Moving To & Living In Oahu, HI - The Definitive Guide | 2023 Edition

Moving to Oahu

Possibly the most beautiful place on earth, Oahu is a dream vacation destination for many people, and living on the island full of sunshine, beaches, and clear water is like owning a piece of paradise. The third largest of the eight Hawaiian Islands, Oahu, is located in the Pacific Ocean, 2,100 miles from the coast of the United States. Oahu is home to some of the most iconic destinations, including Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Hanauma, Kaneohe Bay, Kailua Bay, North Shore, and the famous Lanikai Beach. Visitors can’t get enough of the beautiful bright flowers, velvet-sand beaches with the clearest water, incredible views, waterfalls, and so much more. If you're preparing and planning to move to Hawaii, it’s clear why the island of Oahu might be your top choice.

What are the Best Places to Live on Oahu?

It depends on what kind of lifestyle you're looking for. Check out our Oahu Neighborhood Tours below and you be the judge! 

The NEW Cost of Living in Hawaii | Finding Hope & Home in 2023
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10 Things To Know About Living in Hawaii
Join us as we discuss local insights on living in Hawaii! If you're thinking about moving to Hawaii then you should know that it isn't always sunshine and rainbows; especially depending on which island you live on. In this video, we'll touch on the differences between the Hawaiian islands, the differences between EACH side of the island of Oahu, an update on the Hawaii cost of living, critters, Hawaii real estate insights, jobs, and more!
Living in Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Join us as we explore the lifestyle and Homes For Sale in Ewa Beach; West Oahu's ever expanding Second City. We'll dive into the diverse range of homes and neighborhoods available in Ewa Beach, From affordable starter homes to luxurious resort style & beachfront properties, we'll help you navigate the Ewa Beach real estate market with ease. Be sure to also check out our various blogs about the Ewa Beach lifestyle including but not limited to the various beaches in Ewa Beach, things to do, best restaurants,
Living in Kailua
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Living in Kahala
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Living in North Shore Oahu
Welcome to North Shore Hawaii; the mecca of surfing and one of Oahu's premier lifestyle communities offering quintessential island living within an idyllic tropical location. The North Shore real estate market has skyrocketed since the pandemic, with remote workers and lifestyle buyers flocking to region for isolation, surf, or just an overall change of pace and mindset. Living on Oahu's North shore is as close as Oahu gets to "Country Living" as development is severely limited in the area. Turtle Bay re
Ewa Beach & Waipio New Construction Update
While the Kakaako and Ala Moana neighborhoods transform the Honolulu skyline through new condos in urban Honolulu, developers DR Horton Hawaii, Castle, and Gentry Homes are redefining suburban living with Oahu New Homes projects of their own. With so much new construction happening in the Oahu Real Estate market it's hard to keep up with what's sold out, what's currently selling, and what's coming soon, and where each project is located. So with that said, join us for a tour and detailed 2022 update of the
Living in Ko Olina
Ko Olina is a lavish resort community in Kapolei, HI and arguably one of the best places to live in Oahu. Situated on the breathtaking leeward coastline of Oahu, providing an incredible island lifestyle with copious sunny days, and some of the most stunning sunsets on Oahu. In this video, we'll reveal the diverse elements that make Ko Olina a popular choice for both residents and travelers.
Living in Hawaii Kai
Join us as we journey through one of Oahu's premier lifestyle neighborhoods and where Maila Gibson calls home; Hawaii Kai in Honolulu, HI. From boating, stand-up paddling, to the infamous Koko Head hike, Hawaii Kai is the dream neighborhood for water sport enthusiasts and outdoorsman. Located just 20 minutes from Waikiki & Metro Honolulu, Hawaii Kai boasts ocean-urban vibes without sacrificing the benefits and convenience of living in Honolulu.
How to Blend and Live in Hawaii
Hawaii is undoubtedly the least familiar place you can choose to live in the United States. The Aloha State has an incredibly diverse culture, climate, and way of life -- the norms you're used to in the upper 48 may not apply here! With that, here's some of our best tips and insights on how to live, blend, and enjoy Hawaii life.
Living in Manoa Valley
Join us for a tour of Manoa Valley; a Honolulu bedroom community steeped in Hawaiian History and cultural significance. Manoa is quietly tucked above the Hawaii's capital city, offering premier convenience of living in "Town" whilst still maintaining that tropical island feel via the lush mountainous backdrop and frequent Hawaii rainbows poking through occasional drizzles. The neighborhood is anchored by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, as well as Mid Pacific Institute and Punahou School; two of the bes
Entry Level Honolulu Condos
Since COVID sounded the "all aboard" to the Moving to Hawaii train back in 2020, the Hawaii real estate market has soared. Buyers flocked from similarly high priced real estate markets on the west coast, namely Los Angeles and Bay Area, in hopes to carve out their own piece of Hawaii. Hawaii condos for sale saw a brief downturn in velocity during the lockdown period as many condo dwellers had to face the stark reality of living near hundreds of people in a building that shares elevators, amenities, and oth
