Moving to Honolulu

Welcome to the tropical paradise of Honolulu, a vibrant city bustling with unsurpassed beauty and enticing allure. As the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is much more than just a famed tourist destination. Imagine your life surrounded by the allure of lush green landscapes, pristine beaches, and a vibrant cultural mix - That is Honolulu for you. Whether it's the lure of watersports, the tranquility of nature trails, or the pulsating nightlife that draws you in, this comprehensive relocation guide is designed to help make your potential move to Honolulu as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

Moving to Honolulu, HI landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Honolulu

1. Land of Endless Summer

While many dream of living in a place where it's an endless summer, Honolulu locals experience it daily. Even during "winter," temperatures hover around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Sweater weather is practically non-existent and flip flops (locally known as slippers) are the favored footwear. If you're someone for whom the changing seasons are a significant part of your rythm of life, you might find the constant summer unsettling.

2. Traffic Can Be a Nightmare

Despite being in Paradise, Honolulu has been ranked among the cities with the worst traffic in the nation. With limited roadways and a growing population, peak hours can become especially frustrating. So, ditching your vehicle altogether and opting for public transportation, biking or walking may be something to consider. You might save some bucks on gas, too!

3. Island Time is Real

One of the unique aspects of life in Honolulu is the laid-back attitude that's more than just a stereotype. Known as "Hawaiian Time", this is a cultural understanding that things may not always start precisely when scheduled. This is not out of being disrespectful, but rather a reflection of the island's stress-free and relaxed lifestyle. It takes a bit of adjustment, particularly if you're from a city that's all hustle and bustle.

4. Shopping for Groceries May Cost You More

Feel like cooking at home? Prepare for a sweet surprise. In Honolulu, groceries cost a pretty penny. Given its remote location in the Pacific, many food items, especially dairy and fresh produce, are imported leading to high cost. It's a good incentive to become a locavore and indulge in the rich variety of local fruits, vegetables, and fresh seafood!

5. A Melting Pot of Cultures

Cultural diversity is the hallmark of Honolulu. The city's population is a vibrant mix of traditional Hawaiian culture, Asian influences, and mainland American vibes. This multi-cultural mosaic shapes every aspect of life from food to festivals, language and customs. Expect to pick up a few words (or much more!) of Pidgin, a creole language spoken by locals.

6. The Ilima Flower: More Than What Meets The Eye

One of the lesser known facts about Honolulu is its flower, the Ilima. Beyond its visual appeal, the flower has historical relevance; in ancient times, it was worn by Hawaiian royalty. Today, it's used in the making of beautiful leis. But here's the little known part - the Ilima flower is also a mild laxative. Yep, you read it right! The locals use it as a natural remedy. Who knew moving to Honolulu would come with such intriguing trivia tidbits!

Moving to Honolulu implies more than just settling in a tropical paradise. You must brace yourself for a shift in lifestyle and be open to its uniquely different rhythms. It's really an amalgamation of stunning natural beauty, cultural richness, slower-paced life, and yes, the occasional traffic jam. But isn't that a small price to pay to call this island paradise home?!

What to know before moving to Honolulu, HI image
See the 10 Best Movers Nearest You
(Unbiased) Ranking of the top movers in every city.

Pros and Cons of Living in Honolulu

Pros of Living in Honolulu

Stunning Natural Beauty

The landscape in Honolulu includes gorgeous mountain views, captivating beaches, lush vegetation, and beautiful waterfalls. This natural scenery is not only pleasing to the eye, but it also offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, snorkeling, and more.

Mild Climate Year-Round

They don't call Hawai'i a tropical paradise for nothing. People living in Honolulu get to enjoy warm, sunny weather throughout the year. The temperature generally ranges from mid-70s to mid-80s in Fahrenheit, which is comfortable for most people, whether it's winter or summer.

Rich Cultural Heritage

Honolulu offers a unique blend of Polynesian, Asian, American, and other cultures which is evident in the local food, music, and festivals. Living here can allow you to engage with diverse traditions, customs, and histories, creating a rich cultural experience.

Friendly and Relaxed Atmosphere

Often referred to as the "Aloha spirit," the local attitude in Honolulu is friendly, welcoming, and laid-back. This relaxed approach to life can help to reduce stress and contribute to a high quality of life.

Healthy Lifestyle

The combination of warm weather, outdoor activities, and locally-sourced food makes living a healthy lifestyle comfortable and convenient in Honolulu. Hiking, swimming, and year-round farmer's markets are just a few examples of how easy it is to stay fit and eat well in Hawai'i.

