Aiea, Hawaii Guide

Aiea, Hawaii Guide
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Address , Aiea, HI 96701
Complete guide to the city of Aiea, Oahu, Hawaii.

• General: Educational • General: Guide • General: History

Guide Series: Hawaii City Guides
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Aiea Location

The city of Aiea, pronounced eye-a (the letter a)-uh, is located in the central part of O'ahu, just north of Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial. To the west is Pearl City and to the east is Honolulu.

Getting here is easy as all three of Oahu's freeways converge in this area, with the H1 Freeway running right through the city. Of course, that combined with some higher density residential and commercial areas also mean that traffic nightmares are common in and around this area.

Although Aiea is technically a fairly small area of land, around 2 square miles in size, many locals use the term Aiea to describe a larger area that starts further west on the Pearl Harbor West Loch and runs east to the "real" Aiea and all the way up north into the Ko'olau Mountain Range.

Aiea History

The name 'Aiea actually comes from a plant in the nightshade family and was given to a Hawaiian land division known as an ahupua'a. The area ran from 'Aiea Bay, which is part of what we call Pearl Harbor today, up into the mountains.

The area then became a sugarcane plantation at the end of the 19th century, run by the Honolulu Plantation Company. Right after that, in 1899, BF Dillingham built a railroad that started here and was called the Oahu Railway and Land Company (OR & L). After WWII the plantation shut down and was converted into a sugar refinery. In 1996 the town's sugar history can to an end when C&H Sugar closed the factory for good. In 1999, the old sugar mill was torn down, something the locals were not pleased with.

In July of 1941, just five months before the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, there was a bit of a mystery in the Aiea area. A commander at Pearl Harbor, by the name of Thomas C Latimore of the USS Dobbin, vanished one day while walking in the hills of north Aiea. Searches took place, a naval investigation was launched, but to this day his disappearance was never explained. Did he simply get lost? Even today hikers get lost and are never heard from again. Or, was he kidnapped and killed by a local Hawaiian Japanese spy ring after stumbling onto their activities in the hills like some suggest? We may never know.

Of course, just months later and the USA was launched into World War II when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and took so many lives. "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States.

Aiea Attractions

Today, one the biggest attraction in (well, right next to) Aiea is Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial so be sure to check it out along with the Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. These are considered "must see" places in Hawaii and, for most people, they're not to be missed.

The area just north of Pearl Harbor is also home to Hawaii's second largest mall, Pearlridge Center. The tourism folks love to describe it as "Hawaii's largest enclosed shopping center" rather than saying it is the second biggest mall, but the reality is that Ala Moana Center is bigger (and open air, hence the "enclosed" qualifier). Regardless, it's a good mall with plenty of shops and stores to spend time at. It's so large that has a monorail that runs between the two sections, known as Uptown and Downtown. Sumida Farm, Hawaii's largest watercress farm, is located just south of Pearlridge Center.

Aloha Stadium in Aiea used to host the National Football League's Pro Bowl every February but lost that deal to Orlando. Orlando can take out Pro Bowl, but they cannot take our, well, Hawaii Bowl (at least, not without a name change). The Hawaii Bowl is held on Christmas Eve each year.

The Aloha Stadium is home to the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team from University of Hawaii at Manoa. A few days a week it also transforms into the awesome Swap Meet which is a great place to buy all sorts of cheap souvenirs, shirts, jewelry, and so much more.

Another attraction in Aiea is Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area, which is home to an ancient medicine shrine. There is also a very popular 4.5-mile hiking trail, known as the Aiea Loop Trail. Look carefully and you may spot a World War II plane that crashed near the trail and can be seen halfway through.

View all that Aiea has to offer here.

Aiea Fun Facts

My favorite fact about Aiea is that it is the only city in the world that is spelled using only vowels. Or so people seem to say. That's a tough one to validate and Eiao island (Marquesas Islands) is an island name, not a city name, so that one isn't a "gotcha" at all.

If you're awed by swimmin' pools and movie stars then you may also enjoy knowing that Aiea was where singer and actress Bette Midler was raised. Professional baseball player Derek Tatsuno is also from there. Be sure to also read Popular Movies & TV Shows Filmed In Hawaii.