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The Queen Emma Summer Palace is a historic landmark located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Built-in 1848 by King Kamehameha IV and named after his queen consort, Queen Emma of Hawaii, the palace is an important cultural site that has been carefully preserved for generations. The palace features stunning architecture and design elements from the 19th-century Hawaiian monarchy era as well as popular attractions such as a lush garden with tropical flowers and trees. Throughout the year, the palace also hosts events such as concerts, theater performances, art exhibitions, and more. Whether you’re looking to explore some of Hawaii’s rich history or simply take in its natural beauty, the Queen Emma Summer Palace should not be missed!


  • Learn about the historic home built by the husband of Queen Emma of Hawaii that served as a summer retreat for her and her royal family.
  • Immerse in the elegant two-story structure, boasting a unique combination of Greek Revival, Victorian, and traditional Hawaiian features including high ceilings, wide archways, covered lanais (porches) and Koa wood interiors.
  • Explore its many rooms filled with furniture and artifacts from the 19th century
  • Participate in educational experiences and other events
  • Experience the marking of the longest day of sunlight every June.


Hānaiakamalama or Queen Emma Summer Palace, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, is an important historical site that has been preserved since its construction in 1857. It was originally built as a summer residence for Queen Emma (Kaleleonālani) and her husband King Kamehameha IV. The couple wanted to escape the heat of the city during the summer months, so they commissioned this beautiful palace in Nuuanu Valley overlooking Honolulu.

Its frame was constructed in Boston in 1848 and shipped to Hawaiʻi via Cape Horn for assembly on a property purchased by John Lewis. Featuring six rooms and a porch with Doric columns in the Greek Revival style, the property was first purchased by Keoni Ana (John Young II) for $6,000 in 1850 and then given to his niece, Queen Emma, in 1857. Queen Emma even added a room to the structure in preparation for the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh in 1869. The property has seen multiple ownership changes but was ultimately declared a park by Territorial Governor Walter F. Frear in 1911. This historic home narrowly avoided demolition. Despite plans to build a baseball park on its site. Thankfully, the Daughters of Hawai‘i stepped in and secured its preservation in 1915, obtaining a generous 22,750-square-foot plot of land for use as a museum. Listed on the National Historic Registry, Hānaiakamalama now houses a vast collection of Queen Emma’s belongings, antiques, furnishings, and royal regalia. Today, it stands as a celebrated landmark, museum, and tourist attraction. The Palace also hosts various events each year like concerts created around music from different eras throughout Hawaii’s history as well as cultural performances held outdoors celebrating native dance forms and music – both traditional and contemporary – showing how these things have evolved and influenced by different cultures that have made their mark on modern-day Hawaii.

Architecture and Design Features of the Palace

Queen Emma, oil on canvas painting by William F. Cogswell, 1890, Bishop Museum

Queen Emma Summer Palace’s structure consists of two stories, with a large outdoor terrace and a small courtyard. The architecture of the palace is a unique combination of Greek Revival and Italianate styles with intricate carvings on the interior walls featuring images from Hawaiian mythology and religious symbols. The palace was originally constructed with local materials such as lava rock and coral blocks to create an elaborate garden setting. It features an octagonal shape with two grand entrance doors which lead to a large open interior where visitors can view period furniture used by the royal family.

Inside, there are four large rooms with high ceilings reaching up to 12 feet tall connected by two hallways on either side. There are also several smaller rooms, including a nursery area for children who were brought to stay at Hale Aloha. The palace is surrounded by lush tropical gardens and has many interesting features such as detailed woodwork, spectacular stained glass windows, marble floors, fireplaces, and grand chandeliers. The property also includes a small chapel that was built in 1853 and is the oldest building on the property. Throughout the palace are ornate paintings, rare artifacts, and fascinating sculptures that evoke Hawaii’s history and culture. Additionally, Queen Emma Summer Palace includes several beautiful statues of Queen Emma herself, as well as other notable figures from Hawaiian royalty. The palace has undergone several renovations over the years and is now a museum that houses artifacts from the royal court’s time at the palace, including photographs, paintings, clothing, and other memorabilia. Visitors can explore the grounds including the main building which has been restored to its former glory over time.

