is the capital
and most populous census-designated place
(CDP) in the U.S. state
. Although Honolulu
refers to the urban area on the southeastern shore of the island, the city and the county are consolidated, known as the City and County of Honolulu, and the city and county is designated as the entire island of Oahu
. The City and County of Honolulu is the only incorporated city in Hawaii, as all other local government entities are administered at the county
level. The population of the census designated place was 371,657 at the 2000 census
, while the population of the City and County was 909,863. In the Hawaiian language
means "sheltered bay" or "place of shelter." It lies along the southeast coast of the island of Oahu and of the City & County of Honolulu
It is not known when Honolulu was first settled by the original Polynesian
migrants to the archipelago. Oral histories and artifacts indicate that there was a settlement where Honolulu now stands in the 12th century. However, after Kamehameha I
in the Battle of Nuuanu
at Nuuanu Pali
, he moved his royal court from the Island of Hawaii
in 1804. His court later relocated, in 1809, to what is now downtown Honolulu
Captain William Brown of England was the first foreigner to sail, in 1794, into what is now Honolulu Harbor. More foreign ships would follow, making the port of Honolulu a focal point for merchant ships traveling between North America and Asia.
In 1845, Kamehameha III moved the permanent capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom from Lahaina on Maui to Honolulu. He and the kings that followed him transformed Honolulu into a modern capital, erecting buildings such as St. Andrew's Cathedral, Iolani Palace, and Aliiōlani Hale. At the same time, Honolulu became the center of commerce in the Islands, with descendants of American missionaries establishing major businesses in downtown Honolulu.
Despite the turbulent history of the late 19th century and early 20th century, which saw the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, Hawaii's subsequent annexation by the United States, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Honolulu would remain the capital, largest city, and main airport and seaport of the Hawaiian Islands.
An economic and tourism boom following statehood brought rapid economic growth to Honolulu and Hawaii. Modern air travel would bring thousands, eventually millions (per annum) of visitors to the Islands. Today, Honolulu is a modern city with numerous high-rise buildings, and Waikīkī is the center of the tourism industry in Hawaii, with thousands of hotel rooms.
Geography and climate
Honolulu is located at 21°18'32" North, 157°49'34" West (21.308950, -157.826182). While the climate is clearly in the tropics
, the climate
) is moderated by the mid-ocean location and some cooling achieved by the California Current
that passes through the islands much of the year. The average daily low and high temperatures in January are 65/80 °F (18/27 °C) and in July are 74/88 °F (23/31 °C). Temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) only rarely, with lows in the 50's °F (15 °C) occurring perhaps once or twice in a year. The hottest temperature
ever recorded in Honolulu was 95 °F (35 °C) on September 19
and the coldest temperature
ever recorded was 53 °F (11.6 °C) on January 31
, 1972 and 1948; January 20
; February 1
and February 2
, 1976; February 9
; and February 12
The closest location on the mainland to Honolulu is the Point Arena, California Lighthouse, at 2,045 nautical miles (2,353 statute miles) or 3,787 kilometers. (Nautical vessels require some additional distance to circumnavigate Makapu'u Point.) However, part of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska are slightly closer than California.
Honolulu is administered under a consolidated city-county form of government employing a strong mayor-council system. The Mayor of Honolulu holds executive privilegesas opposed to mayors with only ceremonial powersand the Honolulu City Council serves as the legislature. Mufi Hannemann currently serves as Mayor of Honolulu. His term ends January 2, 2010.
One of the largest municipal governments in the United States, the city and county works with an annual operating budget of over USD 1 billion. The Honolulu Fire Department and Honolulu Police Department are administered by the mayor and city council through appointed officials.
The Honolulu District is located on the southeast coast of Oahu between Makapuu and Halawa. The District boundary follows the Koolau crestline, so Makapuu Beach is in the Koolaupoko District. On the west, the district boundary follows Halawa Stream, then crosses Red Hill and runs just west of Aliamanu Crater, so that Aloha Stadium, Pearl Harbor (with the USS Arizona Memorial), and Hickam Air Force Base are actually all located in the island's Ewa District.
Most of the city's commercial and industrial developments are located on a narrow but relatively flat coastal plain, while numerous ridges and valleys located inland of the coastal plain divide Honolulu's residential areas into distinct neighborhoods: some spread along valley floors (like Manoa in Manoa Valley) and others climb the interfluvial ridges. Within Honolulu proper can be found several volcanic cones: Punchbowl, Diamond Head, Koko Head (includes Hanauma Bay), Koko Crater, Salt Lake, and Aliamanu being the most conspicuous.
Neighborhoods and special districts
- Downtown Honolulu is the financial, commercial, and governmental center of Hawaii. On the waterfront is Aloha Tower, which for many years was the tallest building in Hawaii. Currently the tallest building is the -tall First Hawaiian Center, located on King and Bishop Streets.
