Honolulu, Hawaii, the capital of Hawaii is the largest city in Hawaii, and also the biggest city in the world! "Hono" means "sheltered" in the Hawaiian language, and "lulu" means "bay," which makes up its name "Honolulu" or "Sheltered Bay." Besides the beaches, the history, art, and culture are a significant part of Honolulu that attracts both the locals and the visitors, with numerous attractions that are just as diverse as the people and the cultures on the island. The Iolani Palace, located downtown Honolulu, is the only palace in America. Now the palace is used as the headquarters for "Hawaii 5-0," and has become one of the most significant landmarks. The Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor is another distinct landmark and prevalent attraction. Honolulu and its neighborhoods - Kailua, Manoa, and Kaneohe also have various amenities and activities both indoor and outdoor. Honolulu’s cost of living is considerably higher than Hawaii and the U.S., but its location, the nearby beaches, its proximity to attractions and restaurants, and its gorgeous year-round climate is why people are captivated by this beautiful island.
One of Honolulu's neighborhoods is Kailua, which means "two seas" or "two currents," located on Oahu's windward coast. It was named Kailua because of the 2 lagoons that run through Kailua Bay. Out of the 3 neighborhoods, Kailua is the largest residential community that has a lower cost of living than Honolulu, but comparable to Kaneohe and Manoa. The 2-mile Kailua Beach is a favorite of visitors and locals alike, and its turquoise waters and white powder-soft sand makes this beach ideal for kayaking, body boarding, windsurfing, or just for taking a long stroll. Kailua Town, only 30 minutes from Waikiki, consists of trendy boutiques, Kamaaina hangouts for the locals, and favorite restaurants such as Boots and Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen, that is known for its pancakes with macadamia sauce. The Kailua Town also has the restaurant Crepes No Ka Di, which serves the most delicious crepes. And for a quick bite on the beach or a cup of coffee, Kalapawai Market is just a short walk away. During the day, you'll find so many outdoor activities in Kailua like snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, and so much more. In the evening, only a few minutes away from the beach, is the Kailua downtown area, a buzzing place full of unique boutiques, shops, dining, and exciting nightlife.
Manoa is a residential neighborhood just 3 miles east from downtown Honolulu, that sits in a valley on the slopes of Koolau mountain range. Manoa's location is central to shopping, restaurants, nightlife, and the main campus of the University of Hawaii. Because of the university, Manoa has a combination of young students and local families. Most of this neighborhood's eateries are behind the University in the Manoa Marketplace shopping center. For the serious shoppers, the Ala Moana Shopping Center is only 15 minutes away and is one of the largest malls in the United States. Some of the stores include Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Macy's, as well as smaller boutiques such as Chanel, Guess, Victoria's Secret, Banana Republic, and many other stores. For the adventurers and hiking enthusiasts, the Waahila Ridge Trails lead you to Mount Olympus where you'll view spectacular scenery that is definitely worth the hike. However, the only downfall of Manoa is the cost of living, which is higher than the other neighborhoods on the island.
Located just about 12 miles from downtown Honolulu is Kaneohe, which is one of the largest communities on the coast of Oahu. "Kane'ohe" which means "bamboo man" in the Hawaiian language, is an ancient Hawaiian legend of a local woman who compared the cruelty of her husband to the sharp edge of cutting bamboo, hence the name "Kane'ohe." Some of the main attractions of Kaneohe include the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, Kaneohe Sandbar, and Byody-In Temple, at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. In the 1960's, the temple was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants who arrived in Hawaii and worked on the sugar plantations. Another top-rated attraction of Kaneohe is Kane'ohe Bay, which provides cruises, snorkeling, a guided expedition, as well as other activities.