Pearl City, Hawaii | The Ultimate Real Estate & Neighborhood Guide

Pearl City, Hawaii

Pearl City, located on the island of Oahu, is a thriving suburban community in Hawaii. With a population of around 47,000 residents, Pearl City is the third-largest city on the island. The name "Pearl City" was derived from the abundance of pearls that were once found in the waters of Pearl Harbor, which is situated close to the city. This vibrant community is known for its excellent location, diverse population, and array of shopping and dining options. 

Living in Pearl City

Living in Pearl City offers a blend of urban convenience and suburban charm. Residents enjoy a multitude of shopping centers, parks, and recreational facilities, making it an ideal place for families and individuals seeking a balance between city life and a relaxed atmosphere. Pearl City is also home to the Pearlridge Center, the largest indoor mall in Hawaii, which features a variety of retail and dining establishments.

Pearl City's diverse population is reflected in its array of food options, including local Hawaiian cuisine, Asian-inspired dishes, and American fare. The city also has a strong educational system, with several public and private schools that cater to students from kindergarten through high school.

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Where is Pearl City Located?

Pearl City's central location on the island of Oahu makes it an ideal place for commuters. The city is approximately:

  • 11 miles from downtown Honolulu (25-35 minutes by car during rush hour, 20 minutes outside of rush hour)
  • 9 miles from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (20-25 minutes during rush hour, 15 minutes outside of rush hour)
  • 20 miles from Schofield Barracks (40-50 minutes during rush hour, 30-35 minutes outside of rush hour)
  • 15 miles from the nearest beach, Ala Moana Beach Park (30-40 minutes during rush hour, 25-30 minutes outside of rush hour)

Best Places to Live in Pearl City

  • Pacific Palisades: Pacific Palisades is a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood known for its well-maintained homes, parks, and community center. The area offers easy access to shopping, dining, and recreational facilities.
  • Newtown Estates: Newtown Estates is a well-established community with a mix of single-family homes and townhouses. Residents enjoy access to the Newtown Recreation Center, which offers a pool, tennis courts, and other recreational amenities.
  • Momilani: Momilani is a popular neighborhood known for its strong sense of community and well-kept homes. The area boasts parks, schools, and easy access to shopping centers.

Weather in Pearl City

Pearl City experiences a tropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year. The average temperature ranges from the low 70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit, with occasional spikes during the summer months. Rainfall is common, especially during the winter months, but the city typically enjoys plenty of sunshine.

Things to Do in Pearl City

Pearl City offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including parks, sports facilities, and cultural events. Some popular attractions and activities in the area include:

  • Pearlridge Center: As the largest indoor mall in Hawaii, Pearlridge Center features over 170 stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues, including a movie theater and an indoor monorail.
  • Pearl Harbor: Visit the historic Pearl Harbor site, where you can explore the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
  • Blaisdell Park: This beautiful park offers walking trails, picnic areas, and stunning views of Pearl Harbor and the surrounding mountains.
  • Leeward Bowl: Enjoy an evening of bowling with friends or family at this popular entertainment venue.
  • Pearl Country Club: Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round at this scenic, 18-hole golf course.

Popular Restaurants in Pearl City

Pearl City's diverse culinary scene offers something for everyone, from traditional Hawaiian dishes to international cuisine. Some popular restaurants in the area include:

  • Bravo Restaurant: This cozy Italian eatery offers a variety of pasta dishes, pizzas, and seafood specialties. Don't forget to try their delicious tiramisu for dessert.
  • Thai Lao Restaurant: Savor authentic Thai and Laotian cuisine at this local favorite. Their menu features an array of flavorful curries, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.
  • Forty Niner Restaurant: A popular spot for breakfast and lunch, Forty Niner serves up classic American comfort food, including pancakes, burgers, and plate lunches.
  • Hapa Grill: For a taste of Hawaiian fusion cuisine, Hapa Grill offers a variety of dishes incorporating local ingredients and flavors.
  • Da Crawfish & Crabshack: Seafood lovers can enjoy a wide range of Cajun-style dishes at this casual eatery, including crawfish, crab, and shrimp boils.

