Tips for Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

The USS Arizona Memorial stands above the waters of Pearl Harbor. It is an enduring tribute to the servicemen who lost their lives aboard the battleship in the Japanese surprise attack on December 7, 1941.

The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the most visited destinations in Hawaii. Plus, it was recently voted the #5 Landmark in the United States by TripAdvisor. It’s a definite must-see during your vacation to Oahu and Pearl Harbor.

Check out our helpful guide for visiting the the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. It’s packed with tips for visiting, other nearby attractions, and much more.

How to get USS Arizona Memorial discount tickets?

If you are planning on visiting Oahu, we highly recommend spending time at each of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.

USS Arizona Memorial tickets are included with the below money savings options.

  1. All Inclusive Pass – All you can do. Includes admission to 30+ attractions.
  2. Build Your Own Pass – Select attractions you want to visit prior to visiting.

The Go Oahu Card also includes admission to the below Pearl Harbor Historic Sites…

  • USS Arizona Memorial Narrated Tour
  • Battleship Missouri
  • USS Bowfin Submarine Museum
  • Pacific Aviation Museum

See all available Oahu passes, attractions & prices.

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor Go Oahu

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Tips for Visiting the USS Arizona

  • Parking at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is free. Lots are located in front of the main entrance.
  • 1,300 free walk-in tickets are issued each day to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 7:00 am. You can reserve your free tickets online up to two months in advance at recreation.gov.
  • The Go Oahu Card gets you a headset for the audio tour at no charge. Present your card at the audio kiosk near the ticket counter after you pick up your tickets, but before entering the theater.
  • The Go Oahu Card also includes admission to the other Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, including Battleship Missouri, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
  • Allow yourself 3 hours to complete the narrative tour.
  • For security reasons, no bags of any kind are allowed on any of the memorials, including purses, backpacks, camera bags, etc. Lockers are available for a small fee to store bags and other items.
  • Strollers are not allowed in the theater, on the shuttle boat, or on the USS Arizona Memorial.
  • The theater, Navy shuttle boat, and memorial are wheelchair accessible.
  • Only clear bottled water is allowed in the theater, on the shuttle boat, and at the memorial. No other food or beverage is permitted
  • Military members in uniform are required to dress at Class B or above, and battle attire is not permitted at the USS Arizona Memorial, though it is allowed at the Visitor Center and other sites around Ford Island.
  • The audio tour is available in nine languages:English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French, Russian, Italian, German or Spanish.

When is the best time to visit the USS Arizona?

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor Go Oahu

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Joe Solem

The Visitor Center opens at 7:00 am daily, and programs for the USS Arizona Memorial run every 15 minutes, beginning at 7:30 am.

If you haven’t reserved your tickets in advance, you should get to the Visitor Center as close to 7:00 am as possible or risk not being able to obtain tickets for that day.

If you’d like, you can reserve your tickets online, up to two months in advance. This will ensure you get to visit the Memorial on your trip to Hawaii. Reserve your tickets for late morning or mid-afternoon to avoid the biggest crowds. The last program begins at 3:00 pm.

June through August and the winter holidays are the busiest time of year in Honolulu. Go off-season if you want to avoid the crowds.

What is there to do and see at the USS Arizona?

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor Go OahuThe escorted portion of the USS Arizona Memorial lasts about an hour and 15 minutes. It begins with a brief introduction outside Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater, followed by a film presentation within the theater. The film is an award-winning documentary that provides an in-depth history of the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, WWII, and the history of the USS Arizona.

Visitors exit the theater through a back door that leads directly to a Navy shuttle boat. You will immediately board for the short excursion to the memorial itself.

After docking at the memorial, you’ll have some time to explore the memorial before heading back to the Visitor Center. At the Visitor Center, you can follow a guided audio tour that includes information about exhibit galleries and waterfront interpretive displays.

Theater

The 23-minute historical film features actual footage from the attacks on Pearl Harbor backed by a dramatic, emotional, and informational narration. You’ll hear testimonies and statements from survivors of that fateful day as well.

It’s an extremely emotional and touching story. Even the most stoic audience members will find themselves moved by this well-made remembrance of the tragic events of December 7, 1941 – the day the United States officially entered World War II.

