It is pretty safe to say that if you are spending a vacation on this island, you are going to encounter an Oahu Rainy Day. The excellent thing about rain in Hawaii is that it tends to be a gentler, more tropical rainfall, which often does not thwart your outdoor plans. However, an Oahu rainy day presents the perfect opportunity to experience some of the indoor destinations on the island that are well worth the trip. Iolani Palace and the Honolulu Academy of Arts are located within a mile of each other, giving you a chance to relax, absorb some Hawaiian culture, take a break from the beach, and take advantage of the peaceful rainfall.
Iolani Palace is the only official state residence of royalty in the United States. This National Historic Landmark was home to the Hawaiian kingdom’s two final monarchs. The palace was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua; his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, resided here until the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893.
This beloved Hawaiian monument showcases the 19th-century grandeur of a unique architectural style known as “American Florentine” and features a grand hall and piano, both built of koa wood. Iolani Palace was also used as the capitol building for the Provisional Government Republic of Hawaii until 1969. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1978.
On an Oahu Rainy Day, visitors can wander through the sumptuous main rooms and halls, including the Grand Hall, the Throne Room, the State Dining Room, and the King and Queen’s private suites. Guests can also visit the gorgeous Blue Room, which was used for small receptions and displays a striking portrait of King Louis Philipe, given to the palace as a gift from the French government.
On the palace grounds you can explore the ornate royal tomb and the Coronation Pavilion. The Iolani Barracks, originally built in 1877 to house the royal guard, is now home to the palace gift shop and a video theater.
After a morning spent wandering the beautiful grounds of Iolani Palace, with a break for a leisurely lunch at a nearby cafe, guests can travel just a mile to the Honolulu Academy of Art. Founded in 1927, the Honolulu Museum of Art is Hawaii’s largest private presenter of visual arts programs, with an internationally recognized collection of more than 50,000 works spanning 5,000 years.
The permanent collection boasts an incredible array of works, including Japanese Woodblock prints, Asian art, Medieval and Renaissance art, 17th and 18th century art, 19th and 20th century art, European and American Prints and Drawings, Hawaiian art, and an impressive textile collection.
The museum also presents some interesting temporary exhibitions. Currently, the museum is featuring: In Memoria: Maqbool Fida Husain. This exhibition showcases the progressive work of one of India’s premier contemporary artists.
In addition to the museum’s extensive collections and exhibitions, the Honolulu Academy of Art also features films and concert programs, lectures, art classes and workshops, cementing its place as Honolulu’s cultural hub.