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Hawaii Cities and Towns

What is it Like Living in Oahu?

The largest city on Oahu (nickname The Gathering Place) is the state capital of Honolulu, home to more than 350,000 people. Oahu also has many other major residential areas, from small cities to villages and everything in between. This list also includes some popular Honolulu neighborhoods, such as Waikiki – the famous Diamond Head, Kahala – most prestigious address on Oahu, and Manoa – home to the University of Hawaii.

So which neighborhood shall I live? It depends on your lifestyle. Do you prefer a city life with everything connected with short commute? Or do you prefer lush greenery, home with yards and do not mind driving to town.  Perhaps you want to live close to your workplace.

Kakaako, on the south tip of Honolulu, is a vibrant neighborhood with casual eateries, retail, and farmers’ market. You will find mid-priced to ultra-luxury condos. Blocks to the Ala Moana Beach Park and the largest open air Ala Moana Center.

East Honolulu is a desirable residential area with mostly upscale neighborhoods. Kahala – large estates and luxurious oceanfront homes. Panoramic views of the Diamond Head, ocean and sunset can be found on homes in Waialae Iki and Hawaii Loa Ridge. Aina Haina and Niu Valley are in the wealthiest zip code of 96821. Hawaii Kai with marina front residences with boat docks. Offers great dining, shopping, golfing, and ocean activities.

Kailua is a town on the windward coast of Kailua Bay. Primarily a residential community with a centralized commercial district along Kailua Road. It was home to Barack Obama’s winter White House. Kailua and Lanikai beaches are world-renowned. Beyond its stretches of sands, there are hiking trails, surf spots, farmer’s markets, restaurants, and local boutiques.

Over the Koolau Mountain lies Kaneohe. One of the two largest residential communities on the windward side (the other is Kailua). The commercial center of the town is spread mostly along Kamehameha Highway. Three golf courses. Marine Corps Base Hawaii lies across the south end of Kaneohe Bay.

The leeward (west) side of Oahu has a lot to offer. From beautiful beaches, Koolina lagoons, hiking trails, waterpark to the second city of Kapolei where you could live, work and play. Kapolei Commons and Ka Makana Ali’i Mall have quality restaurants, luxury movie theaters, and retail stores. For larger homes (in Oahu standard), your money goes further here. The rail system starts from Kapolei and runs through the Ala Moana Mall when it is eventually completed. Newer homes can be found here together with golf course facing residences. Neighborhoods include Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Maili, Makaha, Makakilo, Nanakuli and Waianae.

In the heart of Oahu is the central Oahu between the Koolau Mountains (to the east) and Waianae Mountains (to the west). Predominantly residential and pineapple plantations. Major neighborhoods include Pearl City in the south and home to the Aloha Stadium, and the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Mililani in the center is the first planned community with spacious homes. Four miles from Wheeler and Schofield Barracks. Eight miles from Camp Smith. It has its own shopping centers, schools, parks, and a golf course. Mililani homeowners must pay dues to the Mililani Town Association. Wahiawa is unique in being surrounded on three sides by Lake Wilson (also known as Wahiawa Reservoir or Kaukonahua).

World’s premier surfing competitions are held annually in the North Shore. It is about one hour drive from Waikiki. You will find beachfront residences and condotels. Haleiwa Town is a charming surf town. Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie and the old plantation town of Kahuku.  

Waikiki, a vibrant neighborhood known for its popular surf beaches. Lined with high-rise hotels along the shore. Designer fashion stores, Royal Hawaiian Center – an upmarket retailer, fine dining and hula shows. Tourist attractions include the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium. Predominately condos and condotels where you could do short term rentals.  


Raymond Kang

A Specialist with: First Time Home Buyers, Military, Luxury Properties, International Clientele, Investors, Second Home Buyers, and New Condo Projects.

Certifications: AHWD, CIPS, CLHMS, CRS, PSA

2011, 2013-14, 2016-17, 2019-20 Aloha ‘Aina REALTOR Award Nominee

2013, 2015-19 Honolulu Magazine Voted Best in Real Estate

Languages I Speak: Chinese, English, Mandarin

Of note: Foreign language assistance available for Japanese, Korean, and other languages. Please inquire.

Featured Properties

A few of our featured properties in the Honolulu area.

Properties in Kakaako

Properties located in the Honolulu, Kakaako Area

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