Looking to pay a visit to the breathtaking Iolani Palace? Whether you’re a Hawaiian resident or just here on holiday, there’s no doubt that the Iolani Palace is a key destination to consider stopping by. We’ve outlined some of the main things you need to know about the Iolani Palace to help you decide whether it’s a worthwhile part of your trip.


Iolani Palace building facade
  • Visit the only royal palace in the United States fully restored to its former grandeur
  • Explore massive rooms, including the state dining room, throne room, and grand hall
  • Discover intimate décor in the king and queen’s suites
  • Learn about the palace grounds and its history as a place of worship


Iolani Palace was built in 1879 as the main royal residence for Kamehameha III and his wife, Queen Consort Kalama Kapakuhaili. Unfortunately, despite the palace’s grandeur and beauty, its life as a working royal home would only be short-lived; by 1893, under the right of Queen Lili’uokalani. At this time, Hawaii’s monarchy was overthrown, so the Iolani Palace was taken by the Provisional Government of Hawaii. 

After this move, the palace temporarily became known instead as the “Executive Building of the Republic.” Iolani Palace then remained the home of the Provisional Government until 1969. Thereafter, it was converted into a museum and historical landmark, and restoration works commenced to return it to its former design and style.

After restorative work on the palace was completed, it achieved status as a National Historic Landmark at the end of 1962. Several years later, it was entered into the National Register of Historic Places Listings in Oahu. 

Today, the Iolani Palace is open to the public, and the main responsibility for overseeing the palace falls to the Friends of Iolani Palace. However, the palace grounds are under the responsibility of the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources. 

In addition to serving as a museum, the palace occasionally hosts events tied to its history. For example, an observation on the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy.

Tips when Visiting

If you’re planning a visit to the stunning Iolani Palace, you should consider several key tips. Hopefully, the following points may help you make the most of the time.

Dress Respectfully

One of the most important tips you should keep in mind when visiting the Iolani Palace is to dress respectfully. While many people overlook the palace’s cultural significance, the land upon which it was built also holds sacred meaning, and several people have been buried at this location. In line with this, it’s important to dress respectfully during your time at Iolani Palace. Not only is this a sign of respect, but you may be denied access if you do not wear shoe coverings or appropriate dress wear.

Plan According to the Weather

When visiting the Iolani Palace, try to plan your time in accordance with the weather. If it’s sunny, exploring the stunning grounds is well worth a try. However, if the weather isn’t on your side, there are still countless amazing sights to immerse yourself in within the palace itself.

Take Plenty of Pictures

Taking pictures around Iolani Palace is permitted, and this could really make your time even more special. There’s nothing quite the same as having amazing photos and videos to remember your experience by, so we recommend documenting your visit with photo memories to cherish for a lifetime.

But Avoid Flash Photography!

While taking photographs and videos during your time at Iolani Palace is perfectly fine, it’s worth noting that flash photography is not allowed. 

Flash photography can potentially damage the displays. As such, it is important to keep in mind that you’ll need to turn off any flash photography on your camera or device if you want to take photos during your visit.

Don’t Miss the Gift Shops

If you want to remember your visit to Iolani Palace even more, visit any of the two amazing gift shops. These gift shops sell a range of great gifts and keepsakes that are the ideal way to help you remember your amazing visit.

The main gift shop is located on the first floor, by the barracks. The gift shop opens until 4 PM every day between Tuesday to Saturday, so there’s plenty of time to stop by – but make sure you plan your day to ensure you have enough time to browse through the collections.

Make the Most of Tours

There’s a lot to see at the Iolani Palace, and with this thought in mind, it is very important that you consider one of the guided tours to really make the most of your time inside. The palace offers guided tours throughout the week, as well as 3D virtual tours and more. These offer an excellent solution to help you make the most of your time and ensure you don’t miss out on any of the amazing sights within the palace walls. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Iolani Palace was built in an American Florentine architectural style. Though unique, this style was largely reminiscent of the features found in traditional Italian Renaissance architecture.

Iolani Palace served as the prison for Queen Liliuokalani, where she remained imprisoned for around eight months in her palace bedroom.

Entry into Iolani Palace requires booking tours in advance. The price varies according to the tour with the self-led audio tour as the most affordable at $26.95 per adult. You can make your booking here.

Due to the cultural and historical significance of Iolani Palace, guests are asked to dress respectfully. Clothing should be smart or smart casual. Out of respect, you may want to avoid wearing high heels or shoes that could damage the flooring of the Palace where possible. You will still be asked to wear cloth slippers over your shoes to prevent damage to the Palace’s Koa wood flooring.

How to Get to Iolani Palace

Getting to Iolani Palace is fortunately a very simple process, although you will need to be prepared for potentially busy roads. Generally speaking, the easiest way to get to the palace is to take the bus; with numerous bus stops located on the adjoining roads nearby, it’s only a few minutes by foot to get there. 

However, if you would like to drive to the Iolani Palace, there are several parking lots located around it. Some of the larger parking locations locally include the Kalanimoku Building Parking Lot to the East, 1192 Alakea St Parking to the North, and the Alii Place Parking Garage to the North West. Remember to check the specific terms of these parking lots before parking to ensure that visitors to Iolani Palace are permitted to park there.

If you’re looking to visit the Iolani Palace shortly after arriving in Hawaii, don’t worry – getting there is incredibly easy from the Daniel K Inouye International Airport, which is the main airport serving the region. Simply take Aolele Steet until you reach Highway 92 E, before turning off at S King Street.

Wrapping it Up

Iolani Palace is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Hawaii. The palace is rich in history and culture, and provides visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about the Hawaiian monarchy. In addition, the palace grounds are beautiful, and there are plenty of activities nearby to keep everyone entertained. So whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just looking for a fun place to spend a day, be sure to add Iolani Palace to your travel itinerary.