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Honolulu (/ˌhɒnəˈluːluː/ or /ˌhoʊnəˈluːluː/;[5][6] Hawaiian pronunciation: [honoˈlulu]) is the state capital and the
most populous city in the U.S. state of Hawaii.[a] It is the county seat of the City and
County of Honolulu. Hawaii is a major tourist destination and Honolulu, situated on the island
of Oahu, is the main gateway to Hawaii and a major gateway into the United States. The city is also
a major hub for international business, military defense, as well as famously being host to a diverse
variety of east-west and Pacific culture, cuisine, and traditions.
Honolulu is both the westernmost and the southernmost major American city. For statistical
purposes, the U.S. Census Bureaurecognizes the approximate area commonly referred to as "City of
Honolulu" (not to be confused with the "City and County") as a census county division (CCD).

Honolulu is a major financial center of the islands and of the Pacific Ocean. The population

ofHonolulu CCD was 390,738 at the 2010 census,[9] while the population of the consolidated city
and county was 953,207.
Honolulu means "sheltered harbor"[10] or "calm port."[11] The old name is said to be Kou, a district
roughly encompassing the area from Nuuanu Avenue to Alakea Street and from Hotel Street to
Queen Street which is the heart of the present downtown district. [12] The city has been the capital of
the Hawaiian Islands since 1845 and gained historical recognition following the attack on Pearl
Harbor by Japan near the city on December 7, 1941.

Port of Honolulu, as seen by Russian artist Louis Choris in 1816.
Queen Street, Honolulu, 1856, byGeorge Henry Burgess.

The Great Chinatown Fire.

Evidence of the first settlement of Honolulu by the original Polynesian migrants to
thearchipelago comes from oral histories and artifacts. These indicate that there was a settlement
where Honolulu now stands in the 11th century.[13] However, afterKamehameha 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 relocated in 1809 to what is now downtown Honolulu. The
capital was moved back to Kailua-Kona in 1812.
In 1794, Captain William Brown of Great Britain was the first foreigner to sail into what is now
Honolulu Harbor.[14] More foreign ships followed, 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 fromLahaina on Maui to Honolulu. He and the kings that followed him transformed
Honolulu into a modern capital,[15] 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. [16]
Despite the turbulent history of the late 19th century and early 20th century, such as theoverthrow of
the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, Hawaiʻi's subsequent annexation by the United States in 1898,
followed by a large fire in 1900, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Honolulu
remained the capital, largest city, and main airport and seaport of the Hawaiian Islands. [17]
An economic and tourism boom following statehood brought rapid economic growth to Honolulu and
Hawaiʻi. Modern air travel brings, as of 2007, 7.6 million visitors annually to the islands, with 62.3%
entering at Honolulu International Airport.[18] 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.
The UK consulting firm Mercer, in a 2009 assessment "conducted to help governments and major
companies place employees on international assignments", ranked Honolulu 29th worldwide in
quality of living; the survey factored in political stability, personal freedom, sanitation, crime, housing,
the natural environment, recreation, banking facilities, availability of consumer goods, education, and
public services including transportation.[19]


Astronaut photograph of western Honolulu, HNL Airport, and Pearl Harbor taken from the International Space

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 68.4 square miles
(177.2 km2). 60.5 square miles (156.7 km2) of it (88.44%) is land, and 7.9 square miles (20.5 km2) of
it (11.56%) is water.[20]
The closest location on the mainland to Honolulu is the Point Arena Lighthouse in California, at
2,045 nautical miles (3,787 km).[21](Nautical vessels require some additional distance
to circumnavigate Makapuʻu Point.) However, part of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska are slightly
closer to Honolulu than the mainland.

Neighborhoods, boroughs, and districts[edit]

Honolulu as seen from theInternational Space Station

Downtown at Bishop and King streets, with First Hawaiian Center (left) and Bankoh Center (right)

Downtown Honolulu is the financial, commercial, and governmental center of Hawaii. On the
waterfront is Aloha Tower, which for many years was the tallest building in Hawaii. Currently the
tallest building is the 438-foot (134 m) tall First Hawaiian Center, located on King and Bishop
Streets. The downtown campus of Hawaii Pacific University is also located there.

