10 Things To Know BEFORE Moving to Honolulu, HI

July 25th, 2023

10 Things To Know BEFORE Moving to Honolulu, HI

Living in Honolulu

Are you considering a move to Honolulu, HI? Here's what it's like living in Honolulu! 

Not only is Honolulu the largest city in Hawaii, but it is also the state capital. Located along the south shore of the Island of Oahu, Honolulu is a beautiful and unique city that has grown into a central hub of business, hospitality, finance, and military defense. 

Referred to as Hawaii's main gateway, Honolulu is considered one of the best places to live in Hawaii for its warm tropical climate, diverse culture, breathtaking scenery, and fun things to do. Home to the only royal palace in the United States, Honolulu is not just a renowned surfing destination but an important part of history. 

Honolulu is not only famous for its prime real estate and miles of white sand beaches, but it is a top tourist destination in Hawaii and the country. Attracting millions of visitors to the area annually, it is easy to see why Honolulu is regarded as the heart of Hawaii. 

If you are moving to Hawaii and are considering calling Honolulu home, keep reading to learn more about what Honolulu has to offer. From highly-rated restaurants to family-friendly attractions, Honolulu features plenty of adventures for everyone to enjoy. 

Here is what you should know before moving to Honolulu

Real Estate 

Housing prices in Honolulu are 214% higher than the national average, which makes it the largest expense if you are moving to the area. With a medium list price of $1,856,643 as of July 2023, most homes for sale have an average price of $1,071 per square foot and stay on the market for an average of 129 days. 

Considered to have the highest median home prices in the nation, most single-family homes in Honolulu will not sell under $1 million. Since space is at a premium in Hawaii, the main reason that housing is expensive is due to strict housing regulations and housing shortages.

Many homebuyers in Honolulu are moving from New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to the area. Known for having a somewhat competitive housing market, most homes for sale receive multiple offers. 

Beautiful luxury home in Honolulu surrounded by palm trees and lush greenery

Cost of Living 

Notorious for its high living expenses, Honolulu's living cost is 84% higher than the national average. Known for having the highest cost of living in Hawaii and one of the highest in America, living in Honolulu is costly. Some of the highest living expenses in Honolulu are utilities, transportation, groceries, and healthcare.

Utility prices are 42% higher than the national average, transportation expenses are 26% higher than the national average, grocery prices are 50% higher than the national average, and healthcare expenses are 18% higher than the national average. 

Cost of Living Item  Price of Item
Energy Bill $251.26 / month 
Phone Bill  $270.30 / month
Doctor's Visit  $146.89
Dentist Visit  $126.74
Veterinary Visit  $76.13
Loaf of Bread  $5.82
Gallon of Milk  $3.64

* Data Sourced from Payscale


Honolulu has a tropical wet and dry climate, much like the rest of Hawaii, which means the city experiences hot and dry summers and comfortable and humid winters. Offering pleasant temperatures year-round, the average high temperature in the summer is 86 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average low of 73 degrees Fahrenheit. In comparison, the average high temperature in the winter is 76 degrees Fahrenheit with an average low of 61 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Receiving an average of 49 inches of rainfall per year, Honolulu gets at least some type of precipitation 195 days per year on average. January, February, and March are considered to be the most pleasant throughout the year due to their mild temperatures and low rainfall. Honolulu experiences zero freezing days and zero inches of snowfall. 

No Daylight Savings Time

Two states in America do not participate in Daylight Savings Time, and Hawaii is one of them. Alongside Arizona, Hawaii opted out of the Uniform Time Acts provisions in 1966, which mandates the country to use Daylight Savings Time. Hawaii was able to opt out of this practice due to its tropical latitude, which creates little variation in daylight length between summer and winter, meaning that the sun rises and sets in Hawaii at about the same time every day. 

Outdoor Activities  

Featuring some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the world, Honolulu is full of natural wonders and plenty of outdoor activities. From hiking trails to public parks near the water, there is no better way to spend the day in Honolulu than by being in nature. 

Honolulu Skyline surrounded by lush greenery, plants, and mountains

Check out these excellent outdoor activities in Honolulu, HI: 

Diamond Head: This volcanic cone encompasses over 475 acres and is an iconic landmark on the coastline recognized for its hiking trails, beautiful views, and military history. 

Ala Moana Beach Park: Found between Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu, this 100-acre public park offers tennis courts, a pavilion, and over a half-mile beach with soft gold sand. 

Kapi'olani Regional Park: Considered the largest and second-oldest public park in Hawaii, this beautiful park in the neighborhood of Waikiki offers volcano views, a beach, and opportunities for picnicking, canoeing, and kayaking. 

Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail: This hiking trail provides views of the southeastern coastline and opportunities for whale watching. 

Hanauma Bay State Park: Formed within a volcanic cone, this tourist attraction in East Honolulu is a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park that is great for swimming and snorkeling. 

Surfs Up 

Honolulu is not only the capital of Hawaii, but it is a sought-after destination for surfing. Home to beautiful beaches that feature gentle waves year round, there is no better place to learn how to surf and perfect your technique. 

Surfboards lined up at Waikiki Beach next to palm trees

Check out these best beach spots for surfing in Honolulu, HI: 

Waikiki Beach: This world-famous beach and neighborhood in Honolulu offers calm waters perfect for surfing and endless shopping and dining opportunities. 

