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With stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and perfect weather nearly year-round, Honolulu is one of the most desirable destinations in Hawaii. If you’re planning a trip to the capital of the Aloha State, you may be wondering just how walkable Honolulu is.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Honolulu has moderately walkable neighborhoods in and around its urban core, but overall it is heavily car-dependent and not the most pedestrian-friendly American city.

Factors That Make Honolulu Moderately Walkable

When it comes to exploring a city on foot, Honolulu offers a moderately walkable environment due to several key factors. These factors contribute to the overall walkability of the city and make it easier for residents and tourists alike to navigate the urban landscape on foot.

Good Walk Scores in Urban Core

One of the factors that make Honolulu moderately walkable is the good walk scores in its urban core. Walk scores are a measure of how easy it is to walk from one location to another, taking into account factors such as distance to amenities, pedestrian infrastructure, and population density. In the urban core of Honolulu, you’ll find a high concentration of shops, restaurants, and other amenities within walking distance, making it convenient to get around on foot.

Mostly Flat Topography

Another factor that contributes to the walkability of Honolulu is its mostly flat topography. Unlike cities with hilly landscapes that can make walking challenging, Honolulu’s relatively flat terrain makes it easier to navigate on foot. Whether you’re strolling along the streets of Waikiki or exploring downtown Honolulu, you won’t have to worry about steep inclines or difficult climbs, allowing you to enjoy your walk without feeling exhausted.

Decent Public Transportation

In addition to walkability, Honolulu also offers decent public transportation options that complement walking. The city has an extensive bus system operated by TheBus, which serves numerous routes across the island of Oahu. The buses are equipped with bike racks, making it convenient for pedestrians to combine walking with public transit. This multimodal transportation approach allows residents and visitors to easily access different parts of the city, even if they prefer not to walk the entire distance.

Factors That Make Honolulu Less Walkable

Sprawling Layout

One of the main factors that make Honolulu less walkable is its sprawling layout. The city is spread out over a large area, making it difficult for pedestrians to navigate. The lack of density in certain neighborhoods means that amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, and shops may be far apart, requiring residents to rely on cars for their daily needs.

Hot Climate

The hot climate in Honolulu is another factor that can make walking less desirable. With temperatures often reaching the 80s and 90s, walking long distances can be uncomfortable, especially during the summer months. The heat and humidity can make it challenging for pedestrians to stay cool and hydrated while walking, which can deter people from choosing to walk as a mode of transportation.

Limited Pedestrian Infrastructure

Another factor that contributes to the less walkable nature of Honolulu is the limited pedestrian infrastructure. While efforts have been made to improve sidewalks and crosswalks in certain areas, there are still many parts of the city where walking can be unsafe or inconvenient. The lack of dedicated pedestrian paths and bike lanes can make it difficult for pedestrians to navigate busy streets and intersections, leading to a reliance on cars for transportation.

According to a study conducted by the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services, only 15% of residents in the city use walking as their primary mode of transportation. This low percentage can be attributed to the factors mentioned above, which make walking less feasible and appealing for many residents.

However, it’s important to note that there are efforts underway to make Honolulu more walkable. The city has implemented initiatives such as Complete Streets, which aim to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment by prioritizing the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, the city is working on expanding its public transportation system, which could provide residents with more options for getting around without a car.

If you’re visiting Honolulu and want to explore the city on foot, it’s advisable to plan your routes in advance and take note of areas with better pedestrian infrastructure. Utilizing public transportation options such as buses and shuttles can also help you reach your destinations more easily. Remember to stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes, and be mindful of the hot climate when walking in Honolulu.

For more information on walking in Honolulu and the city’s efforts to improve walkability, you can visit the official website of the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services.

Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Honolulu

Downtown Honolulu

Downtown Honolulu is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city. With its grid-like layout, pedestrian-friendly streets, and an abundance of shops, restaurants, and attractions, it offers a great walking experience. You can take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace, explore the historic sites such as Iolani Palace and the State Capitol, or enjoy the vibrant arts scene at the Hawaii Theatre Center. The downtown area is also well-served by public transportation, making it easier to navigate the city without a car.


