Honolulu Explained

Official Name:Honolulu, Hawaii
Nickname:Crossroads of the Pacific, Sheltered Bay
Settlement Type:CDP
Motto:Ha’aheo No ‘O Honolulu (Honolulu Pride)[1]
Pushpin Map:Hawaii
Pushpin Map Caption:Location in Hawaii
Pushpin Mapsize:300
Subdivision Type:Country
Subdivision Name:United States
Subdivision Type1:State
Subdivision Name1:Hawaii
Subdivision Type2:County
Subdivision Name2:Honolulu
Leader Title:Mayor
Leader Name:Mufi Hannemann
Area Magnitude:1 E8
Unit Pref:Imperial
Area Total Km2:272.1
Area Land Km2:222.0
Area Water Km2:50.1
Area Total Sq Mi:105
Area Land Sq Mi:85.7
Area Water Sq Mi:19.3
Population As Of:2000
Population Total:371,657
Population Metro:909,863
Timezone:Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time
Utc Offset:-10
Utc Offset Dst:-10
Elevation M:Sea Level 0
Elevation Ft:0
Postal Code Type:Zip Code
Postal Code:96801-96825
Area Code:808
Blank Name:FIPS code
Blank Info:15-17000
Blank1 Name:GNIS feature ID
Blank1 Info:0366212

Honolulu is the capital and most populous census-designated place (CDP) in the U.S. state of Hawaii. Although Honolulu refers to the urban area on the southeastern shore of the island of Oahu, the city and the county are consolidated, known as the City and County of Honolulu, and the city and county is designated as the entire island. The City and County of Honolulu is the only incorporated city in Hawaii, as all other local government entities are administered at the county level. The population of the CDP was 371,657 at the 2000 census, while the population of the City and County was 909,863. In the Hawaiian language, Honolulu means "sheltered bay" or "place of shelter." It is the birthplace of Barack Obama, the current President of the United States.


It is not known when Honolulu was first settled by the original Polynesian migrants to the archipelago. Oral histories and artifacts indicate that there was a settlement where Honolulu now stands in the 12th century. However, after Kamehameha I conquered Oʻahu in the Battle of Nuʻuanu at Nuʻuanu Pali, he moved his royal court from the Island of Hawaiʻi to Waikīkī in 1804. His court later relocated, in 1809, to what is now downtown Honolulu.

Captain William Brown of England was the first foreigner to sail, in 1794, into what is now Honolulu Harbor. More foreign ships would follow, making the port of Honolulu a focal point for merchant ships traveling between North America and Asia.

In 1845, Kamehameha III moved the permanent capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom from Lahaina on Maui to Honolulu. He and the kings that followed him transformed Honolulu into a modern capital, erecting buildings such as St. Andrew's Cathedral, ʻIolani Palace, and Aliʻiōlani Hale. At the same time, Honolulu became the center of commerce in the Islands, with descendants of American missionaries establishing major businesses in downtown Honolulu.

Despite the turbulent history of the late 19th century and early 20th century, which saw the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, Hawaiʻi's subsequent annexation by the United States, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Honolulu would remain the capital, largest city, and main airport and seaport of the Hawaiian Islands.

An economic and tourism boom following statehood brought rapid economic growth to Honolulu and Hawaiʻi. Modern air travel would bring thousands, eventually millions (per annum) of visitors to the Islands. Today, Honolulu is a modern city with numerous high-rise buildings, and Waikīkī is the center of the tourism industry in Hawaiʻi, with thousands of hotel rooms.

Geography and climate

Honolulu is located at (21.308950, -157.826182).

Web site: States Census Bureau] US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990]. 2011-04-23. 2011-02-12.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 105.1 mi² (272.1 km²). 85.7 mi² (222.0 km²) of it is land and 19.4 mi² (50.1 km²) of it (18.42%) is water.

The closest location on the mainland to Honolulu is the Point Arena, California Lighthouse, at 2,045 nautical miles (2,353 statute miles) or 3,787 kilometers.[2] (Nautical vessels require some additional distance to circumnavigate Makapu'u Point.) However, part of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska are slightly closer than California.

Honolulu has a warm semiarid (BSh) climate according to Köppen classification, and enjoys warm weather and plenty of sunshine throughout the year.[3] Despite its location in the tropics, the climate (temperature, precipitation and humidity) is moderated by Hawaii's mid-ocean location.