Waimea Bay: Best known for its 30-foot waves in the winter, this is one of the most iconic areas on the North Shore of Oahu and is a frequent playground for professional surfers. 

Sunset Beach: Famous for its big wave surfing, this beach on the North Shore is a popular destination among surfers and is the location of big-name surf competitions, including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

Kailua Beach: As one of the largest and friendliest beach parks on the Windward Side of Oahu, it is best known for its turquoise water and soft, white sand. 

Banzai Pipeline: Recognized as one of the most famous surf spots on the North Shore, this surf reef break is best known for its barreling waves and swells. 

Watch Out for Bugs

Part of living in paradise is watching out for the creepy bugs and critters that love to call Hawaii home. Unfortunately, house pests are an issue in Honolulu and other Hawaiian cities due to their tropical climate, which creates the perfect environment for bugs to reside. 

Common pests to watch out for in Honolulu include ants, bed bugs, centipedes, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, flies, mosquitos, spiders, rodents, and scorpions. While most of these pests will not harm you, they are not the most welcomed house guests. On the plus side, snakes and other venomous insects are not native to Hawaii. 


The Hawaii Department of Education is the statewide public education system in Hawaii that is headquartered in Honolulu. This above-average school system is separated into four smaller districts on the Island of Oahu and serves over 176,000 students in grades K-12. With a student-teacher ratio of 15 to one, 94.6% of teachers are licensed, and 86.0% have three or more years of experience.  

Honolulu is also home to top-rated colleges and universities that students can go to. The University of Hawaii at Manoa, the number one rated college in Hawaii, is located in Honolulu and is a four-year public university with an acceptance rate of 70%. Some other higher education institutions in Honolulu are Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawai'i Pacific University, Honolulu Community College, and Kapi'olani Community College

University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus near the mountains

Things To Do 

Whether you are looking for something fun to do with the whole family or planning your next vacation to the area, there are plenty of fun things to do in Honolulu. From museums to historic landmarks, you will never be bored when living in Honolulu. 

Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu near beautiful blue water

Check out these fun things to do in Honolulu, HI: 

Lolani Palace: This historic landmark in Honolulu was the residence of Hawaii's last remaining monarchs that now operate as a museum and National Historic Landmark. 

Bishop Museum: Referred to as the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, this is the largest museum in the state, home to a planetarium and exciting exhibits on Hawaiian and Pacific Island cultures. 

Ala Moana Center: This sizeable open-air shopping center in Honolulu is the country's eighth-largest shopping mall and the world's largest open-air shopping mall, with department stores, boutiques, and restaurants. 

Honolulu Zoo: As the only zoo in the United States originating from a king's grant of royal lands, this 42-acre zoo is home to over 1,230 animals and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. 

Pearl Harbor National Memorial: Commemorating the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II, this national memorial is free to visit and features the USS Arizona Memorial, a museum, and galleries. 

Crime Rate 

Honolulu is recognized as a safe place to live, with a lower-than-average crime rate. With a crime rate of 34.46 per 1,000 residents, your chance of becoming a victim of property crime in Honolulu is one in 31, and your chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Honolulu is one in 390. In 2020, the total number of crimes decreased by 13.8%, violent crime fell by 10.7%, and property crime decreased by 14.1%. 

As one of the safest major cities in America, Honolulu is considered a great place to live and visit for the whole family. Since Hawaii is concerned more about safety than any other city in the country, crime rates are kept relatively low. Home to many safe neighborhoods, residents will feel comfortable and protected when living here. 

Check out the Living Alone: Home Safety Checklist for tips and tricks on how to stay safe in your new home. 

Pros and Cons of Living in Honolulu, HI 


  • Beautiful scenery 
  • Warm weather 
  • Great surfing opportunities
  • Cultural diversity 
  • Low crime rate 
  • Educational opportunities
  • Nightlife and entertainment 


  • High cost of living 
  • High housing prices 
  • Limited public transportation 
  • No seasons 
  • Potential of natural disasters 
  • Limited retail options 


Here are some common questions about life in Honolulu, HI. 

Is it a good idea to move to Honolulu? 

Honolulu is a great place to live in Hawaii, with beautiful weather, white sand beaches, plenty of outdoor activities, and a unique culture with friendly residents. 

What salary is needed to live comfortably in Hawaii? 

To live comfortably in Hawaii, it is recommended that single residents make an annual income between $70,000 to $100,000 and a family make an annual income between $120,000 to $200,000. 

Is it cheaper to live in Hawaii or California? 

Even though Hawaii and California are notorious for their high living costs, Hawaii is the most expensive of the two, especially regarding housing costs. 

What would be the only downside of living in Hawaii? 

Hawaii's high cost of living is the biggest challenge for residents since housing, groceries, transportation, and other goods and services are priced way above average. 

Moving to Honolulu - Final Thoughts  

Whether you are moving to Honolulu for its unique offerings or are just looking for somewhere cool to live away from the mainland, the capital of Hawaii is a fantastic option for families and retirees. Living in Honolulu is unlike any other place in the world, providing a high quality of life, low crime, and access to some of the most beautiful natural scenery. 

When you are ready to search for homes for sale in Honolulu, you can contact the experts at UpHomes. Our team of Realty Specialists is here to help you find your dream home and answer any questions about the home-buying process. 

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.

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