O‘ahu’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods

New Kaka‘ako is king, but Diamond Head, Kailua and Wai‘alae are also easy to get around on two feet.
Pow! Wow!
Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i in Kaka‘ako.
Photo: David Croxford


Walkable isn’t a new word—it was first coined back in 1736—but it certainly is trending. As the importance of sustainability grows, we see “walkable” front and center in real estate marketing in all of our urban areas.


On Auahi Street after a meeting last week, I ran into many friends and acquaintances, bought a poke bowl at Pā‘ina Cafe and a stack of greeting cards from Red Pineapple, then headed to a fitness class—no car required. If you don’t like to drive, Kaka‘ako is hard to beat. But you’ll have to be up for high-rise living.


SALT at Kaka‘ako
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino / Hawai‘i Business 


It’s not the only option. Consider the thriving area of Monsarrat. You can buy a small home for less than $1 million, or a condo for half that, all well within walking distance of Monsarrat Avenue’s many amenities. The quarter-mile stretch has three coffee shops, avocado toast every 10 to 15 feet, shave ice and clothing boutiques. And there’s yoga and a Biki station. If you work in Waikīkī, why own a car?

  Kailua bikes

Bikes in Kailua
Photo: David Croxford


In Kailua, recent developments such as Ka Malanai have put more housing close to the cute beach town’s shops and restaurants, making it more walkable for some residents. Condos on Kīhāpai Street on the Coconut Grove side are less pricey and still within a five-minute walk of Whole Foods. There’s the marsh trail, district park with its open pool, yoga and barre classes for fitness, and Target for, well, everything else ever.


Wai‘alae Avenue, once a main thoroughfare into Honolulu before H-1 stole its thunder, is experiencing a rebirth. Residents of Kaimukī and Pālolo can now hop on a bike or take a quick walk to get fresh bread, coffee or a beer at one of the many brewpubs and restaurants, in addition to banks, vacuum repair and music shops of the old days.