Hawaii is the island of big dreams for both islanders and guests. Those dreams born in paradise can indeed come true.
-Sharon Linnéa, Author
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Oahu is home to Honolulu (and Waikiki Beach.) When you live on an island you run into the same people over and over, it makes island life a bit more gentle. Although there is traffic, honking car horns is not really a thing. The island has two seasons – summer or the dry season, (May to October) and winter, which is the rainy season (November to April). Temperatures are warm year-round with gentle trade winds. 85° in the summer and 75° in the winter is about what you can expect year round. Nights are not much cooler.
The Best Thing About Honolulu?
City Meets Beach
Being able to combine the benefits of city living with a beach-y year-round lifestyle is a rare find.
Aggressive Type-As aren’t a great fit for laid-back, easygoing Honolulu, where everything happens at a slower pace. People walk slower. Drivers let other cars merge. Speaking of slower, traffic in Honolulu is, officially, second only to Los Angeles. Honolulu has a limited number of roads but an endless number of cars and yours will need to be shipped over. Also, living near the water means you’re going to be in traffic going to work unless you're a WFH'er.
Hawaii often finds itself at the top of various healthiest states in America lists. It’s not surprising given the beautiful weather, easy access to the ocean, and many hiking trails around the islands. People of Hawaii truly love spending time outdoors and although they do have real lives, they manage to sneak in a pre or post work surf or the like. Ocean water temperatures around the state of Hawaii average 82° in the summer and 77° in the winter. That’s a lot warmer than the ocean waters along the US west coast, including Southern California. Plus, clean air may be a good reason to start considering Honolulu as your new home. Your lungs will love you.
Living in Honolulu, you become accustomed to seeing the ocean everywhere, yet it also never gets old and is a reminder that you’re home is paradise.
Here's a local's list of pros on living in Honolulu:
-So much tasty food
-Old-style houses with lots of windows that open
-People are nice
-No snow (except on Big Island)
-Honolulu is a small city, but cultural diversity gives it more interest
-Everyone isn't caught up in the rat race
The Worst Thing About Honolulu?
Unless you’re coming from a big, expensive city like New York or San Francisco, the cost of living may astound you. Housing, food, and even the cost of shipping – it’s often called the “paradise tax.” It’s incredibly high -- 82% above the national average.
Here's a local's post about the cost of living here:
Hawaii's cost of living index is 193.3, the highest in the nation, meaning the cost of living in the state is nearly twice the average. The state is also the most expensive in the U.S. across all metrics except healthcare. Hawaii's housing costs are three times the national average, with a typical single-family home averaging $730,511(now it's $1.1M). Renters pay an average of $1,651 (2,000 or more) for a two-bedroom apartment in the state. Groceries also cost 50% more than the national average, as most goods have to be shipped to the island.
Lifestyle Of Honolulu
Like any big, capital city Honolulu isn’t any one thing in terms of lifestyle but for anyone considering the city from the mainland it feels crazy not to start with the outdoor activities. Honolulu is filled with stunning beaches, surfing, kayaking, hiking, running, golf, tennis and presumably pickleball. The city is also rich in cultural attractions, with art museums, music, dance and theater all amazing for a relatively small city.
While much of the culture is built around native traditions, it is important to remember that Honolulu is over 50% Asian American and Pacific Islander with the largest ethnic groups including Japanese, Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans, Native Hawaiian and Vietnamese so the experiences are often a melting pot of Hawaiian and eastern cultures that make the city feel more international than most other U.S. cities. The food scene is incredible with all ethnicities represented in world-class dining, and while there are plenty of retirees in the area the large population of students from the University of Hawaii and young professionals give the city a younger city vibe with tons of bars and clubs available for those looking to stay out late.
Worklife Of Honolulu
Honolulu has four major economic sectors: tourism, trade/transportation, military defense and agriculture/aquaculture. Since the city and islands are at the crossroads of the west and east it serves both tourists and business for both Asia and the United States. While the economy in the city and area is strong and in some sectors recession-proof, the cost of living is crushing for many who otherwise would consider moving here. Some of the wfh migration patterns that are driving growth in less expensive U.S. cities are hard to imagine for Honolulu.
Why You Should Move Here Now?
Honolulu - particularly East Honolulu - has the highest livability rating in the state, and is number 29 in the nation. This is due to low crime rates, high graduation rates, lots of local amenities, and a stable housing market. It is also No. 13 on a list of the 30 happiest cities in the United States, according to Gallup’s Healthways Well-Being Index.
Honolulu is a rare place that appeals to students, millennial families and retirees. And anyone who loves a good Poke Bowl.