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15 Things You Must Know Before Moving to Honolulu, HI

15 Things You Must Know Before Moving to Honolulu, HI Written by Aislyn Hobbs

Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital, is a thriving, fascinating metropolis. Honolulu has a strong and flourishing commercial center, an explosive art scene, a rich history, and some of the best beaches in the world. The city is like something out of a fantasy, with its thriving economy, stunning scenery, and close-knit people.

Here are fifteen things to know before moving to Honolulu, HI!

1. A flourishing economy

Honolulu is a popular vacation spot for Americans, and the state of Hawaii as a whole welcomes up to 10.4 million people annually. Because of the high number of visitors, the tourism industry is the major employer in Honolulu.

Although the tourism industry is the largest employer in Honolulu, the healthcare industry is also a major employer with major employers such as Altres Medical, Queen’s Health Systems, and Hawaii Pacific Health. Obayashi, the University of Hawaii Foundation, the Hawaii State Department of Education, and Temenos AG are some of the city’s most significant employers.

2. Lots of events to attend

Honolulu has many exciting events that take place throughout the year. The Honolulu Festival is an amazing free event in Honolulu that celebrates local culture through art, live music, and dance before wrapping up with a procession through Waikiki. Attend Lei Day, a Hawaiian cultural event replete with hula performances and the exchange of lei (flower garlands).

To spend an evening full of style, sound, and taste, visit the Honolulu Night Market. Bring your best Hawaiian music and dance to the Aloha Festival and share the Aloha Spirit with over a hundred thousand people. Join other runners from throughout the country in Honolulu in December for the country’s fourth-largest marathon.

3. Nightlife is exciting

Looking for some nightlife in Honolulu? Check out WorkPlay, a cigar and craft cocktail lounge that hosts evening concerts. Honolulu Tavern is a neighborhood bar with great happy hour deals and a pool room for friendly competition. 

Bar Leather Apron is one of the most incredible spots in Honolulu to sample creative takes on old favorites like the Japan Old Fashioned and the Garden Negroni. Go to Jose Dynamite & Friends and have a good time watching stand-up with comedians like Tyler Smith and Kitty Pineapple.

4. A great cuisine scene

 You’ll hear Hawaiians rave about many different cuisines, but one of the most well-known is the tasty and satisfying plate lunch. You can get your hands on them just about anywhere, from makeshift stands by the side of the road to fine dining establishments. Helena’s Hawaiian Food offers traditional luau dishes and plate lunch specials such as Short Ribs   Style, Kalua Pig, and Lomi Salmon.

Duke’s Waikiki, a restaurant on the beach, serves fantastic breakfast. Try some Spam musubi and rice balls at Musubi Cafe Iyasume, a popular Japanese establishment in the area. At Merriman’s, you can enjoy some of the freshest seafood around while listening to live music. Visit Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha for homemade Hawaiian ice cream and gourmet fruit syrups.

5. A ton of museums to visit

Honolulu’s museums are among the city’s top tourist draws. Visit the Hawaii State Art Museum in the middle of Downtown Honolulu for free to see cutting-edge, thought-provoking works by Hawaii’s creative community. Visit the Honolulu Museum of Art, the state’s largest art museum, which features exhibits from Asia, Europe, and the United States. Interested in learning about the past and the present? Visit the Science Adventure Center, learn about Ancient Hawaii at the Bishop Museum, and watch presentations at the Planetarium.

6. There are many lovely beaches

Hawaii’s stunning beaches are well-known for their beauty and cleanliness, and they’ve been kept that way through various conservation programs. To ensure the safety of Hawaii’s beachgoers, the state’s Department of Public Health maintains a program to regularly test the water at various beaches. 

Along its two miles, stunning Waikiki Beach is home to some of the best swimming and surfing in Hawaii, no matter the time of year. You can go swimming, wading, or kayaking in the calm waters off Kailua Beach. Hanauma Beach is famous for its snorkeling due to the abundance of colorful fish and the relative calmness of the ocean. Have you been looking for family-friendly beaches in Honolulu? The tranquil waters, gorgeous white sand, and convenient location just off Kamehameha Highway at Mother’s Beach make it a great spot for families.

7. Getting around is easy

The city of Honolulu provides its citizens with numerous transportation options. The Bus, which serves an average of 113,000 passengers per week, is the most trusted form of public transportation in Honolulu. 

Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is a great choice for people living in Honolulu who need to go to another island or another country. Flights between  the islands of Hawaii typically take between 20 and 50 minutes and can be booked with Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, or Mokulele Airlines.

8. Outdoor enthusiasts would love this city

Honolulu is just the place to explore your adventurous side. Diamond Head State Monument, created by a volcanic explosion, is a great place to spend the afternoon hiking and taking in the breathtaking views. The Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve is an excellent place for a stroll through the beautiful scenery or a visit to the world-famous Manoa Falls. 

Visit the Honolulu Farmers’ Market for delicious baked items and locally produced foods. At Coral Crater Adventure Park, you can go zip-lining or climb the Adventure Tower for an exciting experience. Discover the beauty of the Hawaiian landscape atop a horse at Gunstock Ranch. Or you may go skydiving with Pacific Skydiving Center from 11,000 feet above.

9. The people are genuinely friendly

Honolulu is a place where you’ll feel like you’re among family. And no, that doesn’t mean that everyone is just being nice; it means they actually care about you and want to know more about your life. 

It’s not unusual to have people throw a smile at you as you walk past them or offer to help you out when they see you could use the help. Having a great day is possible, and it often is, thanks to the people you share it with.

10. Life is slow and easy

Type-A personalities won’t thrive in the slow-paced, relaxed atmosphere of Honolulu. The general population slows down their pace. The drivers patiently wait for others to merge. Even at the corporate level, progress is slow. Everyone takes their time here.

The city of Honolulu runs on “Hawaiian time,” which operates slower than the rest of the rest of the world. The pace of life in this city is slow and easy.

11. The city is quite diverse

You’ll likely have multicultural neighbors wherever you live in Honolulu. There are Hawaiians, and there are also those who are not native to Hawaii but were born there or who have lived there for an extended period of time, who are considered to be residents of Hawaii. 

Honolulu is home to a sizable Asian, Pacific Islander, European, and other immigrant populations. The cuisine, music, and art are all fantastic, and you’ll hear various languages spoken.

12. An interesting history

Honolulu means “sheltered harbor” in Hawaiian, and history has it that after Kamehameha I conquered Oahu, he moved his royal court to Waikiki, which later became the heart of modern Honolulu. Honolulu became the capital in 1845, and many significant landmarks were subsequently constructed there to mark the occasion. 

It was the influx of foreign missionaries and trade ships throughout the 19th century that ultimately led to the end of the Hawaiian monarchy and the territory’s eventual annexation by the United States.

13. A shopper’s paradise

If you love to shop, you’ll love Honolulu. When it comes to outdoor shopping malls, none compare to the size of Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center. With over 80 stores and eateries, including high-end favorites like Saks Fifth Avenue, Swarovski, and Fabletics, International Market Place is one of the newest shopping malls in the region. 

Shoppers looking to spend a lot or a little can find what they’re looking for at Ward Village Shops.

South Shore is packed with popular shopping destinations such as Pier 1, T.J. Maxx, and Nordstrom Rack.

14. Endless family-friendly activities

Are you looking for exciting family-friendly activities in Hawaii? You can find whatever you need in Honolulu. Spend some time at the Honolulu Zoo, where you can see more than 900 animals and explore a beautiful botanical garden. Visit the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center and enjoy exhibits like Rainforest Adventures and Hawaiian Rainbows.

Fort DeRussy Beach Park is a great place to go swimming or play a game of pickleball. Visit Kapiolani Park, one of Oahu’s largest parks, for a family outing. Take your family to Jungle Fun Island for a night of friendly competition in the arcade. Go to Kids City Adventure and let the kids burn off some energy on the indoor playground. You can also take the kids swimming at Magic Island Beach, a man-made lagoon that is protected from the ocean’s crashing waves.

15. A high cost of living

Life in Honolulu is indeed fantastic, but it also comes with a high price tag, or “paradise tax,” as the locals call it. The cost of living in Honolulu is 70% higher than the national average, with housing taking the major bulk of the expenses. The city’s median home price is $852,051. What this means is that Honolulu is on par with other major cities, such as New York and San Francisco.

In Conclusion

Life in Honolulu is paradise; the lovely beaches, friendly people, thriving job market, lots of events to attend, and easy pace of life. However, you must know that all of these benefits don’t come cheap, so it’s best to be prepared for that.

Learn More About Living in Honolulu, HI

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