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A Little About Waikiki

Waikiki is perhaps best known as an international tourist destination, but is also home to a number of residential properties. There are very few single family homes in Waikiki on account of high land prices. Most residences in Waikiki are either condominiums or high rise apartments, although there are some hotels that offer long term leases on hotel rooms. These condos and apartments are among the most expensive per square foot in the state and even the country. Ordinary studio and one bedroom apartments are priced in the half million dollar range, while larger apartments routinely price well above a million dollars. The most expensive units, such as high rise penthouses, are worth several million dollars. Space is at a premium in Waikiki, since residential properties have to compete with tourist facilities and commercial shopping centers. Traffic is sometimes a problem in downtown Waikiki, since the community’s streets are something of a maze of one ways and pedestrian thru ways. This issue is somewhat alleviated by TheBus, the local mass transit system that operates several routes through Waikiki to various destinations. Waikiki’s bicycle paths are relatively well developed, while the area is perhaps the most pedestrian friendly on the island.

Waikiki is a generally expensive community to live in, since many prices are inflated for tourists visiting the area. There is an ABC Store on nearly every corner of Waikiki, but residents can avoid these overpriced convenience stores by driving, walking, or bussing to the new Safeway in the Kapahulu area. Waikiki is home to some of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in the state of Hawaii, as well as local branches of some national chains. Waikiki restaurants are especially well known for seafood and sushi, although it is not difficult to find a good steak restaurant or burger joint on the Waikiki strip. Both kama’aina and tourists can enjoy the Honolulu Zoo, which is found in Waikiki near the end of Waikiki Beach. Waikiki Beach is popular among visitors for paddle boarding, surfing, boogie boarding, and swimming. Many local schools hold their proms and formal events in the Waikiki area because of the beautiful facilities offered by hotels such as the Royal Hawaiian and the Pacific Beach. Numerous Waikiki hotels boast their own private facilities, including pools, bars, and lounge chairs. Waikiki is centrally located within the larger city of Honolulu, and borders the Ala Moana area, Kaimuki, and Kahala.

Waikiki’s Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center is the largest commercial center in Waikiki itself, and is surpassed regionally only by Ala Moana Center in terms of the number of tenants. The Shopping Center is rather expensive, catering generally to tourists by offering high end jewelry, souvenir, and clothing stores. Apple maintains a retail store along the Waikiki Strip, as do a number of nationally known clothing and accessory chains. There are a number of local favorites located in the Waikiki area, including Hawaiian Brians, a local pool parlor, snack bar and arcade. Many residents also enjoy fishing along the Ala Wai Canal and in certain parts of the beachfront. Much of the Waikiki waterfront is lit by tiki lamps, which cast a beautiful ambient light over the sand and waves at night and dusk. Waikiki includes Diamond Head, an extinct volcanic crater approximately seven hundred and sixty feet in height. Diamond Head is a popular hiking destination for locals, as it provides incredible views of the beach and city from its summit. Waikiki is dotted with shave ice stands, small Hawaiian equivalents of ice cream trucks which offer one of Hawaii’s favorite local foods. The mixture of sweet syrup and extremely fine shaved ice offers the perfect way to cool off from a long day of swimming and surfing.

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