Things to Do

Explore the Ground: Plants, Artifacts, and More

Exploring the grounds of Queen Emma Summer Palace is a unique experience that offers an insight into Hawaiian culture and history. The palace grounds feature gardens designed by botanist William Hillebrand that are home to native Hawaiian plants such as Kauila trees, Koa haole trees, and Ohia Lehua plants. Visitors can also explore a variety of artifacts from the late 19th century, including furniture belonging to Queen Emma and her family. Additionally, visitors can explore a replica of a temple used for ancient Hawaiian rituals on the Palace grounds.

Attend the Feast of Hawaiian Cuisine: The Annual Luau Event

The Annual Luau Event at Queen Emma Summer Palace is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and cuisine. Guests are treated to a traditional feast of local delicacies, such as kalua pork, lomi salmon, poi, haupia, and more. During the event, you can listen to the music of the ukulele and ipu, watch hula performances that tell the stories of Hawaii’s past, and take part in traditional chanting ceremonies. Visitors can also learn about the traditional methods used to prepare these iconic dishes from experienced chefs. Throughout the night, guests enjoy an evening filled with delicious food and entertainment that highlight Hawaiian culture.

Participate in Educational Lectures on Hawaiian Culture and History

In the historic ballroom of the palace, guests can learn about the various aspects of Hawaiian traditions from local elders, historians, and other experts in their fields. Attendees can expect to gain insight into Hawaiian customs such as hula dancing, storytelling, chant ceremonies, and music. The lectures explore topics such as Hawaii’s ancient gods and goddesses, Polynesian voyaging techniques, and the unique language of Hawaiians. In addition to covering traditional subjects like these, Queen Emma Summer Palace also features talks about issues affecting current-day Hawaii such as over-tourism or environmental conservation efforts.

During a lecture at Queen Emma Summer Palace, guests will have the opportunity to ask questions and further their understanding of Hawaiian culture through dialogue with experienced presenters. Afterward, visitors can wander around the grounds to discover even more hidden gems related to its royal past.

Celebrate the Holiday Season with Local Traditions

From mid-November through January, the palace hosts a Christmas in Paradise celebration that is filled with festive lights, music, and decorations. Visitors can explore the palace grounds, learn about Hawaiian customs and culture, and enjoy classic caroling performances from local choirs. The main house of Queen Emma Summer Palace is beautifully decorated to evoke feelings of festive cheer. The halls are adorned with evergreen garlands, holly wreaths, and colorful poinsettias while traditional Hawaiian quilts decorate the walls. Farther outdoors, guests can take in views of kahili (royal feathered standards) lit up by twinkling lights as a tribute to King Kamehameha III who once resided here.

Onsite activities for children include crafts such as making flower leis or stringing popcorn for decoration. Adults can admire works from local artisans displayed throughout the palace or tour its historic gardens which have been carefully restored with rare native flora species. There are also special evening dinners featuring authentic cuisine alongside live entertainment provided by local musicians.No matter how you choose to spend your time at Queen Emma Summer Palace this holiday season, be sure to leave feeling like part of the ohana (family). These festivities offer an opportunity to appreciate local customs and connect with Hawaiian culture in a place steeped in rich history.

Witness the Marking of the Longest Day of Sunlight

Every June, the palace holds its annual Solstice Soulful Celebration to mark the longest day of sunlight. This event is a festive gathering featuring traditional Hawaiian chanting and storytelling. The celebration typically begins early in the morning with an oli (chant) to recognize and honor Queen Emma, who once lived at this historic palace. Guests are then invited to take part in various activities such as hula dancing and cultural art demonstrations. The evening culminates with another oli paying tribute to the sun goddess for providing daylight during these summer months. Attendees are even encouraged to bring their own stories and chants to share during the event.

In addition to celebrating Hawaiian culture, this event also includes live music performances, food vendors, and craft workshops. Guests can enjoy traditional island dishes such as poke bowls and acai bowls while learning how to make authentic leis from local florists or weaving lauhala baskets with experienced artists. The Solstice Soulful Celebration is a great way for visitors and locals alike to experience all aspects of Hawaiian culture in one place.