- The Arts District Honolulu in downtown/Chinatown is on the eastern edge of Chinatown. It is a 12-block area bounded by Bethel & Smith Streets and Nimitz Highway and Beretania Street - home to numerous arts and cultural institutions. It is located within the Chinatown Historic District.
- The Capitol District is the eastern part of Downtown Honolulu. It is the current and historic center of Hawaii's state government, incorporating the Hawaii State Capitol, Iolani Palace, Honolulu Hale (City Hall), State Library, and the statue of King Kamehameha I, along with numerous government buildings.
- Kakaako is a light-industrial district between Downtown and Waikīkī that has seen a large-scale redevelopment effort in the past decade. It is home to two major shopping areas, Ward Warehouse and Ward Centre. The John A. Burns School of Medicine, part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa is also located there. A Memorial to the Ehime Maru Incident victims is built at Kakaako Waterfront Park.
- Waikīkī is the world famous tourist district of Honolulu, located between the Ala Wai Canal and the Pacific Ocean next to Diamond Head. Numerous hotels, shops, and nightlife opportunities are located along Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues. World-famous Waikīkī Beach attracts millions of visitors a year. Just west of Waikīkī is Ala Moana Center, the world's largest open-air shopping center. A majority of the hotel rooms on Oahu are located in Waikīkī.
- Manoa and Makiki are residential neighborhoods located in adjacent valleys just inland of downtown and Waikīkī. Manoa Valley is home to the main campus of the University of Hawaii.
- Nuuanu and Pauoa are upper-middle-class residential districts located inland of downtown Honolulu. The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located in Punchbowl Crater fronting Pauoa Valley.
- Palolo and Kaimuki are neighborhoods east of Manoa and Makiki, inland from Diamond Head. Palolo Valley parallels Manoa and is a residential neighborhood. Kaimuki is primarily a residential neighborhood with a commercial strip centered on Waialae Avenue running behind Diamond Head. Chaminade University is located in Kaimuki.
- Waialae and Kahala are the upper-class districts of Honolulu located directly east of Diamond Head, where there are many high-priced homes. Also found in these neighborhoods are the Waialae Country Club and The Kahala Hotel & Resort.
- East Honolulu includes the residential communities of Āina Haina, Niu Valley, and Hawaii Kai. These are considered upper-middle-class neighborhoods. The upscale gated communities of Waialae iki and Hawaii Loa Ridge are also located here.
- Kalihi and Palama are working-class neighborhoods with a number of government housing developments. Lower Kalihi, toward the ocean, is a light-industrial district.
- Salt Lake and Aliamanu are (mostly) residential areas built in extinct tuff cones along the western end of the Honolulu District, not far from the Honolulu International Airport.
- Moanalua is two neighborhoods and a valley at the western end of Honolulu, and home to Tripler Army Medical Center.
As of the census of 2000, there were 371,657 people, 140,337 households, and 87,429 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,336.6 people per square mile (1,674.4/km²). There were 158,663 housing units at an average density of 1,851.3/sq mi (714.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 19.67% White, 1.62% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 55.85% Asian, 6.85% Pacific Islander, 0.89% from other races; and 14.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.37% of the population.
There were 140,337 households out of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size is 3.23.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 19.2% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $45,112, and the median income for a family was $56,311. Males had a median income of $36,631 versus $29,930 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $24,191. About 7.9% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.6% of those under the age of 18 and 8.5% of those 65 and older.
Located on the western end of Honolulu proper, Honolulu International Airport
(HNL) is the principal aviation gateway to the state of Hawaii.
Several freeways serve Honolulu:
- Interstate H-1, which, coming into the city from the west, passes Hickam Air Force Base and Honolulu International Airport, runs just north of Downtown and continues eastward through Makiki and Kaimuki, ending at Waialae/Kahala. H-1 connects to Interstate H-2 from Wahiawa and Interstate H-3 from Kaneohe, west of the city proper.
- Interstate H-201—also known as the Moanalua Freeway and formerly numbered Hawaii State Rte. 78—connects two points along H-1: at Aloha Stadium and Fort Shafter. Close to H-1 and Aloha Stadium, H-2 has an exchange with the western terminus of Interstate H-3 to the windward side of Oahu (Kaneohe). This complex of connecting ramps, some directly between H-1 and H-3, is in Halawa.
- Interstate H-2 runs from Pearl City, through Waipio and Mililani, to Wahiawa and dissolves into a highway (Wilikina Drive) near the military base, U.S. Army base Schofield Barracks and Army Airfield Wheeler. The interstate is a convenient way to get to the island's North Shore.
- Interstate H-3 is also known as the John A. Burns Freeway, and runs from the H-1 in Honolulu to the community of Kane'ohe.
Other major highways that link Honolulu proper with other parts of the Island of Oahu are:
Like most major American cities, the Honolulu metropolitan area experiences heavy traffic congestion during rush hours, especially to and from the western suburbs of Kapolei, Ewa, Aiea, Pearl City, Waipahu, and Mililani. Land for expanding road capacity is at a premium everywhere on Oahu.
