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Expires on: 12/31/2021

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.

San Diego Automotive Museum
4.4
Based on 1203 reviews
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L Wang
L Wang
15:33 03 Oct 21
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
Jimmy Vee
Jimmy Vee
19:04 21 Sep 21
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
Janell Eidson
Janell Eidson
18:51 03 Sep 21
This place rocks 😊 So many fascinating autos! I had a blast with my boyfriend checking out the hot rods. Loved it
Denis LeClair
Denis LeClair
13:35 25 Aug 21
Certainly best for car enthusiasts and free to residents on specific Tuesdays...and that is why I went.The volunteers... are very knowledgeable which made the outing more interesting.read more
Amy Beck
Amy Beck
23:07 24 Aug 21
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
Joshua Utley
Joshua Utley
00:46 22 Aug 21
A great activity. It is a diverse collection with some vehicles rotating in and out. So be sure to come back often.... It's always a treat.read more
Monique Favard
Monique Favard
17:48 21 Aug 21
It was wonderful, great cars from the past and present, very expensive cars that I've never seen in person. Highly... recommend this museum.read more
D F
D F
23:51 14 Aug 21
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
Seth Southern
Seth Southern
22:56 14 Aug 21
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
Joe Jung
Joe Jung
15:56 09 Aug 21
Don't expect a huge collection of cars. There are around 30 cars in the museum and about a dozen motorcycles. Simple... clean museum to visit.read more
Giovanni Figueroa
Giovanni Figueroa
01:37 02 Aug 21
Loved it. They need a bigger budget and a better gift shop.
m k
m k
22:09 29 Jul 21
Not very interactive, not particularly inspired display or storytelling. But cool cars.
Sharon
Sharon
03:07 23 Jul 21
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
Rob Baresel
Rob Baresel
20:56 14 Jul 21
The collection is impressive. The old Indians, Harleys and motorcycles are very nice. The Lamborghini Countach is... always awesome to see up close.read more
J adams
J adams
13:05 13 Jul 21
Nice display, but far smaller than anticipated. Bugatti Veyron was not on display ;-(
Oscar Rey
Oscar Rey
16:02 18 Jun 21
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
Ralph Shelton
Ralph Shelton
19:08 17 Jun 21
Excellent collection with a couple of special surprises. Appeals to more than just gearheads (although gearheads will... especially love it)read more
Naria Kitahara
Naria Kitahara
02:21 16 Jun 21
It was a great experience. My boyfriend and I had a good time
Jason Kinman
Jason Kinman
04:00 11 Jun 21
Some cars. Some motorcycles. Not too much history. It's a good time waster between museums if you purchased the... explorer pass.read more
Elayne Bendel
Elayne Bendel
02:58 05 Jun 21
Fun experience and friendly staff. Great destination for car club events.
Haydee Hernandez
Haydee Hernandez
02:27 30 May 21
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
Ben Koonse
Ben Koonse
00:27 23 May 21
Love going and seeing vintage autos and motorcycles. Reading there history and learning something new.
George Dipp
George Dipp
03:28 20 Apr 21
Great for car lovers and kids alike. Super fun
Stephanie A
Stephanie A
17:19 13 Mar 21
If you love antique automobiles, you won't be disappointed!
Walter Brealey
Walter Brealey
19:57 05 Jan 21
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
Cody Blackledge
Cody Blackledge
18:14 02 Nov 20
A very impressive collection. The era-specific exhibits were really detailed and not just automotive. Excited to go... back when the next set of exhibits rotates in!read more
Shawna Lee
Shawna Lee
19:34 24 Oct 20
Small but packed with awesome cars and motorcycles from movies as well
James Zuehl
James Zuehl
15:43 10 Oct 20
Good history of cars, motorcycles, other stuff to bring memories back.
Jim r
Jim r
21:51 07 Aug 20
Cool place to clean out the car until the sprinklers come on as you have everything outside and you have to scramble to... gather it all up real quick like...read more
Alex Adams
Alex Adams
22:15 24 Jun 20
Quiet low stress place to visit during COVID-19. Good visual exhibits and information.
BOBBEE BISHOP
BOBBEE BISHOP
16:44 02 Jun 20
MY FATHER STARTED IT ALL BACK IN THE BEGGINING WHEN HE MOVED THE CLOGGERS OUT AND THE CARS IN. I ORGANIZED THE BIKES... AND SPENT OVER 20 YEARS IN AND OUT OF HER.read more
Andy Stepney
Andy Stepney
17:19 10 Mar 20
Great selection of vehicles. Some iconic tv and film vehicles and other significant models and customisation. Friendly... and informative staff. Can get up and close to see the vehicles.read more
Dan Cary
Dan Cary
15:08 28 Feb 20
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
Rev Terry Scott
Rev Terry Scott
21:55 25 Feb 20
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
Roberto Madrigal
Roberto Madrigal
04:55 22 Feb 20
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
Trey
Trey
20:47 17 Feb 20
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
Zack M
Zack M
02:20 21 Jan 20
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
Shannon Gardner
Shannon Gardner
14:55 17 Jan 20
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
Emily Goldstein
Emily Goldstein
13:08 29 Nov 19
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
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