Iolani Palace

It is the only royal palace in the US from where a monarch ruled. This is enough reason for anyone visiting Honolulu to visit Iolani Palace. The palace was last used as residence by Queen Lili'uokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. In 1978, the palace was restored and opened to the public. Now, tourists can also buy memorabilia from the shops on the palace grounds. The Royal Hawaiian Band holds concerts every Friday in the palace. You can scan our pages of the palace or read more from our articles.
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Iolani Palace

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A Self-Led Tour to Iolani Palace Honolulu: Getting the Most Out of Your Visit

Iolani palace is one of the historic monuments located in the capital district of downtown Honolulu at the corner of King and Richard Street at 364 South King Street. This palace was built as a seat of government by the "Merry Monarch" king David Kalakaua.

Iolani palace has been highly successful in retaining its lustre as one of the most splendid royal residences until the king's successor was overthrown and imprisoned. Eight months after her imprisonment, the queen surrendered to the US and thus Hawaii became a US territory.

As Hawaii became the 50th state, a new state capital was built and thus the neglected Iolani palace was restored. Hence the Iolani palace structure that exists today is not the original one. In fact the original palace was a one story building built with coral block.

However, natives of Hawaii still perceive this building to be a reminder of the royal heritage of Hawaii and a symbol of their independence and sovereignty. Visitors to this palace can do a self guided tour but a guide is recommended as there are few areas that are off limit to unguided guests.

This palace remains open from Tuesday to Saturday and the timings are as mentioned below:

Guided tour: 9am to 11.15am (every 15 minutes)

Self guided tour (45 min. duration): 11.45 am to 3.30 pm (every 10 min)

Self guided gallery tour: 9 am to 5 pm

While galleries and docent guide tours are free for Hawaii residents (only those who produce identification). The fee charged is as follows:

Guided tour: Adult-$20; Children (5-12 yrs) - $5; Hawaii residents-$15

Audio self guided tour: Adult-$13; Children (5-12 yrs) -$5

Self guided gallery tour: Adult-$6; Children (5-12 yrs) - $3

In order to get the most out of your visit to this historic monument, it is advised for first time visitors to check the reviews shared by earlier visitors on various websites. This would not only enlighten you on the importance of this place but also guide you on the kind of approach you need to adopt during your visit.

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Review and Ratings on Iolani Place

About the Only Royal Palace in US

Reviews on Iolani Place

Iolani Palace Tours and Other Information

Have you ever been to a royal palace or official residence of monarchs? If not, Iolani Palace is worth your visits. The palace is the only official residence of Hawaii's monarchy in the history of United States: King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. At the same time, it ranks on the list of National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark. Iolani Palace is a magic combination of innovation, opulence and political intrigue.

Now, visitors are able to enjoy one of the most spectacular living restorations at the palace and fully immerse yourself in this great royal heritage. The palace has been elegantly restored to its former grandeur, presenting guests with spectacular touring experience.

What are the general hours for Iolani Palace? The Iolani Palace located in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu, is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. But the ticket window closes at 4 p.m. The palace will be closed on two special holidays in 2011: Mon. Jul. 4 (Independence Day) and Thurs. Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving Day). You can tour the palace as usual on Christmas Eve, Sat. Dec. 24, 2011.

Guided tours and self-led tours are available at Iolani Palace. Both tour options have a tour section of the first and second floors of the palace and next you can have a self-guided exploration of the basement gallery exhibits.

Guided Tour - A docent guided tour can take you from the completion of Iolani Palace in 1882 to the overturn of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. Once you're led through the state rooms on first floor and majestic private quarters on second floor, your accompanied docents will tell story about the furnishings and Royal residents. The last stop on your guided tour is the Basement. There you will be free to explore the amazing gallery exhibits on your own.

You're highly recommended to make reservations for your guided tours in advance. A docent guided tour costs $20 for adults while the price for children aging 5 to 12 is $5. Kama'aina and Military guests enjoy a discount rate of $15. You must present any proper identification, like Active Military ID, Hawaii State ID or Hawaii Drivers License.

Tour groups enter every 15 minutes. The entry times differ in a week. You're scheduled to enter from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The entry time is restricted from 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Japanese language guided tours are available at 11:30 a.m. from Monday to Saturday. You can contact the ticket office to pre-arrange guided tours in Mandarin Chinese or American Sign Language.

