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Honolulu
  • $800   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $1648   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $2371   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)

72% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Some errands can be accomplished on foot. 5
traffic, rust, mold, tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, property crime, couchsurfers
summer recreation, water sports, stunning views, temperate climate 6
canoes and filthy water, ugly airport from the 70s, US Air Force, spectacular sunsets, old money, football and swap meet, beverly hills of hawaii, 1000 people learning to surf, US Marines, colonizers in suits, and nice drive are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Honolulu roommate rundown:

Honolulu is Hawaii's capital, largest city, main airport, and overall port of entry for most of Hawaii's millions of visitors. Honolulu hosts about a million residents, and several million more tourists every year.

To say that cruise ships frequently leave the mainland to land at Honolulu is an understatement. Honolulu contributes $10 billion annually to their local economy via tourism.

Honolulu is the closest thing to paradise to many: tropical monsoon climate year round, lush green landscapes, peaceful nature trails, stunning waterfalls, pristine white beaches with endless surfing and sunbathing, and palm trees swaying near amazing fresh food, including delicious local bananas, papayas, and pineapples.

Also forget bundling up ever again while in Honolulu.

You don't even have to wear long pants. So most Honolulans don't.

No long pants = standard issue traditional Hawaiian culture merged with laidback mainland (Californian?) vibes. Their friendly, welcoming and relaxed vibes are known as aloha spirit! Aloha! Aloha is intended to be a relaxed but welcoming approach to life thought to reduce stress.

Which some find slightly ironic, from time to time. In addition to all the Aloha vibes, Honolulu Stress is real too, and you may need a lot of Aloha to handle it.

Because Honolulu also features a high cost of living and the worst traffic in the world.

You also have to keep a closer eye on anything that could rust or mold or suddenly get stolen.

Traffic in Honolulu and on the rest of Oahu is an ongoing crisis. Honolulu's rush hours have been ranked among the worst in the world, definitely the worst in the country. Try to spend less time overall driving anywhere near the interstates. If you can manage it, stay on smaller roads only, or no driving at all. Most roommates would be happiest spending as few as possible of their hours between 5-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. on any main road.

Honolulu is relatively low in violent crime, but property crime is significant. While exploring the city, keep all valuables stashed out of sight on your person, or whenever possible, locked up securely somewhere else entirely, possibly hotel safe or someone's home.

Your car is never a secure place to store anything. Assume anything even resembling anything valuable left out on a car seat visible to a public street even during the day will result in smashed windows.

Most drivers who've become accustomed to driving Honolulu make a concerted effort to leave their vehicle conspicuously visually empty, devoid of not just anything valuable, but any bag of any size that could potentially be full of . . . anything at all. Even dirty laundry has been stolen, leaving a sad pile of broken glass in its confusing place.

And yet, if that sounds too discouraging, Honolulu is also known for its relaxed and pleasant drivers, particularly compared to the mainland. They rarely use horns; they share their lanes; they're not in an overwhelming rush.

Overall, tourist areas tend to be higher in entertainment value but also higher in property crime. This is as it goes in Honolulu . . . but Honolulu is actually safer than most cities its size in terms of violent crime.

You'll also want to keep in mind that moving to Honolulu means that unless your loved ones also live in the Hawaiian Islands, visiting them will be costly in time and usually money. There won't be any weekend road trips to another state either.

While this has been an issue for many, for others, not as much as they'd previously imagined. If you make a lot of friends on the mainland then move to Honolulu, most will want to visit. Everyone you know will want to enjoy everything Hawaii has to offer as a tourist, but now with a helpful local (YOU) plus free lodging!

Especially with a guest room or even just a sleeper sofa, you could move to Honolulu, then just allow everyone you love on the mainland to take turns visiting. YOU will be their exciting new vacation destination!

