Wander the haunted halls of Honolulu’s Iolani Palace with the ghost of Queen Lili‘uokalani herself. Check out USA Ghost Adventures’ full Hawaii tour.
For over 100 years, Hawaii has allured visitors from the mainland United States with its year-round sunshine, endless azure waves, and fresh coconuts and bananas falling from tall trees. Both natives and newcomers alike live in the lap of luxury.
If you travel to the capital seat of Honolulu, you can glimpse what true luxury looked like in the pre-American days of Hawaii’s royal dynasty.
Cruise west down the Kalaniana’ole highway, straddling the coastline, past the famous Halona Blowhole, and through Waikiki, and you’ll come to the heart of Honolulu’s historic downtown.
Though Hawaii is modern and revitalized to the gills, there are slivers of its unique history everywhere. The Iolani Palace on 364 King Street, just steps from the Honolulu Channel, stands as the most vivid reminder of the majesty and dignity of Hawaii’s indigenous past.
And if you start to catch a chill despite the 100-degree heat, you’re not alone. Iolani Palace is also one of the most haunted places in the world.
With its pillared porticos, ornate gilded fencing, and cream-gold exterior finish, Iolani Palace looks like it must have held royalty for centuries before the US annexation. But in fact, Iolani was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua only 11 years before the overthrow of the monarchy, in 1893.
The Palace was registered as a national historic landmark in 1962 and has undergone numerous restorations to preserve its unique architectural style. But despite the renovations and the short time the Hawaiian royal family occupied the palace, ghostly apparitions of Hawaii’s last dynasty frequently haunt Iolani’s halls.
A grand piano in Iolani’a palatial Blue Room will play haunting tunes when no one is in the palace. Some guards have even seen the keys press with no one sitting at the bench to press them.
One of the last royal couples to occupy the Palace, Kalākaua and Kapi‘olani, loved traditional island music. Those who share blood with the family have reported hearing overwhelmingly loud chanting coming from their bedroom upstairs. Music reverberates from the palace on cloudless nights. But non-locals, eerily enough, don’t hear it.
The most famous member of the Hawaiian royal family was its last, Queen Lili‘uokalani. Lili‘uokalani was imprisoned within her own bedroom on the top floor for 8 months by the US Navy.
The overthrow of her kingdom understandably made her a vengeful woman, and visitors to Honolulu have felt jostled and shoved around when touring her room in the palace. Lili‘uokalani has even reportedly peered out from the window to the bedroom where she was locked up.
According to locals, Queen Kapi‘olani planted two great banyan trees on the palace grounds. Today, they have sprouted up into a mini-forest of trees.
Local lore has it these two original trees, now almost 150 years old, house all the spirits who passed in Honolulu who didn’t have family waiting for them on the other side.
While you wander around Iolani’s grounds, make sure not to touch these sacred banyans.
Honolulu is a city with a rich history and haunted hangouts at every turn. From the ornate Iolani Palace to the sinister Atlas Insurance building, check out US Ghost Adventures’ tour of Honolulu for a complete, spooktacular guide.
Since 2013, US Ghost Adventures has offered entertaining, historic, and authentic ghost tours of America’s most haunted cities. We deliver fun yet honest accounts of hauntings across the nation for curious people of all ages. Our ghost stories are based on historical research, but that doesn’t mean they won’t send a chill down your spine.
US Ghost Adventures also offers virtual tours, a self-guided mobile app, and an Alexa voice app.