Built in 1847, Queen Emma Summer Palace is one of Oahu’s last remaining examples of Greek Revival architecture. The summer retreat of Queen Emma and the Hawaiian royal family from 1857 to 1885 is now a historic landmark and museum showcasing many of Queen Emma’s personal belongings, royal antiques, furnishings, and other objects.
Queen Emma inherited the palace, located in the Ko’olau foothills, from her uncle in 1857. The secluded location and elevation made the home a royal retreat from the heat of Honolulu. After Emma’s death the palace slipped into disrepair, and the Daughters of Hawai’i took it over in 1915. After extensive renovations, the palace opened to the public as a museum. It also serves as a cultural institution, offering guided and self-led tours, educational programs, and community events.
Admission to the palace is included with a Go Oahu card.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Queen Emma Summer Palace is ideal for those wanting to explore Hawaiian history.
- The original palace architecture is not completely wheelchair accessible, but people needing assistance can contact the palace ahead of time for options.
- Docent-led tours for groups of more than 10 people should be arranged in advance; check the website for details.
How to Get There
Queen Emma Summer Palace is located in Nu’uanu, right off the Pali Highway and about a 10-minute drive from downtown Honolulu. City buses run from Honolulu and Waikiki regularly and stop near the palace. There is also on-site parking.
When to Get There
Queen Emma Summer Palace is open daily year-round except for major holidays. Oahu has a mild, tropical climate with hotter days in the summer and a rainy season typically from November to March.
The Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
Queen Emma Summer Palace is a 5-minute drive from the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, one of Oahu’s most visited viewpoints and a historic site. In 1795 during the bloody Battle of Nu’uanu, hundreds of Hawaiian warriors were pushed off the cliffs to their deaths. Today visitors to the lookout are treated to panoramic views of Oahu’s windward side and the Ko’olau Mountains.