Honolulu is home to some of Hawaii's most interesting museums. Ranging from regional arts and culture to unique historic sites, child-friendly museums, restored historic residences, and passion projects from influential people, these sites offer it all in Honolulu. Whether you enjoy looking at global artwork, learning about military history, discovering science and nature, or having fun with the kids while they learn, Honolulu has numerous museums from which to choose. Discover the 10 best museums in Honolulu to plan your itinerary.

    1

    Honolulu Museum of Art

    Peruse huge collections of global artwork

    The Honolulu Museum of Art is an art museum with a massive collection of Asian and Pan-Pacific artwork and is located just 5 minutes from city centre. The museum holds over 50,000 works of art from Japan, China, Europe, and the Americas. You’ll see a bit of everything at the Honolulu Museum of Art, from Italian Renaissance paintings to European decorative arts, American textiles, and ukiyo-e prints. One of the prized collections in the museum is the Hawaiian art collection, which chronicles the historical significance of art on the islands.

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    Location: 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA

    Open: Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm, Friday–Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm (closed Monday–Wednesday)

    Phone: +1 808-532-8700

    Map

    photo by Wmpearl (CC0 1.0) modified

    2

    Bishop Museum

    Discover history and science

    The Bishop Museum is a museum of history and science that’s one of the largest in Hawaii. Officially designated the Hawai’i State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the Bishop Museum holds one of the largest collections of Polynesian cultural artefacts in the world. In addition to the museum’s exhibits on culture and history, it also has a library with books, newspapers, magazines, and other texts related to Hawaii and the Pacific and the personal papers of Hawaiian royalty. Other highlights include the Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium, the J. Linsley Gressitt Centre for Research in Entomology, and the Hawai’i Sports Hall of Fame. You can find the museum just 10 minutes from the heart of city centre.

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    Location: 1525 Bernice St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 808-847-3511

    Map

    photo by Daniel Ramirez (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

    Browse masterpieces of Islamic art

    The Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design is a historic home and museum that displays artefacts of arts and culture from the Islamic world. Housed within the former home of Doris Duke of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the museum exhibits art, furniture, decor, architectural elements, textiles, and ceramics from Iran, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, India, Egypt, and Syria. Some of the museum's highlights include painted ceilings from Morocco, wooden accents from Syria, textiles from India and Spain, and the Playhouse, a scaled version of the Chehel Sotoun in Iran. The exterior has a collection of gardens that feature elements of Islamic culture and native Hawaiian plants. The museum can be found 7 miles from city centre Honolulu.

    Location: 4055 Pāpū Cir, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from 9 am to 1.30 pm (closed Sunday–Tuesday)

    Phone: +1 808-734-1941

    Map

    photo by Daderot. (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    4

    Pearl Harbour Aviation Museum

    Learn about the attack on Pearl Harbour

    The Pearl Harbour Aviation Museum is an aviation museum that exhibits artefacts of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour during World War II. The museum’s hangars show some of the damage from the attack and feature artefacts, restored aircraft, and dioramas. The museum hosts many events throughout the year to educate the community, such as educational tours and tour bus rides to other Pearl Harbour Historic Sites. These events fund projects such as restoring the historic Ford Island control tower. You can reach the museum by car in about 20 minutes from city centre.

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    Location: 319 Lexington Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96818, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed Monday–Tuesday)

    Phone: +1 808-441-1000

    Map

    photo by runarut (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    John Young Museum of Art

    Explore Asian and Pacific artwork

    The John Young Museum of Art is a university museum that exhibits artwork from Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Mesoamerica, and Africa. The museum features galleries dedicated to regional artwork, a research library, and workshops for artists. The museum features sculptures, paintings, ceramics, and stoneware from Asian and Pacific collections. Some of the highlights include Neolithic pottery jars from 3000–2000 B.C., Mashiko stoneware, Ban Chiang pottery, and a Sue stoneware flask. You’ll find an extensive collection of Pacific Islands artwork as well, particularly from New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Taiwan. The art museum is just 8 minutes from the centre of Honolulu.

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    Location: Krauss Hall, 2500 Dole St, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

    Phone: +1 808-956-3634

    Map
    6

    Iolani Palace

    Immerse yourself in the lives of royalty

    The Iolani Palace was a royal residence for the rulers of Hawaii throughout its dynasties. The residence was in use throughout the Kamehameha Dynasty and the Kalākaua Dynasty but now stands as a historic landmark. The Iolani Palace is unique in that it’s the only royal palace in the United States. After being designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962, the palace underwent restoration to recreate the architecture, furnishings, and decor of Hawaiian royalty. The recreations are a mixture of original palace items and painstakingly detailed reproductions. You'll find Iolani Palace right in the heart of city centre Honolulu.

    Location: 364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 808-522-0822

    Map
    7

    US Army Museum of Hawaii

    Discover Hawaii’s military history

    The US Army Museum of Hawaii is a museum within a former coastal artillery battery on the Fort DeRussy Military Reservation, just 3.4 miles from city centre Honolulu. The historic battery museum holds an extensive collection of military objects, including World War II armour pieces, small arms, and an AH-1 Cobra helicopter. The exhibits in the museum chronicle pre-Imperial Hawaii through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War. The museum also features an exhibition that honours the recipients of the Medal of Honour and the Distinguished Service Cross.

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    Location: 2131 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed Sunday–Monday)

    Phone: +1 808-955-9552

    Map
    8

    Queen Emma Summer Palace

    Experience a royal retreat

    The Queen Emma Summer Palace is a historic house landmark and museum that's just an 8-minute drive from city centre. Once the retreat for Queen Emma of Hawaii and her family, the house is now a museum that features possessions from the family and period decor including a grand piano, a royal coat of arms, and a baby’s cradle. You’ll see many unique exhibits in the Queen Emma Summer Palace, including a silver christening vessel that was a gift from Queen Victoria, a stereopticon that was a gift from Napoleon II, and a tiger claw necklace. The house has several historic portraits, including those of Kamehameha III, Queen Emma, and Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli.

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    Location: 2913 Pali Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed Sunday–Monday)

    Phone: +1 808-595-3167

    Map

    photo by Daderot. (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    Hawaii Children's Discovery Centre

    Enjoy educational play with the kids

    The Hawaii Children's Discovery Centre is a kid-friendly museum that features interactive exhibits for children of all ages. The mission of the museum is to "inspire children to 'dream big dreams'." The museum has carefully curated immersive exhibits that are ideal for different lessons and age groups. Some of the highlights include "Tot Spot," an area designed for young children to enjoy sensory play, and "Your Town," an area that teaches about community with role-playing as firefighters, mechanics, and more. The museum is located about 6 minutes by car from city centre.

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    Location: 111 Ohe St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 9 am to 1 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 808-524-5437

    Map

    photo by Eric Tessmer (CC BY 2.0) modified

    10

    King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Centre

    Learn about Hawaii’s legal history

    The King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Centre is a museum dedicated to Hawaii’s legal history and important court cases. The museum, just a 3-minute walk from the heart of city centre, is free to visit and allows visitors to see exhibits related to landmark cases. The museum is located on the ground floor of Aliiolani Hale, Hawaii’s former Capitol building. The exhibits focus on the judicial process in Hawaii from pre-Imperial times to the present day. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or a tour with a local guide who provides background information about the exhibits.

    Location: 417 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 4 pm (closed Saturday–Sunday)

    Phone: +1 808-539-4999

    Map

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