Not the largest or the oldest of the major Hawaiian Islands, Oahu is the center of commerce, government and finance in Hawaii. With close to a million in population, Oahu has grown from a collection of coastal Hawaiian villages to the tenth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Oahu’s south shore is a collection of neighborhoods, resort areas, natural wonders, historical sights, beaches and shopping areas that defy this small island of just 597 square miles.
Urban Honolulu is concentrated around the downtown financial district where Honolulu Harbor is flanked with historical buildings that house plantation and territorial era industrialists including Alexander and Baldwin and C. Brewer and more modern gleaming monoliths with names like First Hawaiian Bank and the Pacific Guardian Center. Downtown is also home of several luxury condominiums. Many have large oversized condominiums that offer stellar views of the harbor and the glorious Hawaiian sunsets in addition to being walking distance to federal and state courts, restaurants, shopping, entertainment and public transportation including the soon to be completed HART or Honolulu Area Rapid Transit.
The Ala Moana area is a favorite district of condominium aficionados. Spanning the area from the Ala Wai Canal to Ward Avenue, this area is a rapid growing area that runs the length of the most popular beach park on the island. Ala Moana Beach Park is a family friendly city park that hosts the annual July Fourth fireworks celebration along with the annual Lantern Floating event each Memorial Day weekend. The park is a bustle of locals who gather daily for tennis, jogging, outrigger canoe paddling sessions and surfing. Just across the boulevard a gaggle of gleaming ultra-modern condominiums have raised seemingly overnight along the park. Many offer upscale amenities and unobstructable ocean and sunset views. The Ala Moana Shopping Center is the most important member of the neighborhood. The center is the largest open-air shopping center in the world and serves as the very heart of shopping and transportation needs to urban Honolulu.
Honolulu is myriad of other neighborhoods that run from Koolina to Hawaii Kai and offer residents and visitors a wealth of cultural, natural and urban explorations that rival some of the more distinctive cities of the world, but no neighborhood more exciting or popular than Waikiki. This beachfront resort has just over 80,000 island visitors each day who come for the sun, sand and surf. Waikiki is also home to about 20,000 residents who live in condominiums that range from the simple to the grand. Waikiki’s newest luxury developments include everything from upscale timeshare properties to luxury condo-hotels including the new Trump Waikiki in the newly refurbished Beach Walk area.
Those who prefer quieter neighborhoods with more character, there are many to choose from. Manoa Valley has a distinctive reputation for waterfalls and rainbows, while Hawaii Kai is an abundance of sunshine and homes that range from the older and simple to the opulent and beachfront. The leeward suburbs have an abundance of residential neighborhoods, schools and parks that enjoy sunshine and warmer temperatures and are in closer proximity to the several military bases on the island.
Oahu is one of those special places where urban meets nature and lifestyles can range from country casual to city chic. Oahu certainly has something for everyone.
Contributed by Paul Adams of www.Hawaiis.com