Trip Planner: USA / California / San Diego / San Diego Automotive Museum
The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park in San Diego, California is a museum containing a collection of cars and motorcycles illustrating the history of the American automotive culture. The San Diego Automotive Museum is a non-profit corporation under IRS section 501(c) It is housed in the former California State Building, which was constructed for the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition.Using our international travel planner, San Diego attractions like San Diego Automotive Museum can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
One of the signature cars in the collection is Louie Mattar's Fabulous Car, a 1947 Cadillac-with-trailer that was driven non-stop from Alaska to Mexico City and across the United States. Its owner extensively modified it to become largely self-contained, and its cross-country trips incorporated in-motion refueling from support vehicles.
Exhibits are rotated every four months to bring in cars of different types or eras.
San Diego Automotive Museum reviews
While smaller than many automotive museums this had a nice variety and it appeared that some of the cars change from time to time. We enjoyed.
While smaller than many automotive museums this had a nice variety and it appeared that some of the cars change from time to time. We enjoyed. more »
We are a family of boys and these guys got a kick out of this place. Ooh'ing and Ahh'ing at all the cars. I couldn't tell you the names of these shiny automobiles but this is great for any die hard.... more
We are a family of boys and these guys got a kick out of this place. Ooh'ing and Ahh'ing at all the cars. I couldn't tell you the names of these shiny automobiles but this is great for any die hard.... more »
Visited here while at Balboa Park and really enjoyed it. It is a nice size. Not huge, but also not too small. They have alot of very nice cars and motorcycles and a lot of friendly and smart...
Visited here while at Balboa Park and really enjoyed it. It is a nice size. Not huge, but also not too small. They have alot of very nice cars and motorcycles and a lot of friendly and smart... more »
This was an on the spot decision for our family and we’re pretty happy! The museum wasn’t as big as I had hoped/expected, but ALL of the cars and motorcycles were super amazing! I wish there were more to see! The young man who was very professional and friendly. He gave us some interesting facts about the cars which helped with the visit.
My son asked to stop in this museum when we were at Balboa Park. We had the Go City pass, so we went for it. He had a wonderful time. They have a lot of amazing cars and the staff are fantastic and very knowledgeable.
Full of rare and historic automobiles and motorcycles. Deloreon you can sit in. REO speed wagon. 2020 Ford GT. Custom Dodge Spider. Later edition Ford Model-T. Original Chevy Electronic Ignition. Indians. Harley Davidsons. Lots of other rare and beautiful automobiles. An incredible small museum. If you like fine, historical and innovative cars and motorcycles this is your place. They included a few lemons as well. It’s a bit on the small size, one of the smallest museums in Balboa Park. However, a MUST-see for those with the Explorer pass. Not a comprehensive automotive museum, but has a range of cars and motorcycles that WILL NOT disappoint those who admire fine engineering. A true gem in San Diego. My son wishes this place were much larger, as he read nearly every plaque and admired the cars in less than two hours. Still, it is a deep experience in auto history.
Great look at some cars you would never spot on public roads, well-focused on 80s and 90s. Of course, there are a lot of 60s & 70s classics as well. There’s even a 2050 GTR concept car. Interestingly there’s even used scale model cars on display in the gift shop which you can buy. My only real complaint about the museum is the complete lack of iconic 90s JDM cars. As of summer 2022 there aren’t any 90s Japanese cars on display. That might be fixed when they change the cars they show off, since they do that very often. I think they might even bring in an R32 GTR.
I love the San Diego Auto Museum. Unlike most auto museums they're constantly rotating stock so you never get bored with the experience and the learning about the history they have San Diego. It's not the biggest Museum but what they have is breathtaking. Not just the automobiles but also motorcycles as well. If you haven't gone make it a priority. You won't regret it.
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