Navy Shuttle Boat

After the film, you’ll board a Navy Shuttle Boat to take you to the memorial site. Shuttle boats are crewed by Navy service men and women.

Make sure to remain seated when on board and don your headphones so you can continue to listen to the informative tour guide. The narrator will point out landmarks, and provide a backstory as you take the quick ride over.

USS Arizona Memorial

The memorial building does not actually rest on top of the ship itself. Instead, it hovers just above the broken remains of the USS Arizona so as not to do any more damage to the massive ship below.

Surrounding the memorial, parts of the broken vessel protrude from the water or lurk below the surface. In stark contrast to the dark ribs of the ship, colorful reef fish dart in, out and around parts of the massive skeleton. Its fractured form creates an artificial reef for the native ocean wildlife.

The perpetually-leaking oil on the water’s surface doesn’t seem to bother the fish, and environmental groups monitor the continual spillage for negative impact. However, its presence is a reminder of the vast damage that was done and the chaos that followed.

The memorial’s main area serves as an open Assembly Room, where visitors can reflect and ponder the USS Arizona’s remains below. The Shrine Room at the rear features a wall listing the name of each of the 1,177 Navy sailors and Marines who went down with the ship. The wall also honors survivors of the USS Arizona who elected to be interred below with their former shipmates after their more recent deaths.

Exhibits, Galleries, and Monuments

Back on land, the audio tour takes you past the waterfront memorials along the Walk of Remembrance, and two small museums, “The Road to War” and “Attack,”. “The Road to War” features pieces that tell the story of what led to the fateful event. “Attack” is home to stories, accounts, and testimonies of what happened that day.

This second half of the narrated tour takes a little over an hour. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Pacific War veteran actor Tony Curtis, guides you through the exhibit galleries and memorial plaques. The audio tour also includes touching guest narration by Pearl Harbor survivors and historian Daniel Martinez.

Despite the horrific things that happened that day, the memorial stands as an emblem of peace and remembrance, rather than a tribute to hatred or violence.

What attractions are near the USS Arizona?

There are plenty of other great things to see located nearby. Here are a few we suggest adding to your itinerary…

The World War II Valor in the Pacific Park houses several other memorials.

USS Bowfin Submarine

The USS Bowfin Submarine is another great memorial from World War II located right next to the USS Arizona. This submarine is one of only 15 surviving U.S. Combat vessels. With a guided audio tour, you can learn the history of the ship and it’s many successful attacks on enemy warships.

Getting in: USS Bowfin Submarine tickets are included with Go Oahu Card.

USS Missouri Battleship

Ride a shuttle bus to the Ford Island and the USS Missouri battleship, or “Mighty Mo,” looming near the USS Arizona Memorial. This battleship is a sister to the USS Arizona, and the site of Japan’s official surrender to the United States in 1945, marking the end of World War II. The USS Missouri Memorial is open to the public for self-guided and audio tours.

Getting in: USS Missouri Battleship tickets are included with Go Oahu Card.

Pacific Aviation Museum

The shuttle also stops at the Pacific Aviation Museum, which includes the Ford Island Control Tower and two military hangars housing aircraft and other memorabilia, mostly related to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Getting in: Pacific Aviation Museum tickets are included on Go Oahu Card.

Where is there to eat near the USS Arizona?

  • The Visitor Center has a snack shop and a fast food stand serving hot dogs and nachos.
  • Schooner’s restaurant is about 100 yards from the Visitor Center, near the bridge to Ford Island. It’s open from 11AM to 8PM, and provides a regular menu, a kids menu, beverages including beers and cocktails, and a lunch buffet.
  • Military members will feel at home in paradise at Sam Choy’s Island Style Seafood Grille on the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman. Fantastic views, great food, cold brews, and true Hawaiian aloha ambience provide the perfect backdrop to gather  for fighter pilots, officers, green berets, and enlisted men and women.

Save on Top Attractions with a Go Oahu Card

Remember, the Go Oahu® Card is the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility.

Save up to 55% on top museums, tours, and activities vs. paying at the gate. Visit multiple attractions for one low price.

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The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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