Temperatures vary little throughout the months, with average high temperatures of 80 - 89°F (27 - 32°C) and lows of 65 - 75°F (19 - 24°C) throughout the year. Temperatures rarely exceed 90's°F (32°C), and with lows in the upper-50's°F (~15°C) occuring once or twice a year. Waters off the coast of Honolulu averages 82°F (27°C) in the summer months and 77°F (25°C) in the winter months.[4]

Annual average precipitation is 18.3 inches (464 mm), which mainly occurs during the winter months of October through March, and very little rainfall during the summer. Honolulu has an average of 270 sunshine days and 98 wet days a year.[5]

Single Line:Yes
Location:Honolulu, Hawaii
Jan Hi °F:80.4
Jan Rec Hi °F:88
Feb Hi °F:80.7
Feb Rec Hi °F:88
Mar Hi °F:81.7
Mar Rec Hi °F:88
Apr Hi °F:83.1
Apr Rec Hi °F:91
May Hi °F:84.9
May Rec Hi °F:93
Jun Hi °F:86.9
Jun Rec Hi °F:92
Jul Hi °F:87.8
Jul Rec Hi °F:94
Aug Hi °F:88.9
Aug Rec Hi °F:93
Sep Hi °F:88.9
Sep Rec Hi °F:95
Oct Hi °F:87.2
Oct Rec Hi °F:94
Nov Hi °F:84.3
Nov Rec Hi °F:93
Dec Hi °F:81.7
Dec Rec Hi °F:89
Year Hi °F:85
Year Rec Hi °F:95
Jan Lo °F:65.7
Jan Rec Lo °F:53
Feb Lo °F:65.4
Feb Rec Lo °F:53
Mar Lo °F:66.9
Mar Rec Lo °F:55
Apr Lo °F:68.2
Apr Rec Lo °F:57
May Lo °F:69.6
May Rec Lo °F:60
Jun Lo °F:72.1
Jun Rec Lo °F:65
Jul Lo °F:73.8
Jul Rec Lo °F:66
Aug Lo °F:74.7
Aug Rec Lo °F:67
Sep Lo °F:74.2
Sep Rec Lo °F:66
Oct Lo °F:73.2
Oct Rec Lo °F:61
Nov Lo °F:71.1
Nov Rec Lo °F:57
Dec Lo °F:67.8
Dec Rec Lo °F:54
Year Lo °F:70
Year Rec Lo °F:53
Jan Precip Inch:2.73
Feb Precip Inch:2.35
Mar Precip Inch:1.89
Apr Precip Inch:1.11
May Precip Inch:0.78
Jun Precip Inch:0.43
Jul Precip Inch:0.50
Aug Precip Inch:0.46
Sep Precip Inch:0.74
Oct Precip Inch:2.18
Nov Precip Inch:2.27
Dec Precip Inch:2.85
Year Precip Inch:18.29
Source:The Weather Channel[6]
Accessdate:September 2008


See main article: Honolulu County, Hawaii.

Honolulu is administered under a consolidated city-county form of government employing a strong mayor-council system. The Mayor of Honolulu holds executive privilegesas opposed to mayors with only ceremonial powersand the Honolulu City Council serves as the legislature. Mufi Hannemann currently serves as Mayor of Honolulu. His term ends January 2, 2010.

The city and county works with an annual operating budget of over USD 1.6 billion (2008 fiscal year.)[7] The Honolulu Fire Department and Honolulu Police Department are administered by the mayor and city council through appointed officials.


The Honolulu District is located on the southeast coast of Oahu between Makapuu and Halawa. The District boundary follows the Koolau crestline, so Makapuu Beach is in the Koolaupoko District. On the west, the district boundary follows Halawa Stream, then crosses Red Hill and runs just west of Aliamanu Crater, so that Aloha Stadium, Pearl Harbor (with the USS Arizona Memorial), and Hickam Air Force Base are actually all located in the island's Ewa District.

Most of the city's commercial and industrial developments are located on a narrow but relatively flat coastal plain, while numerous ridges and valleys located inland of the coastal plain divide Honolulu's residential areas into distinct neighborhoods: some spread along valley floors (like Manoa in Manoa Valley) and others climb the interfluvial ridges. Within Honolulu proper can be found several volcanic cones: Punchbowl, Diamond Head, Koko Head (includes Hanauma Bay), Koko Crater, Salt Lake, and Aliamanu being the most conspicuous.