Waikiki is another highly walkable neighborhood in Honolulu. Famous for its beautiful beaches, bustling streets, and world-class shopping, Waikiki offers plenty of opportunities for pedestrians to explore and enjoy. You can take a walk along the iconic Kalakaua Avenue, lined with luxury hotels, restaurants, and shops. Don’t forget to take a leisurely stroll on the sandy shores of Waikiki Beach and catch a breathtaking sunset. With its wide sidewalks and well-marked crosswalks, Waikiki is designed to cater to pedestrians, making it a popular choice for those who prefer to explore on foot.


Kakaako is a rapidly developing neighborhood in Honolulu that has undergone a transformation in recent years. With its mix of residential, commercial, and retail spaces, Kakaako has become a hub for art, culture, and entertainment. The neighborhood boasts wide sidewalks, bike lanes, and pedestrian-friendly streets, making it an ideal place for walking and exploring. You can visit the popular SALT at Our Kakaako, an urban culinary and retail destination, or take a walk along the vibrant Kakaako Waterfront Park. Kakaako’s central location also allows for easy access to other parts of the city, making it a convenient and walkable neighborhood.

Ala Moana

Ala Moana is a neighborhood located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. It is known for its world-renowned Ala Moana Center, the largest open-air shopping mall in the United States. With its pedestrian-friendly design, Ala Moana offers a pleasant walking experience for shoppers and visitors. You can explore the countless stores, dine at a variety of restaurants, or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery at Ala Moana Beach Park. The neighborhood is also well-connected to other parts of the city, with easy access to public transportation and major roadways.

Tips for Getting Around Honolulu on Foot

When it comes to exploring Honolulu on foot, there are a few key tips to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to the island, these tips will help you make the most of your walking adventures in the city.

Stay Near the Urban Core

One of the best ways to make walking in Honolulu convenient is to choose accommodations near the urban core. By staying in a hotel or rental property that is centrally located, you’ll be within walking distance of many popular attractions, restaurants, and shops. This means less time spent commuting and more time exploring the city on foot. Websites like or Airbnb can help you find accommodations in the heart of Honolulu.

Plan Activities Close Together

When creating your itinerary for exploring Honolulu, try to plan activities that are close together. This will minimize the amount of time you spend walking between different locations. By grouping activities in the same area, you can maximize your time and energy, allowing you to see more of the city without feeling rushed. Consider using websites like TripAdvisor to find popular attractions and plan your activities efficiently.

Walk Early in the Day

Walking in Honolulu can be more pleasant if you start your day early. The temperature is usually cooler in the morning, making it more comfortable to walk long distances. Additionally, starting early means you can beat the crowds, especially at popular tourist spots. This will give you a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of Honolulu without feeling overwhelmed. So set that alarm clock and get ready to explore the city before the hustle and bustle begins!

Use Public Transit to Supplement Walking

While walking is a great way to get around Honolulu, it’s also a good idea to use public transit to supplement your journeys. The bus system in Honolulu, known as TheBus, is reliable and affordable, offering convenient transportation to various parts of the city. By incorporating public transit into your walking adventures, you can extend your reach and visit areas that may be further away. You can find more information about TheBus routes and schedules on their official website:

Bring Proper Footwear and Sun Protection

Lastly, make sure to wear comfortable footwear when exploring Honolulu on foot. Opt for shoes that provide good support and cushioning, as you may be walking long distances. Additionally, don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun’s rays by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. The tropical climate of Honolulu can be quite sunny, and it’s important to take care of your skin and eyes while enjoying the city’s walkable streets.


While not the most pedestrian-friendly American city, Honolulu does have some moderately walkable neighborhoods and commercial districts near its urban core. Staying in areas like Waikiki or Downtown can allow visitors to explore parts of Oahu’s capital on foot. However, Honolulu’s overall sprawling layout and hot, humid climate make it difficult to rely solely on walking for transportation across the metro area. Using public transit can help supplement walking and provide connections between walkable districts.

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