The rest of the Honolulu roommate lowdown:

  • Honolulu is on the southern shore of the island of Oahu. It's the main seaport for the Hawaiian Islands, and a major seaport overall since the 1800s.
  • Honolulu means "sheltered bay" in Hawaiian.
  • tropical monsoon climate, consistent and consistently lovely to most but prone to the occasional natural disaster or hazard like volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis
  • the extremely moderate climate means very little change in temperature throughout the year - the water stays warm year round with nearly tropical weather - the only noticeable seasonal difference is a few inches > rain in winter
  • Honolulu rains suddenly and hard for about 10 minutes at a time, causing a lot of mold and rust. Many things outdoors have to be replaced more often due to the salty humid air.
  • Even with all the downpours, only tourists carry umbrellas.
  • center of government, commercial center, and the state's best known tourist destination: Waikiki Beach
  • tourism and health care are the most prominent industries
  • Honolulu features a high cost of living due to isolation from national markets. Generally higher costs for gas, electricity, groceries, and a lot of retail. Any food not locally sourced from the Hawaiian Islands is mostly flown in from much farther away. It's at least a 5-hour flight to the mainland.
  • Keep in mind, unless your loved ones also live in the Hawaiian Islands, visiting them will be costly in time and usually money if you move to Honolulu. There won't be any weekend road trips to another state either.
  • Asian Americans are most of Honolulu's population. The largest ethnic groups include Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, Pacific Islander, and Korean.
  • military defense hub, several military bases nearby, including Pearl Harbor, now home to the USS Arizona Memorial
  • home to Chaminade University, Honolulu University, Hawai'i Pacific University, and the University of Hawai'i at Manoa
  • Honolulu is not laid out in a grid. In addition, roads tend to take sudden twists and turns, basically swerving around local geography. Because attempting to tell north from south on an island confuses many, directions are given in terms of local landmarks, or mountains versus the sea, as well.
  • Honolulu's streets can be narrow compared to the mainland, and everything a bit harder to see when it rains at night, which it often does. Drivers new to Honolulu are advised to plan to go slow on narrow streets and in the rain, to emotionally prepare yourself for other cars to drive very close to you (narrow streets), and to plan your routes in advance.
  • Honolulu has a high percentage of car-free households (18%). In addition, even many with cars carpool to work or use public transportation with a wide and variable patchwork of options (more link below). Walking and bicycle sharing (Bikeshare Hawaii) are common as well. Bikes require more care to avoid rusting.
  • Honolulu has no professional sports teams. And they're not likely getting any either, not if that would mean much traveling back and forth from the mainland. But they love their local road races which draw a competitively similar number of participants and spectators, including: the Great Aloha Run, the Honolulu Marathon, and the Honolulu Triathlon. The Honolulu Marathon draws more than 20,000 competitors every year, about half from Japan.
  • There are also an absurdly large number of local sports teams, from high school to Little League to Ironman Hawaii.



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Honolulu's:

  • Bishop Museum: huge museum with large collection of Hawaiian and Polynesian culture artifacts, including the legacy of the last descendant of the Kamehameha Dynasty - also a planetarium, a Hawaiian history hall, and an area dedicated to volcanology
  • Hawaii State Art Museum: visual art by Hawaiian artists
  • Honolulu Museum of Art: largest art museum in the city, huge collections of both Asian and Western European art
  • Diamond Head: ancient volcanic crater offering an incredible view over the city - however, either beware or rejoice (depending on how much cardio and/or sun you wanted that day) there are two sets of stairs, but both almost 100 steps and both nearly no shade. Locals advise you go early and bring water.
  • Makapu'u Point State Wayside: roadside stop with an awesome view of Makapu'u Point and the Windward O'ahu coast, and sometimes humpback whales!
  • Foster Botanical Garden: beautiful plants from around the world
  • Liliuokalani Botanical Garden: also beautiful plants, this garden only plants native to Hawaii
  • Waikiki Aquarium: partnered with the University of Hawai'i, contains a working marine biology lab
  • Nisshodo Candy Store: Japanese sweet shop in business for almost 100 years, known for their Hawaiian style mochi, softer and less chewy than the Japanese variety.
  • Ali'iolani Hale: Once a royal palace for King Kamehameha V., still features a larger-than-life gold leaf statue of him in front. But now home to the Hawaii State Supreme Court, that judiciary's law library, and their history archives. The Judicial History Center includes permanent collections open to you and your roommates.


Here's the hawaii.gov newcomer's guide, including info on how you and your pets can become residents, plus vehicle and other transportation options.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.