Neighborhood Spotlight: Manoa

Situated about 3 miles east and inland from downtown Honolulu, the neighborhood of Manoa encompasses an entire valley and runs from Manoa Falls all the way to King Street. Characterized by its lush vegetation, Manoa is an affluent neighborhood that was once the site of the first coffee and sugarcane plantations on the islands. 

Manoa’s History

With a history that dates back to 1825, Manoa became the first location of coffee and sugarcane plantations on the islands when John Wilkinson planted his first crops at that time. Coffee itself was first introduced along the Manoa Valley in 1813 by Don Francisco de Paula y Martin as an ornamental plant, but it took agricultural expert Wilkinson to start the first plantation with his coffee trees. Today, Hawaii remains the only state in the United States that produces coffee commercially. 

Homes in Manoa

Consisting of an entire valley, the Manoa neighborhood receives almost daily rain, even during its “dry” season. This regular precipitation accounts for the rich vegetation within the neighborhood. As such, the name “Manoa,” which translates to mean, solid, vast, thick, depth, or thickness, is an apt name. Rainbows are also commonly seen within the neighborhood. 

Homes within the neighborhood are primarily private houses mostly built before the 1960s and low-rise condos. As such, many of the homes have a charming Asian flair that is reminiscent of the area’s early Japanese and Chinese immigrants who settled in the area in the 1920s. Overall, the neighborhood boasts some of the most vintage plantation style and classic colonial homes on the island. 

While properties toward the center of the valley are primarily situated on level lots, homes along the sides and at the back of the valley are mostly located on sloped land. These elevation gains allow for pleasant views of the Waikiki skyline in the distance. More recently, development has also started to take place along the steeper parts of the Diamond Head side valley wall of the area as well. 

Boasting approximately 1000 residences in total, the homes within the neighborhood typically come with a seven-figure price tag. Lot sizes within the neighborhood typically range from around 5,000 to 15,000 square feet. 

Living in Manoa

The Manoa neighborhood offers many conveniences to its residents. These include a central shopping area known as the Manoa Marketplace. This shopping center features a farmer’s market as well as other stores and restaurants. 

Manoa is also home to the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The university is the flagship campus of the University of Hawaii system. The large campus is surrounded by several faculty and student resident buildings. 

The neighborhood is also served by several schools and preschools. Some of these include:

  • Manoa Elementary School
  • Noelani Elementary School
  • Punahou School
  • Mid-Pacific Institute
  • Saint Francis School

Bordered by Makiki to the west and St. Louis Heights to the east, the neighborhood puts its residents within only a couple of miles to the sunny beaches of Waikiki. Meanwhile, the centrally located Manoa Valley District Park offers green lawns, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a gymnasium for residents to enjoy.

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