Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America

Founded: In 1850, Kamehameha III proclaimed Honolulu the capital city of the independent Kingdom of Hawaii. Under US control, the county of Oahu was established on July 1, 1905. Two years later, it was renamed the city and county of Honolulu. A city charter was adopted when Hawaii became a state in 1959.
Location: Southern shore of Oahu, one of eight major islands in the state of Hawaii, in the northern Pacific Ocean, 2,390 miles from California, and 3,850 miles from Japan
Flag: Honolulu does not fly a city flag.
Motto: Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono (state motto, attributed to King Kamehameha III, meaning "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.")
Island Flower: Ilima
Time Zone: Hawaii is located in its own time zone, called Hawaiian Standard Time. The state does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Noon in Hawaii = 2 PM on the US West Coast/5 PM on the US East Coast (Standard Time, November through August). During mainland Daylight Savings (April–October), there is a three hour difference with the West Coast and a six hour difference with the East Coast.
Ethnic Composition: 24% Caucasian; 21% Japanese; 17% mixed ancestry, other than part-Hawaiian; 16% part-Hawaiian; 7% Filipino; 6% Chinese, 1% pure Hawaiian
Latitude and Longitude: 21°18′25 N, 157°51′30 W
Coastline: Southern shore of the island of Oahu
Climate: Typically warm and sunny throughout the year, with slight temperature variations; nearly constant trade winds moderate heat and humidity. Kona weather, with warmer winds from the south, brings higher temperatures and humidity. Winter months are wetter, and sometimes stormier, but rainbows quickly follow the rains.
Annual Mean Temperature: Summer highs range from 85 to 87°F (29.4–30.6°C); night lows average 70 to 74°F (21.1–23.3°C). In the winter, daytime highs range from 70 to 74°F (21.1–23.3°C); night lows average 65 to 69°F (C18.3–20.6°C).
Average Annual Precipitation: Varies dramatically in different parts of the city. The waterfront district of Waikiki only averages about 25 inches of rain, but the Lyon Arboretum in the upper Manoa Valley, about 5 miles to the north, averages 158 inches.
Government: Mayor and nine-member city council.
Weights and Measures: Standard US
Telephone Area Code: 808 in the city and county of Honolulu

2. Getting There


The island of Oahu has two major freeways that are part of the national highway system: H-1 and H-2. While the city is compact and easy to navigate, the private automobile remains a predominant mode of transport, often clogging the freeways during rush hour. The city has experimented with water transport with little success. Mayor Jeremy Harris' proposed light-rail system has not been well received.


Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu did not become a popular tourist destination until the airplane age. Today, most people who come to Oahu arrive at the Honolulu International Airport. Before 1932, the airport was named after Commander John Rodgers. He made the first flight from the mainland United States to Hawaii in 1925. It is possible to get to Hawaii by cruise ship and travel to the other islands by cruise ship, but the bulk of inter-island travel is serviced by airlines. Hawaiian Airlines has daily flights to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The smaller Aloha Airlines also serves the West Coast. All major U.S. airlines fly to the islands. Japanese airlines have daily service to Honolulu and neighboring islands. Honolulu is a hub for many Pacific Islands.

Honolulu Population Profile

Population: 377,050
Area: 1,540 sq km (594 sq mi–Oahu)
Ethnic composition: 24% Caucasian; 21% Japanese; 17% mixed ancestry, other than part-Hawaiian; 16% part-Hawaiian; 7% Filipino; 6% Chinese, 1% pure Hawaiian
World population rank1: unranked
Percentage of national population2: <1%
Nickname: The Gathering Place


  1. The Honolulu metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of the total US population living in the Honolulu metropolitan area.


Honolulu is located at the crossroads of transpacific cargo carriers, and its port has extensive shipping facilities. The port also serves local industries, including pineapple canneries, sugar refineries, and clothing factories.

3. Getting Around

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

Oahu Transit Services operates a successful public bus service. The American Public Transit Association named "The Bus" America's Best Transit System in 1994–1995. "The Bus" transports 260,000 people over 60,000 miles each day. Buses, many of them equipped with bicycle racks, travel throughout the island. With 1,350 employees, "The Bus" is one of Oahu's largest employers.


