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50 Reasons to Love This City

Not to break out that tired phrase again, but we Honolulu residents really are lucky. It’s easy to take for granted how cool, how eclectic, how just plain great this city is, so we thought we’d take a few pages to list just a few of the reasons, both big and little, that we love this place.


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Photo: Rae Huo

31.  Police Activities League PAL

It’s been 60 years since Honolulu police chief Dan Liu helped found PAL to encourage local children to participate in healthy activities, from baseball to basketball to judo. Today, more than 15,000 kids take part, thanks to the program’s 50 volunteer coaches and police officers.

 32. Royal Hawaiian Band

Honolulu is the only U.S. city with a full-time municipal band, which was founded by King Kamehameha III in 1836. Lucky us, its concerts are usually free. You can see its performance calendar at www.co.honolulu.hi.us/rhb/, but for the full Monarchy-era experience, check out its weekly concerts on the lawn of Iolani Palace.

33. Kapiolani Park Annual Lei Festival on Lei Day

This year, hundreds of participants flocked to Kapiolani Park Bandstand to create the world’s longest lei, stretching more than a mile, at 5,336 feet.

34. Nostalgia

We still catch ourselves talking about heading down to Liberty House or Daiei or, even better, Holiday Mart. We reminisce about KC Drive-inn, and some of us even remember when Kalakaua Avenue was a two-way street. Honolulu is great in 2008, but it’ll never measure up to the hanabata days version.

35. One-block rain showers

36. The Waikiki Shell

Who needs seats? Open-air shows at the Shell rank as some of our best musical memories, from annual May Day concerts featuring the Brothers Cazimero (at right)to Jason Mraz. Good times on a half shell.




They tower above us, they give great shade, they even shower us with pink blossoms as we drive along King Street. Some of our favorites:

Photo: flickr.com/photos


The Hitachi Tree in Moanalua Gardens. This monkeypod is the real live version of Hitachi’s corporate symbol.

Photo: Michael Keany


The banyan tree in the Waikiki  International Marketplace. Waikiki is much more fun under a jungle canopy.

Photo: Michael Keany


The shower trees along S. King Street. When the wind blows petals in a swirl, it's like we're driving through a haiku. 

Photo: Michael Keany


The baobab tree on the UH Manoa campus. Baobabs menaced the Little Prince, but we think this one’s harmless.



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Honolulu Magazine April 2018
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