The Iolani Palace (view panorama) in Honolulu, Hawaii, was built as a seat of government by the “Merry Monarch” King David Kalakaua, Hawaii’s final king and the first monarch to travel around the world visiting other sovereign states. Inspired by the grand palaces owned by other monarchs around the world, he constructed his own in a location that is now downtown Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Completed in 1882, it cost over $360,000. Not only is it an architectural masterpiece, but it had electricity and telephones four years before the White House did.
The Iolani Palace kept its splendor as a royal residence until the king’s successor, his sister Queen Liliuokalani, was overthrown and imprisoned here. After eight months of imprisonment and to avoid further bloodshed of her people, the Queen surrendered to the U.S. and Hawaii became a U.S. territory. Iolani Palace was then used as a capitol for the new territory and then after 1959, when Hawaii became the 50th state, for the state of Hawaii. In 1969, a new state capitol was built and the neglected Iolani Palace was restored with the efforts of the “Friends of Iolani Palace.” For Native Hawaiians, the Iolani Palace is a reminder of the royal heritage of Hawaii and a symbol for the restoration of Hawaii’s independence and sovereignty.
Visitors can do a self-guided tour. However, a guided tour is best since there are areas that are off-limits to unguided guests.
Iolani Palace Hours
Open for individual and group tours from
(closed on Sunday and Monday).
Guided Tour: 9 am to 11:15 am (every 15 minutes)
Audio Self-Guided Tour (45 min. duration): 11:45 am through 3:30 pm (every 10 minutes)
Self-Guided Gallery Tour: 9 am to 5 pm
Iolani Palace Admission
Guided Tour: Adult-$21.75; Children (5-12)-$6
Audio Self-Guided Tour: Adult-$14.75; Children (5-12)-$6
Self-Guided Gallery Tour: Adult-$7; Children (5-12)-$3
Galleries and docent-guided tours are free of charge for Hawaii residents (identification required) on Kamaaina Sundays (usually on the first Sunday of the month). See Iolani Palace website for details: iolanipalace.org
Ticket Office: Iolani Barracks on the Palace grounds
Iolani Palace Overview
Iolani is the only royal palace in the Unites States
Located in downtown Honolulu
It was constructed as seat of the government in 1882 by King David Kalakaua and his wife Queen Kapiolani
Directions: The Iolani Palace is located on 364 South King Street in downtown Honolulu. It's about a ten-minute drive from Waikiki. If you don't have a car, you can take bus number 2,13, 19, 20, which all stop near the palace.
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