Honolulu ranks first in tourist arrivals, and some of the state's most visited attractions are within its boundaries. In Oahu, most visitors head for the Waikiki district of Honolulu. Other popular spots in and around the city include the USS Arizona Memorial and Visitors Center in Pearl Harbor; Punchbowl Crater, home of the National Memorial Cemetery; the retired battleship USS Missouri ; the Queen Emma Summer Palace; and Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States.

7. Government

Oahu is incorporated as the city and county of Honolulu. The mayor is elected to a four-year term, but cannot serve for more than two consecutive terms. The mayor appoints a managing director to run several city departments. The Council has nine members, each elected to a four-year term. Like the mayor, council members cannot serve for more than two consecutive terms.

11. Shopping

Because it is highly dependent on tourism, Oahu offers a great deal of shopping, from giant malls to small kitsch souvenir shops. Many tourists take home Hawaiian shirts, even surf-boards made locally. Flower leis are also very popular.

13. Health Care

Hawaii ranks first in the United States in life expectancy, with about 76 years for men and 81 years for women. They are considered among the healthiest in the world. The state has 240 doctors and 82 dentists for every 100,000 people. In Oahu, there are 11 major hospitals. While heart disease and cancer are leading causes of death in Hawaii, sunburn is one of the most common ailments.

22. For Further Study


Arizona Memorial Museum Association. [Online] Available http://members.aol.com/azmemph/index.htm (accessed January 25, 2000).

Contemporary Museum of Art. [Online] Available http://www.tcmhi.org (accessed January 25, 2000).

The Hawaii Opera. [Online] Available http://www.hawaiiopera.com (accessed January 25, 2000).

Hawaii Theater. [Online] Available http://www.hawaiitheater.com (accessed January 25, 2000).

The Honolulu Academy of Arts. [Online] Available http://www.honoluluacademy.org (accessed January 25, 2000).

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. [Online] Available http://www.jcch.com (accessed January 25, 2000).

Kapiolani Community College. [Online] Available http://www.kcc.hawaii.edu (accessed January 25, 2000).

Oahu Transit Services, Inc. [Online] Available http://www.thebus.org (accessed January 25, 2000).

State Museum of Natural History. [Online] Available http://www.bishop.hawaii.org (accessed January 25, 2000).

University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus. [Online] Available http://www.hawaii.edu (accessed January 25, 2000).

Government Offices

City and County of Honolulu
Mayor's Office
530 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 523-4141 Fax 527-5552

Internet page for the City and County of Honolulu. [Online] Available http://www.cchnl.oceanic.com (accessed January 25, 2000).

Hawaii State Judiciary. [Online] Available http://www.state.hi.us/jud (accessed January 25, 2000).

The Honolulu Police Department. [Online] Available http://www.honolulupd.org (accessed January 25, 2000).

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Hawaii Visitors and Convention Center. [Online] Available http://www.gohawaii.com/hokeo/index.html (accessed January 25, 2000).


Honolulu Advertiser. [Online] Available http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com (accessed January 25, 2000).

Star Bulletin. [Online] Available http://www.starbulletin.com (accessed January 25, 2000).

Honolulu Weekly. [Online] Available http://www.honoluluweekly.com (accessed January 25, 2000).

Honolulu's business weekly. [Online] Available http://www.amcity.com/pacific/ (accessed January 25, 2000).

Downtown Planet. [Online] Available http://www.downtownplanet.com (accessed January 25, 2000).

Hawaii Public Television. [Online] Available http://www.khet.org (accessed January 25, 2000).


Allen, Helena G. The Betrayal of Lili'uokalani: Last Queen of Hawaii. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1990.

Ambrose, Greg. Surfer's Guide to Hawaii: Hawaii Gets All the Breaks. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1991.

Grant, Glen, Douglas Peebles (photographer). From the Skies of Paradise, Oahu. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1992.

Kanahele, George S. Emma : Hawaii's Remarkable Queen. Honolulu: The Queen Emma Foundation, 1999.

Kanahele, George S. Hawaiian Music and Musicians: An Illustrated History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1979.

Kawena Pukui, Mary, Samuel H. Elbert, and Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996.

Kent, Joel K. Hawaii: Islands under the Influence. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993.

Linnéa, Sharon. Princess Ka'iulani: Hope of a Nation, Heart of a People. Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cambridge: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 1999.

Trask, Haunani-Kay. From A Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai'i. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1999.