Living in Portlock | Hawaii Kai Luxury Community
Many of our clients moving to Hawaii these days have expressed their desire to live in neighborhoods which best support their "Active Lifestyles." If you fit this mold, then living in Portlock Hawaii Kai should be on your Top 3 list of best lifestyle communities on Oahu to benefit from copious amounts of sunshine, convenient access to the ocean for watersports, nearby hikes, and the overall active nature of a community. If the budget allows, we definitely recommend giving a look to the Portlock neighborhoo
Hawaii Cost of Living in 2020
Depending on where you're from, the cost of living in Hawaii might shock you. Hawaii is a trophy destination, a never-in-a-lifetime or once-in-a-lifetime experience for too many. Some calculations suggest that the average Hawaii trip cost per person is roughly $1,899 a week for fun in the sun. Idyllic white sand beaches, mountainous backdrops, and the crystal blue Pacific Ocean are things of post cards and hard for some to imagine as every day lifestyles. Trust me when I say I wouldn't trade it for the worl
Living in Kaimuki
Kaimuki Trending! This hip Honolulu neighborhood has caught it's stride over the last decade and it's well deserved. If you've been living in Honolulu over the last 10 years you've watched the the city's urban core completely transform. Industrial districts have been revitalized to host nearly a dozen new luxury condo projects and with that comes a new level of congestion. While many have flocked to "New" Honolulu, Hawaii living, the pandemic has undoubtedly created an appetite for a quieter, less congested
Living in Mililani
Welcome to our in-depth video tour of Mililani, a thriving community nestled in the heart of Oahu, Hawaii. From its lush landscapes to family-friendly neighborhoods, Mililani offers a unique blend of tranquility, comfort, and convenience. In this video, we'll explore the exceptional lifestyle that Mililani offers to its residents. Get ready to discover the array of amenities, from recreational parks and top-rated schools to modern shopping centers and diverse dining options. We'll also take you through th
Best Places to Live in Oahu, Hawaii
So where are the best places to live in Oahu? It depends on your lifestyle! Join us as we explore the absolute best places to live in Oahu, Hawaii. Whether you're a sunrise chaser, a surfer, a night owl, a foodie, or about to PCS to Hawaii, Oahu's diverse neighborhoods have something in store for everyone.
Living in Waikiki
For more about Waikiki condos for sale and/or to connect with Maila and Koa visit: https://www.dwellhawaii.com/blog/why-waikiki-and-why-not/ or email us at [email protected]. #waikiki #livinginwaikiki #waikikicondosforsale Waikiki -- worth the hype? Join us as we explore this bustling beachfront neighborhood located on the South Shore of Honolulu. Known worldwide for iconic Waikiki beach and vibrant city life, Waikiki offers a unique fusion of local Hawaiian culture and global influences. In this vide
Living in Ho'opili
In this video, we delve into the heart of Ewa Beach, Hawaii to explore the Ho'opili Master Plan. This innovative, integrated, and eco-friendly neighborhood has transformed suburban living in Hawaii, offering a model for sustainable, community-focused development. We'll take you on tour of the neighborhood, the model homes, providing an in-depth look at the meticulously planned Ho'opili community that includes a blend of residential, commercial retail, agricultural spaces and the Honolulu Rail. We'll explai
Living in Kaneohe
In this episode, we explore the serene town of Kaneohe, located on the beautiful windward side of Oahu, Hawaii. This isn't just a travel vlog, it's a deep dive into what it's really like to live in this lush tropical paradise. From its stunning natural beauty, community spirit, to the gentle pace of life, Kaneohe is more than just a postcard scene. Our journey begins with a mesmerizing sunrise over the iconic Koolau Mountains. Watch as the sun peeks through the jagged peaks, casting a magical light over K
Living in Honolulu Pt. 1 | "Metro" Region
Join us for Part 1 of a tour and breakdown of the "Metro Honolulu" region bounded by Moanalua to the west, Waikiki to the East, and every neighborhood between. We'll spin by local favorite eatery, Liliha Bakery in Kalihi, show you the incredible views atop Makiki Heights and Tantalus, and help you gain a better understanding of what it really means to live in Honolulu, Hawaii. Stick around for Part 2 and 3 where we'll continue on to the Diamond and Hawaii Kai regions along Honolulu's southeast coastline.
Hawaii Kai | Living in Honolulu Pt. 3
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Living in Haleiwa
Iconic Haleiwa Town will GRAB you but just be sure to really evaluate your lifestyle needs before choosing to live in one of Oahu's most remote towns. Join us as we explore the real estate and living of Haleiwa, Hawaii; highlighting the differences between living and just visiting the notorious North Shore of Oahu. Key points include: - Real Estate Insights: We give you a straightforward overview of Haleiwa's housing market, from pricing to home types. - Discover famous North Shore beaches and the surf
Living in Wahiawa
Join us as we explore the Central Oahu community of Wahiawa; where Maila grew up and went to school as a child. We'll hit on neighborhood insights, local eateries, the vibe and culture, and key points of interest surrounding the Wahiawa lifestyle known for its: - Cool, elevated climate, - convenience to Schofield Barracks Army Base Hawaii - Vintage, plantation style Wahiawa homes for sale - Proximity to iconic Haleiwa Town and world-class beaches.