Pearl City Real Estate

Homes for sale in Pearl City feature a diverse mix of single-family homes, condominiums, and townhouses. The city's central location and amenities make it a popular choice for both first-time homebuyers and those looking to upgrade their living situation. Home prices in Pearl City can range from affordable starter homes to more luxurious properties, depending on the neighborhood and size of the property.

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Comparing Pearl City to Neighboring Cities

Bordering Pearl City to the west is Aiea, another thriving suburban community. Both cities offer excellent shopping and dining options, with Pearl City being home to the Pearlridge Center and Aiea featuring the smaller Pearl Kai Shopping Center. Aiea also provides easy access to Aloha Stadium, where various sports events and concerts are held.

To the east, you'll find Waipahu, a city that shares many similarities with Pearl City, such as a diverse population and strong sense of community. However, Waipahu boasts a slightly more affordable housing market, making it a popular choice for first-time homebuyers.

You May Also Like Living In...

If you enjoy the suburban lifestyle and convenient location of Pearl City, you may also like living in:

  • Mililani: A master-planned community located in central Oahu, Mililani offers a variety of housing options, parks, and recreational facilities.
  • Kapolei: Known as Oahu's "Second City," Kapolei is a rapidly growing community with many new developments and amenities, including shopping centers, parks, and schools.

About Pearl City

What is Pearl City known for?

Pearl City, located on the island of Oahu, is known for its central location, diverse population, and suburban lifestyle. It offers a range of amenities, including shopping centers, restaurants, and parks. Pearl City is also in close proximity to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, making it a popular choice for military families.

How safe is Pearl City?

Pearl City is considered to be a relatively safe community, with crime rates lower than the national average. Like any city, it's important to take safety precautions and stay aware of your surroundings.

What does Pearl City mean in Hawaiian?

Pearl City doesn't have a direct translation in Hawaiian, but it gets its name from its proximity to Pearl Harbor, which is known as "Pu'uloa" in Hawaiian. Pu'uloa means "long hill" or "long harbor."

What are the issues in Pearl City?

Some issues faced by Pearl City residents include traffic congestion, particularly during rush hour, and the cost of living, which is higher compared to other parts of the United States. However, the city offers a high quality of life with its diverse population, range of amenities, and convenient location.

What is it like to live in Pearl City, Hawaii?

Living in Pearl City offers a balance between city life and a relaxed suburban atmosphere. The city is home to a diverse population and provides a range of amenities such as shopping centers, restaurants, and parks. Its central location on Oahu makes it an ideal place for commuters, with easy access to downtown Honolulu, military bases, and nearby beaches.

Is Pearl City, Hawaii a good place to live?

Yes, Pearl City is considered a good place to live, offering an excellent quality of life for its residents. With its central location, diverse population, and range of amenities, Pearl City is an attractive option for those seeking a balance between city life and a relaxed suburban atmosphere.

Who lives in Pearl City?

Pearl City is home to a diverse population, including families, military personnel, and retirees. Its proximity to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam makes it a popular choice for military families.

How many native Hawaiians live in Pearl City?

While exact numbers can vary, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 data, around 10% of Pearl City's population is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

What is the history of Pearl Harbor?

Pearl Harbor, located near Pearl City, is a historically significant site due to the attack by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941, which led to the United States' entry into World War II. Prior to the attack, Pearl Harbor had been used as a naval base and coaling station for U.S. ships since the late 19th century.

How close is Pearl City to Pearl Harbor?

Pearl City is located approximately 2.5 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor, making it a convenient location for those working at or visiting the naval base.

What are the best schools in Pearl City?

Pearl City is served by the Pearl City-Waipahu Complex Area within the Hawaii Department of Education. Top-rated schools in the area include Pearl City Highlands Elementary School, Pearl City Elementary School, and Pearl City High School.

What is the cost of living in Pearl City?

