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Waikiki

Honolulu, HI

The oceanfront neighborhood of Waikiki lies 3 miles south of downtown Honolulu, but none can argue that the vacation hot spot has earned a fame all its own. Home to the city's most upscale hotels such as Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian, Waikiki charms residents with its numerous high-rise condos with a view of the Pacific. Separated from the mainland by the Ala Wai Canal, Waikiki maintains a distinct metropolitan feel with some of best shopping and restaurants in the city. Residents have the pleasure of living in a place that stands as a dream vacation spot for many, attracting a diverse population from all over the world. Young singles come to enjoy the happening nightlife scene, but small families and retirees also flock here to enjoy the warm weather and plenty of outdoor recreation such as surfing and long-boarding. Special touches like the neighborhood-wide torch-lighting ceremony and the nightly hula shows at Waikiki Beach make living here nothing short of magical.

Explore the Neighborhood

Living in Waikiki

Restaurants

Waikiki's wild popularity has drawn in some of the best chefs from Hawaii and around the world, forming a creative culinary scene that impresses even the pickiest diners. Discover a trove of trendy surf cafes, traditional Hawaiian restaurants with tropical decor, upscale seafood grills and Japanese sushi houses scattered throughout the neighborhood, many resting right on the beach for an unbeatable sunset dining experience. While tourists crowd into Duke's, locals head to Hula Grill for Hawaii-style breakfasts and cocktails without the wait. Sample unique menu items including the croissant French toast, fried rice fo' days, and a spicy sweet potato and chorizo skillet. For a lighter meal, get the fruit platter stacked with pineapple, dragon fruit and other tropical favorites alongside a mild fruit sauce. This laid-back restaurant creates the perfect environment to watch the ocean from the patio while sipping on a wasabi bloody Mary, so make this your go-to place for atmosphere and affordable eats. With a big bowl of authentic noodles costing less than a cocktail at your standard beach bar, it's no wonder locals com from miles around to dine at Marukame Udon. The line in this cafateria-style udon joint moves fast, so don't let the crowd of hungry diners going out the door fool you. After choosing your udon broth, pile all your favorite tempuras on top of your noodles for a lunch made just how you like it. Goofy Cafe & Dine may look like a trendy beach house, but inside you find a charming restaurant serving up local and organic cuisine. Stop in to enjoy a soy latte and eggs Benedict with purple potatoes or green spaghetti with a taro muffin on the side. This place also dishes out one of the best acai bowls in town complete with piles of fresh fruit. Waikiki's Kuhio Avenue hosts one of the most energetic nightlife scenes in Honolulu with dozens of beach bars, nightclubs and upscale lounges. For a relaxing evening, join the locals at Lewers Lounge to bask in an intimate atmosphere while listening to live jazz. Unique cocktails such as the sunset martini and calamansi mint julep beg you to try them, but the gin and tonic satisfies just as easily. Remember to dress up for your night out.

History

When Honolulu was flourishing as a small fishing village in the 1800s, Waikiki became a popular getaway for Hawaiian dignitaries who went there to surf, canoe and ride on horseback. The construction of the first road came in 1860 when foreigners began discovering the area, and tourism grew ever stronger when the U.S. military established a base in the neighborhood and the Manoa Hotel came into being. Learn more about the neighborhood's heritage by walking along the Waikiki Historic Trail and reading the surfboard markers. Don't miss local museums such as the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii, and experience the area's thriving art scene at the Lucoral Museum and numerous galleries. Discover special events held almost every night at the beaches, hotels and shopping centers, and don't miss the annual Waikiki ArtFest and the Waikiki Holiday Parade commemorating Pearl Harbor.

Transportation

More than 90 percent of Waikiki residents commute to work, so the neighborhood maintains a well-structured transportation system. Take the main thoroughfares like Kalakaua Avenue and Ala Wai Boulevard to get across the canal if you want to reach the Lunalilo Freeway for access to downtown Honolulu. Get ready for some heavy traffic during rush hour, and keep in mind that parking prices remain steep at several public lots, parking garages and meters. You can always call Uber for a quick ride, and the neighborhood has become one of the easiest places to hail a cab in Honolulu. Honolulu's buses make frequent stops in Waikiki for a quick ride into downtown. If you choose to forgo the automobile entirely, cruise down the bike lane on Ala Wai Boulevard, or take the bike trails stretching from the Hilton Lagoon to Fort DeRussy Beach Park. Many locals choose to run their errands on foot since Waikiki's concentrated amenities, ample sidewalks and perfect weather keep the area easily walkable.

Cost

Waikiki remains one of the top destinations in Oahu, creating an upscale atmosphere where the cost of living rises well above the city's average. Expect to pay around $1,595 for a standard one-bedroom apartment with prices climbing as you approach the beach. Taking the bus into downtown costs $2.50 for a one-way ticket, and gas prices hover 15 percent above the national average. Entertainment prices remain steep as well with a tall glass of beer costing around $10.

Shopping

Waikiki's unique retail scene enchants Honolulu natives and tourists alike with everything from zany t-shirt shops, bike shops and upscale boutiques awaiting you along Kalakaua Avenue. The Royal Hawaiian Center, a high-end, outdoor mall with tropical landscaping, attracts avid shoppers with stores such as Kate Spade and Juicy Couture. During your visit, be sure to validate your parking to get the first hour for free. For a trendier feel, channel your inner tourist at Waikiki Beach Walk where you find stunning art galleries and top restaurants. Delicate beach themes and pastel colors draw you into Island Sweetie, a charming boutique displaying airy beach dresses with small-patterned prints, hand-crafted soaps made in Kailua and beautiful seashell jewelry. Keep an eye out for frequent discounts on jewelry, and don't be afraid to ask the friendly boutique staff for fashion advice. Hidden among tacky souvenir shops, Hamilton Boutique stands out with a selection of cute accessories and jewelry that you can really use. Find stylish iPhone covers, Japanese t-shirts and rhinestone-studded handbags. Best of all, this place keeps its prices well below the Waikiki norm. Grab your weekly groceries at Food Pantry Ltd, or pick up some homemade ice cream at Henry's Place. Don't forget to stop by the Waikiki Farmers Market to find fresh produce, food vendors and baked goods.

Parks

When you want to kick back and enjoy the balmy tropical breeze on your day off, head to one of Waikiki's beaches or parks to soak up the sun. Kuhio Beach Park has become a favorite of local families for its still lagoon hidden away from the crashing waves. This place gets packed with tourists in the high season, but coming early in the morning ensures that you get the beach all to yourself. Go for your morning jog along the walking path, and don't miss the free hula shows several nights a week. If you want to escape the crowds, head to Fort DeRussy Beach Park, a grassy space with plenty of areas to go for a stroll with your dog. You also find some grills, a playground for the kids and volleyball courts. Enjoy a great view of Diamond Head from this quiet beach, and be sure to check out the walking path with exercise stations for your daily workout.

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Waikiki Apartments for Rent

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2 wks
Ala Wai Vista
2503 Ala Wai Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815
$1,625 1 Bed Available Now
844-767-2257
4 days
2588 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
$1,300 1 Bed Available Now
808-354-0421

Apartments for Rent in Waikiki, Honolulu, HI

The oceanfront neighborhood of Waikiki lies 3 miles south of downtown Honolulu, but none can argue that the vacation hot spot has earned a fame all its own. Home to the city's most upscale hotels such as Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian, Waikiki charms residents with its numerous high-rise condos with a view of the Pacific. Separated from the mainland by the Ala Wai Canal, Waikiki maintains a distinct metropolitan feel with some of best shopping and restaurants in the city.

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