The 10 Best Museums in Honolulu

Honolulu, a city known for its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes, is also home to an array of museums that offer a deep dive into the rich tapestry of Hawaii’s history, art, and science. Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, or a family looking for an educational outing, there’s a museum in Honolulu that’s sure to pique your interest. Let’s embark on a journey through the 10 best museums that Honolulu proudly showcases.

Bishop Museum

First up is the renowned Bishop Museum, a treasure trove of Polynesian artifacts and natural history specimens. As you step into the Hawaiian Hall, you’re transported through the stories of the native Hawaiian people, their land, and their legacy. The museum’s planetarium whisks you away on a celestial adventure, while the Science Adventure Center makes volcanology come alive with interactive exhibits.

Iolani Palace

Next on our list is the Iolani Palace, a national historic landmark and the only royal palace on American soil. This opulent mansion, once the residence of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs, now serves as a living museum. The grand halls and stately rooms, restored to their former glory, offer a glimpse into the lives of the Hawaiian royalty.

Honolulu Museum of Art

Art lovers, rejoice! The Honolulu Museum of Art is a haven for those who appreciate the finer things. With a collection that spans centuries and continents, you’ll find everything from ancient Greek artifacts to modern American paintings. The museum’s tranquil courtyards are perfect spots to reflect on the beauty you’ve witnessed.

USS Arizona Memorial

For a poignant reminder of the past, the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is a must-visit. This solemn site, accessible only by boat, stands above the sunken battleship and honors the memory of those lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The visitor center’s exhibits tell the harrowing tale of that fateful day in 1941.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

Adjacent to the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park offers an immersive experience into World War Ii Naval history. Tour the submarine, known as the “Pearl Harbor Avenger,” and explore the waterfront museum that showcases submarine-related artifacts.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Aviation enthusiasts will be thrilled with the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. Housed in historic hangars that withstood the Pearl Harbor attack, the museum displays an impressive collection of aircraft, from WWII fighters to modern jets. The personal stories of pilots and crew members add a human touch to the steel and rivets.

Hawaii State Art Museum

The Hawaii State Art Museum, affectionately known as HiSAM, is a vibrant cultural institution that celebrates local artists. With free admission, it’s a fantastic way to immerse yourself in contemporary Hawaiian art. The museum’s rotating exhibits ensure there’s always something new to discover.

Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Shangri La is a center for Islamic arts and cultures, offering insights into the global influence of Islamic art. The museum, once the home of heiress Doris Duke, houses her impressive collection of Islamic art. The stunning architecture and ocean views make Shangri La a feast for the eyes and the soul.

Honolulu Police Department Museum

For a unique experience, the Honolulu Police Department Museum provides a behind-the-scenes look at the history of law enforcement in Honolulu. Housed within the actual police station, the museum features vintage police vehicles, uniforms, and equipment that tell the story of the city’s peacekeepers.

Queen Emma Summer Palace

Last but not least, the Queen Emma Summer Palace is a serene retreat that was once the summer home of Queen Emma of Hawaii. This historic site is now a museum showcasing the royal family’s personal belongings and the rich history of the Hawaiian monarchy.


  • What are the admission fees for these museums?
    Admission fees vary by museum. Some, like the Hawaii State Art Museum, offer free entry, while others, such as the Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace, have an entrance fee. It’s best to check each museum’s website for the most current pricing.
  • Are there any museums suitable for children?
    Absolutely! The Bishop Museum and the Pacific Aviation Museum offer interactive exhibits that are perfect for young explorers. Additionally, many museums have special programs designed for children.
  • Can I visit multiple museums in one day?
    While it’s possible to visit multiple museums in one day, it’s recommended to focus on one or two to fully appreciate the exhibits without feeling rushed.


In conclusion, Honolulu’s museums are as diverse and captivating as the city itself. From the historical grandeur of Iolani Palace to the artistic allure of the Honolulu Museum of Art, each institution offers a unique window into the heart and soul of Hawaii. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, these top 10 museums provide enriching experiences that are not to be missed. So, next time you’re in Honolulu, make sure to carve out some time to visit these cultural gems. You’ll walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for this beautiful island and its storied past.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.