from Ala Moana, is the revitalized urban community of Kakaako. Here, you can explore a variety of retail shops, restaurants and entertainment which include Ward Consolidated Theatre. Every Saturday, you can also check out the Farmer’s Market and support local farmers and businesses.
As famous as Waikiki is, some of the best festivals take place here. Those include Spam Jam, Honolulu Festival, Aloha Festival, Duke’s Oceanfest and Ukulele Festival. These events area great for the ‘ohana!
Just mauka (or to the mountains) of Waikiki and Diamond Head is the neighborhood of Kaimuki. 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.
Manoa is home to Hawaii's Rainbow Warriors at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Watch UH's volleyball and basketball teams at Stan Sheriff Center or if you head deeper into the valley, you'll find an array of unique shops and eateries, most with a warm, local, and laid-back ambiance.
If you’re in Downtown Honolulu, take some time to explore historic Chinatown, a variety of eclectic restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs and boutiques. Significant landmarks like Hawaii Theatre, Iolani Palace, Aloha Tower, and King Kamehameha the Great statue can also be found in Downtown. Held every month, block parties such as First Fridays is usually the “go-to” party with many. Bars, restaurants, art galleries all stay open during the late hours. This festive scene is definitely something to check out. Just a heads up before heading out to downtown, parking is limited.
Hawaii Kai/Kahala is a largely residential area of Honolulu. Here, you can test your physical abilities by hiking Koko Head. If not that, you can drive over to Kahala Beach or China Walls for amazing views of the island. If you’re thirsty for some craft beer, Kona Brewing Company in the Koko Marina Center is a great place for pau hana. Nothing like beers and pupus to end the day.
Kailua is a small beach town located on the north eastern side of the island. This quaint and charming residential community is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the island, one which includes Lanikai Beach. Past Kailua, you'll find the neighborhood of Kaneohe.
When in Waimanalo, you’ll find yourself in a more rural community with just a few shops and restaurants around. One interesting thing you’ll stumble upon are trucks parked on the side of the road selling fresh coconuts, dried fish, maybe even lilikoi butter. Many people continue to visit Waimanalo because of the jaw-dropping views of the ocean. With turquoise waters and long stretches of sand, this side of the island provides picturesque views unlike any other.
Oahu’s North Shore is home to some of the most exhilarating surfing competitions. During the months of November through January, it’s always great to check out one of many surf competitions held at various beaches on that side of the island. Since it does take awhile to go to the North Shore, you might as well explore other famous spots which include the historic town of Haleiwa and garlic shrimp trucks in Kahuku. Continuing past Kahuku, you'll find the beach towns of Laie and Hauula.
When driving out to the West Side of Oahu, you’ll eventually find yourself away from the hustle and bustle of town. About 60 minutes away from Ala Moana (without traffic), the west side is great to see spectacular views of some of the most beautiful beaches on the island including Tracks, Makaha and Yokohama Bay. For those of you with a 4x4 vehicle, the west side is your playground. If you like golf, there are approximately 11 golf courses on the Ewa side of the island – with six courses in Ewa Beach alone. The lagoons in Ko Olina is another great way to make the most of your weekend.
Weather in Hawaii is great throughout the year. With the same weather all year round, it does get cooler (according to “Hawaii standards”) during the winter season. From mauka (mountain side) to makai (ocean side), temperature wise, can be different. If you live on the windward side of the island, it tends to rain more than town side and on the west side of the island. In town, weather tends to be hotter with some slight breeze here and there, so having a fan or air conditioning system is a must.
The unique thing about living on Oahu is that we don’t realize how small this place is until we unexpectedly run into someone we know. This probably happens frequently and at this point, we’re used to this feeling. Even with Oahu being as small as it is, there are still a lot of things to do.
If you’re in town, you can enjoy visiting many shops & boutiques, restaurants, bars & nightclubs, cafes, etc. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, grab your friends and drive out to the North Shore for a fun-filled day cliff jumping at Waimea Bay. Maybe to end the day, gather the ‘ohana for a potluck barbecue at Ala Moana Beach. With so much activities around us, there’s always something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the most important things to consider when finding a home on Oahu is commuting. Traffic on Oahu is something we all hate. Unfortunately, this continues to be an issue for many of us. Commute time from home to work is a factor that home buyers need to consider. If you’re living in the central or west part of Oahu, traffic does get hectic in the morning and also during “pau hana” time, which is usually between 4-6pm. Plan your schedule and consider the amount of time it’ll take you to get anywhere on Oahu.
Overall, living on Oahu allows you discover that each part of the island has its own uniqueness. In Hawaiian, the name “Oahu” translates to “gathering place”. Cultural wise, living on Oahu provides us many opportunities to share our own culture as well as learn the culture of others. Although there are some pros and cons to living on Oahu, there are aspects to it that make the lifestyle here quite beneficial. For the most part, the fact that we’re surrounded by an abundance of untouched beauty and a playground of exploration, living on Oahu can be an exciting adventure.
Honolulu is the largest city and the capital of the state of Hawaii.
Kailua is best known for its natural beauty & outdoor activities.
Oahu’s "Second City" continues to grow at a rapid pace.
Good local food, exceptional surf, and amazing ocean views.
Living in Waikiki is like being on vacation year-round.
Newly built condos, microbreweries, hidden speakeasies, and more.
An older neighborhood located north of Pearl Harbor.
Hawaii’s first planned community, located in central Oahu.