Ala Moana-Kakaako – Honolulu, HI

On the island of Oahu, Ala Moana-Kakaako is a shopper's paradise. Located on the south coast of the island, right in the center of Hononolu, these two adjacent neighborhoods boast by far the best shopping and dining on the island as well as nice beaches and parks. Ala Moana-Kakaako provides the best of both worlds: urban living right across the street from gorgeous Hawaiian beaches. The year-round perfect weather makes this neighborhood tough to beat.

Schools in Ala Moana-Kakaako

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Restaurants & Nightlife

There are over 400 restaurants, bars and coffee shops in Ala Moana-Kakaako, most of which are in Ward Center and Ala Moana Center. Due to the compact layout of these neighborhoods, most residents can walk to over 20 of those establishments in five minutes. You can find a wide range of food options here, from fine dining to fast food, but as is common in Hawaii, the majority of them prove to be Asian-influenced. The most popular eatery in Ala Moana is located within a department store, Shirokiya. Within the massive Ala Moana Shopping Center, this combo department store/restaurant offers up local favorites, such as mochi, bubble tea, ramen noodles, curry dishes, sushi and bentos, which are take-out boxes of sorts that come with some arrangement of rice, chicken, nori (seaweed), spam and a sushi roll. Make sure to check out its beer garden upstairs, and order a Kirin Ichiban. For Italian fare, head to La Cucina Ristorante Italiano in Kakaako. The food here is excellent and so is the staff. The cozy and intimate atmosphere is perfect for an Italian restaurant. For the adventurous eaters, try the squid ink pasta. The lobster ravioli with vodka sauce is also a huge hit. La Cucina's biggest hit remains its creme brulee cheesecake. Not leaving room for this delicious dessert is a mistake you soon regret. After dinner, head to Air Park Karaoke Lounge where you can sing your heart out until 2 a.m. with its modern iPad-controlled karaoke machines. The modern vibe extends to the song list as well as the decor of the lounge. Room rates range from $18 to $75 an hour depending on the size of your party and day of the week. However, every night except Friday and Saturday, as long as each member of your group orders two drinks per hour, you can get the room for free.

History & Culture

Like every neighborhood (or "ahupuaa" as the Hawaiians called subdivisions of land) throughout the islands, Ala Moana-Kakaako was once a thriving Native Hawaiian community with agricultural terraces. This area was particularly special, however, as it was home to Hawaiian royalty. Kamehameha I, the first man to unite all the islands, had a home here with his family. Today, long gone are the days of agriculture and fishing, as Ala Moana-Kakaako remains one of the most commercial neighborhoods in all of Hawaii. The Neal S. Blaisdell Center hosts many annual events, including Broadway plays, art shows, ballets, sporting events, symphonies and concerts.


While the vast majority of Honolulu residents own cars and drive, Ala Moana-Kakaako is one of the easier neighborhoods to get by without one. There is a pretty decent bus system, simply called The Bus, that runs through the neighborhood and out to all areas of the island. A one-way adult (17 and older) fare is $2.50, but frequent riders are better off getting a monthly pass for $60 or a yearly pass for $660. Youth ride for exactly half those rates, while seniors and the disabled ride for even cheaper. The neighborhood also proves to be very walkable. According to, "Ala Moana/Kakaako is the second most walkable neighborhood in Honolulu." The site also gives it a score of 64/100 for biking in the neighborhood -- a rating that falls into the "somewhat bikable category." The main deterrent to biking is the heavy traffic in the neighborhood. Parking is often a nightmare and almost always metered. On the plus side, the Lunalilo Freeway, or more commonly referred to as the H1, is very easy to access from Ala Moana-Kakaako. Ward, Punchbowl and Keeaumoku are all roads that run south to the ocean and north to H1. Cabs are not very common in Honolulu, but Uber cabs are an option. A ride within the neighborhood costs around $10, while you can get to the north end of the island for around $50.


The cost of living in Ala Moana-Kakaako is on par with greater Honolulu. The average monthly rate for a one-bedroom apartment is 6 percent higher than Honolulu at $1,300. On the whole, housing and utilities are both over 100 percent more than the national average. Gas in the neighborhood runs quite expensive as well, at around 28 percent higher than the national average. Groceries are even more expensive relative to the national average, at around 58 percent higher. Your average restaurant meal starts at $10, with a beer at a bar going for $5 each.


Ala Moana Center and Ward Center are the two big shopping hubs in the Ala Moana-Kakaako neighborhood. Ala Moana is easily the island's best mall, boasting high-end department stores, such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Macy's. The seemingly endless amount of clothing stores includes Ann Taylor, Chanel Boutique, Diane von Furstenberg, Forever 21, Victoria's Secret, American Eagle Outfitters, Banana Republic, Guess and Aeropostale. Ward Center, on the other hand, is home to one of the island's biggest movie theaters as well as home furnishing stores, such as Bed Bath & Beyond and Pier 1 Imports. Locals head to Red Pineapple for unique greeting cards and gifts. The store's friendly staff can help you find the perfect gift. Come back for the store's fun events, which include evenings devoted to painting and pupus. Safeway stands out as the biggest grocery store in the neighborhood. Another option is the Kaka'ako Farmers Market, held at Ward Warehouse every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.


There two parks in the neighborhood, Ala Moana State Regional Park and Kakaako Waterfront Park, are both beautiful, well-maintained, ocean-facing parks with a lot of benches, tables and open grass space. As with the rest of the neighborhood, they both get very crowded, especially on weekends. Although it's facing the ocean, there is no beach at Kakaako Park, as opposed to Ala Moana Park, which does have a beach adjacent to the green grass park. Both parks are free, both are very family friendly, but only Kakaako Park is dog-friendly.
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Hale Kahakai Apartments
1909 Kahakai Dr, Honolulu, HI 96814
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