Cons of Living in Honolulu

High Cost of Living

It's no secret that living in Honolulu is expensive. The cost for necessities like groceries, utilities, healthcare, and especially housing are generally much higher than the national average. This is primarily due to the fact that most goods have to be imported from the mainland.

Island Fever

Living on an island can feel isolating or limiting for some people, especially since it's about a five-hour flight to get to the mainland. This phenomenon, often referred to as "Island Fever," can lead to a sense of confinement or boredom.

Distance from Family and Friends

Unless your family and friends also live in Hawai'i, living in Honolulu can mean being far away from your loved ones. Depending on where they live, visits can be costly and time-consuming due to the long flights.

Limited Professional Opportunities

While the tourism and service industries thrive in Honolulu, other sectors like tech, finance, and manufacturing are not as robust. Therefore, career opportunities outside of the dominant sectors can be limited, which can make it more challenging to find work in certain fields.

Natural Disasters

Honolulu, like the rest of Hawai'i, is prone to certain natural hazards like volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes. While these events are relatively rare, they are a risk of living in this part of the world.

Modern day picture of Honolulu, HI highlighting pros and cons of living in Honolulu, HI

Is Honolulu a Good Place to Live?

Honolulu, HI is a great place to live because of its year-round warm weather, breathtaking scenery, and relaxed island lifestyle. The city offers a rich cultural history, exceptional food, exciting outdoor activities like surfing or hiking, and plenty of beautiful beaches to relax on. The Aloha spirit of the locals ensures a tight-knit community that thrives on respect, compassion and camaraderie.

What Is Honolulu Famous For?

Iconic Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is perhaps one of the most well-known features of Honolulu. This gorgeous stretch of white sandy beach is packed full of surfers, sunbathers, and beachgoers year-round, making it the perfect spot for both people-watching and water sports!

The Spectacular Diamond Head Crater

This magnificent, dormant volcano is a staple in Hawaii's profile. For an unforgettable experience, you can take a hike up its well-worn trail to the summit, where you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu's cityscape. Don't forget to bring your camera!

Vibrant Polynesian Culture

In Honolulu, Polynesian culture is celebrated and revered. From traditional luaus and hula performances, to the historic 'Iolani Palace and the Polynesian Cultural Center, the city offers countless opportunities to immerse yourself in Hawaii's unique cultural tapestry.

The Infamous Pearl Harbor

Home to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor offers a historical journey like no other. The infamous site of the World War II attack is an important part of American history, and a visit can be a humbling and educational experience.

Capital building of Honolulu, HI in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, the property tax rate in Honolulu, HI is $3.50 per $1,000 of net taxable property. This is considerably lower than the national average, making it favourable for homeowners in this region.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in Honolulu stands at 4.5% in 2023, which includes a 0.5% county surcharge. This is significantly lower than the national median of 6.25%, making consumer goods and services relatively less costly in comparison to other parts of the U.S.

Income Tax

Income tax in Honolulu, HI for 2023 follows Hawaii's progressive income tax system with rates ranging from 1.4% to 11%. Though lower brackets have competitive rates, the top end rate of 11% is one of the highest in the nation.

Housing Market

The Honolulu housing market, known for its high-demand, offers a median home price that sits 222% above the national average. The median home value is around $852,600 and the median rental price averages at $2,317/month. On the other hand, the national median home value and rental price average at $277,796 and $1,650/month, respectively. This significant difference implicitly speaks to the desirability, unique location and lifestyle Honolulu offers. However, despite the steep prices, renters and buyers will find a market full of potential with its strong growth, increasing property values, and exceptional quality of life.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Honolulu, Hawaii is considerably higher than the national average and most U.S. cities. This is primarily due to high housing costs, with median home prices significantly exceeding national figures. Additionally, the cost of groceries, utilities, and transportation are also above average. Although salaries in Honolulu tend to be higher, they do not always offset these elevated living costs. Despite these challenges, the unique lifestyle and natural beauty of Hawaii continue to attract residents.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, boasts a tropical monsoon climate, characterized by a relatively consistent temperature throughout the year that averages around 27degC. This climate's main disparity lies in the rainfall distribution, with a drier season running from May to October and a wetter period from November to April. Governed mainly by trade winds, Honolulu's weather is delightfully inviting, offering sunshine and warm conditions virtually all year round. While the locale's climatic allure is undeniable, it is not immune to natural disasters. The island of Oahu, where Honolulu resides, is prone to hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes, although the latter usually of minimal severity due to its distance from tectonic plate boundaries. Honolulu's strategic location on the southern coast, however, allows for remarkable disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies, ensuring a resilience fitting its welcoming weather and idyllic climate.

