Former court of Hawaiian royalty, military history, a melting pot of Pacific culture on this island paradise.

Welcome to Honolulu, HI

It has been called many things, but perhaps simply “paradise” has been the most accurate of names. Situated on the island of Oahu in the blissful Pacific climate of Hawaii, this perfect town has beckoned tourists and locals alike with its native charm, exciting attractions and its perfect beaches. It is Honolulu, Hawaii.

About Honolulu

Originally settled by Polynesian immigrants roughly a thousand years ago, Honolulu has always been a central city in the Hawaiian archipelago—it was court to King Kamehameha and eventually home to some of the first Western settlements in the islands. Since then it’s become a major financial center, the State Capital, and a citywide celebration of the culture, diversity and natural beauty that make Oahu so wonderful and unique.

Along with all the Luau celebrations and grass skirts of the stereotypical Hawaiian adventure, Honolulu is also home to a thriving financial sector, headquarters to numerous banks & airlines … even military defense and international trading play a substantial role in the local economy.

Residents enjoy events like the Honolulu International Film Festival and impressive attractions like the Bishop Museum and the Honolulu Zoo—proving that Hawaii has much more to offer than just the traditional tourist experience.

That’s the real local secret, something the natives have known for over a thousand years now: the unique and lasting appeal of Honolulu.


A Sheltered Harbor for Happy Settlers

Centuries before the first Europeans ever arrived, Polynesian explorers made the seemingly impossibly journey across hundreds of miles of open ocean in small kayaks before arriving in the appealing harbor near Honolulu … a name that itself means “sheltered harbor.”

As Western expansion finally crept into the Hawaiian archipelago, the King decided to move his court to Honolulu—transforming the sheltered harbor into a fully modernized, American-style capital city. What followed was a century of violent and rapid growth, one which included the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and a massive influx of new immigrants.

Through it all, the city was gradually becoming the trade and financial capital of the State. Agriculture thrived on nearby islands and Oahu became the transportation hub for ferrying commerce and tourists back & forth.

Home to Hawaii’s main airport and booking some $10 Billion each year in revenues from tourism, the Honolulu of today offers one of the world’s highest standards of living. Downtown Honolulu is the political, financial and commercial center of the archipelago.

With a largely Asian (54%) population of roughly 390,000, Honolulu has cultivated a unique local culture with a vibrant nightlife and music scene. But with more than half of the state’s 7.2 Million tourists entering Hawaii through Honolulu Airport—and populating the city’s thousands of hotel rooms—the local culture has become even more elusive and ever-evolving …


The Great Pacific Melting Pot

One of the greatest things about the Hawaiian islands—besides the best-in-the-world weather—is the eclectic local culture … the patchwork of ancient tribal history mixed with the imported traditions of so many million immigrants.

That’s why you might eat the best fish tacos in your life from a beachside stand … then enjoy the latest in trendy Asian entertainment at the local theater. Paradise has a way of bringing out the best in the people around you, and Honolulu allows you to enjoy that like no place else.

Endowed with the largest single collection of Asian and Western Art in all of Hawaii, the Honolulu Museum of Art also offers a surprising variety of contemporary and even Islamic Art that could take days to work your way through.

There are incredible events, great local festivals and world-class resorts. Participate in the Aloha Run or the well-known Honolulu Triathlon.

You can visit the iconic Aloha tower or the Kawaiahao Church … take a ride on the charming Waikiki Trolley or just enjoy the overwhelming presence of nature at the Honolulu Zoo. From bike paths to hiking trails … from blissful surf and sun to endless snorkeling adventures, greater Oahu also offers every bit of tropical paradise we’ve come to expect from Hawaii.

It’s the kind of place where if you’re not overbooking your time off, you’re probably doing it wrong.