Diplomatic missions

Several countries have diplomatic facilities in Honolulu CDP in the City and County of Honolulu. The Consulate-General of Japan in Honolulu is located at 1742 Nuuanu Avenue.[8] The Consulate-General of South Korea in Honolulu is located at 2756 Pali Highway.[9] The Consulate-General of the Philippines in Honolulu is located at 2433 Pali Highway.[10] The Consulate-General of the Federated States of Micronesia in Honolulu is located in Suite 908 at 3049 Ualena Street.[11] The Consulate-General of Australia in Honolulu is located in the penthouse of 1000 Bishop Street.[12] The Consulate-General of the Marshall Islands in Honolulu is located in Suite 301 at 1888 Lusitana Street.[13]

Neighborhoods and special districts


As of the census

Web site: States Census Bureau] American FactFinder]. 2008-01-31. of 2000, there were 371,657 people, 140,337 households, and 87,429 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,336.6 people per square mile (1,674.4/km²). There were 158,663 housing units at an average density of 1,851.3/sq mi (714.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 19.67% White, 1.62% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 55.85% Asian, 6.85% Pacific Islander, 0.89% from other races; and 14.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.37% of the population.

There were 140,337 households out of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size is 3.23.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 19.2% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $45,112, and the median income for a family was $56,311. Males had a median income of $36,631 versus $29,930 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $24,191. About 7.9% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.6% of those under the age of 18 and 8.5% of those 65 and older.



Located on the western end of Honolulu proper, Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is the principal aviation gateway to the state of Hawaii.


Several freeways serve Honolulu:

Other major highways that link Honolulu proper with other parts of the Island of Oahu are:

Like most major American cities, the Honolulu metropolitan area experiences heavy traffic congestion during rush hours, especially to and from the western suburbs of Kapolei, Ewa, Aiea, Pearl City, Waipahu, and Mililani. Land for expanding road capacity is at a premium everywhere on Oahu.

Public transportation


See main article: TheBus (Honolulu).

Established by former Mayor Frank F. Fasi, Honolulu's TheBus system has been twice honored by the American Public Transportation Association bestowing the title of "America's Best Transit System" for 1994 - 1995 and 2000 - 2001. TheBus operates 107 routes serving Honolulu and outlying areas on Oahu with a fleet of 531 buses, and is run by the non-profit corporation Oahu Transit Services in conjunction with the city Department of Transportation Services. Honolulu is ranked 4th for highest per-capita use of mass transit in the United States.[14]


See main article: Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project.

Currently, there is no urban rail transit system in Honolulu, although electric street railways were once used during the early days of Honolulu's history. The first major attempt was called the Honolulu Area Rail Rapid Transit project, popularly known as HART. Originally proposed in 1968 by Mayor Neal S. Blaisdell and supported by his successor, Frank Fasi, HART was originally envisioned as a 29miles line from Pearl City to Hawaii Kai. By 1980, however, the project's length was cut to an 8miles segment between the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Honolulu International Airport.

In the wake of proposed budget cuts by President Ronald Reagan, including the elimination of all funding for transit projects by 1985, newly elected Mayor Eileen Anderson cancelled the project in 1981 and returned grants and funding to their sources,[15] [16] arguing the project would break her vow of fiscal responsibility.[17] .[18]

After defeating Anderson in 1984 to regain the mayorship, Fasi started plans to revive the HART project. Funding avenues that Fasi explored included a substantial (66 percent) increase in the gasoline tax and diversion of money earmarked for then-stalled Interstate H-3 to be used for the project. In 1990, Governor John Waihee proposed allowing counties to collect a 0.5% increase in the excise tax to be used for transportation projects, and the state legislature approved the plan in May 1990. The counties would have until October 1, 1992 to enact the increase.

In October 1991, the Fasi administration chose Oahu Transit Group to develop the rail line, which was based on cars by AEG Westinghouse similar to those used in the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. The U.S. House amended a transit bill to include $618 million for Honolulu's project, about one-third of the cost, and the Council in November entered into a joint funding agreement with the state.

