Made up of several historic sites and memorials, Pearl Harbor honors and educates the public about the Japanese attack on the United States on December 7, 1941 that propelled the country into World War II. It’s one of Hawaii’s most-visited attractions, and one of the country’s most significant WWII memorial sites.
Pearl Harbor is made up of both the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, which includes the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Utah, and USS Oklahoma, and the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, which include the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum (formerly the Pacific Aviation Museum). Most tours include just a selection of the many sites; others combine some Pearl Harbor sites with stops at other attractions on Oahu.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Pearl Harbor Memorial sites can be very crowded; book your ticket or tour in advance and opt for skip-the-line entry.
- The various memorials each require their own admissions passes; choose a tour or a combination ticket that includes your preferred sites.
- Pearl Harbor is still an active naval base, and visitors are subject to security measures.
- The Pearl Harbor Memorial is wheelchair accessible.
- There is free on-site parking.
How to Get There
Pearl Harbor is located on Oahu's south coast, about 12 miles (20 km) northwest of Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. To reach the memorial from downtown, take HI-99 west to Arizona Memorial Pl. Shuttles are also available from Honolulu and Waikiki, and some tours provide transportation from other islands.
When to Get There
The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open daily from morning to early evening except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The memorials keep separate hours but are generally open from morning until early evening. Pearl Harbor is popular all year, but the busiest seasons are during spring break and summer and winter holidays. Go early in the morning to avoid crowds and leave plenty of time to see the various sites.
USS Arizona Memorial
The site of the largest number of casualties (1,177 crewmen), the USS Arizona Memorial is the best-known site in Pearl Harbor. The white structure floats over the site of the sunken battleship and is a place of quiet reflection. 75-minute visits start at the visitor center, where you’ll watch a film before boarding a shuttle boat to the memorial. Tickets are free but required, as the number of guests allowed in the memorial each day is strictly limited.