Oahu, known as "The Gathering Place", is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands; however, it is the most populous of the islands in the U.S. state of Hawaii, and is the home of Honolulu International Airport.
The state capital, Honolulu, is on Oahu's southeast coast. Including small close-in offshore islands such as Ford Island and the islands in Kaneohe Bay and off the eastern (windward) coast, it has a total land area of 596.7 square miles (1,545.4 km²), making it the 20th largest island in the United States.
In the greatest dimension, this volcanic island is 44 miles (71 km) long and 30 miles (48 km) across. The length of the shoreline is 227 miles (365 km). The island is the result of two separate shield volcanoes: Waianae and Koolau, with a broad "valley" or saddle (the central Oahu Plain) between them.
Oahu is truly at the heart of Hawaii. The city of Honolulu is busy, and its Waikiki district even more so. Oahu is home to the only real metropolitan area in all the Hawaiian Islands. For some, this has been both a blessing and a curse for the island.
On the plus side, visitors to Oahu and local Hawaiian residents themselves are not left out of all the amenities and conveniences that only a large city, such as Honolulu, can provide. Days spent dashing about, bustling nightlife, great restaurants, exciting cultural events and establishments, good public transportation, and a variety of shopping and lodging options.
Combine this with the city and island's extensive beaches, parks, mountains, recreational areas, and quaint towns and this makes one enjoyable metropolitan area. On the minus side, Honolulu is a big city and has all the big city problems that come along with it, such as traffic, high cost of living, and some crime.