The rapidly growing Honululu neighborhood of Kaka’ako is having a moment. A boom in real estate, chic shops and restaurants and funky breweries, along with proximity to one of Oahu’s best beaches is drawing a diverse group of new residents eager to soak up the area’s cool vibe. With all that’s going on, it’s no wonder people are looking to Kaka’ako as the ideal place to live. Kaka’ko’s red-hot appeal is part careful design and part happy happenstance. Here are 6 ways it stands out.
Nestled between Waikiki and the Downtown/Chinatown region, Kaka’ako’s location can’t be beat. Both areas are within walking distance, but if you don’t want to work up a sweat, you can grab a public bike (Biki) and be at your destination faster than by car. Residents in high-rises have killer views whether they are facing the Diamond Head, ‘makai’ (ocean), harbor or ‘mauka’ (mountain) side of the island. Oh, and there’s the beach. Ala Moana Beach is larger and less crowded than Waikiki, and it is backed by a massive shade-filled park, complete with tennis courts, volleyball and ample space for picnicking.
Real Estate Boom
New real estate ventures have resulted in a broad range of housing options, from swanky high-end condos to below-market flats. And the boom is far from over. The planned community of Ward Village has finished four of its planned nine mixed-use towers. This venture is bringing more than just homes. Retail space in the buildings has drawn vendors of all kinds, from high-end restaurants to bike repair shops. Fostering a sense of community is an integral part of the master plan. Green spaces, art and music events, and a large children’s center are some of the highlights.
Murals and Parks
Cities from Miami to LA have used mural projects to revitalize warehouse districts and make them into vibrant urban open-air galleries. Honolulu has jumped on board, inviting local and national artists to showcase their talent in Kaka’ako. There’s a wide range of styles on display, all within an easy stroll in a roughly 6-block area. In the center of this area is a small park with a popular kids play area. You can pick up a fabulous lunch at the gourmet sandwich shop EARL and eat it here, or stroll makai (seaward) to the gorgeous Kaka’ako Waterfront Park. Parks like these are strewn throughout the Kaka’ako district reminding you that you are in Hawaii, a place of infinite natural beauty.
Restaurants and Shopping
The choices for shopping and eating in the Kaka’ako area have exploded along with the housing. Residents from all over the island flock to this area for the wide range of stores and eateries. Kaka’ako boasts 3 shopping/eating areas, the vast Ala Moana Center (which includes a large grocery store), the more boutique shops at Ward Village and the hipster hangout SALT. It’s hard to feel like you are “on an island” when you can get anything you want within a 2-mile region.
Kaka’ako has something to offer everyone, and everyone is figuring that out. All walks of life are flocking here from young affluent professionals and bohemian artist types, to families and retirees. The diversity of the residents is a big draw and makes the area particularly vibrant.
Nothing makes a neighborhood feel like neighborhood more than a chill brewpub. Kaka’ako now has four, all within an easy walk of each other (Aloha Beer Co., Hana Koa Brewing Co., Honolulu Beer Works, Waikiki Brewing Co.). They each have a different vibe with some offering just picnic tables and house brews, while others offer a range of food and entertainment. So grab a friend or just your dog (always a great way to meet new people) and head to Kaka’ako for a cold one.
For more info on Kaka’ako and other great Oahu neighborhoods, see our Oahu Neighborhood Page.