Typical weather in Honolulu, HI

Economy & Job Market


Military Defense



Health and Wellness

Honolulu, Hawai'i, where palm trees sway, is not just a slice of paradise but a bustling economic powerhouse as well. Historically, the economy of Honolulu was centered around the King's Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society, which was all about sugar cane plantation. Fast forward to the present day, while the sweet aroma of sugar cane plantations is still palpable, the Honolulu economy has diversified into several sectors. Today, tourism is the main economic driver in Honolulu due to its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and eye-catching landscapes that attract millions of visitors every year. The military defense industry also makes a significant contribution, thanks to the several military installations located in the state, including Pearl Harbor. Furthermore, Honolulu's economy also benefits from agriculture, manufacturing, and the burgeoning health and wellness industry, which capitalizes on the region's natural, healthy climate and abundant natural resources.

So, you're packing up your Hawaiian shirts and moving to Honolulu? Awesome! But before you take that leap, it's essential to have a clear understanding of the job market. Looking at employment rates, Honolulu has a relatively low unemployment rate, better than the national average, which is a sweet deal. An even sweeter deal? The job market has been on an upward trajectory for a while now. The biggest job sectors are in accommodation and food services (thanks, tourists!) followed by public administration and healthcare. So, if you're into any of these sectors, you're in luck! However, the cost of living in Honolulu remains higher than the U.S. average, so you might want to factor that in as well. But hey, living in paradise is worth the extra pennies, right?

Traffic and Transportation

Let's dive into the exciting world of traffic in Honolulu, HI where the coconut-scented breeze mixes with the occasional honk of a horn. On average, you'll spend around 29 minutes commuting in the city, but hey, the view from the car is breathtaking, right? When it comes to public transportation, TheBus is your new best friend! As the main form of transit in Honolulu, it operates more than a hundred routes, making your island exploration easy peasy. If two wheels are more your style, Biki, the vibrant pink bicycle-sharing program, is a fun option to pedal around town. And for all you jet-setters out there, Honolulu International Airport is just a coconut's throw away, conveniently serving as the main hub for most air travel in and out of the Hawaiian Islands. All things considered, Honolulu's traffic scene? It's all part of the island charm!

What is the traffic like in Honolulu, HI?

Best Neighborhoods in Honolulu

1. Waikiki

First on our list is arguably the most famous neighborhood in Honolulu: Waikiki. Known for its stunning white-sand beaches, this area is a hub of activity where you can always find something fun to do. It hosts a variety of luxury and mid-range hotels, a wealth of restaurants to satisfy any palate, and plenty of high-end shopping experiences. It's perfect for those who enjoy a bustling city vibe, yet still want proximity to the beach. Don't forget to check out the iconic Diamond Head Crater located at the end of Waikiki beach for breathtaking views.

2. Manoa

Manoa offers a different pace of life compared to Waikiki. As one of Honolulu's oldest neighborhoods, it seduces residents with its lush landscapes, rainbows, and timeless charm. Home to the University of Hawaii, Manoa has a youth-filled energy that's hard not to love. The area is perfect for nature lovers with numerous hiking trails, beautiful gardens, and the towering Manoa Falls. If you appreciate a blend of academia, nature and historical architecture, Manoa is the place to be.

3. Kaka'ako

Kaka'ako is Honolulu's creative heart and is known for its hip, urban vibe. It is brimming with street art, craft beer breweries, indie boutiques, and a trendy food scene. This fast-growing neighborhood is also home to several high-rise condo communities, offering beautiful ocean views. If you're a fan of arts, food, and community events, Kaka'ako may feel like home.

4. Hawaii Kai

Situated in East Honolulu, Hawaii Kai is an upscale residential area with plenty to offer its residents. It's known for its marinas, golf courses, and outdoor recreational activities. Within Hawaii Kai, you'll find the famous Hanauma Bay, a stunning nature preserve that's perfect for snorkeling. Plus, don't miss out on Koko Crater Trail, a challenging hike that offers rewarding views over the island. For those who desire a peaceful neighborhood with an abundance of outdoor fun, Hawaii Kai is a perfect fit.

