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Hawaii is well known for its natural beauty and laidback island lifestyle. But like any state, it also has its share of big, bustling cities. If you’re wondering which city in Hawaii is the biggest, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Honolulu is by far the largest and most populated city in Hawaii, with over 350,000 residents within the city proper.

In this comprehensive article, we will dive deep into the demographics, economy, attractions, and more of Honolulu to give you a full picture of Hawaii’s biggest and most vibrant metropolis.

We will also provide an overview of some of the other cities in Hawaii and how they compare to Honolulu in size and amenities.

An Overview of Honolulu

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is not only the largest city in the state but also the biggest city in the entire Hawaiian Islands. Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and rich history, Honolulu is a popular destination for tourists from around the world.

Population and Geography

With a population of over 350,000 people, Honolulu is a bustling city that offers a unique blend of urban living and natural beauty. Situated on the island of Oahu, Honolulu is surrounded by picturesque mountains and crystal-clear waters, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

The city’s diverse population is a reflection of Hawaii’s multicultural heritage. People of Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, and Native Hawaiian descent, among others, contribute to the rich tapestry of cultures that make up the city.

Economy and Industry

Honolulu’s economy is primarily driven by tourism, with millions of visitors flocking to the city each year to enjoy its beautiful beaches, world-class resorts, and vibrant nightlife. The tourism industry provides employment opportunities for a significant portion of the local population.

In addition to tourism, Honolulu is also a major hub for business and commerce. The city is home to numerous international companies, government agencies, and educational institutions. It boasts a thriving technology sector, with startups and established companies alike contributing to the city’s economic growth.


Getting around Honolulu is convenient and efficient thanks to its well-developed transportation system. The city has an extensive network of highways and roads, making it easy to navigate by car. Public transportation options, such as buses and a light rail system, provide convenient alternatives for residents and visitors alike.

For those looking to explore the city’s attractions, renting a bicycle or using ridesharing services are popular options. Honolulu’s compact size and pleasant climate make it an ideal city for walking and cycling.

Arts, Culture, and Attractions

Honolulu is a hub of arts and culture, with a vibrant arts scene that includes galleries, theaters, and museums. The city is home to the Honolulu Museum of Art, which houses an impressive collection of Asian, European, and American art. The Bishop Museum is another must-visit attraction, offering a fascinating insight into Hawaii’s history and culture.

When it comes to attractions, Honolulu has something for everyone. From iconic landmarks like Diamond Head State Monument and Pearl Harbor to beautiful beaches like Waikiki and Hanauma Bay, there is no shortage of things to see and do in the city.

With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant city life, Honolulu truly lives up to its reputation as the biggest city in Hawaii. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a beach enthusiast, this tropical paradise has something for everyone to enjoy.

Other Notable Cities in Hawaii


Hilo is the second largest city in Hawaii and is located on the eastern coast of the Big Island. With its lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and beautiful beaches, Hilo offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. The city is known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries and museums showcasing the work of local artists. Hilo is also home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, making it a hub of education and research.


Kailua is a picturesque town located on the windward coast of Oahu. Famous for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, Kailua is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and beach lovers. The town offers a laid-back atmosphere with a charming downtown area lined with boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants. Kailua is also known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, with hiking trails, golf courses, and scenic parks.


Kaneohe is a residential community nestled between the majestic Ko Ľolau Mountains and Kaneohe Bay on the windward side of Oahu. The town is known for its lush landscapes and breathtaking views. Kaneohe offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, boating, and fishing. The nearby Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii adds to the town’s cultural and economic significance.


Waipahu is a vibrant community located in central Oahu. Once known for its sugar plantations, Waipahu has transformed into a bustling town with a diverse population and a rich cultural heritage. The town is home to the Waipahu Cultural Garden Park, which showcases the history and traditions of the area’s different ethnic groups. Waipahu also offers convenient access to shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Mililani Town

Mililani Town is a planned community located in the central part of Oahu. The town is known for its well-maintained neighborhoods, excellent schools, and abundance of recreational facilities. Mililani Town offers a suburban lifestyle with a strong sense of community. Residents can enjoy parks, golf courses, and a variety of outdoor activities. The town also boasts a thriving shopping center and easy access to the rest of the island.

Ewa Gentry

Ewa Gentry is a growing community located on the western coast of Oahu. The town offers a mix of residential and commercial areas, with new developments and amenities. Ewa Gentry is known for its affordable housing options and convenient access to shopping centers and restaurants. The nearby beaches and golf courses provide ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.


Kihei is a popular tourist destination located on the southwestern coast of Maui. The town is known for its stunning beaches, including the famous Kamaole Beach Park. Kihei offers a wide range of water activities, such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking. The town also boasts a vibrant nightlife scene with numerous bars, restaurants, and live music venues. Kihei’s sunny weather and beautiful landscapes make it a paradise for beach lovers.

Honolulu vs. Other Hawaiian Cities: A Comparison


When it comes to population, Honolulu stands out as the largest city in Hawaii. With a population of over 390,000 people, it is home to nearly 70% of the state’s residents. In comparison, other Hawaiian cities such as Hilo, Kailua, and Pearl City have significantly smaller populations. Hilo, for example, has a population of around 45,000, while Kailua and Pearl City have populations of approximately 38,000 and 47,000 respectively.


Honolulu’s economy is the largest and most diverse in Hawaii. It serves as the financial, commercial, and economic hub of the state. The city’s economy is fueled by various sectors, including tourism, military defense, finance, and real estate. The tourism industry, in particular, plays a significant role in the city’s economy, with millions of visitors flocking to Honolulu each year to enjoy its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and world-class amenities.

Transportation and Infrastructure

When it comes to transportation and infrastructure, Honolulu offers a well-developed network of roads, highways, and public transportation options. The city is known for its extensive bus system, which provides convenient and affordable transportation for both residents and tourists. Additionally, Honolulu is in the process of constructing a state-of-the-art rail system, known as the Honolulu Rail Transit, which aims to further enhance transportation options within the city.

Other Hawaiian cities, while also equipped with adequate transportation infrastructure, may not have the same level of accessibility and public transportation options as Honolulu. It’s important to consider these factors when planning your visit or deciding on a place to live in Hawaii.

Entertainment and Lifestyle

When it comes to entertainment and lifestyle, Honolulu offers a wide range of options for residents and visitors alike. The city is known for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues scattered throughout its streets. Additionally, Honolulu boasts a thriving arts and cultural scene, with museums, galleries, and theaters showcasing the rich heritage of Hawaii.

Other Hawaiian cities, while also offering their own unique charm, may not have the same level of entertainment and lifestyle options as Honolulu. It’s worth considering what kind of lifestyle and activities you are looking for when deciding on a city to visit or reside in.


In conclusion, Honolulu clearly stands out as Hawaii’s premier city in terms of population, economy, amenities, attractions, and overall influence. At over 350,000 residents strong, it utterly dwarfs any other city in the Hawaiian Islands.

That said, Hilo, Kailua, and some of the other cities each have their own unique charming character and offerings. But there is no denying Honolulu’s status as the central hub and engine of Hawaii’s economy and culture.

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