If you’re visiting Hawaii, take the time to learn a little bit about its history prior to becoming one of the United States. You may be surprised to find that this island state was once a monarchy, home to kings and queens. On Oahu, these three stops will enlighten you – and allow you to walk in the footsteps of royalty.
‘Iolani Palace – The only official royal residence in the United States, ‘Iolani Palace – built in the late 1800s – was a modern marvel of its time. Indoor plumbing, electrical lighting, and even a telephone (shortly after its invention) made the residence comfortable enough for King Kalakaua, Queen Kapi`olani, and their many important guests. Tours take visitors through the Grand Hall, State Dining Room, and past the regal royal thrones. You’ll also see the imprisonment room, where Queen Lili`uokalani was kept during the United States overthrow of the Hawaiian government. On most Fridays, you can catch the Royal Hawaiian Band from noon to 1 p.m. on the palace grounds in a free concert. 364 South King Street, Corner Of King St. & Richard St.; (808) 522-0822
Kamehameha Statue – Across from the ‘Iolani Palace, at the Ali‘iolani Hale (the judiciary building) you’ll stand in awe of King Kamehameha, the leader who united the Hawaiian Islands under one rule. This is one of four statues honoring the king. There are two on the Big Island of Hawai‘i and a fourth stands in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, DC. If you happen to be visiting on June 11, King Kamehameha Day in the islands, you’ll see the statues draped with flower lei.
Bishop Museum – In the museum’s Hawaiian Hall, the Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kāhili Room is home to a precious collection of kahili, or feather standards, once belonging to Hawaiian royalty. The family tree detailing the lineage of the Hawaiian monarchy is fascinating and you’ll see photos of many of Hawai‘i’s kings and queens, along with some of their personal effects. 1525 Bernice Street; (808) 847-3511