Tucked up in the hills and behind the trees, overlooking Diamond Head and the city of Honolulu, you will find Spaulding House.
Spaulding House is what I call a true hidden gem. You have to seek it out. You won’t just stroll by it as you drive through Honolulu. It’s hard to find, and while it’s rightfully overshadowed by The Honolulu Museum of Art, there is a lot to uncover here, too.
Spaulding House is the second part of the Honolulu Museum of Art. If you buy admission to Honolulu Museum of Art, that ticket also includes a visit to Spaulding House on the same day.
A visit to the Honolulu Museum of Art is different from a visit to Spaulding House. While both are beautiful, peaceful, quiet places, the Honolulu Museum of Art has a lot more to see. If it’s lots of art you are looking for, go there. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more laid-back kind of day, looking at some art and maybe having a picnic on the lawn, Spaulding House is where you should go.
Spaulding House is only about a 10-minute drive from the Honolulu Museum of Art, so it’s easy to find
A few weeks ago, after I went to the Honolulu Museum of Art with a friend, we had a few extra hours before we had to get home. We were also hungry, so we decided to go to Spaulding House.
What you will find at Spaulding House
Spaulding House has art galleries, a permanent installation of David Hockney’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges, a café, gift shop, and sculpture-filled gardens overlooking Diamond Head and Honolulu.
Also, the Spaulding House Family Lounge is a public space for family fun. There are self-guided art activities, crafts, and films. It’s open whenever Spaulding House is open.
Picnicking at Spaulding House
The highlight of my visit to Honolulu was the picnic lunch that we had. I highly recommend going here to enjoy the grounds and explore the galleries- but you also must get a picnic lunch!
When we arrived at Spaulding House, the things that immediately stuck out to me were the incredible views and the cafe. At the cafe, you can sit at tables inside both and outside. Of course, there are rotating art displays inside the cafe.
The cafe is open Tuesday–Saturday 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm.
We ordered the picnic lunch for two. It costs $40 and includes a choice of sandwich or salad for each person, dessert, and choice of beverages. It even comes packed in a picnic basket!
We ordered and didn’t have to wait long before our food came out. My friend and I decided to share our two entrees. We ordered the Mezzo Platter, which included hummus, roasted eggplant, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, feta, tomato, labneh with za’atar, and, of course, warm pita. This was the perfect picnic food. It was delicious, and I highly recommend it!
We also got the Classic Panini, which had salami, ham, provolone, tomato, sweet peppers, and oil and vinegar on flatbread. This sandwich was also incredible.
We sat in the shade on the lawn, looked at the sculptures, and admired the gorgeous views of Honolulu. It’s a great place to let kids roam around, eat food on the grass, and just enjoy the beautiful weather of Honolulu. There were a few families and couples hanging out, too.
After we finished eating, we hung out for a good while before walking around. There is a beautiful garden to explore, and there are art galleries.
These exhibits change. My friend and I enjoyed the current gallery, The World Reflected.
The World Reflected features highlights from the museum’s contemporary art collection that touch upon current issues such as identity, ethnic inequality, colonialism, and the environment.”
It will run from July 27, 2017 – October 28, 2018.
Admission and hours
Spaulding House is closed on Mondays. From Tuesday-Saturday, it is open from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Sundays, Spaulding House is open from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. The museum is closed on New Years Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Admission is $20, but it is free if you have already purchased admission to the Honolulu Museum of Art that day. If you go to Spaulding House first, you can get into the Honolulu Museum of Art for free. Agent 18 and under are free.
Spaulding House is also a Blue Star Museum. Each year, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, all active-duty military and their families receive free admission to the museum, with valid ID, as well as a 10 percent discount at our Museum Shops.
Spalding House is also free on the third Sunday of each month, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, and on the first Wednesday of every month.
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