This small Hawaiian town is the main seaport for the island of Kauai, and with just fewer than 6,000 residents, Lihue is also one of the largest towns on the island. Lihue means "cold chill," and the town earned this name due to the chilly winds that sweep across the land. Lihue is the main shopping hub of Kauai, as it has the largest shopping center on the island, which includes a major department store (Macy's) and several other national chains. There are also many car dealerships and restaurants in this area.
More traffic lights can be seen in Lihue than anywhere else on the island. Residents of Lihue have a short average commute of just 14 minutes. This dramatically reduces both noise and pollution in the city.
Lihue accommodates around 2,430 houses, with 2,210 of them occupied. Renters occupy around 890 houses and owners occupy about 1,320.
Hanamaulu/Puhi, accommodates a mixed group of ages with lower-end incomes. This is a quiet, rural area populated mostly by small, single-family homes. The houses were built primarily between 1970 and 1994.
Town Center is a suburban area with mostly small, single-family homes. The quiet, artsy neighborhood is home to owners and renters of all ages. The majority of the residents in this area are in executive or managerial positions.
Lihue is the second biggest town in Kauai, and its commercial capital. With an airport, seaport and developed road network, Lihue's transportation infrastructure is a gateway to the rest of the island.
The sugar industry formed the base of the city's economy until well into the 1900s. Many former sugar mill plantations and rural plots of land have been renovated into commercial and residential real estate. Tourism now dominates the local economy, with the retail, health care, and education sectors contributing as well.
Major employers in the city include prominent hotels like Hilton and Marriot. Other major employers are Wilcox Memorial Hospital, Kauai Medical Clinic, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Macy's.
The unemployment rate of Lihue is low.
The Kauai Museum features a collection of Hawaiian artifacts and art. The museum hosts two major events each year, May Day Lei Day and the Christmas Craft Fair, which showcase the talent of local artists:
Another popular attraction is the Grove Farm Homestead, the former home of George N. Wilcox, an industrial and cultural leader in Hawaii, and the site of a once-successful sugar plantation. Today the homestead features a living-history museum that shows how the plantation owners and workers lived more than a century ago. Wilcox's home has been turned into an open-air restaurant and shops.
Although rain is more often seen in inland spots in Kauai as opposed to the coastal areas, Lihue is an exception. While the rest of the island of Kauai sees as little as 18 inches of rain per year, Lihue gets, on average, 52 inches.
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