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Lihue Travel Guide, Hawaii

Lihue is a census-designated place (CDP) as well as the seat of county government of the Kauai County in the Hawaiian island of Kauai. A huge disparity marks the present and past Lihue - in earlier times, Lihue (meaning ‘cold-chill’) used to be a minor village; however, with its shopping centers, restaurants and entertainment facilities, Lihue can be said to have all the attributes of a warm, friendly and modern township.


Area: 16.4 sq km

Population: 5,674

Language: English

Currency: USD


The Lihue Sugar Company's twin chimneys (built in the 1800s) standing tall in the center of the town are constant reminders of the town’s past when the sugar industry formed the base of its economy. Kilohana, the home of the Wilcox-family (the area’s largest sugar-cane plantation owners) is another architectural lure of the place (the house has now been turned into a restaurant and gift center). Among other monumental buildings in the area are the Kauai Museum, Kauai administrative building and Kukui Grove Center (Kauai's largest shopping center).

Economy and Infrastructure

Lihue is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned when we are speaking of the economy of the region/island of Kauai. This force and significance has a lot to do with Lihue’s importance as a tourist haven. With an airport, seaport and well-knit road network, Lihue indeed has great transportation infrastructure. The presence of star-category hotels like Hilton and Marriot as well as a number of America’s top retail chains like Home Depot, K-Mart, Wal-Mart and that of the world-famous departmental store Macy’s have further boosted tourism and hence, the economy of this small Hawaii Isle-township.

As far as the Lihue residents are concerned, most of them are in state and county services and are quite well off economically. Lihue has two K-5 elementary schools – Kaumualii Elementary School and Wilcox Elementary School; both these schools are under the Hawaii Department of Education. For Middle School and High School education, the residents send their wards to Kamakahelei Middle School and Kauai High School respectively. The Kauai Community College, Lihue, follows the University of Hawaii curriculum.

Public utility services support day-to-day existence.

People and Culture

Lihue Township has a multi-ethnic society. About 50% of the inhabitants are people of Asian descent and they are followed by people of European lineage; African Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Hispanics represent the remaining population.

Much like other Hawaii Islanders, the Lihueans are great admirers of Hawaiian music and hula performances and these generally form part of all their celebrations. People here use the Hawaiian Creole English (also referred to as pidgin), which like the Hawaiian culture is a mixed-baggage of different linguistic elements.

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