Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
4.5
Speciality MuseumsHistoric SitesHistory Museums
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy, is a marvel of opulence, innovation and political intrigue. Meticulously restored to its former grandeur, this National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu tells of a time when their Majesties, King Kalakaua, who built the palace in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, walked its celebrated halls. Today, you can enjoy one of the most spectacular living restorations in all of Polynesia and immerse yourself in Hawaii’s royal heritage. E komo mai! Welcome!
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Downtown Honolulu
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See what travellers are saying
  • Jan I
    Mililani, Hawaii1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Royal Tour
    We loved our visit to Iolani Palace. I have lived in Hawaii all my life but this was my first time visiting the palace, and it did not disappoint. Such a rich, amazing, and yes, a sad story, too. We paid for a docent, and Robbie was so informative and knowledgeable. We hope to bring family from out-of-state in the future to visit Iolani Palace.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 22 July 2023
  • Charles L
    Effingham, Illinois29 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Visit to the Iolani Palace Hawaii
    Our three families bought tickets to tour the Iolani Palace. The tour is with headphones and switches at different stations. The story of King Kamehameha uniting the Hawaiian islands under his rule was fascinating. The palace was beautiful and elegant. King Kamehameha V was a Freemason as am I. I got to see his regalia and him in uniform. I took lots of pictures. There were two ladies from Germany on our tour. Wooton desks are my passion. The king had one on display in the basement exhibit area. I knew it was there from past research. I took a great picture of it.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 22 July 2023
  • Tiare L
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Rich history
    We love Iolani Palace. We did the self-led audio tour and it was very informative. I always learn something new when I visit. Such a beautiful palace with many intricate details makes me proud to be a Hawaiian. It’s hard not to get emotional knowing what America did to our queen and how they continue to treat our people.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 24 July 2023
  • Cidney S
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What a great experience for the family!
    We thoroughly enjoyed our docent-led tour of Iolani Palace. It was such a wonderful chance to learn about the struggle and history of how Hawaii was acquired by the United States. We learned so much about the pride and strength of the Hawaiian people during the tour. The docent was very knowledgeable and patient with the questions we asked. It was well worth the time and cost.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 29 July 2023
  • markeminor
    Sacramento, California1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Hawaiian vacation on July 26th
    The lady docent was very informative and nice to all of us. She involved younger children by asking them questions, as part of our guided tour group. We had plenty of time to look over exhibits, on our own, after the tour was over. So no pressure to leave the palace, right away.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 31 July 2023
  • cordellb2017
    Waianae, Hawaii25 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Visit
    My last visit doing the full tour of the Palace was in 2010 since I live hare in Hawaii. I took my daughter and boyfriend, his first trip to the islands. It was great. Some changes some new things in the palace since then as some of the artifacts have been recovered. For those visiting Hawaii this is a good place to visit and learn about the Hawaii Kingdom and view the past.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 1 August 2023
  • JeffYoung082
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Iolani Palace, an overwhelming history
    A tour of the Iolani Palace is a must-see for local people and all tourists to Honolulu, Oahu. You gain an overwhelming sense of history walking through the palace. You appreciate the affinity for technology that the Hawaiian rulers cultivated as the 19th century drew on, approaching the 20th century. You feel a sense of sadness of what had been in the early 18th century and what was lost in the final years of that century as Hawaii's destiny was irrevocably altered forever. The only shortcoming I could discern was the deliberate darkness of the interior, to preserve the furnishings, paintings, and artifacts from sun damage. But it often is difficult to see all of this in the dim gloom. Even written plaques for the benefit of visitors are hard to read in the dim light. Perhaps the reading plaques should be illuminated by tiny lights built into the plaque frames. Not much is spoken about the basement but there is a lot to see down there plus the gift shop is worth buying a few books about Hawaii's history and culture.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 3 August 2023
  • ssiennana
    Virginia Beach, Virginia1 contribution
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Visit for knowledge
    We really enjoyed our visit. We’ve lived in hawaii for a very long time and it’s been a while since one of us visited the palace. I ended up getting a refresher and new knowledge that I didn’t even know. Our tour guide was very good at helping us envision the events that had taken place in each room.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 5 August 2023
  • Jennifer P
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Best guided tour
    Visiting the Iolani Palace was like walking into the past. My daughter and I learned a lot about the Hawaiian monarchy's history through our docent Jacqueline. She was very knowledgeable, and she shared the history of the royal family through story telling. This made a big impression on my daughters, and they became more interested in the Iolani palace and Hawaiian history. My teenager said that visiting the Iolani palace was the best part about being in Honolulu.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 8 August 2023
  • S Y
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing, worth it
    Amazing! We learned so much rich Hawaiian and related US history. Our tour guide was a volunteer and you could tell he was really passionate about what he was teaching us. The palace has a basement we self-toured and there were jewelry displays and informational boards.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 12 August 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles8,251 reviews
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465
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Chelsea
Augusta, GA2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Solo
I paid extra for a more exclusive tour as there were no other tours available. The tour guide greeted us by telling us that she would not speak any louder than her normal quiet tone and if we couldn't hear her through her mask to ask questions. This didn't put me off at first until later in the tour. She singled me out for being on my own, and without my husband, on the tour which made me feel slightly uncomfortable. As we went through the rooms she told us we were allowed to take pictures as long as they were not flash pictures. As we went to the dining room the couple in front of me took a few pictures of the place settings on the table so I did as well. Suddenly the tour guide yelled at me, scolding me for taking the picture even though she had watched the couple in front of me do the same thing. I am not ignorant nor am I disrespectful. If she had wanted us to stay back from the table, she should have told us before hand. Secondly she singled me out and embarrassed me, I believe because I am young, and because I was alone. She did not make me feel welcomed and I almost left the tour then. I wish I had because she ruined the whole experience for me. Later in the tour the same couple ran their camera bag into a door and she still didn't scold them. My advice to you if you want to tour this place is NOT to pay for the expensive tour, just do the regular one where there won't be a rude tour guide to make you feel bad about yourself or regret your decision to come and learn about Hawaii's culture.
Written 30 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jbench2021
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Iolani Palace and am so glad that my friends recommended this historical site while on holiday in O'ahu. I would highly recommend the Docent led tour, though I hear the audio tour is also a good experience. The docent who led our group was incredibly knowledgeable not only about the space itself, but its people, changes in the culture and politics of that time, and historical context (both on a local and world stage).

