Honolulu is the largest city and the capital of the state of Hawaii.
The island of Oahu is home to Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii. It is the 3rd largest island in terms of area and is the most populous of all the Hawaiian islands. There are 54 census-designated places on Oahu, however, the City and County of Honolulu has profiled 36 neighborhoods managed by boards. Types of homes encompass everything from plantation-style to craftsman-style to custom single-family houses and three-story walkup apartments to luxury high-rise buildings and more.
Commonly referred to as the "The Gathering Place," Oahu is a true melting pot of culture. Across the urban, suburban, and rural landscapes, you'll meet a diverse mix of locals, newcomers, and visitors. While Oahu moves at a faster pace than its neighboring islands, it's worth noting that the Hawaiian way of life, overall, embraces a more laid-back pace than the majority of mainland metropolitan areas.
Buying a home on Oahu is an outstanding real estate investment over time. According to HiCentral, Oahu's median price for single-family homes in 2013 was $650,000. As of August 2023, Oahu's single-family median price is $1,110,000. Condo median prices from 10 years ago was at $332,000. Last month's condo median price was $515,000. Of course, every investment will vary depending on where and what you buy, but you can learn more about the different neighborhoods below.
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 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 within walking distance, which means you don’t have to drive a lot AND you SAVE GAS. Depending on the floor you live on, 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 Waialae 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. There's nothing like beers and pupus to end the day.
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. Oh, and don't forget about Waimanalo Country Farms. We visit the farm every year to pickup our pumpkins for Halloween.
Kailua is a small beach town located on the 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.
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 Oahu 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 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. Or you can head to Ewa Beach to visit Wai Kai, the new surfpark with the world's largest deep-water standing. 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 central or west Oahu, traffic will be hectic in the morning and early evening, which is usually between 4-6pm. You may also want to consider how the sun rises and falls. Driving in traffic for 2 hours with the sun hitting your face may be a factor when deciding where you want to buy a home. The smart thing to do is to plan your schedule and consider the amount of time it’ll take you to get anywhere on Oahu
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.