What is Real Estate like in Oahu?

There are over 309,000 housing units on Oahu. The average Oahu home price is around $1,000,000 with Oahu condo prices hovering around $480,000. The majority of homes were built between 1960 to 1980 but within the last decade there's been an incredible influx of Oahu New Homes being developed in various communities on island. Neigborhoods like Kakaako and Ala Moana are seeing their skylines transformed with new Honolulu condos popping up every year while communities like Ewa Beach and Waipio are seeing new suburbs created in the Hoopili and Koa Ridge master plans. 

For ALL things to know about the Oahu Real Estate Market visit our blog, Understanding Oahu Real Estate where you'll find detailed insights into home prices, new construction neighborhoods, Oahu short term rentals, property taxes, and more!

Oahu Neighborhoods

Check out our neighborhood guides below for the most comprensive understanding of what it's like to live and own in each community!

Interesting Facts About Oahu

  • Oahu has the highest population among the eight islands and is home to about 75% of the total population in Hawaii.
  • Hawaii’s state capital is Honolulu, Oahu, and there are many buildings with architecture reflecting the Hawaiian Monarchy.
  • The North Shore Oahu beaches are a famous destination for surfers and among the top-rated in the whole world.
  • Waikiki has around 100 hotels.
  • Waikiki is the hub for tourism on all of Oahu, and it features the South Shore.
  • Oahu is known as ‘The Gathering Place.’

Transportation

Depending on where you live on the island, there are different preferred methods of transportation. North Shore living will require residents to have their own cars as it’s not very transit accessible. The rest of Oahu is served by TheBus, which is an award-winning transit system and is considered one of the best transit systems in the country. TheBus offers service to the major areas around the island, and residents can purchase a monthly pass.

What is the History of Oahu?

Oahu has done an excellent job preserving the culture and heritage of ancient Hawaiian times. The influence of Polynesian culture is felt throughout the community. Polynesian explorers arrived on the islands over 1,500 years ago. Diamond Head, which is east of Waikiki beach, is one of the most notable volcanic craters in the world. It was named after calcite crystals in the lava, as seen by the British sailors who arrived on the island in the 1800s.

Fort Ruger was once a major defense fort that occupied Diamond Head, but now it’s a great place to hike and take in the incredible island views. There are many places around the island to learn about the history of Hawaii, like temples, cultural centers, museums, and festivals.

The first sugar plantation was opened on the island in 1835, and the residents of Hawaii realized the agricultural significance of the land and used it to their advantage.

