Moving To Hawaii

7 Hawaiian Islands To Live On – Why Choose Oahu?

choose Oahu and leap into the abyss like this kid.

Moving to Hawaii can feel like taking a leap…

Moving To Hawaii? Why Would You Choose Oahu?

There are several beautiful Hawaiian Islands to move to, so why do so many people choose Oahu? For those moving to Hawaii or moving between islands, different factors are considered when deciding which island is the best fit. The reasons many decide on Oahu differ from person to person but it usually boils down to a few reasons: jobs, healthcare, housing, and activities.

Hotels along Waikiki beach


A big reason people move to Oahu is for work. On Oahu, there are more opportunities for jobs than anywhere else in Hawaii. Since Oahu has the largest volume of tourists and visitors, it’s no surprise that the tourism/lodging industry is one of the top employment fields on the island. Careers in hotels, tour/transportation companies, and retail are just a few of the most popular employment opportunities on Oahu. Another huge industry is the military/defense-contracting sector, which makes up a significant portion of the island’s economy as well. Looking for work in construction, agriculture, medical and government work? These are just a few of the other job types that Oahu has more of.


Healthcare is important while planning for one’s future/retirement. While most small injuries and conditions can be treated at the smaller hospitals and clinics throughout the islands, many residents of the neighbor islands find themselves flying to Oahu for treatment of more serious injuries or illnesses. Hawaii is ranked as having some of the best healthcare in the country. Oahu has the largest and best, state-of-the-art medical facilities in all of Hawaii.

Waikiki/Honolulu city lights glimmer over Oahu

Looking Over An Illuminated Honolulu


Finding a place to live in Hawaii can seem overwhelming for those looking to make the move. Oahu tends to be a great choice for most people due to having substantially more inventory, i.e. more homes and condos than the other islands. While the median price for a single-family home on Oahu hit a record high of $810,000 last month (median condo price $427,000), different neighborhoods on Oahu have their own micro-markets, which give way to fluctuation in pricing and inventory. Due to Oahu inventory continuing to grow with new developments, buyers will continue to have more options to choose from at different price points. A good real estate agent should have invaluable information to share with you.

Shopping & Nightlife

If there is one irrefutable factor that sets Oahu apart from its sister islands, it’s the nightlife and shopping. Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center is the largest shopping mall in Hawaii and the 7th largest in the United States. Here you can explore and shop at more than 350 stores, bars, and restaurants, with more than 2.4 million square feet of retail space. The shopping and bar/restaurant scene doesn’t stop at Ala Moana. The nearby tourist/surf haven of Waikiki has a multitude of places to purchase goods and enjoy amazing restaurants or cocktail hours, all within walking distance of world-famous Waikiki Beach. Having more people and tourists on Oahu translates to more malls, boutiques, outlets and shops than any other Hawaiian island, giving consumers far more options. Many locals living on neighboring Hawaiian islands often fly in for shopping, concerts, big events/festivals but also to experience nightlife and nightclubs that are unrivaled by the other islands. Elegant wine bars, unique karaoke joints, rooftop lounges and open-air bars with live music, all within taxi/Uber distance. That’s something you may struggle getting on other islands and could be a reason to choose Oahu.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ramen places on Oahu

Variety of Food Options

When it comes to a diversity of food, the melting-pot that is Oahu comes in second to none. Known as ‘The Gathering Place’, Oahu’s larger, diverse population makes it’s possible to find tons of food options locally. It’s easy to pop into Elena’s in Waipahu for amazing Filipino food, stop into a cozy Izakaya for sake and sushi or check out one of the newest ‘fusion-style’ restaurants in Kaka’ako or Chinatown. There are options to eat at Korean, Vietnamese, Italian, Moroccan, Himalayan, Hawaiian restaurants (to name a few of the countless types). The hardest part may be deciding where to eat. Whether you are looking for local chefs and culinary favorites like Merriman’s and Alan Wong’s, or a small ‘Mom and Pop’ ramen shop or sushi shack, Oahu truly does have something for all tastes.

Choose Oahu and see these Big beautiful waves crash at Pipeline on the Northshore Oahu

North Shore – Pipeline doing its thing

Unparalleled Surf Breaks

One more thing that Oahu holds the title for is best surf breaks in Hawaii. This may be a contentious point for some, yet Oahu has some of the most consistent and well-known surf in the entire world. While all 4 sides of Oahu have their own beautiful and unique surf breaks, the North Shore of Oahu is the surfing Mecca. In the winter, surfers, photographers, and eager onlookers flock from all over the world to catch the world-class waves in action. This culminates in the Billabong Pipe Masters surf competition each December, which can be likened to the ‘Superbowl of Surfing.’ On the south shore lies the famous waves of Waikiki beach, where native Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku popularized the ancient Hawaiian sport of surfing nearly 100 years ago. Surf spots are all along the West, South, North, and Windward coastlines, making Oahu one of the best island for surfing in the world.

When deciding where to live in Hawaii, you’ve got a lot of things to consider. Access to healthcare, activities, variety of food, nightlife and shopping are all elements to take into account. Each island has its own scene, beautiful environment, and distinct feel. In no way is this post claiming that Oahu is the best of all the islands. Oahu does, however, have some opportunities and features that you won’t find anywhere else in Hawaii. Taking the aforementioned factors into consideration, it’s easy to see why many choose Oahu.

Choose Oahu for the beautiful, secluded, world class waterfall

Move to Hawaii for the beach, stay for the waterfalls

Need help or have questions?

If you are moving to or from Oahu and need a local expert to help, feel free to reach out to me at any time. My mission is to help people easily navigate one of the most expensive real estate markets in the United States and live their best Hawaii life.

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Bhikhu Raval

October 3, 2018

Aloha Mr.Ben Puccetti,

Thank you so much for your valuable article on Oahu Island. I live in Los Angeles. I am thinking to retire in Honolulu or Waikikik; but my wife is hesitant because of high cost of living, our old age, away from family and friends.

May I seek your advice?

Thank you so much.

Ben Puccetti

October 3, 2018

> Aloha Mr. Raval,

Thanks for commenting. I would be happy to share advice and answer any questions you or your wife may have. Emailing you right now. Have a great day.



September 7, 2019

> Aloha Bhikhu Raval, I retired from mainland East Coast to Oahu Leeward side 12 years ago and finding my cost of living is $15,500 per year cheaper in Hawaii than back in East Coast state. Forbes Magazine ranks Hawaii as one of top 10 states to retire to and can be financially paradise depending on how your retirement income is structured. The high cost of living is based on 65 sq mi of “Core Metro Honolulu pricing” so you live outside that core. I own a large 2 bedroom condominium in a gated/guarded community with all luxury ammenities with beach water views and mountain waterfall views near two 18 hole golf courses.


November 21, 2019

This is a very helpful resource. I want to get into real estate in Oahu and this would be and excellent article to show potential clients regarding the quality of life in Oahu!

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