This exceptional fine-arts museum is among the best of its kind anywhere. The collection is effectively a 'best of' summary of major art movements globally over the last several centuries (eg the Impressionist room includes a Van Gogh, a Monet, two Gauguins etc). Plan on spending a couple of hours at the museum, possibly combining a visit with lunch at the Honolulu Museum of Art Café.
The museum, dating to 1927, has a classical facade that’s invitingly open and airy, with galleries branching off a series of garden and water-fountain courtyards. Beautiful exhibits include one of the country’s finest Asian art collections, featuring everything from Japanese woodblock prints by Hiroshige and Ming dynasty–era Chinese calligraphy and painted scrolls to temple carvings and statues from Cambodia and India. Another highlight is the striking contemporary wing with Hawaiian works on its upper level (don't miss the surfboard crafted by the legendary CJ Kanuha), while the modern art includes Georgia O’Keeffe's Hawaii work. You'll be bewitched by the Pacific and Polynesian artifacts, such as ceremonial masks, war clubs and body adornments.
Admission includes excellent free tours. The morning tours are individual and can be customized for any theme or gallery at the request of the visitor.
Check the museum website for upcoming special events, art lectures, film screenings and music concerts at the Doris Duke Theatre, and evening parties with food, drinks and live entertainment.
Parking is diagonally opposite the museum at 1111 Victoria St (enter off Beretania or Young St), and costs $5. From Waikiki, take bus 2 or 13.