Hawaii Five-0 debuted in 2010, as a reboot of the original series that ran from 1968 to 1980. The reboot stars Alex O’Laughlin as Steve McGarrett and Scott Caan as Danny Williams.
Like the original, the show is filmed in Hawaii. While based in Honolulu, filming takes place all over the island of Oahu.
The Five-0 Task Force is headquartered in the Ali’iolani Hale government building in downtown Honololu. This building is used for establishing shots in every episode, and is recognizable for the statue of King Kamehameha. The building is also featured in the opening credits.
While usually used for establishing shots, several episodes have filmed on location. If the script calls for action to happen outside the headquarters, then the crew will film in the areas surrounding the building.
On the show, the characters inaccurately refer to their headquarters as Iolani Palace. The real Palace is actually located across the street from Ali’iolani Hale, and looks very different. I imagine the reason this building is referred to as the Palace is an homage to the original series. The first Hawaii Five-0 used the actual Iolani Palace as it’s headquarters.
Both Ali’iolani Hale and Iolani Palace are located in downtown Honolulu. If you plan to visit, you may find parking to be a challenge. However, it is just a short bus or taxi ride from Waikiki, to that may be a good option. Nearby you will find plenty of other attractions worth visiting. Kawaiahaʻo Church, The Hawaii State Capitol, Washington Place, and several museums and art galleries are nearby.
The Bayer Estate is located east of Honolulu, and is the fictional residence of Steve McGarrett. This historic house has been used for filming since the series began. The grounds and beachfront property are used for establishing shots, and occasionally filming on location.
The interior of the Bayer Estate was used in the first couple seasons. After it was clear the show was successful, the crew built a replica of the house interiors on a soundstage. This gave them the ability to film whenever needed, with disrupting the home owners.
When I visited the Bayer Estate, the owners, Sooz and Richard, were extremely kind and welcoming. They graciously invited my parents and I to visit and showed us around. Please keep in mind that the Bayer Estate is a private residence and they do live here, so don’t trespass. You can check out my guidelines for visiting filming locations here.
Kualoa Ranch has been used many times over the years to film various scenes for Hawaii Five-0. Considering the versatility of the landscape and terrain, it can double as almost any setting. Countless movies and TV shows have used Kualoa Ranch over the years, so it makes sense since it’s in 5-0’s backyard.
In addition to the outdoor shooting, 5-0 has used a room inside the WW2 bunker to film an episode as well. This bunker scene has been left intact and can be seen on some of the Kualoa Ranch tours.
Anyone who has seen Hawaii Five-0 knows how much on location filming is done. Probably more than 50% of each episode is filmed at various locations around the island. One of the most frequent areas used is Waikiki. The show has filmed all over the Waikiki area, from the beaches to the high-rise buildings, to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.
When I was visiting Honolulu in January 2019, I went for a walk along Kalakaua Blvd and saw a large crowd gathering. I crossed the street and wandered through the crowd, only to notice that they were filming a scene for Hawaii Five-0. I decided to stay and watch, as I was able to see quite well. The episode was “Ai No I Ka ‘Ape He Mane’o No Ko Ka Nuku” and aired on March 8th, 2019. The episode guest starred Joan Collins. The scene I watched featured Steve and Danny walking down Kalakaua with some shopping bags.
Several years ago, while working on cruiseships, I had the chance to meet Larisa Oleynik. In addition to many movies and TV shows, she had a recurring role as Agent Jenna Kaye on Hawaii Five-0.