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Museum Guide for Oahu

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Found this guide helpful

Here's a handy reference to the best museums and cultural attractions across the Hawaiian islands.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Like a Local

8 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

8 Places

Bishop Museum

Speciality Museums

Honolulu Museum of Art

Art Museums

Ali'iolani Hale

Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings

Pearl Harbor / WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Military Bases & Facilities

Thomas A. Jaggar Museum

Speciality Museums

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

Historic Sites, National Parks

Polynesian Cultural Center

Civic Centres

Shangri La

Art Museums, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites

Chris O's City Tips

  • Be sure to check to see what museums and cultural sites are open and closed on which days of the week.
  • Staying in Honolulu? "TheBus" is an easy and affordable way to get around town and much of the island of Oahu, hitting some of the best beaches along the way.
  • A little "aloha spirit" goes a long way anywhere - especially in Hawaii.
  • Save
    Bishop Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    To discover the distinctive history, arts and culture of the Hawaiian people, there is no better place to visit than the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum – the designated State Museum of Natural and Cultural History for Hawaii. Whether you’re working on a PhD in Polynesian Studies or simply looking for a rainy day activity on your family vacation, the Bishop Museum is designed to entertain and enlighten. It’s a must-see attraction for any visitor to Hawaii.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • To make the most of your visit to the museum, have a look at its membership options. It may come out just as affordable and grant you access to things not otherwise on offer.
    • The museum is closed on Tuesday.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #16 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Small but perfectly formed 19/01/2018
    • histrorical, educational place 17/01/2018
    • Bishop Museum
    Address:
    1525 Bernice St
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96817-2704
    Phone:
    +1 808-843-7654
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Honolulu Museum of Art
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    Yes there is fine art and refined culture in Hawaii! An ample amount can be viewed at the Honolulu Museum of Art, including works by Bacon, Gauguin, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Hockney and more, as well as one of the largest collections of Asian and Pan-Pacific art in the United States.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Be sure to enquire about tours, workshops and other special events held at or by the museum.
    • The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Worth checking out if looking for art 17/01/2018
    • Great little museum. Cafe. Good sample of art, pleasant setting. 17/01/2018
    • Honolulu Museum of Art
    Address:
    900 S Beretania St
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96814-1495
    Phone:
    +1 808-532-8701
    Hours:
    Sun
    13:00 - 17:00
    Tue - Sat
    10:00 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Ali'iolani Hale
    Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    Learn about the history and traditions of Hawaiian royalty at the once official residence of the islands’ monarchy. This 'marvel of opulence' was the first major Western-style structure built by the Hawaiian monarchy and is well known for its iconic clock tower and its more recently placed statue of Kamehameha the Great.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The museum offers a range of events including a Hawaiian quilt making workshop.
    • The museum is open Monday through Saturday.
    • Entry is free.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #94 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Chance to see the courthouse 17/12/2017
    • Better than expected and definitely for Five 0 fans 04/12/2017
    • Ali'iolani Hale
    Address:
    417 King Street
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI
    Phone:
    +1 808-539-4999
    Other:
  • Save
    Pearl Harbor / WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
    Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Military Bases & Facilities
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument 'preserves and interprets the stories of the Pacific War' and includes the USS Arizona Memorial and Visitor Center, the USS Utah Memorial, and the USS Oklahoma Memorial - commemorating the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to American engagement in World War II.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center has an average of 2,000 first-come/ first-serve tickets available each day. Tickets to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center are free but limited.
    • The Visitor Center opens at 7am. If you arrive early enough to secure your own tickets, you may have a few hours to wait before your tour.
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful Memorial 20/01/2018
    • Day at Pearl Harbor 20/01/2018
    • Pearl Harbor / WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
    Address:
    1 Arizona Memorial Place
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96818-3103
    Phone:
    808-422-3300
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Thomas A. Jaggar Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    Where else can the public learn about volcanic activity while touring an actual active volcano? The Thomas A. Jaggar Museum is a fascinating spot within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, with exhibitions from art to hard science on view.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • When parking your car, look out for nene, an endangered species of flightless goose that can only be found in Hawaii.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 18 things to do in Volcano
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Small museum at viewing site of Halema'uma'u crater 19/01/2018
    • Interesting museum with an otherworldly view 19/01/2018
    • Thomas A. Jaggar Museum
    Address:
    Crater Rim Drive
    Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
    Volcano, Island of Hawaii, HI 96718
    Phone:
    +1 808-985-6000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:30 - 19:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park
    Historic Sites, National Parks
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    'Pu’uhonua' is the Hawaiian word for 'place of refuge.' This outdoor living museum with its many traditional carvings and structures, impeccably preserves the site where until the early 19th century, Hawaiians who broke a 'kapu' (sacred law) could avoid execution by fleeing to this puʻuhonua set beside the crashing waves.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Tiki fans, this is the real deal.
    • Visit late afternoon/early evening for an especially evocative sunset.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Honaunau
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Special place! 20/01/2018
    • Learned a lot ... and almost didn't stop here! 19/01/2018
    • Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park
    Address:
    1871 Trail
    Honaunau, Island of Hawaii, HI 96726
    Phone:
    +1 808-328-2326
    Other:
  • Save
    Polynesian Cultural Center
    Civic Centres
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    This 'Polynesian-themed theme park and living museum' located on the northern shore of Oahu is the most popular paid attraction in Hawaii. Despite an ample dose of kitsch and crowd-pleasing entertainers, the center provides an authentic and respectful look at seven different Polynesian cultures.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Stay for the luau. It's among the best on offer across the islands.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 15 things to do in Laie
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • BEST PLACE IN ALL OF HAWAII 19/01/2018
    • Refreshing 19/01/2018
    • Polynesian Cultural Center
    Address:
    55-370 Kamehameah Hwy.
    Laie, Oahu, HI 96762-2113
    Phone:
    +1 800-367-7060
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    11:30 - 20:45
    Other:
  • Save
    Shangri La
    Art Museums, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    An unlikely home of a Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures, Shangri-La is full of surprises and delights. Set beside Diamond Head, just outside of Honolulu, this former retreat of heiress Doris Duke is one of Hawaii’s most architecturally important houses and features Duke’s extensive collection of Islamic art. The five acre complex is comprised of a 'series of interlocking spaces, both indoors and out: rooms, courtyards, lanais, terraces, gardens, and numerous water features' that might seem less out of place in North Africa or the Middle East.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Tours of Shangri-La are organized by the Honolulu Museum of Art.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fascinating! 18/01/2018
    • When worlds collide... in the best possible way! 17/01/2018
    • Shangri La
    Address:
    4055 Papu Cir
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96816-4850
    Phone:
    +1 808-734-1941
    Other:
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