Neighborhoods on Oahu August 28, 2023

What It’s Like Living in Kaka’ako

What it’s Like Living in Kaka’ako, Oahu: An Urban Oasis for Young Professionals by Military Friendly Realtor Daniel Lee Kim

Wondering what it’s like to live in Kaka’ako? Imagine a fusion of a rich cultural past with the energy of urban living, all backed by breathtaking ocean views. As your go-to Kaka’ako real estate agent, let me provide you the insider perspective!



Kaka‘ako, rooted deeply in Native Hawaiian heritage, has witnessed a dynamic evolution from fishing villages and salt flats to a bustling urban center with entrepreneurship, industry, and cultural diversity.  The 1800s saw the area’s transformation with residential constructions, birth of immigrant camps, and foundational industrial initiatives like the Honolulu Iron Works.  A significant shift occurred in the mid-1900s when zoning laws transitioned Kaka‘ako from a residential hub to a commercial district, fostering entrepreneurial spirit and establishing its modern-day urban identity.

Location vibes

While Kaka’ako is a heartbeat away from the buzzing Honolulu downtown, it offers a unique urban island vibe, making it a distinct and vibrant locale. Located between Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, Kaka’ako’s prime position means you have a blend of beach life and urban sophistication at your fingertips.

Thanks to its central location, the Ala Moana Center, one of the world’s largest open-air shopping centers, is just around the corner. And for the military families among us, the location is unbeatable, being in close proximity to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Camp Smith, and Tripler Army Medical Center while providing you easy access to various other bases on island such as Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Wheeler Army Airfield, and Schofield Barracks, ensuring a convenient commute.

Location of Kakaako in reference to Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki

Kaka’ako is located between Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki

Neighborhood Amenities

Kaka’ako is the perfect canvas for young professionals.  Beyond its stunning shoreline, this neighborhood bursts with activities:

Exercise enthusiasts will find solace in numerous gyms and fitness centers scattered throughout the area like UFC Gym or Orange Theory Fitness. Plus, for dog lovers, Kaka’ako Waterfront Park offers a lovely space for evening walks with your furry friends.

Water aficionados can take advantage of the nearby Ala Moana Beach Park ideal for surfing, paddleboarding, and soaking in the sun while watching the sunset.

Entrance to SALT at Kaka’ako.

Local Eats & Treats

The culinary landscape of Kaka’ako is diverse and thriving. For breakfast, think fresh pastries and artisanal coffees at a well known local cafes like ARVO Cafe and 9Bar HNL. By lunchtime, indulge in modern Hawaiian cuisine at spots like The Scratch Kitchen or Moku Kitchen.

1. Morning Brew. 2. World famous ARVO. 3. 9BAR HNL great coffee shop. 4. Off the Wall craft beer and wine tap place at South Shore Market.

Dinner brings even more choices. From the upscale Merriman’s to 53 By the Sea, where they serve a blend of traditional and contemporary dishes, to more casual and trendy spots like 1938 Indochine or Highway Inn.

And for those who enjoy nightlife, there are tons of options ranging from various breweries like Waikiki Brewing Company to Aloha Beer Company, Bevy for craft cocktails, and Work Play for a get together with friends and family while enjoying live music.


Kaka’ako’s shopping scene marries local artisan shops with trendy boutiques. Visit SALT at Kaka’ako and South Shore Market where they offer a mix of local crafts and apparel.  They also have a farmer’s market with lots of small businesses with unique finds.

Kahala Clothing store in Kakaako.

Real Estate

Kaka’ako’s real estate landscape is vast, with luxurious high-rises, offering ocean views and top-notch amenities. As of July 2023, the median sale price for condominiums in Kaka’ako was $732,000, showcasing the demand and premium nature of this locale.  Click here to see condos that are currently available in Kaka’ako.

Hidden Gems

No introduction to Kaka’ako would be complete without mentioning some of my favorites: the vibrant street art, take a portion of the day to enjoy various murals around Kaka’ako!

Eateries above H-Mart.  H-Mart is a Korean market with various Asian products, but the best part is on the second floor where you can find various authentic Asian cuisine and even Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck.

If you are in the mood for some Karaoke, make your way to Duck Butt.  They serve drinks and pupus so you stay hydrated and full while you let your inner Beyonce out!  Make sure to reserve your Karaoke room, they book fast!

Lastly, Off The Wall Craft Beer & Wine is a great place for a pau hana or an afternoon hangout with your friends.  It’s a tap place where you are given a card and you get to try various craft beers, ciders, and even wines.  They also serve Argentinian – Spanish – American fusion cuisine, I personally love their empanadas.

1. Food court at HMart. 2. Off the Wall craft beer and wine. 3. & 4. Mural arts in Kaka’ako.

In Closing

Kaka’ako offers an urban retreat for those who want to experience the best of both worlds in Hawaii. A blend of the ancient and modern, it promises an unparalleled experience.  If you are thinking about making Kaka’ako your home or have any questions, feel free to reach out!

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