Even outside of COVID restrictions, the groups are kept small, and I felt completely safe with the policies they had in place.

Touring the facility including the collection at the Visitor's Center, can be done in less than two hours, and the hosts/stewards of the palace do a great job at prepping visitors.

Given the content, location, and overall nature, I think this would be a great pairing for anyone planning to visit the Bishop Museum, but I would also recommend seeing either or both separately.
Written 4 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JTSomelofske
South Royalton, VT5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Solo
I loved the tour of Iolani Palace. I went at 9:00 am on a Friday and essentially had a private tour without many other visitors in the building obstructing my view of the portraits and material artifacts. The tour guide was knowledgeable and really presented a compelling narrative of the daily lives of the Hawaiian monarchs. I prefer living tour guides I can interact with, but an audio tour is available as well. Very glad I visited and would certainly return as the palace is recovering many lost artifacts after Hawaii's annexation to the United States. So the collection will be more complete as time passes.
Written 17 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

uhlirchristina
6 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Couples
First, I and my traveling partner were lucky as we were visiting Honolulu the final week of December/first week of January and had a chance to do one of the evening tours of Iolani Palace in honor of the 158th birthday of Queen Liliuokalani. We both enjoyed hearing about the historical context and variety of interesting stories about Iolani Palace and the Royal Family that inhabited it for so many generations. That being said, I must admit that I was unpleasantly surprised by the inhospitable reception we received from the staff in bringing an Osmo as a photographic, not videographic, aid as it was not included in the prohibited items list. Had we known such items were not permitted, we would have had a much more enjoyable experience. That being said, I would like to visit Iolani Palace again, during the day, to get the full experience we were told about by the performers and staff we talked to.

Thank you for all of the thoughtful explanations of the palace, Royal Household, and the Hawaiian Islands!
Written 9 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ppoleshaj
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
My lifetime friend lives on Maui and had never been to Iolani Palace. Every time I visit I see and appreciate new things from the ornate brass hinges on doors to the inlaid wood and I marvel at the craftsmanship of the woodwork and plaster.
The room where the Queen was held prisoner for 8 mo. and holds the handmade patchwork quilt she made is even more emotional when you hear her own words as she describes her treatment by her captors.
I highly recommend every resident in Hawaii should visit Iolani Palace and take your family for an amazing view of Hawaii's history.
Written 22 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M.L.E
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2020 • Family
My favorite part was the stories behind all the rooms, clothes and jewelry. Our docent, “Auntie” Gladys was enthusiastic and entertaining - full of anecdotes about generations of the royal family of Hawaii. The restoration of the original furniture, floors etc was amazing and I particularly enjoyed the gowns and coronation cloak on display. Due to the virus restrictions, the group was only 5, we all wore masks and kept social distance, so it felt very safe

I would advise anyone else to make sure you leave a little extra time to find the palace (our GPS got us a little lost) and the entrance for the parking. Also bring quarters - the parking has old fashioned coin drops, no credit card swipe
Written 6 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Phil M
46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
We were in Honolulu a year ago and on the way back from Pearl Harbour stopped at the statue opposite the palace, but left before we could see it. This trip it was on our 'must do' list and we were not disappointed. Booked on line, easy process. From Waikiki got a day pass for the bus and had a nice air conditioned 40 minute ride to a stop one block from the Palace. Arrived about half an hour early as advised. The whole process was very user friendly. A brief intro from a guide and donned the obligatory surgical style overshoes and then you are at your leisure to wander around the two levels of the palace, learning about the relevant history of the palace itself and the Hawai'ian royal dynasties. The level of detail was excellent and informative. We took around an hour and bit to see those two levels, then another twenty minutes in the basement. If you like history and want more than a superficial tourist experience of Honolulu this is well worth the time and entrance price.
Written 20 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ChrisH
Frederick, MD524 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Two adults visited here on a Wednesday midday in early February and had a great visit. Spent about 3 hours total. We used our GoOahu passes to obtain the self-guided walking tour. Well done tour. Palace was most interesting. Boy, all we can say is that actual history the way it happened is way different than what we were taught 50 years ago in elementary school about how Hawaii's monarchy was ended by U.S. interests. Worth it from our perspective to hear what really happened.
Written 1 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

theresainGR
Grand Rapids, Michigan63 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
Iolani Palace, the only Royal Palace on US soil located in Honolulu. This is a self guided walking tour with optional audio headsets (which I recommend). So much Hawaiian history learned in this 90 minute tour. The Palace is kept impeccable as you have to wear booties to protect the flooring and no food/drinks allowed.
Relatively inexpensive to visit, I think it was $20, which is a great deal to experience this history.
Great way to spend a few hours in Honolulu.
Written 7 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

alstenek
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Really enjoyed my recent visit to 'Iolani Palace. The tour was self-guided with an audio device that narrated the visit to each room. Some of the audio selections seemed long-winded and repetitive, but overall the information presented was interesting. Markers are placed throughout the palace to help guests maintain their distance from one another. The docents are posted to each room to help guide visitors and answer questions. The basement had great exhibits as well.
Written 20 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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IOLANI PALACE (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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