The Arts District Honolulu in downtown/Chinatown is on the eastern edge of Chinatown. It is
a 12-block area bounded by Bethel & Smith Streets and Nimitz Highway and Beretania Street –
home to numerous arts and cultural institutions. It is located within the Chinatown Historic
District, which includes the former Hotel Street Vice District. [22]

The Capitol District is the eastern part of Downtown Honolulu. It is the current and historic
center of Hawaii's state government, incorporating the Hawaii State Capitol, ʻIolani
Palace, Honolulu Hale (City Hall), State Library, and the statue of King Kamehameha I, along
with numerous government buildings.

Kakaʻako is a light-industrial district between Downtown and Waikīkī that has seen a largescale redevelopment effort in the past decade. It is home to two major shopping areas, Ward
Warehouse and Ward Centre. The John A. Burns School of Medicine, part of the University of
Hawaiʻi at Manoa is also located there. A Memorial to the Ehime Maru Incident victims is built at
Kakaako Waterfront Park.

Ala Moana is a district between Kakaʻako and Waikīkī and the home of Ala Moana Center,
the "World's largest open air shopping center" and the largest shopping mall in Hawaii. [23] Ala
Moana Center boasts over 300 tenants and is a very popular location among tourists. Also in Ala
Moana is the Honolulu Design Center and Ala Moana Beach Park, the second largest park in

Waikīkī is the tourist district of Honolulu, located between the Ala Wai Canal and the Pacific
Ocean next to Diamond Head. Numerous hotels, shops, and nightlife opportunities are located
along Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues. It is a popular location for visitors and locals alike and
attracts millions of visitors every year. A majority of the hotel rooms on Oahu are located in

Manoa and Makiki are residential neighborhoods located in adjacent valleys just inland of
downtown and Waikīkī. Manoa Valley is home to the main campus of the University of Hawaiʻi.

Nuʻuanu and Pauoa are upper-middle-class residential districts located inland of downtown
Honolulu. The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located in Punchbowl Crater fronting
Pauoa Valley.

Palolo and Kaimuki are neighborhoods east of Manoa and Makiki, inland from Diamond
Head. Palolo Valley parallels Manoa and is a residential neighborhood. Kaimuki is primarily a
residential neighborhood with a commercial strip centered on Waialae Avenue running behind
Diamond Head. Chaminade University is located in Kaimuki.

Waialae and Kahala are upper-class districts of Honolulu located directly east of Diamond
Head, where there are many high-priced homes. Also found in these neighborhoods are
the Waialae Country Club and the five-star Kahala Hotel & Resort.

East Honolulu includes the residential communities of ʻĀina Haina, Niu Valley, and Hawaiʻi
Kai. These are considered upper-middle-class neighborhoods. The upscale gated communities
of Waiʻalae ʻiki and Hawaiʻi Loa Ridge are also located here.

Kalihi and Palama are working-class neighborhoods with a number of government housing
developments. Lower Kalihi, toward the ocean, is a light-industrial district.

Salt Lake and Aliamanu are (mostly) residential areas built in extinct tuff cones along the
western end of the Honolulu District, not far from the Honolulu International Airport.

Moanalua is two neighborhoods and a valley at the western end of Honolulu, and home
to Tripler Army Medical Center.

Honolulu experiences a tropical savannah climate (Köppen classification As), with a mostly dry
summer season, due to a rain shadow effect.[24] Temperatures vary little throughout the months, with
average high temperatures of 80–90 °F (27–32 °C) and average lows of 65–75 °F (18–24 °C)
throughout the year. Temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on an average 38 days annually,

with lows in the upper 50s °F (14–15 °C) occurring once or twice a year. The highest recorded

temperature was 95 °F (35 °C) during a heat wave in September 1998. The highest recorded
temperature in the state was also recorded later that day in Ni'ihau. The lowest recorded
temperature was 52 °F (11 °C) on February 16, 1902, and January 20, 1969.
Annual average rainfall is 17.05 in (433 mm), which mainly occurs during the winter months of
October through early April, with very little rainfall during the summer. However, both seasons
experience a similar number of rainy days. Light showers occur in summer while heavier rain falls
during winter. Honolulu has an average of 278 sunny days and 90 rainy days per year.
Although the city is situated in the tropics, hurricanes are quite rare. The last recorded hurricane that
hit the area was Category 4 Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Tornadoes are also uncommon and usually
strike once every 15 years. Waterspouts off the coast are also uncommon, hitting about once every
five years.[26]

Honolulu falls under the USDA 12a Plant Hardiness zone.[27]

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