Visit The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park! Cars have become so ubiquitous that they’ve become part of the landscape of our lives. It takes a lot of “wow factor” to get us to notice any certain car. Every single car at the museum has the “wow factor” in abundance!
The fabulous collection of exhibits includes Louis Mattar’s Fabulous Car. This 1947 Cadillac was equipped with an electric stove, a refrigerator, a washing machine, a chemical toilet, an ironing board, a medicine cabinet, and, believe it or not, a kitchen sink.
The Museum offers guided tours, too you’ll learn the intriguing history behind America’s love affair with the automobile. Come to the San Diego Automotive Museum, it’s all here! You won’t want to miss all the cool cars and bikes the museum has! Spend the day at Balboa Park and find some of the best museums San Diego has to offer.
The original idea of creating an automotive museum in Balboa Park came from Briggs Cunningham. He was a renowned automobile collector and racer. The idea circulated for many years until an inspired group of local automotive enthusiasts propelled the idea forward. In 1979, the San Diego City Council first considered the issue. A year later they gave unanimous approval to the museum and granted a long-term lease for one of the historic buildings in the jewel of San Diego, Balboa Park.
After spending approximately $1 million renovating and upgrading the building, the San Diego Automotive Museum opened in December of 1988. Since then millions of local auto enthusiasts and tourists from all over the world have visited our world-class collection. Today the museum stands as a living tribute to the automobile and what it has meant to our culture.
Small museum with a wide assortment of cars. Could be more interesting if you like motorcycles, I feel they have an... even broader assortment of bikes. The museum is of high quality and there was a lot of thought put into each display. You can even get a photo op in a couple of the vehicles.read more
All involved that put together this Cajon Speedway event at the San Diego Automotive Museum Sunday August 7 did an... awesome job. All the administrative help was fantastic. Could not have been any better than recognizing Jerry Gay and Vance Butler for there effort in racing as well as their wins and championships. Also, Becky McBride always, always does an outstanding job getting all of us together.It sounds like new and exciting things are ahead to help our kids in this industry....I can't wait to see the success!Thank you for a great experience!Daveread more
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.read more
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.read more
Great museum with a lot of special different cars to see. Only downside is we wishes it was bigger. Does not take long... to see e everything. But overall felt worth the visit.Went on a Saturday and it was not very crowded when opened.read more
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.read more
Had a good visit. Overall, a bit small, but they were able to fit a nice variety in the space. Some really great... history and stories behind most of the vehicles. If you're an automotive enthusiast, it's a nice stop in for about an hour.read more
An awesome experience. They have a whole lot of cars and old motorcycles. They even allowed the visitors to sit inside... a DeLorean. With the information and the cars on display, this is a great stop to do for an hour or two.read more
Glad I was able to attend for 50% during the month of February. Museum is very small and not interactive (other than... the DeLorean car that you can sit in). This museum does not give off family friendly vibes IMO. The cars on exhibit are nice, but would like to see more things to interact with & do while here.read more
Too much great stuff to see in on day. Plan on coming back multiple times and maybe you might see it all. Cool building... in the winter and hot during the summer according to ticket people. Can't wait to see more of this museum.read more
Went on an early morning; place was quiet and well-kept, and the staff were very pleasant. The museum itself was a nice... collection of cars and motorcycles. I echo every other visitor who said sitting in the DeLorean is an absolute joy.read more
Great eye-opening walk through history's automotive creations. You get a sense of the style and quality of the era each... car was produced. There's a plaque for each engineered work of art which includes a brief detailed short. Lots of history here.read more
I would give zero stars but that wasn't an option. Due to the Automotive Museums lack of communication, they closed... hours early and didn't update their website. They had a paper posted on their door stating the updated hours (very helpful 🙄) Then when I informed their staff, They argued that it was updated though I can see right now it is not.read more
You can likely see better cars in any parking lot. Especially not worth the inconvenience of going all the way to where... it is just for that museum. It's not near the main Balboa park area and museums. it's a hike and/or drive to get there. Not worth the time money in my opinion.read more
Great museum with all sorts of explanations about science. Many of the exhibits are interactive, it's great fun for... little kids and even late teenagers like we had with us. If you are in Balboa Park do not miss the science center.read more
The cruise was nice, I recommend sitting on starboard side of ship, and they sell snacks and drinks. The lost star is... because their hours of operation are not very clear. The cruise is not actually 90 minutes. Thirty-forty minutes for boarding, and then the rest is cruising. I enjoyed the narration during the cruise. Make a reservation...even with the GO City pass.read more
Was expecting more. They had beautiful cars but you don't get what you paid for imo. This is my fourth automotive... museum I've been to and it's definitely in last place compared to the rest. For comparison two of the ones I've been to are The NHRA Motorsports Museum and the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento.read more
The kids and I really enjoyed visiting the automotive museum today. Price to enter is $7 for kids, $10 senior, and $14... adults. Place is small but they have really cool cars and motorcycles.read more
History on display at one of America's aviation manufacturing cities. From the Spirit of St. Louis to the birthplace of... naval aviation, Consolidated Aircraft, Ruben H. Fleet, Ryan Aeronautical, General Dynamics. One of America's finest targets. Don't miss it.read more
Parts of the museum were free on Tuesday so my friend and I went down to see the advertised cars. When we approached... the advertised section of cars they wanted $2.00. The small amount of money was not a problem but advertising deceptively was a problem. I call it lying. Next time you advertise be honest. Just charge $5.00 for adults to see everything. That would be a deal.read more
Small eclectic assembly of cars, many motorcycles. We went on the "free" Tues. Guess what? It's not ENTIRELY free!... They have a special section with an exhibit for $2.00. Now I know $2 is not much.But if they say it's free, it should be FREE.The reason for 4 stars. The cars on show are wonderful.The International harvester is the quintessential Horseless carriage. The Reo is early sophistication. The Cord is Glamorous and the Cadillac is substantial even back then.Nice way to spend the morning.read more
A car and motorcycle fan's dream. They recently had a low rider exhibit that I really enjoyed. The mainstays are great,... historical and interesting. Love the three eyed Tucker and the old Indian and Harley bikes.read more
Definitely worth a stop if you are seeing some of the other museums in the area and want to kill some time. This is not... a huge museum but they do have a great collection of cars to see and they rotate most of the cars out every 4 months, so you might end up seeing something new and unique the next time you stop by. There are cars, motorcycles, and few old vintage cars. The museum has a collection that closely resembles some of the automotives that are shown on the History channel show American Pickers. If you're into older automotives then this is definitely a good place to check out.read more
The automotive isn’t the best that I have ever been to, but it is actually a pretty good museum.They have a really... nice selection of classic and rare automobiles, and they do have a good amount of motorcycles. Most of these pieces are standard at the museum and don’t change. They are always there when we visit.This season they are featuring low riders and they have an impressive collection of exquisitely painted and detailed low riders. Most of them are Chevy Impalas, which are a staple of the low rider crowd. There was also a Lincoln Continental and an old school Buick Riviera.All in all it’s a pretty good Car museum for the $12 admission fee. I recommend going at least once.read more
What a unique and fun experience. I have been here several times and always enjoy walking around to see all of the... cool cars and motorcycles they have on display. Some of the display stays the same month to month but they also bring in different themes for variety. Such as movie star cars was really a fun display to see!read more
This museum was worth the money! Look for the 2 for 1 admission coupon on the counter of the International Gift Shop -... just $12 for 2 people. They had the Low-Rider event going on with amazing detail of cars and art. The displays were very informative and choice of cars were superb. The gentleman who was there was so interesting with details & stories. This is a smaller museum but packed with good displays!read more