Established by former Mayor Frank F. Fasi
, Honolulu's public transit
system has been twice honored by the American Public Transportation Association
bestowing the title of "America's Best Transit System" for 1994–1995 and 2000–2001. Oahu Transit Services' "TheBus
" operates 107 routes with a fleet of 525 buses.
In 2004, construction had started on a bus rapid transit (BRT) system using dedicated rights-of-way for buses. The system, proposed by then Mayor Jeremy Harris, was expected to link the Iwilei neighborhood with Waikiki. However, current Mayor Mufi Hannemann has largely dismantled the BRT system and deployed its buses along other express bus routes.
Currently, there is no railway system in Honolulu. The last major attempt was called the Honolulu Area Rail Rapid Transit project. Popularly known as HART, the twenty-one station rail system almost came to fruition before Mayor Eileen Anderson
cancelled the project in 1981 and returned grants and funding to their sources, arguing the project would break her vow of fiscal responsibility.
Several attempts had been made since Anderson's cancellation of HART to construct a fixed rail mass transit system. All attempts stalled in Honolulu City Council hearings. In 2004, the city, county and state approved development of an action plan for a system to be built in several phases. The initial line proposed linking Kapolei in West Oahu to the University of Hawaii at Manoa. However, on December 22, 2006 the city council approved a fixed-guideway system meant to accommodate either rail or buses, running from Kapolei in West Oahu to Ala Moana, with spurs into Waikiki and Manoa.
Established in 1900, the Honolulu Symphony
is the oldest US symphony orchestra west of the Rocky Mountains. Other classical music ensembles include the Hawaii Opera Theatre
. Honolulu is also a center for Hawaiian music
. The main music venues include the Neal Blaisdell Center
Concert Hall, the Waikiki Shell
, and the Hawaii Theatre
Honolulu also includes several venues for live theater, including the Diamond Head Theatre.
There are various institutions supported by the state and private entities for the advancement of the visual arts. The Honolulu Academy of Arts
is endowed with the largest collection of Asian and Western art in Hawaii. It also has the largest collection of Islamic art, housed at the Shangri La
estate. The academy hosts a film and video program dedicated to arthouse and world cinema in the museum's Doris Duke Theatre, named for the academy's historic patroness Doris Duke
The Contemporary Museum is the only contemporary art museum in the state. It has two locations: main campus in Makiki and a multi-level gallery in downtown Honolulu at the First Hawaiian Center.
The Hawaii State Art Museum is also located in downtown Honolulu at No. 1 Capitol District Building and boasts a collection of art pieces created by local artists as well as traditional Hawaiian art. The museum is administered by the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
Recognized internationally as the premier cultural institution of Hawaii, the Bishop Museum
is the largest of Honolulu's museums. It is endowed with the state's largest collection of natural history specimens and the world's largest collection of Hawaiiana and Pacific culture artifacts. The Honolulu Zoo
is the main zoological
institution in Hawaii while the Waikiki Aquarium
is a working marine biology
laboratory. The Waikiki Aquarium is partnered with the University of Hawaii
and other universities worldwide. Established for appreciation and botany
, Honolulu is home to several gardens: Foster Botanical Garden
, Liliuokalani Botanical Garden
, Walker Estate
, among others.
Currently, Honolulu has no professional sports teams. However, Honolulu hosts the NFL's annual Pro Bowl each February in addition to the NCAA football Hawaii Bowl. Honolulu also supports the Hawaii Winter League annually from late September to late November, hosting minor league players from MLB, NPB, and Korea. Games are hosted at Les Murakami and Hans L'Orange Park. Fans of spectator sports in Honolulu generally support the football, volleyball, basketball, and baseball programs of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. High school sporting events, especially football, are especially popular. Venues for spectator sports in Honolulu include:
Honolulu's mild climate lends itself to year-round fitness activities as well. In 2004, Men's Fitness magazine named Honolulu the fittest city in the U.S. Honolulu is also home to three large road races:
Former professional franchises
Honolulu is home to numerous forms media including newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
Colleges & universities
Honolulu currently has 24 sister cities
. They are:
- - Incheon, South Korea
- - Kaohsiung Municipality, Taiwan
- - Laoag City, Philippines
- - Manila, Philippines
- - Mombasa, Kenya
- - Mumbai, India
- - Naha City, Okinawa, Japan
- - San Juan, Puerto Rico
- - Seoul, South Korea
- - Sintra, Portugal
- - Tokyo, Japan
- - Uwajima, Japan
- - Vigan City, Philippines
- - Zhongshan City, the People's Republic of China
- - Rabat, Morocco
- Honolulu Advertiser, Section B. Monday, June 7, 2004. Estimated student body size and annual tuition for selected colleges on Oahu.