Self-led Tour - Self-led tourists can travel through the first and second floor of the palace. You can have a 45-minute pre-recorded audio guide that explains the floors, furnishings and distinct history behind this National Historic Landmark. The pre-recorded audio recording is available in 3 languages: English, Japanese and Hawaiian. Self-led tours end in the basement gallery exhibits.

The adult admission for self-guided tour with audio recording is $12 and the price for children is $5. Vacationers of self-led tours can enter the Iolani Palace every 10 minutes. The palace is accessible from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays & Thursdays and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays.

Note: Children less than 5 years old are not allowed to enter the palace on either guided tours or self-led tours. Both tour options end with the basement gallery exhibits. There you can view a variety of treasures from the Royal collection, like the Hawaiian crown jewels and historic photographs. The basement also includes the renovated kitchen and Chamberlain's Office.

School tours are offered for students and teachers. A visit to Iolani Palace can give students a unique and instructive first-hand view of Hawaiian history. School tours are available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Pre-booking is necessary at least 4 weeks in advance since reservations are taken on a space available basis. When making reservations, you need to have the following information:

- Number of students

- Preferred tour date and times

- Number of teachers/adults/chaperones

- Grade level

- Name of contact person

- School/address/phone/email address/fax

Four different tour options are catered for students of different grades. Choose the appropriate options for your tour groups.

Student tour options include:

- Basement Galleries Only (K - 3rd grade)

- Abbreviated Tour (1st Floor Sate Rooms & Basement galleries; 4th - 6th grade)

- Abbreviated Tour + Imprisonment Room ( 7th - 8th grade)

- Full Guided Tour (1st Floor State Rooms, 2nd Floor Private Rooms & Basement galleries; 9th - 12th grade)

After everything is ready, your school tour members still need to pay attention to some extra considerations for a smooth trip. All group members, including teachers, students and chaperones are needed to wear name tags for easy identification while coming on tours. After arrival, you need to check in 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time. Over-sized bags and backpacks are required to be placed in the storage lockers. Then, the head of the tour group can pick up tickets at the Ticket Office in the Iolani Barracks.

Attention: Vehicular access for any tour groups to the palace must le 15-passenger vehicles or smaller. If you're coming in larger vehicles, like school bus, you can drop off in front of the State Capitol on Beretania Street or in front of the YWCA on Richards Street.

Free Kama'aina Sunday tours are offered for Hawaii residents. The Iolani Palace provides complimentary tickets for Kama'aina visitors on the first Sunday of each month. Hawaii residents can enjoy free guided tours to the first floor & second floor & the Palace Basement Galleries. Docent-guided tours are scheduled to enter every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. while audio tours are available every 10 minutes from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. If you want to enjoy the free special offers, please come early as tickets are given on a first come, first served basis.

Advanced reservations are accepted for groups of 10 or more people to Iolani Palace on free days. The scheduled tour times are arranged between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. with an entry of every 15 minutes. To receive free tickets, valid identifications are required. Your Hawaii state ID, Hawaii driver's license or Active Military Identification with proof of Hawaii residency like a utility bill are needed.

If you want to purchase some souvenirs on Kama'aina Sunday, the Palace Shop is open to guests from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on those days. The shop has books and other gifts on Iolani Palace, the Hawaiian Monarchy and Hawaiian history and heritage. You're sure to pick one you prefer.

Upcoming Kama'aina Sundays in 2011 include:

- March 6th

- April 6th

- May 1st

- June 5th

- July 3rd

- August 7th

- September 4th

- October 2nd - Children & Youth Day

- November 6th

- December 4th

Where to purchase tickets for tours? Tickets can be bought at the ticket office that is situated in the Iolani Barracks on the Palace Grounds. The office sells tickets from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. You can purchase tickets in the Iolani Palace Shop in the Basement from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday. Please call 808-522-0832 or email at if you want to make any reservations. Call 808-538-1471 for further info on self-led pre-recorded tours.