Oahu is the home of Pearl Harbour, where the Japanese launched an unexpected attack during World War II. A memorial and museum now sit on the site.


Restaurants

There are some incredible local restaurants to enjoy on the island with a diverse mix of cuisines. From little cafes to fresh and healthy dishes, there’s something for everyone.

La Mer | 2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
La Mer is one of the top-rated restaurants on Oahu that offers fine French dining. Located in Honolulu, this prestigious establishment offers its guests a whole experience and not just an incredible meal.

Poke Bar | 226 Lewers St # L106, Honolulu, HI 96815
A Hawaiian staple, the fresh fish offered at Poke Bar is a must when you’re on Oahu. Also located in Honolulu, this restaurant offers options for all dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

Sweet E’s Cafe | 1006 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Sweet E’s is one of the best breakfast spots for both locals and visitors. Those who love this place have said that the food and service are top-notch, and it’s proximity to Waikiki Beach makes it popular and a great location to grab a coffee or snack on the go.

Hiking Hawaii Cafe | 1956 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815
The freshest and healthiest meals at the Hiking Hawaii Cafe in Honolulu are beloved by locals. Those looking to have great meals like quinoa, acai bowls, and the ever-popular avocado toast also have options when it comes to dietary restrictions. They offer gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

Waialua Bakery | 66-200 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
A little spot located in Haleiwa, the Waialua Bakery is well known for its incredible sandwiches and large portion sizes. Visitors here have nothing but positive experiences to talk about.

What is there to do in Oahu?

Oahu has endless recreation and entertainment to offer residents.

Indoor Activities

As a resident of Oahu, most people spend their time outdoors, but there are plenty of great indoor activities to explore, like shopping, museums, waterparks, and so much more. Take a break from the sun or visit these places on a rainy day with the family or solo.

Art & Culture

The Royal Iolani Palace is the only royal palace in the USA, and they offer tours during weekdays. The Summer Palace of Queen Emma, the restored palace of the Hawaiian Monarchy, also offers tours daily. Pearl Harbour, the USS Arizona National Memorial, is open daily for visitors. There’s so much history to learn about Hawaii, and Oahu is a great place to start learning.

The Hawaii State Art Museum and the Honolulu Museum of Art is home to some of the most beautiful artwork and extensive collections from local artists. Including work from the 19th and 20th centuries, there’s so much to explore and see. The Bishop Museum has an extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts, documents, photographs, and much more about the Polynesian culture. The Kakaako community in Honolulu is the place to go for the contemporary art scene, and the streets of the community have been turned into a gallery. Local musicians, actors, dancers, and artists flood the community and support each other.

Shopping

There are many shopping options around the island, but the busier the city and district, the better the shopping. Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, DFS Galleria (Duty-Free Shops), Ala Moana Center, Waikiki Shopping Plaza, Aloha Tower Marketplace, Koko Marina Shopping Center, Kahala Mall, Windward and Kane’ ohe Shopping Mall, Pearlridge Center, Waikele Center, and Ward Center. There are many common big-box retailers in these malls. The Waikele Premium Outlets is the place to go for luxury shopping. The Waikiki Shopping Plaza has over 70 specialty retailers that have unique gifts and treasures.

Fun for the Whole Family

There’s something for everyone on Oahu, and it’s a great place for people of all ages to explore. Families can find many great activities that will create lasting memories and a closer bond. Some of the best things to do on Oahu include horseback riding, snorkeling, water fun, and a helicopter tour.

Located on North Shore and Windward Koolau Range, residents can go horseback riding along the beaches. Snorkeling is something everyone should experience in Hawaii, and it’s family appropriate. With the crystal clear water, there’s so much to see and experience. Tours are also available so participants can see the coral reef, whales, and dolphins. Along with snorkeling, there are so many things to do in the water and on the beach. Popular pastimes include boogie boarding, surfing, parasailing, and kayaking. Many locals offer lessons for younger kids to learn from the best. Spending the money on a Helicopter Tour is an experience that many residents can’t recommend enough. Seeing your home in a new light is an incredible time.

Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the world, so when residents can take advantage of it, they opt to go sightseeing. Driving around the island to find lesser-known areas is fun, and you may stumble upon some of the most incredible spots around. Many locals also offer tours around the less populated areas, and there are apps available for voice-guided tours.

