The Honolulu Municipal Building doesn’t have quite the ring of Honolulu Hale—though they are one and the same. The Hale, which means house in Hawaiian, is home Oahu’s city hall— government offices including the chambers of the Mayor and the Honolulu City Council. The Spanish Colonial Revival building—a popular style in Honolulu in the 1920s—was completed in 1928, and, in addition to being interesting architecturally, hosts regular city and public functions including the popular annual Honolulu City Lights. Each December since the mid 1980s, a giant 21-foot “Shaka Santa” (that is, Santa flashing his one-handed shaka sign) and Tutu Mele (Mrs. Claus) adorn the building’s fountain pool accompanied by a flurry of colored light displays and lawn ornaments. The public is welcomed inside the building to walk amongst ornately-decorated and -themed Christmas trees, which are judged for their creativity; original artwork from area school children lines the walls. The building is a place of community pride—occasionally lit with commemorative colors (pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month; red, white and blue for Independence Day) and on the National Register of Historic Places.
This is a functioning government building, so you are able to visit during normal government business hours (8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday) and note its interesting features, including the interior Peace Garden and and ornate staircase and speaker’s balcony. Not to be confused with Aliiolani Hale across the street, which houses the State Supreme Court and boasts the famous golden King Kamehameha Statue on its lawn, Honolulu Hale is located on the corner of S. King and Punchbowl Streets at 530 S. King Street.