Iolani Palace on Oahu
September 24, 2020
| by
Jana Free

Oahu Visitor Guide: Guide to Visiting Iolani Palace

See this latest Oahu Visitor Guide article, ‘Guide to Visiting Iolani Palace,’ to learn about a spiritual and cultural gem in Hawaii. Iolani Palace was the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs and it is a National Historic Landmark.

These are unusual times we find ourselves living in, with restrictions being put in place and lifted with little notice, so please be sure to confirm operating hours before visiting any of the attractions or venues mentioned in this article.

Iolani Palace is a National Historic Landmark and a top attraction on Oahu. This spiritual and cultural gem is the recognized epicenter of the Hawaiian Islands, as it is the former official royal residence of the last reigning monarchs of Hawaii. This Oahu Visitors Guide article will tell you about Iolani Palace and why you should make it a must-visit attraction on your next trip to Oahu.

Iolani Palace
Location: Corner of King and Richards Streets, Honolulu, HI 96813
Telephone: 808.522.0822
Distance from Ambassador Hotel Waikiki: 3 miles

About Iolani Palace:

King Kalakaua built Iolani Palace in 1882 as an official royal residence, and as a center of political and social life for the Hawaiian monarchy, which was overthrown in 1893. Iolani Palace is a living restoration of the home of the Hawaiian monarchy, which is registered as a National Historic Landmark and is the only official royal residence in the United States.

Iolani Palace is one of the most recognized buildings in Hawaii. The residence tells a story of a time when King Kalakaua, as well as his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, roamed the grounds and enjoyed the grandeur of the building’s halls. Iolani Palace has been meticulously restored, and it is a place of great insight and perspective that most visitors to Hawaii appreciate.

Iolani Palace is a National Historic Landmark and a top attraction on Oahu. This spiritual and cultural gem is the recognized epicenter of the Hawaiian Islands, as it is the former official royal residence of the last reigning monarchs of Hawaii.

Why You Should Visit Iolani Palace:

Iolani Palace is opulent, innovative, and politically intriguing. This official royal residence located in downtown Honolulu allows visitors to get to know their Majesties, the King and Queen, in a restored residence that is the most spectacular in all of Polynesia.

Brought back to its former glory, Iolani Palace is a proud symbol of Hawaiian identity. The Palace once served as the capital of the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory and State of Hawaii - until 1969 - and it enjoys a rich history and beauty that any visitor to Hawaii can enjoy.

Facts about Iolani Palace:

  • There have been a number of versions and 'updates' to the palace over the years. The first version of the Palace was built in 1844 by Mataio Kekuanao'a for his daughter, Princess Victoria Kamamalu.
  • in 1845, King Kamehameha III bought the Palace from Princess Victoria and renamed it, Iolani Palace.
  • Iolani Palace was updated with the current design in 1882 for a cost of $340,000.
  • Iolani Palace a style of architecture, American Florentine that is not seen anywhere else in the world.
  • The original Palace was a Hale Ali'i, or a 'House of Chiefs', which was meant for official ceremonies, reception areas and a dining area. Actual 'Huts' were built around the Palace for the royal family to sleep in.
  • Iolani Palace served as the official residence of the Hawaiian monarch until the 1893.
  • Iolani Palace was designated a National Historic Landmark on December 29, 1962.

Tips for Visiting Iolani Palace:

  • Iolani Palace offers docent-led tours on Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You can take a self-led audio tour on Fridays and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both options feature a tour of the first and second floors of the Palace, followed by self-guided exploration of the exhibits in the gallery basement.
  • There are 2 gift shops at Iolani Palace, one on the first floor in the Hale Koa Barracks building near the Palace.
  • Iolani Palace is a sacred place, so guests should dress in a manner that is respectful of its historic and cultural significance. Shoe coverings must be worn, and beachwear is not allowed.
  • You may take photographs at Iolani Palace’s interior and exterior spaces, but please do not use flash photography, video recording, audio recording, selfie sticks, extended lenses, or tripods. Commercial photography is strictly forbidden.

This Oahu Visitor Guide article: Guide to Visiting Iolani Palace, has provided you with just a bit of information about Iolani Palace, but please visit the attraction in person to find out more. You will genuinely enjoy a trip to this sacred and historic landmark.

If you have any questions about visiting Iolani Palace, please feel free to ask our Concierge for more information. 

You may also enjoy this article on 'Guide to Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center' on Oahu.

Visit our Oahu Visitors Guide for more recommendations for all there is to do, see and experience when visiting Oahu.

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