Insider’s Guide to Free Days at 19 O‘ahu Museums

Bookmark this list and grab your state or military I.D. to take advantage of free admission days all across the island.
Iolani Palace at Dusk
‘Iolani Palace has free days for kama‘āina and military once a month.
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


For our November issue of HONOLULU Magazine, we went to the museum. Several of them, in fact. For our feature, “Insider’s Guide to Honolulu’s Museums,” every one of our writers, stylists, art directors and our web specialist spent time discovering these cultural and art institutions. Pick up an issue now to read about 46 cool things we found to do and for a list of great events, once-a-year activities, and tips and tricks for exploring.


First, start with the free days. Here is our list of days when admission is waived for kama‘āina and military with ID. Then, scroll down to see the complete list of museums and institutions, historic houses, gardens and living collections as recorded with the Hawai‘i Museums Association


Bishop Museum

Usually free the weekend near Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s birthday, which was Dec. 19, 1831. Also free during special sponsored events including Hawai‘i Pacific Health’s Kids Fest in October, which also offers free keiki activities. 1525 Bernice St., (808) 847-3511,


Hawai‘i Children’s Discovery Center

Usually free during the Hawai‘i Dental Services’ Tooth Fairy Fun Day in February. HDS members get in free and others receive a discounted rate. 111 Ohe St., (808) 524-5437,


Hawai‘i Sports Hall of Fame

There are two exhibits. One is located in Aloha Stadium, near the locker rooms, the other is in Bishop Museum, which is accessible on the museum’s free admission days.


Hawai‘i State Art Museum

Always free. 250 S. Hotel St., (808) 586-0900,


Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives

Free on Family Day Open House, which usually occurs twice a year: once in April and once in September. Activities from the 19th century are usually run on the lawn for these special events. 553 S. King St., (808) 447-3910,


Honolulu Police Museum

Always free but tours are only offered by appointment. 801 S. Beretania St., (808) 529-3111,


Honolulu Museum of Art/Spalding House

First Wednesday of every month, third Sunday of every month (Bank of Hawai‘i Family Sundays, which also includes keiki activities and entertainment) and July 31 (Lā Ho‘iho‘i or Restoration Day) are all free admission days. Honolulu Museum of Art also participates in the Blue Star Museums Program, where select museums are free for military personnel during the summer. You can also enter both museums free to visit the museum shop or café. 900 S. Beretania St., (808) 532-8700, 2411 Makiki Heights Drive, (808) 526-1322,


Honolulu Zoo

Usually free on the city’s Bike to the Honolulu Zoo day in May. Bicycle up to the zoo’s gate on Monsarrat Avenue to get free admission. 151 Kapahulu Ave., (808) 971-7171,


‘Iolani Palace

Free on Kama‘āina Sundays, usually on the second Sunday of the month. The palace also participates in the Blue Star Museums Program, where select museums are free for military personnel during the summer. 364 S. King St., (808) 522-0822,


Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i Historical Gallery

Free for Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day in September. 2454 S. Beretania St., (808) 945-7633,


John Young Museum of Art

Always free. On the University of Hawaii at Mānoa campus, 2500 Dole St., (808) 956-7198,


The Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center

Always free. 417 S. King St., (808) 539-4999,


Lyon Arboretum

Always free. 3860 Mānoa Road, (808) 988-0456,


Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Usually free on Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day in September. Historic Ford Island, 319 Lexington Blvd., (808) 441-1000,


Shangri La Center Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design

Free on the first Saturday of the month, but you do need to make reservations in advance. (808) 532-3853,


U.S. Army Museum of Hawai‘i

Always free. Battery Randolph, Fort DeRussy, (808) 955-9552,


USS Missouri Memorial

Usually free for Living History Day, held in January, which also includes re-enactments, displays and vintage aircraft flyovers. 63 Cowpens St., (808) 455-1600 ext. 250,


Waikīkī Aquarium

Usually free for The Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo, which is typically sponsored by the City and County of Honolulu in April. 2777 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 923-9741,  


Washington Place

Always free but reservations are required. 320 S. Beretania St., (808) 586-0248,


To learn more about the Hawai‘i Museums Association and its members on Neighbor Islands, go to