On September 23, 1992, the City Council voted 5-4 against enacting the tax increase, which effectively killed the project. Fasi made unsuccessful attempts to have a rail referendum (which was struck down by the courts), and to have private investors fund part of the line. The House revoked funding for the project on May 11, 1993, citing lack of guaranteed local funding.

In 2005, under the administration of Mufi Hannemann, the city, county and state approved development of an action plan for a unspecific rapid transit system, known as the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project, to be built in several phases. The initial line proposed linking Kapolei in West Oahu to the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Then on December 22, 2006 the city council approved a fixed-guideway system meant to accommodate a rapid transit system of rail or buses, running from Kapolei in West Oahu to Ala Moana, with spurs into Waikiki and Manoa.[19]

Opponents of the proposed rail system attempted to place a measure on the Honolulu ballot which would have prohibited any rail system from being used, but failed to gather the required signatures in time. In response, the Honolulu City Council voted to put a question on the Honolulu ballot which would direct the city transportation department to create a steel-wheel-on-steel-rail transit system.

On November 4, 2008, the residents of Honolulu voted to allow the process of developing the rail project to continue. The trains will be approximately 200feet long, electric, steel wheel to steel rail technology and will capable of carrying more than 300 passengers each.[20] [21] The measure passed with 52% of the vote.[22]

Cultural institutions

Performing arts

Established in 1900, the Honolulu Symphony is the oldest US symphony orchestra west of the Rocky Mountains. Other classical music ensembles include the Hawaii Opera Theatre. Honolulu is also a center for Hawaiian music. The main music venues include the Neal Blaisdell Center Concert Hall, the Waikiki Shell, and the Hawaii Theatre.

Honolulu also includes several venues for live theater, including the Diamond Head Theatre.

Visual arts

There are various institutions supported by the state and private entities for the advancement of the visual arts. The Honolulu Academy of Arts is endowed with the largest collection of Asian and Western art in Hawaii. It also has the largest collection of Islamic art, housed at the Shangri La estate. The academy hosts a film and video program dedicated to arthouse and world cinema in the museum's Doris Duke Theatre, named for the academy's historic patroness Doris Duke.

The Contemporary Museum is the only contemporary art museum in the state. It has two locations: main campus in Makiki and a multi-level gallery in downtown Honolulu at the First Hawaiian Center.

The Hawaii State Art Museum is also located in downtown Honolulu at No. 1 Capitol District Building and boasts a collection of art pieces created by local artists as well as traditional Hawaiian art. The museum is administered by the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

Hawaii Craftsmen is a non-profit art organization that holds exhibitions of work by local visual artists working in three dimensional media. They hold an Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition every year (since 1967) juried by a world renowned Juror who visits Oahu, East Hawaii (Big Island), West Hawaii (Big Island), Kauai, and Maui to meet local artists and select work for the exhibition which takes place on Oahu. Hawaii Craftsmen also hosts an annual workshop series called Aha Hana Lima (Gathering of the Crafts) bringing in artists from around the world to teach new techniques to professional and amateur artists on Oahu. They also hold a three day Raku event at Waimalo Bay Beach park every summer where artists camp out with their kilns and fire work around the clock. Raku Ho'olaule'a has been going on since 1973 and has produced an unparalleled level of Raku art.

Natural museums

Recognized internationally as the premier cultural institution of Hawaii, the Bishop Museum is the largest of Honolulu's museums. It is endowed with the state's largest collection of natural history specimens and the world's largest collection of Hawaiiana and Pacific culture artifacts. The Honolulu Zoo is the main zoological institution in Hawaii while the Waikiki Aquarium is a working marine biology laboratory. The Waikiki Aquarium is partnered with the University of Hawaii and other universities worldwide. Established for appreciation and botany, Honolulu is home to several gardens: Foster Botanical Garden, Liliuokalani Botanical Garden, Walker Estate, among others.


Currently, Honolulu has no professional sports teams. Honolulu has hosted the NFL's annual Pro Bowl each February since 1980, though the 2010 Pro Bowl will be played in Miami. The NCAA football Hawaii Bowl is played in Honolulu. Honolulu also supports the Hawaii Winter League annually from late September to late November, hosting minor league players from MLB, NPB, and Korea. Games are hosted at Les Murakami and Hans L'Orange Park. Fans of spectator sports in Honolulu generally support the football, volleyball, basketball, and baseball programs of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. High school sporting events, especially football, are especially popular. Venues for spectator sports in Honolulu include:

Aloha Stadium, a venue for American football and soccer (football), is located in nearby community of .