Tips for First-time Visitors

Queen Emma Summer Palace is an iconic historic site in Honolulu, Hawaii, and a must-see for visitors to the area. Here are some tips to help you navigate your visit:

  • Plan your trip: Queen Emma Summer Palace is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and does not require reservations. However, if you’d like to take advantage of guided tours or special programming, it’s best to plan.
  • Dress comfortably: Since the palace is located in a tropical climate, be sure to wear light and comfortable clothing for your visit. You may also want to bring a hat or sunscreen for protection from the sun.
  • Bring water and snacks: The palace does not have any food services on-site, so you’ll want to make sure you pack enough water and snacks for your entire visit. There are plenty of tables and benches around the grounds so you can relax and enjoy a snack while admiring the palace’s grounds.
  • Respect other visitors: Please remember that Queen Emma Summer Palace is an important cultural site that should be treated with respect by all of its guests. Make sure not to disturb any artifacts or displays during your visit and keep noise levels low if other people are visiting at the same time as you.
  • Take pictures: There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the grounds of Queen Emma Summer Palace so be sure to take lots of pictures! Just remember that photography may be prohibited in certain areas such as inside buildings or near artifacts – always check with staff first before snapping any photos!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Queen Emma Summer Palace is a historic palace located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Built-in 1848, it was the summer residence of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma Na’ea Kauikeaouli. The palace is now open to visitors as a museum and features many artifacts of Hawaiian royalty from the 19th century. It also includes a garden that contains some of the oldest plants in all of Hawaii.

Visitors to the Queen Emma Summer Palace can explore the beautiful grounds and gardens, including one of the oldest plant collections in Hawaii. Inside, there are exhibits featuring artifacts from Hawaiian royal families from around the 19th century, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, weapons, books, photographs, and artwork.

More information about visiting the Queen Emma Summer Palace can be found on its official website. Here you will find directions on how to get there, opening hours, and admission prices for adults and children as well as details on special events held throughout the year related to Hawaiian culture and history at this landmark site.

The Queen Emma Summer Palace is open for visitors from Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm with guided tours taking place between 10:00 am and 3:30 pm each day. It is closed on Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays as well as all major holidays observed in Hawaii such as New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Experience a personalized tour for $20 (General Admission) If you prefer self-exploration, they offer Self-guided tours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with flexible timings from 10 AM to 3 PM. Tickets are priced at $14 (General Admission). All these have discounted rates for Military, Seniors, Youth, Children, and Kama‘āina with ID.

Yes! Photography is allowed during your visit to the Queen Emma Summer Palace however flash photography within exhibition areas or when walking through buildings is not permitted out of respect for preserved artifacts inside. Taking pictures outside within gardens or grounds surrounding the palace is allowed but please refrain from entering restricted areas marked off by museum staff unless given permission prior.

How to Get to Queen Emma Summer Palace

Queen Emma Summer Palace is located in the Nu‘uanu Valley, just northeast of downtown Honolulu and approximately nine miles from the Honolulu International Airport. The palace is also approximately four miles from Waikiki Beach. The most convenient way to get to Queen Emma Summer Palace from both the airport and Waikiki Beach is by taxi or ride-sharing service. Taxi cabs can be found at the ground transportation area outside of the baggage claim in the main terminal at Oahu’s Honolulu International Airport. From there, it’s a quick 14-minute drive to Queen Emma Summer Palace. Those visiting from Waikiki Beach can expect a 10-minute drive by taxi cab or ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft.

For visitors who prefer not to take a taxi or ride-sharing service, public bus options are available for getting to Queen Emma Summer Palace from both the airport and Waikiki Beach areas. To get to the palace from the airport, take route 19 until you reach Ala Moana Center, then switch routes and take route 2 until you reach Nu‘uanu Pali Drive & Judd Street. From Waikiki Beach, take Route 4 until you reach Punchbowl Street & King Street, then switch routes and take Route 2 until you reach Nu‘uanu Pali Drive & Judd Street. From there it’s a short walk up Manoa Road and into Nu’uanu Valley to reach Queen Emma Summer Palace.