Beaches

Oahu is home to some of the most famous and photographed beaches in the world. There are 128 beaches to enjoy. Some of the most popular include:

Ala Moana Beach Park/Magic Island
Known as “The Path to The Sea,” this famous beach is perfect for those who love all things recreation. There are over 70 acres of green space, so it’s perfect for picnics, gatherings, and spending a full day on the beach. There are retailers and restaurants nearby.

Kailua Beach Park
Known for its crystal clear waters and soft sandy beaches, Kailua could be considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu. It’s perfect for swimming and windsurfing.

View All Homes For sale in Kailua, HI >>>

Sunset Beach
The ideal place for watching the nightly sunsets, this beach is two miles long and is the longest stretch of white sand beach on Oahu. Sunset Beach has ideal conditions for surfing and often hosts competitions. Summer days at the beach often include a lot of swimming and snorkeling in the calm waters. There are nearby trails that take residents to Waimea Bay.

Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach has incredible views of the Mokuluas islands and is the picture-perfect beach in paradise. Calm, clear blue waters make this beach the perfect place to swim or soak up the sun.

View All Homes For Sale in Lanikai, Kailua HI >>>

Waikiki Beach
Possibly the most famous beach in the world, Waikiki means “spouting water.” The beach is consistently flooded with tourists and almost always busy, for a good reason. The calm waters are perfect for swimming, boogie boarding, surfing, and snorkeling.

View All Homes For Sale in Waikiki, HI >>>

Ko’Olina
The beach includes four lagoons, each named after an animal. Hanu, meaning turtle, Kolola, meaning whale, Naia, meaning dolphin, and Ulua, meaning fish. Ko’Olina is well-known as one of the prime locations to watch the sunset at the end of each day. It’s located about thirty minutes from Waikiki, so it’s far away from the most popular tourist areas.

View All Homes For Sale Ko Olina, HI >>>

Parks
There are numerous parks on Oahu to explore, but the most unforgettable include Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Diamond Head State Park, Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, Round-Top Forest Reserve, Pu’u O Mahuka, Hale’ iwa Historical town, Byodo-in, Lyon Arboretum, Waimea Valley Audubon Center, and the Dole Plantation. These parks and reserves have some of the best views you may ever experience, and they should be explored by locals and tourists alike.

Residents

There are around 970,000 residents on Oahu with a population density of 1,636 residents per square miles. This is the 20th largest island in the country. The population is almost evenly divided into half men, half women, with 50.41% men and 49.59% women. The median age is 38 years old. The average household income is over $100,000 per year.

What are the schools in Oahu?

Oahu is home to over 180 public schools, and the majority of them are among the top in the state. There are 133 elementary schools, 36 middle schools, and 33 high schools located among the communities on the island. There are also private schools in Oahu, like Punahou K-12, where President Obama attended.

Hospitals and Health Centers

Located on Oahu:

Adventist Health Castle (formerly Castle Medical Center)
640 Ulukahiki St, Kailua, HI 96734
Open 24 hours
808-263-5500

Hawaii State Hospital
45-710 Keaahala Rd, Kaneohe, HI 96744
Open 24 hours
808-247-2191

Kahuku Medical Center
56-117 Pualalea St, Kahuku, HI 96731
Open 24 hours
808-293-9221

Pali Momi Medical Center
98-1079 Moanalua Rd, Aiea, HI 96701
Open 24 hours
808-486-6000

The Queen’s Medical Center
1301 Punchbowl St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Open 24 hours
808-691-1000

Wahiawa General Hospital
128 Lehua St, Wahiawa, HI 96786
Open 24 hours
808-621-8411

Located in Honolulu:

Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center
3288 Moanalua Rd, Honolulu, HI 96819
Open 8:30 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday and 24-hour emergency services
808-432-0000

Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children
1319 Punahou St, Honolulu, HI 96826
Open 24 hours
808-983-6000

Kuakini Medical Center
347 N Kuakini St, Honolulu, HI 96817
Open 24 hours
808-536-2236

Shriners Hospital for Children
1310 Punahou St, Honolulu, HI 96826
Open 24 hours
808-941-4466

Straub Clinic & Hospital
888 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Open 24 hours
808-522-4000

Tripler Army Medical Center
1 Jarrett White Rd, Medical Center, HI 96859
Open 6:30 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday
888-683-2778

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