Hawaii State Capitol
Hawaii State Capitol
4
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Plan your visit
The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Downtown Honolulu
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
160 reviews
Excellent
45
Very good
66
Average
45
Poor
4
Terrible
0

Edward
Santa Rosa, CA1,966 contributions
Jun 2023
Hawaii's state capitol in downtown Honolulu is an interesting and beautiful building, modernist mid-century in style basically, with some brutalist elements, and specific Polynesian/Hawaiian elements, theme, and layout. We visited in in 2016 and then again in June 2023.

The central courtyard is simply open to the sky and to the outside, so one may freely wander into it without actually going "inside" anything. Rhis makes it very representative of a lot of architecture in Hawaii, and appropriate for the local climate, which is fairly even and mild, without too much actual rain (this is the lee/dry side of the island). It has a lovely central space with the sky, framed by the structure, in place of an actual dome or central roofed space. The design reflects themes such as the waves, volcanoes, and Hawaiian architecture.

The legislative chambers are lovely and contain Koa wood seats for the members, while the governors office on the top floor has an antechamber, open to the public during business hours, sheathed entirely in Koa wood. The place actually incorporates a huge quantity of Koa wood which is now endangered and the amount of wood used would today be irreplaceable according to the staff who talked to us. It also requires much care. That said, it is beautiful.

One may enter the open ground floor of the central space at any time. However, to go in the legislative chambers one will need to be there when they are open, which is not normal, or otherwise luck out and happen to be there when they are opened briefly for a function. We were allowed in to one. Otherwise, one must try to look in through the windows. To see the rest, one must take a lift/elevator up, although there is an enclosed utilitarian/fire staircase. Each floor above is devoted to a different part of the government. Up stairs, there's not much to see on any of the floors except for the different views on the walkways around the central open space, and the top floor, the executive floor, with the governor's office and an area to look over the city for nice views. The antechamber of the governor's office is open to the public during business hours normally and one may simply open the door and walk in.

However, visiting it has some issues, so the following practical information is useful. The website has minimal information on visiting the capitol for sightseeing. It mentions a self-guided tour but lacks details on how to do it, or other information aside from stating that a guide brochure is available. It does provide phone numbers and contact information for the public-access office upstairs, and this is helpful and will be needed to get in to the upstairs. On the ground of the central area, there is a desk with security guards who are suspicious of visitors, specifically tourists who simply want to see it and who are not there fore government business, etc. When we were there, they did not know anything about visitors doing a self-guided tour and when we mentioned that the website mentioned a brochure, they did not believe us and would not let us go upstairs unless we could get them in contact with someone upstairs who said we could some up. We called the public access office and had them talk to the guards. The public-access office is actually mostly for public involvement in government, not tourism or visiting the capitol, and there is no specific office to provide that. However, the public-access people are very friendly and helpful and they told the guards to let us come up because we could do a self-guided tour. They explained the whole place to us and gave us the brochure. Also, the staff in the governor's office were also extremely helpful and friendly, explaining the details and artwork to us, taking pictures of us, etc.

We went there in 2016 first, when the building was not undergoing construction. The pools and grounds around it were therefore in view. However, when we went in 2023, the grounds around the building were undergoing refurbishment and were walled off. I am therefore providing a couple pictures from 2016 to show what the grounds look like without the construction. The other pictures are from 2023.
Written 19 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PAboyinFL
Ocala, FL1,252 contributions
Jun 2023 • Couples
We walked over to the state Capitol after visiting Iolani Palace. It’s an open air design that appears to be from the 1970s. It’s drab and lacks character. You can’t get inside except for the center open air court. There is also an odd construction looking wall surrounding the actual building, but there is no visible construction, so perhaps it’s intended to be part of the complex.

There are a few interesting statues on the grounds.
Written 25 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PBPG
Yorkshire, UK6,010 contributions
Sept 2022
Opened in 1969, it is a bit of a concrete monstrosity but it helps by being an open quadrangle in the centre open to the skies, There is a large glass mosaic in the centre.
Written 20 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pchnmain
LA/OC765 contributions
Sept 2022
The Hawaii State Capitol is in the style of "Hawaiian international architecture", which is an American adaption of Bauhaus style. The building also has features which symbolize various aspects of Hawaii. Some examples include:

* The building is surrounded by a reflecting pool, symbolizing the Pacific Ocean.
* The two legislative chambers are cone-shaped, symbolizing the volcanoes that formed the Hawaiian Islands.
* The columns around the perimeter of the building have shapes resembling royal palm trees. There are eight columns in four rows at either side of the building to represent the eight main islands.
* The Capitol is built with an open-air design, with a central atrium, which allows the elements to enter; and there are four planters in the atrium for kukui trees--the Hawaii state tree.

While I appreciate the architectural elements of the building, my exploration of the grounds was less than impressive. For example:

* Barriers were erected around the capitol in 2021, in response to FBI warnings about potential civil protest. Although "decorated", a wooden fence remains.
* The reflecting pool was drained.
* The planters in the atrium were empty, as the trees had died.

I understand that building maintenance in tropical environments is a lot of work. But frankly, a simple power wash alone would go a long way to clean the place up and make it look more impressive.
Written 20 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TeamWard
Nottingham, UK5,177 contributions
Jun 2022 • Family
While near the Palace go and visit the Hawaii State Capitol building, a great piece of architecture and well worth a quick wander around and through the building open centre
Written 20 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ITRT
Virginia38,570 contributions
Mar 2022
Hawaii’s capitol building is located near Iolani Palace and houses the offices of the governor and other state officials. The building itself was designed with lots of open space to convey the government is an open one. Near the archives building on the palace grounds is a path that leads to the back of the capitol building. In front is a statue of Father Damien, the Catholic priest who administered to the Hawaiians with leprosy. At the back of the building is a statue of the Queen Liliuokalani who was the last sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The building has eight columns which are intended to represent the eight Hawaiian islands.
Written 16 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BigMerk
Glasgow, UK2,284 contributions
Mar 2022
I have visited many of the nations state Capitol buildings over the years so I appreciate how unique this building is. The arch iTU re is great and quite simple. The 2 chambers sitting on the ground floor with open space between them is unique too. When we visited it was a weekend so the building wasn’t open but the last I read, the building was remaining closed to the public (due to Covid restrictions) until further notice. Shame.

Great to have seen it though, even if just from the outside.
Written 27 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WorldTraveler
Columbus, OH339 contributions
Nov 2021 • Family
Just walked around outside to look at the building. Very interesting architecture, enjoyed the outside hallways between rooms and open-air center between houses.
Written 25 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike H
Phoenix, AZ2,077 contributions
Feb 2020
The state capitol is right beside the Iolani Palace. Parking is available in a parking structure neat the capitol or on the street. None of it is free . The grounds have a statue of Lilioukalani at the front.
Written 20 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MdTravelerX2
Silver Spring, MD551 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
The architecture of the capital building is unique and exemplifies Hawaii. The art and symbolism portrayed in both the house and senate chambers is beautiful and thoughtful. The historic koa wood used throughout the building is beautiful. Everyone we met was welcoming and helpful. Well worth the time to visit.
Written 15 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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