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Downtown Honolulu

When you think of Honolulu, the image that comes to mind typically has swimming, surfing and fruity drinks with umbrellas. If you are on vacation, that is pretty much on point with reality (vacation reality). But, if you live here, you know that Honolulu is the most cosmopolitan city in all of the islands. Not only is it the state capital, it is where most of the action takes place.

Downtown Honolulu takes that action one step further. As the epicenter of all of the Hawaiian Islands, it is the Oahu’s major business center. This part of Honolulu is divided into different areas: the Capital District, the Business District and Chinatown. Within Downtown Honolulu there is an immense amount of history and culture hiding within the tall buildings that create a major metro area. For those who visit Downtown Honolulu, it offers an interesting perspective on the Hawaiian Islands that goes far past bikinis and umbrella drinks. On the flip side, those who live here embrace the culture and the history of Hawai’i.

Downtown Hawai’i Attractions

In addition to tall buildings and skyscrapers that line Downtown Honolulu, there are historical sites, museums and landmarks that fill the area. Whether a native of the Hawai’ian Islands or a visitor, Downtown Honolulu offers you the chance to dive into the culture and history that make this part of the United States so colorful and special.

Historic Sites

Probably the most iconic symbol of Oahu is the Aloha Tower that sits on Honolulu Harbor. Aloha Tower, built in 1926, was the most recognizable point along the Honolulu Harbor when it was built as arriving by boat was the only way to get to Hawai’i.  

The Iolani Palace, the only official state residence of royalty in the US, is an historic landmark as it was the official residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two royals from 1882 to 1893: King Kalakaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani. One of the coolest things about touring Iolani Palace is that within a block or two are several other historic sites including King Kamehameha I’s statue, Washington Place, the Governor’s mansion, and the State Capitol building. Just a few more blocks are other sites including the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives, the Hawaii State Art Museum, the island’s main financial and arts districts, and Chinatown. It’s no wonder so many people love to spend time in Downtown Honolulu.


Chinatown is a popular area within Downtown Honolulu and is situated on the western edge of the financial district. It has a lot of character and local flavor along with a mix of local shops, temples, bars and restaurants scattered throughout the community. Historically speaking, there are unbelievable temples such as the Kuan Yin Temple and Izumo Taishakyo Mission Shrine that display historic Japan and China to those who visit.

Shopping and Dining in Downtown Honolulu

Aloha Tower is the docking point for cruise ships as well as the focal point for a mixed-use center appropriately called Aloha Tower Marketplace. It features shopping, restaurants and is part of Hawai’i Pacific University. There are more mainstream, nationally recognized restaurants as well as numerous shops and boutiques.

There are two main markets in Chinatown – Maunakea Marketplace and Oahu Market where you find seafood, locally grown exotic fruits and handmade items. Additionally, Downtown and Chinatown offers some of the most delectable restaurants with so many international flavors including Char Hung Sut Restaurant, The Pig and the Lady, and Kan Zaman just to name a few.

Downtown Honolulu Real Estate

Just like most any other metropolitan area’s downtown, Downtown Honolulu real estate is made up of condominiums. Situated in prime areas of the Capital and Financial Districts as well as the Harbor and Chinatown, residents of Downtown Honolulu are within walking distance of much of the area.

Since Downtown Honolulu is the epicenter of the financial world in the State of Hawai’i, most of those who call the area home are professional people. Condominiums cater to this group to make life easier and more efficient.

The real estate list prices vary depending on the size of the unit as well as its location in the Downtown Honolulu area. Condominiums closer to the water include 215 N. King Street, Harbor Square, and Harbor Court. List prices for 215 N. King and Harbor Square fall between the mid-$300s and upper-$400s to low-$500s while Harbor Court features units with list prices between the low to mid-$700s and just under $1 million.

As you head north in the Downtown area, there is a broad range of options from the low to mid-$300s at Kukui Plaza and Queen Emma Gardens. Both of these buildings are older built in the early 1960s and early 1970s, respectively. As the buildings get newer with more up-to-date and cosmopolitan exteriors, the list prices begin to climb. For instance, at Pinnacle Honolulu, the highest list price may top $15 million for the top three floors of the building; however, for the most part, the highest end of the spectrum typically sees about $3 million.

Relocating to Downtown Honolulu

For the most part, those who relocate to Downtown Honolulu do so in order to be close to work. It is easy to walk to work and there are tons of conveniences practically at the doorstep. Additionally, it is one of the only places in the country where you can live in a very cosmopolitan area and be in the water in less than five minutes on a surf board or a sailboat. This is what makes it so appealing to people.

For families, it is less common to live here but there are families living in condominiums in Downtown Honolulu. There are excellent public and private schools within the downtown area. Families living outside the Honolulu Metro area but working in the Downtown area often enroll their children in private schools in Downtown Honolulu because of the quality of education.

Downtown Honolulu is the perfect place to relocate if the outdoors is as much a passion as living and working in a major metro area is. There is no such thing as boredom here.    

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