The cost of living in Pearl City is higher than the national average, primarily due to housing costs. However, it is generally more affordable than some other areas of Oahu, such as downtown Honolulu.

Is Pearl City urban or suburban?

Pearl City is considered a suburban community, with a mix of residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, and parks. It offers a balance between city life and a relaxed suburban atmosphere.

What is the History of Pearl City?

Pearl City is nicknamed after the copious number of pearls once found at Pu‘uloa, today known as Pearl
Harbor, the southern shore of Pearl City. Pu‘uloa, or “Long Hill,” is the original name of the general area,
later referred to as Wai Momi, or “Pearl Waters.” This is where the current name (or rather Pu‘uloa’s
nickname) of Pearl Harbor originates from. Before the naval shipyard polluted the azure waterways,
pearl oysters littered the bottom of the sea.

Mānana however, is the original name of the ahupua‘a (traditional land division) we specifically call
Pearl City today. It translates simply as “buoyant.” As most of the land area is landlocked, we can
assume the idea of buoyancy is from the wetlands scattered from the southern shore up into the
ahupua‘a. In ancient times the area supported vast lo‘i kalo (taro fields), and later rice paddies and other
crops needing water buffalo to haul two-wheeled carts to plow them.

The southern boundary opened
into the waters of Pu‘uloa as a peninsula, encompassing several abundant traditional fishponds. The
Mānana Stream runs most the length of the ahupua‘a, then veers west before returning to feed the
Loko o Pā‘au‘au, a once large and robust fishpond that fed much of the region. Most of the fishponds
have been filled in by developers and the Navy, and there are no remains of ancient temples like
neighboring ahupua‘a. It’s believed the temples were likely destroyed and removed as well. In addition
to the fisheries along the shore and wetland crops, residents of the ahupua‘a had access to upland
resources towards and into the Ko‘olau mountain range.

The celebrated Hawaiian historian Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau reports that this region was a
strategically important part of O‘ahu. Two of King Kamehameha’s high chiefs built their homes in the
area after the island was added to the King’s domain in 1795, and later his heir, King Kamehameha II
also had a home built at Pu‘uloa in the early 1800s.

Much of Pearl City’s history is shared with neighboring Waipahu and Waimalu on either side and nearby
‘Ewa Beach, all a part of the ‘Ewa district. The great plains of ‘Ewa, is a district of O‘ahu that
encompasses Pu‘uloa (Pearl Harbor) in the east to Nānākuli to the west and up to Waiawa. ‘Ewa means
“stray” or “crooked” in the Hawaiian language. Its name is referenced in mythology as the gods Kāne
and Kanaloa were deciding the boundaries and dividing the island into districts.

The adjacent ahupua‘a didn’t produce as much water as Mānana and most were quite arid. So, in 1879
Scots-Irish industrialist James Campbell solved that problem when he dug the first water well, paving the
way for thousands of acres of sugar. However, moving the crops from the ‘Ewa side of the island to the
harbor in Honolulu for shipping was no easy accomplishment. Thankfully, Benjamin Dillingham,
originally of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, began construction of the O‘ahu Railway in March of 1889. Home
lots in that area also went on sale that same year. The first stretch of track went 12 miles from Honolulu
to ‘Aiea. Then an additional 6.5 miles was added by 1892 to Dillingham’s ‘Ewa Sugar Plantation. Later
the line would go as far as Dillingham’s Hale‘iwa Hotel up on the North Shore. In the early 1880s,
Mānana (Pearl City), before the track laying had begun, was the final stop for Dillingham's mud wagons
driven by a four-horse team.

The introduction of sugar and pineapple plantations in Hawai‘i required paid laborers from China, Japan,
Philippines, Portugal, and later Korea and Puerto Rico. These immigrants brought their cultures, foods,
and languages with them – blending into the local population of Native Hawaiians and Caucasians.
Pearl City today is very much a neighborhood that is deeply rooted and mixed with plantation heritage
that shaped the Hawai‘i we know today.

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