Honolulu's mild climate lends itself to year-round fitness activities as well. In 2004, Men's Fitness magazine named Honolulu the fittest city in the U.S. Honolulu is also home to three large road races:

Former professional franchises


See main article: Media in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Tourist attractions

See also: Oahu.


Colleges and universities

Colleges and universities in the Honolulu community include University of Hawaii at Manoa, Chaminade University, and Hawaii Pacific University.

Primary and secondary schools

Hawaii Department of Education operates public schools in Honolulu. Private schools such as Punahou School, Iolani School, Kamehameha Schools, and Mid-Pacific Institute also exist.

Sister cities and jurisdictions

Honolulu has sister city relationships with the following cities worldwide:[23]

Baguio, Philippines Baku, Azerbaijan Bruyères, France Caracas, Venezuela Cebu, Phillipines Funchal, Portugal
Hainan, People's Republic of China Hiroshima, Japan Huế, Vietnam Incheon, South Korea Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Republic of China Laoag, Philippines
Mombasa, Kenya Mumbai, India Naha, Japan Puerto Princesa, Philippines San Juan, Puerto Rico (U.S.) Seoul, South Korea
Sintra, Portugal Tokyo, Japan Vigan, Philippines Vladivostok, Russia Zhongshan, People's Republic of China


External links

Notes and References

  1. "Events, Official Web Site for The City and County of Honolulu." City and County of Honolulu. Accessed October 14, 2008.
  2. Microsoft Streets and Trips 2007 Software, Copyright 2006 by Microsoft Corp. et al. Kilometers converted to nautical and statute miles by figures given in The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2007, Copyright World Alamnac Education Group, p.350-353
  3. Web site: Monthly Averages for Honolulu, HI. Weather.com. 2008-11-07.
  4. www.weather.com
  5. http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weatherall.php3?s=28119&refer=&units=us
  6. Web site: Monthly Averages for Honolulu, HI. 2008-09-19. 2008. The Weather Channel.
  7. http://www.honolulu.gov/budget/execbgt/fy2008operord.pdf City and County of Honolulu Department of Budget and Fiscal Services
  8. "Visa & Travel." Consulate-General of Japan in Honolulu. Accessed August 17, 2008.
  9. "Location." Consulate-General of South Korea in Honolulu. Retrieved on January 10, 2009.
  10. "Other Philippine Missions in the U.S.." Consulate-General of the Philippines in Chicago. Retrieved on January 10, 2009.
  11. "Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Embassies, Consulates, and Missions." Department of Foreign Affairs (Federated States of Micronesia). Retrieved on January 10, 2009.
  12. "Australian Consulate-General in Honolulu, United States of America." Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved on January 10, 2009.
  13. "Foreign Mission." Republic of the Marshall Islands. Retrieved on January 28, 2009.
  14. http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/other_data_products/Top_Transit_Cities.xls National Transit Database
  15. News: William D. Middleton. Honolulu: trains at last?. Railway Age. November, 1990. 2008-01-19.
  16. News: William D. Middleton. Honolulu's mayor ends proposal for rail line in downtown area. New York Times. June 28, 1981. 2008-01-20.
  17. Book: Leavitt, Judith A.. American Women Managers and Administrators. Greenwood Press. 1985. 8–9. 0313237484.
  18. News: Gordon Y.K. Pang. Will rail fly this time?. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. December 16, 1998. 2008-10-12.
  19. News: Kua. Crystal. December 23, 2006. All Aboard!. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 2008-11-21. English.
  20. http://www.khnl.com/Global/story.asp?S=9295785 Honolulu - Rail transit passes
  21. http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081106/NEWS01/811060369/1001/NEWS05 Honolulu rail might be rerouted to airport
  22. News: Sean Hao. Voters on Oahu say 'yes' to rail. Honolulu Advertiser. November 5, 2008. 2008-11-05.
  23. http://www.honolulu.gov/refs/menu/ecodev/sistercities/cities.htm City and County of Honolulu: Sister Cities