Pearl Harbor: Things You Should Know Before Visiting
On December 7, 1941, a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor shocked the world. More than 2,400 Americans lost their lives, with another 1,000 wounded at the still-active base just west of Honolulu. Nearly 80 years later, the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites continue to bring visitors together in a reflective moment of silence, inspiration, and reflection.
As we approach the 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor and Commemoration Ceremony in 2021, it helps to be informed about what to expect and how best to approach the experience at the historic sites. So without further ado, here are things you should know before visiting Pearl Harbor.
Although we strive to provide the most current information, due to COVID-19, the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites may close or operate at reduced hours without notice. We recommend checking City and County of Honolulu or State of Hawai‘i mandates and pearlharborhistoricsites.org for updates and social distancing measures before visiting. Please travel responsibly and follow mask requirements and social distancing procedures.
Tickets, Hours, & Tours
Tickets and reservations to the main attractions (the USS Arizona, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Museum & Park, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the Pacific Aviation Museum) are available at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, located at 1 Arizona Memorial Pl., Honolulu. If you plan to visit multiple sites, the Passport to Pearl Harbor includes full or half-day tours at a set price. See your options at the Pearl Harbor Historic Site ticketing page.
For current hours of operation, please refer to the attraction's website.
How to get to Pearl Harbor from Waikiki
The City and County of Honolulu’s public transit service, ‘TheBus’, is an affordable option to get to Pearl Harbor. Simply wait at any one of the stops along Kuhio Avenue to catch TheBus and tell the driver you wish to go to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The drive will take about an hour from Waikiki. Cut your trip time in half by hopping in an Uber, Lyft, or taxi, which are always available in Waikiki. Parking at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is free.
If you’d like to have your own set of wheels during your stay, opt for renting a car to travel comfortably and conveniently to the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites. Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel’s on-site transportation partners include Avis/Budget® Car Rental and Zipcar ride-sharing vehicles. Valet parking services are also available. Now for a limited time, guests can receive spacious accommodations, a compact car rental from Avis/Budget® Car Rental, and free daily valet parking with our Snooze-n-Cruise Room and Car special offer.
Be Prepared for an Emotional Experience
Visiting the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites can be a deeply moving experience. The powerful look into history serves as a reminder to remember what happened. Young children are not likely to understand the significance of the site so you may want to think twice before bringing little ones. Likewise, if appreciation of history is a value you want to impart to your children, why wait to introduce them to it? Everyone is welcome at the historic sites.
Download Helpful Photos and Multimedia
Learning about the Pearl Harbor tragedy that crippled or destroyed nearly 20 American ships and more than 300 airplanes can enhance your experience come the day of your visit. The National Park Service provides extensive video, audio, and historic photo archives that are free and available online. Listen to audio files taken from oral history video interviews with Pearl Harbor survivors, watch divers go underwater to the USS Arizona, or view a historic photo gallery of navy battleships, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the 1962 opening of the USS Arizona Memorial.
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