Review of Honolulu, Hawaii


Before you move here consider this:
Star Rating - 2/5/2016
I have lived here, on and off, since 2008. Here are the pros and cons as I see them.
Pros: Mostly very good weather, sunny all the time. Friendly laid back atmosphere. Easy to get around the city without a car. Safe, very little violent crime.

Cons:
Very high cost of living. People routinely have friends or relatives on the mainland ship them basics, like soap or clothing rather than be overcharged here. High rents plus low salaries, you can do the math.

Traffic, terrible. The people here are very anti-mass transit and have done everything they could to stop the much needed rail project. All they succeeded in doing was making it much more expensive.

Jobs, awful. If you are non-Asian think twice before relocating here. You will find it very hard to even get interviewed unless you know someone or have an Asian surname. The attitude is to hire a local first, even if they are unqualified, which mostly they are. Don't even think about moving here without a job. I've met so many people who work 2 or 3 jobs just to pay rent.

Homelessness, the worst in the country. Governor just declared a state of emergency about the situation. You will get very used to seeing them everywhere, and I do mean everywhere.

Food. The restaurants here mostly are terrible. Want good Italian? Forget it, it does not exist here. I'm not kidding. Okay how about Mexican? No way Jose. The locals think Taco Bell is eating Mexican. Asian food? Yeah, that we got. Although it will be priced for the tourists. The local cuisine will take some getting used to as well. They will eat rice AND macaroni salad with everything. Typically spam or some fried meat. Just awful.

Customer service. Does not exist here. Go into to any business and tell them you've had a problem with what you purchased and they will go slack jaw and look like they can't understand your words. Local Radio Shack sold me a head set for my phone that did not have a mic. When I took it back with the receipt, they refused the return because I didn't have the packaging. Luckily it was still in their trash right there in the store. So they refunded my money. but only after I flashed a HI driver's license so they'd know I was local. This is typical.

The people. Most places have some smart people, a lot of average people and some dumb people. In Honolulu you will meet very few smart people unless you have the right kind of job. You will meet a ton of dumb folks, and if you are white they will resent you. Outside of the South this one of the most backwards states, which is a shame. You will find it difficult to make friends outside of work.

Police. I know the cops are bad many places, but police corruption here is epidemic. HI is one of the very few places WITHOUT a civilian review board. Result is a very bad sight to behold.

So there you have it. A few undeniable advantages, but a ton of unavoidable disadvantages. Living here is not like being on vacation. You will not be spending days at the beach, as you will be working or stuck in traffic. If you can transfer with a $100k+ job, then take a shot, it might be for you. Everyone else, come for vacation but forget about moving here. There is a reason so many people who were born here, along with long time transplants, are leaving.
Tanned Tom | San Francisco, CA
Reply to this Comment

3 Replies


Dude, you run into similar issues in any large city. Yes, Honolulu is compact with natural barriers all around (read: island) so you're going to get traffic problems. I'm asian, raised on the mainland (not the "states") and I have found abject racism directed towards me and my family. I find it amusing how caucasians from the mainland complain of racism in Hawaii when it is so prevalent on the mainland! My advice is to let it not bother you, smile, and work on understanding the local culture rather than applying your culture to the situation. When in Rome... (or Hawaii !) Have a good day!
Arden | Honolulu, HI

I was raised in Honolulu. 'Am a local haole. Don't have Asian last name but I speak da kine so I'm accepted. Almost everything you said is correct except the Asian part. Mixed racially with all kinds of last names. Higashide verses Wong - very different cultures. My best friend is Hawaiian/Chinese/Irish married to a full blooded Samoan. All my friends in high school were non haole locals. But what this man says about Hawaii is mostly true. If you want to stay you gotta figa out how to stay in the background; friendly but not too aggressive. I don't reside there any more due to high cost of living and got so tired of the TRAFFIC. My sister will only pick me up from the airport if it's between 10am and 2pm. Otherwise, take a cab. Hawaii's not for everyone, even the neighbor islands have issues with traffic and high cost of living. I love to go back and visit with friends and family that's still there. But even my kids moved to the mainland after experiencing college on the mainland. My biggest suggestion for any newcomer that wants to be accepted, be respectful of a the laid back attitudes. Don't walk into a party and immediately go up to strangers and say, Hi, I'm so and so. Too aggressive. Wait for someone to come up to you and start the conversation. They will.
Margo | Spokane, WA

Crime is NOT GOOD ON OAHU, HI. IT IS A HIGH CRIME PLACE WITH MEDIA NOT PUBLISHING THE FACTS AND TRUTH. IF YOU PLAN ON MOVING HERE HOPE YOU DONT HAVE A 4 LEGGED (ANIMAL) FAMILY MEMBER. BECAUSE THE VETERINARIANS HERE DO CRUELTY TO THE ANIMALS. VETERINARIANS HERE MOSTLY ALL WILL HARM OR EVEN KILL YOU ANIMAL. SO BEWARE FOR YOUR 4 LEGGED FAMILY MEMBER.
Gerry | Waipahu, HI
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