The Heart of the Hawaiian Economy

As mentioned above, Honolulu is the very heart of Hawaii’s tourist industry, its financial system and even the state’s political infrastructure. So far secluded from the rest of the United States, this puts the city (or the “town” as it’s jokingly referred to locally) in a position of immense power among Hawaii’s larger urban centers.

So it’s no surprise that a number of the State’s largest banks—including Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank and more—have all chosen to set up their headquarters in Honolulu’s busy downtown.

And the city seems to be in good hands, too …

State officials are taking advantage of the thriving local economy to initiate a number of key projects that will improve Hawaii’s prospects well into the future.

Consider for example the new mandate to cut off the state’s addiction to foreign oil and transition to 100% renewable energy by 2045; cutting out some $5 Billion in excess energy costs each year.

And with major infrastructure projects already underway; from new residential construction to a massive $16.5 Million project on the city’s Airport, it seems clear that the local officials are doubling down on the most important parts of the city’s economy—and at a perfect time, too …


The Hottest of Tropical Markets

Back in 2009, the rush to rub elbows with Hawaii’s rich & famous reached a fever pitch; with rents in downtown Honolulu reaching the highest levels of any American metropolitan area. Prices have since cooled down, but the area remains characteristically expensive.

Condo developers are currently scrambling to keep up with the city’s booming condo demand—announcing new multi-million dollar projects on a regular basis—but prices are still high enough to price out most of the locals.

With attractive new low-rises offering spectacular beachfront views, it can be easy to see why so many buyers are purchasing vacation condos in Hawaii … and transitioning from being “Tourists” to being “Visitors” …

Top Condo Buildings in Honolulu

1. Illikai Apartments
2. Ilikai Marina
3. 1350 Ala Moana Blvd
4. Waikiki Banyan
5. Hawaii Kai Peninsula
6. Pua Leahi Apartments
7. Diamond Head Alii
8. Diamond Head at Pualei Leilani
9. Hale Pua Lei
10. The Esplanade

Honolulu Key Points of Interest

1. USS Arizona Memorial
2. Diamond Head
3. Honolulu Zoo
4. Hawaii State Art Museum
5. Iolani Palace
6. Waikiki Aquarium
7. Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor
8. Bishop Museum
9. Aloha Stadium
10. Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House

Honolulu Schools

The best of the Public & Private Schools in Honolulu

Founded in 1928, offering a curriculum of foundational learning and character development in a multi-cultural setting.

Preparing 6th-8th grade students for college and career with a program of rigorous academics and extra-curricular activities.

Large public high school providing a program of comprehensive academics, athletics, and the arts to a diverse population.

Public research university with notable programs in Agriculture, Environmental Science, and Engineering.

Restaurants & Dining

Enjoy fine dining or regional favorites!

Contemporary French-Hawaiian fusion cuisine featuring local ingredients and wine pairings.

Since 1946, a favorite of locals and visitors for authentic Hawaiian specialties.

Innovative Euro-Asian seafood and island favorites in an elegantly stylish setting.

Celebrated chef Alan Wong showcases upscale Hawaiian cuisine and locally sourced ingredients.

Award winning French fine dining experience and spectacular ocean views.

Shopping in Honolulu

Honolulu is a great place to shop luxury brands and local boutiques in outdoor settings.

Upscale retailers and local entertainment in the largest shopping mall in Hawaii.

Over 50 outlet stores belonging to the world’s best known fashion and accessories retailers.

Outdoor shopping destination for luxury brands and restaurants along the beach.

Premium outdoor mall featuring upscale brands, local vendors, dining, and entertainment.

Parks & Recreation

Spend the day on a sunny beach or enjoy one of Honolulu's tropical parks.

3860 Manoa Rd, Honolulu 96822

1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu 96814

3840 Paki Ave, Honolulu 96815

100 Hanauma Bay Dr, Honolulu 96825

Kalakaua Blvd, Honolulu 96815

Honolulu Transportation

Find out how to get around town when in Honolulu.

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Michael HousesHonolulu Local Guide