Continuing with our series on venues, moving a bit outside Waikiki and just outside downtown is the Bishop Museum. A cultural mecca, the Bishop Museum is closely tied to Kamehameha Schools, and naturally there is a lot of Hawaiian influence at this property. For event purposes, there are two spaces that are commonly used for special events: Atherton Halau and the Great Lawn.
Atherton Halau is actually made up of a few different event spaces. There is an open pavillion, with a high peaked roof, reminiscent of old style Hawaii gathering places. It can fit approximately 100-150 guests, and while obviously not air conditioned, it is an open space which allows for any tradewinds or breezes to flow through and cool off your guests. It also is protected from rain because it is a roofed venue. Directly adjacent to it is the building of Atherton Halau, which fits another 150-200 guests. This is a more traditional building. Just outside the building (to the right of the pavillion) is the front lawn of the Atherton Halau. You can tent this space (30×60′ fits pretty well), and use it for additional guest seating or perhaps a cocktail area. Finally in the back of the pavillion is a smaller grassy area under a large sprawling tree. It is always shady back here, and is the perfect spot for a bouncer and kids games, or a buffet tent (20×20′ tent fits good under the canopy of branches). The Halau is probably ideal for your everyday type party (reunion, birthday, luau), or a smaller or more laid-back wedding.
The other event space at Bishop Museum is the Great Lawn. And it certainly is great. Probably the most spacious grassy area in the Honolulu area available for private special events, the Great Lawn can fit approximately 1,000 seated guests at one time. It is just a single plot of grassy lawn area between the museum buildings, measuring approximately 150′ x 200′. Events in this space should be at least 250 guests in order to not be dwarfed by the sheer space available. There aren’t really any great views except of the surrounding buildings (which area still pretty cool). This space has been host to a multitude of different events, including weddings, corporate events, VIP dinners, carnivals, and food tasting events.
The other great thing about the Museum is the amount of parking available. After the museum closes, there is the lower lot that can fit probably 200 cars, an upper lot that should fit almost that many, and an back grass field behind the Great Lawn that can fit another 100-150 cars. Parking here is not normally a big issue.
Check out Bishop Museum if you’re looking for a nice big lawn space in town, or a uniquely Hawaiian venue.