Looking for the best places to eat, shop, and live in central Oahu? Today’s helpful post is sharing all of that + more!
Let me start out by saying that sometimes I feel like central Oahu does not get the love that it should! It might not be as “sexy” as Kailua or Waikiki Beach, or even the North Shore, but there is still so much to offer in the region and it’s 100% worth checking out.
Central Oahu refers to the valley between the Koolau Range and Waianae Mountains and includes the areas of Pearl City, Mililani, and Wahiawa.
Whether you are visiting or looking to plant roots, central Oahu is a must.
Guide to Central Oahu
Where To Eat In Central Oahu
Central Oahu is filled with some delicious places to eat. Some of our favorites include:
Maui Mike’s – This might be one of Dane’s favorite places on the entire island. It’s rotisserie chicken served in a ton of different ways. Be sure to get the honey mustard sauce!
Surfer’s Coffee – This is a great morning stop for hot coffee and delicious acai bowls.
Black Sheep Cream Company – Definitely make a point to get ice cream from Black Sheep! It’s rich, creamy and the flavors are one-of-a-kind. We love Cookie Butter, Birthday Cake, and Mint!
Taqueria El Ranchero – The best Mexican on Oahu! There – I said it 😉 It’s also nice to enjoy a burrito to go and eat it on Papailoa Beach as you head toward the North Shore!
Big Kahuna’s Pizza – The pizza here is amazing, but the garlic knots are next level.
Rise and Shine Cafe – Delicious diner-style breakfast in a cute cafe setting. Quick service and good food!
Aloha Crepes – Sweet AND savory crepe options that never disappoint and are super filling!
Also to note, there are also quite a few recognizable chains like Starbuck’s, Subway, McDonald’s, etc. that are easy to access. Of course, I am a big proponent of supporting local, but know that you will not go hungry if you are a picky eater!
What To Do In Central Oahu
Pearl Harbor – This one is fairly obvious, right? But no trip to Oahu is complete without visiting and paying respects at Pearl Harbor. From the USS Arizona Memorial to the Pacific Aviation Museum, there is so much to see and do.
Dole Plantation – Pineapples upon pineapples at Dole Plantation! A pineapple shaped maze, a train ride, endless pineapple souvenirs and of course – Dole Whip. This is a must.
Green World Coffee Farm – Nestled in Wahiawa is this working coffee farm and it has the best coffee (to drink and some to buy to take home!)
Wahiawa Botanical Gardens – If you don’t know about this hidden gem, you might not even know it exists. It’s a quite sanctuary filled with some of Hawaii’s most beautiful flora.
Where To Live In Central Oahu
Central Oahu is commonly referred to as the most residential area of the island and for good reason – it’s where some of the ‘more affordable’ places to live are located. I use more affordable loosely, because the cost of living in Hawaii is very different from anywhere else in the world. By Hawaii standards, central Oahu is very affordable.
Popular places to live in central Oahu include Pearl City, Mililani, and Wahiawa. Here, you will find a mixture of town houses, apartments, and single family homes.
The best part about central Oahu is that it’s a mix of older homes with character, as well as brand new homes in developments like Koa Ridge, a new 576-acre urban space that will include homes, a hospital, a school, bike baths and more. Over the next 10 years, Koa Ridge will build approximately 3,500 homes and range in price from the low $400k’s to the high $800k’s.
Trust me when I tell you that central Oahu is the hidden gem of the island!