As the only royal palace in the United States, visitors of Iolani Palace can learn more about the monarchy between 1882 and 1893. Built in the late 1800s as the home of the Hawaiian monarch, it was one of the first buildings of its type to have electricity, indoor plumbing, and telephones.
The palace sits directly across the street from the famous statue of King Kamehameha. For television fans of the first Hawaii Five-O, produced between 1968 to 1980, you’ll recognize stalwart Steve McGarret’s office and police headquarters.
Duration: While the tour takes about 90 minutes, visitors will need another hour to take photographs and enjoy the grounds of the palace. Guests may have to watch their time closely as parking is limited on the grounds.
History: After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, the palace was the capital building for the territorial, and then state, government offices until the new state capital building was constructed across the street behind the palace.
Hard to believe, the monarchy of Hawaii is not shared during grade school and high school history lessons. Through the years, locals attempted to make these changes. First, groups were formed to renovate and find all items lost from the palace. Second, as a tourist site, international visitors are checking out Iolani Palace for its culture and history.
Highlights: International visitors from China can arrange for tours in Mandarin ahead of time just by contacting the staff of Iolani Palace while Japanese tourists can sign up for the 11:30 am tours between Monday through Saturday.
Self-guided and docent-led tours are offered to visitors, sharing the history of the monarchy. This is a great place to learn about the history of the Hawaiian royal family and how they lost power to a group of ruthless American businessmen.
The stories of restoration show visitors the funds spent on the process. Beautifully renovated inside, the palace does not display a huge amount of furniture but museum employees and supporting organizations have managed to retrieve quite a bit of furnishings from local estates.
#1: Sign up for a tour ahead before coming to Hawaii. During the summer peak hours, slots fill up fast.
#2: Parking is limited on the palace grounds. Check out meter parking outside of the palace.
#3 Children under 12 will not enjoy the tour.
Admission prices for guided tours:
Child (ages 5-12): $6
Child (ages 0-4): not permitted
Group (10 or more), four weeks advance notice required: $16.75 per guest
Admission prices for self-guided tours:
Child (ages 5-12): $6
Child (ages 0-4): see details to the left of this regarding younger guests
Group (10 or more), four weeks advance notice required: $11.75 per guest
Tours & Tickets
Iolani Palace Shop
Friends of Iolani Palace
P.O. Box 2259
Honolulu, HI 96804-2259
Located on corner Of King St. & Richard St. in downtown Honolulu