Stop by and visit the Palace Shop for a unique shopping experience. A complete tour to the Iolani Palace also features enjoyable shopping experience. This large inviting shop is located in the Iolani Barracks on the Iolani Palace Grounds. The shop has a wide selection of available merchandise, including beautiful Palace ornaments, unique gifts and more. The Palace Shop is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

To give optimal convenience for touring visitors, a new Gallery Shop is open in the Palace Galleries. This new branch displays a sampling of items from the Palace Shop. The operation hour is from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.

How to get to the Iolani Palace? Located in downtown Honolulu, Iolani Palace sits on the corner of King Street and Richards Street. The address is 364 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813. You can reach the Iolani Palace either by car or by bus.

You're strongly recommended to reach the Iolani Palace by Bus - Oahu's public transportation method. It runs from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Please call the Information Office at 808-848-5555 for more info on the route system.

Departing from Waikiki - When leaving from Diamond Head on Kuhio Avenue, you can take Route 2 School Street-Middle Street bus or Route 13 Liliha-Puunui Avenue bus. Get off the bus at the stop at Hotel and Alakea streets. Then you can walk back towards Waikiki about half a block and you'll see the Palace Grounds.

Back to Waikiki - You need to cross the King Street to the bus station that is located at the corner of King and Punchbowl Streets. Route B - City Express Waikiki, Route 13 Waikiki-Campbell Avenue or Route 2 Waikiki-Kapiolani Park can take you back to Waikiki. Route 19, Route 20, Route 42 Waikiki Beach and Hotels are all available at the same stop.

Oahu Transit Service

You can also drive to the Iolani Palace. Pay attention to the driving directions if you are unfamiliar with the routes.

From the Moanalua Fwy N

- Drive southbound on I-H-201 E

- Merge onto I-H-1 E

- Take Exit 21A for Hawaii 61 toward Pali Hwy

- Keep right on the split and follow signs for Downtown and merge onto Pali Hwy

- Proceed towards the Bishop Street

- Take a left at S King Street

From Lunalilo Fwy S

- Drive northeast on I-H-1 W

- Take Exit 22 to merge onto HI-98 W/S Vineyard Blvd

- Turn left at Punchbowl Street

- Turn right at Queen Street

- Take the first right onto Mililani Street

From Pali Hwy E

- Head southwest on Pali Hwy towards Waokanaka Street

- Proceed onto Bishop Street

- Turn left at S King Street

Maps and Directions for Iolani Palace

Driving visitors may need to consider parking upon arrival. Take it easy! You can find limited parking on Iolani Palace grounds and nearby streets. Parking meters are limited to quarters. Every 15-minute parking costs 25 cents. Remember that street parking is restricted to certain periods of time and parking is prohibited during morning and afternoon rush hours. You need to read the posted signs carefully.

Additional parking is available at a private parking garage at Alii Place on 1099 Alakea Street. The vehicle entrance to the garage is located on the right side of Alakea Street between Hotel Street and King Street. You need to pay $3 for first 2-hour parking and each additional 30 minutes will cost $1.5.

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Visiting Iolani Palace - The Only Royal Palace in the US

Iolani Palace, located in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu in Hawaii, is said to be the only royal palace in United States. The palace is actually being resided in by the reigning monarch in the United States. It has also been listed as a National Historic Landmark in the National Register of Historic Places.

Iolani Palace


The first two monarchs who lived at the Iolani Palace were King Kalokaua and Queen Liliuokalani but they were eventually overthrown in 1893. The palace was then used as a Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawaii capitol building till the year 1969. After some modifications and restorations, the palace was eventually opened as a museum to the public in the year 1978.

The Iolani Palace that we see today is actually the second structure to sit on the grounds. The original palace was just one story building and was built way back in the year 1844. In fact, the original structure took just one third of the area that is taken up by the current Iolani Palace.

Iolani Palace History

The first cornerstone for the new Iolani Palace was laid in the year 1879 and it was eventually completed in the year 1882. The Iolani Palace was built with concrete and bricks. But the true beauty of the palace lies in its architectural designs. It is completely unique and never seen before in any part of the world.

Iolani Palace Reviews

Known as the American Florentine, this style of architecture includes a grand hall in the first floor and a large staircase made from koa wood. The interiors of the palace are decorated with ornamental plaster. Once you cross the hall, you can see the throne room, the dining room and the blue meeting room. The rooms upstairs include the bedrooms used by the Hawaiian monarchs and the library.

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