The United States’ only official royal palace, Honolulu’s painstakingly refurbished Iolani Palace holds stories of Hawaii’s royal past. Queen Lili‘uokalani, the last Hawaiian monarch, ruled from—and then was imprisoned within—these walls. Browse ornate gifts to, and portraits of, the Hawaiian royal families, plus artifacts from their reigns.
You can opt for guided or self-guided tours of the American Florentine-style palace, including the throne room and dining room; hear stories of the lavish royal functions that took place here; walk the palace’s expansive grounds; and see the royal jewels, including swords and crowns.
Many historical and cultural tours of Oahu include visits to Iolani Palace, including other must-sees such as Pearl Harbor, with added cultural context. Waikiki hop-on hop-off bus and trolley tours stop at the palace. Admission to Iolani Palace is included with the Go Oahu Card.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Iolani Palace is a must for those interested in Hawaiian history and culture.
- Reservations are required for guided tours, and walk-ins are welcome for self-guided tours. Both tours run between 60 and 90 minutes.
- Children under 5 years old are free, and must be in an infant carrier or safely strapped into a palace-provided stroller.
- The palace is considered a sacred place by locals, and guests are asked to dress appropriately. Shoes and shirts are required for entry; swimsuits and profanity on clothing are not permitted.
- Large bags, luggage, food, drinks, flash photography, video recording, tripods, and selfie sticks are not permitted.
- The entire palace complex is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. Only manual wheelchairs are permitted; guests who would like a free loaner wheelchair should reserve one in advance.
How to Get There
Iolani Palace is located in downtown Honolulu, about 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometers) from Honolulu International Airport. It is easily accessible by car and bus from Waikiki and other parts of Oahu. Street parking is very limited, and there is a parking garage nearby.
When to Go
The palace is open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Saturday, with the last entry at 3:30pm. The Royal Hawaiian Band presents free concerts on the palace grounds most Fridays at 12pm. Other live music and special events take place at the museum throughout the year; check the website for updates and schedules.
Historic Honolulu Walking Tour
Located in Oahu’s historic center, Iolani Palace is walking distance from the State Capitol, Chinatown, the golden King Kamehameha I statue, the Hawaii Art Museum, and other historical landmarks. Many outfitters offer historical walking tours of the area, which provide a deeper understanding of the state’s political and cultural history.