5. Kapahulu

Last but not least, Kapahulu is a hidden gem of Honolulu. This central neighborhood maintains a local feel, while being just a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. Kapahulu is rich in local eateries, boasting an array of food options that range from traditional Hawaiian food to fusion cuisines. It also houses Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Shell outdoor arena. If you enjoy living centrally with a local flavor, Kapahulu may be your ideal neighborhood.

To wrap it up, Honolulu is more than just a paradisal tourist destination - it's a vibrant city with diverse neighborhoods each possessing their unique charms. Whether you love being in the center of the action in Waikiki, find peace in Manoa's natural beauty, get inspired by Kaka'ako's creativity, bask in Hawaii Kai's open spaces, or enjoy Kapahulu's local vibe, there's definitely a neighborhood in Honolulu that could be your new home!

Best neighborhoods in Honolulu, HI image

Things to Do

Aloha and welcome to Honolulu, Hawaii! It's not just about the stunning beaches, relaxed lifestyle, or the amazing food, although they surely are all fantastic. Often dubbed 'the Paradise of the Pacific', Honolulu provides a unique blending of city and nature life that you can't find anywhere else. Here are seven of the top things you should do in Honolulu-- ones that will truly allow the city to reveal its hidden charms to you:

1. Hike Diamond Head State Monument

On the southeastern coast of Honolulu, the Diamond Head State Monument offers breathtaking views of the city and the stunning Pacific Ocean. This renowned landmark is a large volcanic cone that's hundreds of thousands of years old and has significant historical importance. The hike is considered moderate in difficulty but well worth it once you reach the summit.

2. Visit the Iolani Palace

Experience a piece of Hawaiian history by taking a guided tour of the Iolani Palace. This national historic landmark is the only royal palace in the United States that was used as an official residence by a reigning monarch. The stunning architecture and priceless artifacts represent an era where King Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani ruled the Hawaiian Kingdom.

3. Explore the Honolulu Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts will surely fall in love with the Honolulu Museum of Art. Home to more than 50,000 pieces, it offers collections of Asian, European, Pacific, American, and Islamic art, which makes it the premier art museum in the state. The museum also operates a popular art-house cinema and a cafe.

4. Walk Around Chinatown

Discover the bustling Chinatown district in downtown Honolulu. You'll be captivated by its fusion of Asian and Western influences-- from historic sites, trendy boutiques, art galleries, to theaters, vibrant markets, and exotic restaurants. Don't miss the Oahu Market for a variety of fresh local produce and seafood.

5. Experience the Kapalama Canal

Now this is something not known to most! The Kapalama Canal. It's an off-the-beaten-path spot where you can enjoy a serene stroll along the canal. At times, you can even see mullet fish jumping above the water. With its gentle stream and lined-up palm trees, it's a hidden gem for a peaceful escape.

6. Visit 'Iolani School

Another less-known site is the 'Iolani School, one of the most prestigious private schools on the island. Aside from its rigorous education, the school offers an outdoor amphitheater, unique architecture, and charming surroundings. You can also sneak peek into a historical chapel, which is a hidden beauty inside the campus.

7. Catch a Sunset at Magic Island

Finally, cap off your days by experiencing the magic of a Hawaiian sunset at Magic Island. This man-made peninsula at Ala Moana Beach Park provides a pristine view of the mesmerizing sunset above the crystal blue waters, with Diamond Head in the background.

Moving to Honolulu is not just about changing your address, it's about embracing a new lifestyle. The city offers endless possibilities for fun, relaxing, and meaningful experiences. Whether you are a lover of art, history, nature, or food, Honolulu gives you the vibrant life you'd never thought possible in a paradise. So, explore it, venture out, dive deep, and fully set your life into Aloha mode!

Things to do in Honolulu, HI?

Find Movers for Your Honolulu Relocation

Having combed through the nuts and bolts of relocating to the lovely city of Honolulu, the next logical step is to secure a reliable moving company that guarantees a smooth transition. Great Guys Moving is truly your best choice. With access to a wide network of trustworthy, quality-assured, and economically-sound moving companies, curating your options has never been easier. We're here to connect you with movers that best suit your needs, making it a breeze to get settled in your new Honolulu home. So why wait? Start your adventure by requesting a free moving quote today from Great Guys Moving.

See The Best Movers For Moving To Hawaii From...

Find out how much your move costs!