Hawaiʻi State Art Museum

Top choice museum in Honolulu

With its vibrant, thought-provoking collections, this public art museum brings together traditional and contemporary art from Hawaii’s multiethnic communities. The museum inhabits a grand 1928 Spanish Mission Revival–style building, formerly a YMCA and today a nationally registered historic site. The museum is also home to a fine gift shop and an excellent cafe, Artizen by MW.

Upstairs, revolving exhibits of paintings, sculptures, fiber art, photography and mixed media are displayed around themes, such as the island’s Polynesian heritage, modern social issues or the natural beauty of land and sea. Hawaii’s complex confluence of Asian, Pacific Rim and European cultures is evident throughout, shaping an aesthetic that captures the soul of the islands and the hearts of the people.

Special events are very worthwhile. On the first Friday evening each month, galleries are open with live entertainment and a family-friendly atmosphere. Drop by at noon on the last Tuesday of the month for free ‘Art Lunch’ lectures or between 11am and 3pm on the second Saturday for hands-on Hawaiian arts and crafts, often designed with kids in mind.