Introduction to Hilo, Hawaii

Hilo is situated along the shore of Hilo Bay on the east side of the island of Hawaii. It's the largest city on the island and is located in Hawaii County. The active Mauna Loa volcano as well as the dormant Mauna Kea volcano are nearby. Prominent astronomical observatories are located on Mauna Kea.

The Manuna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation, one of the major producers of macadamia nuts in the world is situated in Hilo. The city receives a vast amount of rain and is recognized as one of the wettest cities in the entire world. Fortunately for residents and tourists a significant amount of the rain occurs at night.


During the ancient days of Hawaii, the area was a primary trading center for natives. Missionaries arrived in Hilo during the early 1800s and establish several churches. The city became a prominent trading center due to the nearby sugar plantations. In 1946 an earthquake occurred close to the Aleutian Islands which produced a large tsunami which struck Hilo and killed 160 people. Another powerful tsunami hit the island in 1960 and ended the lives of 61 people. In the 1990's the sugar plantations were closed down which significantly harmed the economy.


  • King Kamehameha Statue
  • Chase Gallery
  • The Lyman House Memorial Museum includes numerous exhibits of Hawaii culture and is well known for its exhibits of shells and minerals
  • Pacific Tsunami Museum offers exhibits regarding two of the devastating tsunamis that struck Hilo

Nature Attractions

  • Banyan Drive is also called the "Hilo Walk of Fame." Celebrities have planted banyan samplings which over the years have developed into beautiful, huge trees
  • Hilo Tropical Gardens features lily ponds, waterfalls as well as Oriental style bridges
  • Liliuokalani Park and Gardens includes Japanese gardens and a Japanese Teahouse
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers views of the active flow area of the Kilauea volcano and several excellent hiking locations
  • Nani Mau Gardens is a commercial botanical center which features a vast number of species of plants, fruit trees and orchids. It includes a Japanese type bell tower, a butterfly house and a botanical museum
  • Pana'ewa Rain Forest Zoo showcases a variety of species and is situated in a beautiful rain forest
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo Botanical Gardens provides a notable cycad collection, containing close to one hundred different species. It also includes palm tree varieties from all over the world


Opportunities for surfing can be found on the island shores. The Richardson Ocean Park is popular for snorkeling and having a leisurely time on the beach. Four Mile is a notable location for swimming. Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular at the excellent reefs off the coast.

Tourists enjoy exploring the Kaumana Caves. Charming shops are located on the Bayfront. The Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival offers steel guitar and ukulele music. The Merrie Monarch Festival features one of the worlds most prominent hula competitions. The Hilo Municipal Golf Course is situated in a lush setting.


Total Population 45,380
Male Share of the Population 49.1%
Female Share of the Population 50.9%
Senior Citizens 18.3%
Employed Population 16+ 19,130
Age of the Population 40


% of people married 43%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 30%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $69,561
% Above Poverty Level 81.7%
% Below Poverty Level 18.3%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 18 minutes
% Working from Home 4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 1.4%
% Using Public Transportation 0.7%


People Living Alone 28.6%
Median Gross Rent $925
Median House Value $297,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 80.8%
US/American 0.1%
English 2.4%
Irish 2%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Hilo Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 209 miles SE of Honolulu, Hawaii
County Hawaii
Standard Zip Codes 96720
P.O. Box Zip Codes 96721
Phone Area Codes 808
Time Zone Hawaii (-10 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city does not observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 19.729
Longitude -155.09

Hilo Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.8 miles
Jan Temp 64 to 79 F
Apr Temp 66 to 79 F
Jul Temp 69 to 83 F
Oct Temp 69 to 83 F
Annual Precip 126.2 inches
Distance 23.5 miles
Jan Temp 50 to 68 F
Apr Temp 52 to 67 F
Jul Temp 55 to 72 F
Oct Temp 55 to 72 F
Annual Precip 107.3 inches
Station NAALEHU 14
Distance 56 miles
Jan Temp 62 to 77 F
Apr Temp 64 to 78 F
Jul Temp 67 to 81 F
Oct Temp 67 to 81 F
Annual Precip 48.3 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Honomu 364 $55,556
Kurtistown 1,070 $64,531
Mountain View 3,088 $54,453
Pahoa 826 $32,500
Papaikou 1,234 $59,167
Pepeekeo 1,681 $34,107

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Hilo Hospitals

(Government - State)
(808) 974-4700
Emergency Service: Yes

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Hilo High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

A Title I School.
Serves 1,511 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16.7

Serves 1,292 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.8

A Charter School.
A Title I School.
Serves 131 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.1

A Charter School.
A Title I School.
Serves 97 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.9

Hilo Colleges

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Additional Details
Hilo Colleges
Hilo colleges and trade schools.
Study Online in Hilo
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