San Diego Automotive Museum: Highlights, Suggestions & Tickets

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  • 2080 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101

Whether or not you reside within the metropolis or are simply visiting for the weekend and looking for enjoyable issues to do in San Diego, the San Diego Automotive Museum (SDAM) is a must-see. Automobile fanatic or not, there’s a lot to pique your curiosity right here.

The museum highlights the car’s contributions to our tradition by instructing guests in regards to the vehicle’s social and technological previous, current, and future. That is achieved by way of various reveals, starting from historic barn automobiles to worldwide bikes. 

The San Diego Automotive Museum additionally flaunts a powerful assortment of classic automobiles. Belief us after we say this assortment is a automobile fanatic’s dream come true and that you must see it.


Whereas there are cool automobiles and bikes to take a look at, what’s much more attention-grabbing is why they’re there. It’s additionally enjoyable to see the evolution of styling and horsepower over time, however look out for these favorites.

  • The museum’s sturdy assortment of bikes is a nice shock to most visitors. Forty bikes sit on show, relationship all the way in which again to the early 1900s. 
  • Calling all Again to the Future followers—the museum has a DeLorean DMC-12 on their present ground. Company may even hop within the automobile for an image.
  • A group of traditional automobiles is the focus of the San Diego Automotive Museum. Every one is full with a brief description and authentic worth. 
  • Louie Mattar’s Cadillac alone is sufficient motive to go to the museum. We gained’t spoil the story behind the automobile. Simply realize it’s price seeing in particular person. 
  • Remaining true to southern California’s tradition, the SDAM boasts a set of classic lowriders which are enjoyable to peruse and be taught the historical past behind.

Prime 5 Issues To Know In regards to the San Diego Automotive Museum

The San Diego Automotive Museum is simple to navigate, however we’ll present a number of additional ideas to make sure you take advantage of your expertise. 

Admission Suggestions

If you happen to’re a San Diego resident, you may go to free of charge on the fourth Tuesday of each month. All it’s a must to deliver is your I.D. 

If you happen to’re not a resident however are planning on visiting, you may purchase your tickets prematurely on-line. Nevertheless, they’re solely good for one week from the acquisition date. Costs embrace:

  • Adults (18-64): $14.50
  • Seniors (65+): $10
  • Navy (With ID): $10
  • Scholar (With ID): $10
  • Youth (5-17): $8.50
  • Ages 0-4: FREE

Two Sightseeing Move Decisions

Bundle admission to SDMRM with different points of interest throughout San Diego or simply in Balboa Park.

Go San Diego Move

Each the All-Inclusive and Explorer sightseeing passes embrace SDMRM and over 50 different San Diego points of interest.

Use promo code lajollamom for 10% off by way of December 31, 2022.

Balboa Park Explorer Move

This cross consists of 16 collaborating Balboa Park Museums.

Select one in every of three cross choices that embrace a Parkwide Move good for seven consecutive days, an Annual Move (finest for residents), or a Restricted Move that features any 4 collaborating venues good for at some point.

You can even purchase a present certificates to the museum for any pals or members of the family planning on visiting San Diego quickly.


The museum is conveniently 5 minutes from downtown San Diego, in Balboa Park’s Pan American Plaza. It’s simple to entry from main freeways, together with the I-5 and Freeway 163. 

You’ll park free of charge within the Pan American Plaza parking space (you may’t miss it) and can simply be capable to stroll out of your automobile to the museum. If the lot is full, you may search for free avenue parking.

If you happen to’re within the temper for a day of edutainment, you’re in luck — SDAM neighbors the San Diego Air and Area Museum and the Comedian-Con Museum. Different in style Balboa Park museums are a brief stroll away.

Automobile Reveals 

If you happen to can’t make it to the San Diego Automotive Museum however wish to see their automobiles, hold an eye fixed out for exterior alternatives.

For instance, the museum participates within the Cajon Basic Cruise Automobile Present in Downtown El Cajon, simply twenty minutes west of Balboa Park. The present options several types of automobiles each Wednesday. Test their calendar to discover a day that piques your curiosity. The SDAM employees will probably be on-site to speak and reply any questions you or your little ones could have.

Automobiles and Espresso  

As you may see, San Diego Automotive Museum is well-known for interacting with the neighborhood. One other manner they do that is by way of automobiles and low. On the third Sunday of each month, the museum invitations San Diego residents or guests to deliver their traditional automobiles and chat with employees over espresso. 

The occasion takes place at 7:30 a.m., and the museum opens early at 8 a.m. with a reduced ticket worth till 10 a.m. 

If you happen to’re not on the town for the automobiles and low occasion, they take part in related occasions, the place you may discuss to museum employees and look at the automobiles. The main points are beneath: 

  • Automobiles, espresso, and doughnuts: Month-to-month on the twenty fourth at 6755 Mira Mesa Blvd Suite 128, San Diego, California 92121 at 7 a.m. 
  • JBA Pace Store automobiles and low: On the second Sunday of every month at 5675 Kearny Villa Rd, San Diego, CA, 92123, at 5:30 a.m. 

Rotating Displays 

The SDAM showcases an everyday assortment of classic automobiles and bikes, however they hold issues attention-grabbing by way of artistic, rotating reveals. 

A number of of their previous highlight exhibitions included Evel Knievel’s bike, steampunk creations, and automobiles with characters—an exhibit that includes cars from in style motion pictures, comparable to Automobiles and Scooby Doo. 

If you happen to’re interested in which exhibit you’ll get to expertise, test their web site’s present exhibitions web page or join their publication to obtain notifications about upcoming exhibitions. 

Why We Love the San Diego Automotive Museum 

There’s a lot to adore in regards to the San Diego Automotive Museum.

Vocational Schooling Academy 

The SDAM does numerous good, however the vocational schooling academy is essentially the most noteworthy. 

The museum companions with neighborhood schools and automotive companies to supply under-resourced college students with post-secondary schooling within the automotive area. The academy additionally teaches college students accountable fiscal abilities, comparable to budgeting. 

Upon graduating from the academy, college students are ready with a portfolio of abilities and arrange with interviews at native automotive outlets, comparable to Low cost Tire and NAPA. 


The San Diego Automotive Museum has a powerful choice of automotive literature, starting from restore manuals to classic magazines. 

Over 65,000 items of literature make up the museum’s library. This huge assortment seemingly has the reply to any automotive-related query you’ve ever had. 

Educated volunteers employees the library and are greater than in a position to level you in the appropriate route. Nevertheless, even should you don’t have any burning questions, the library is undoubtedly price perusing. 

Educated Workers 

Along with educated teams of volunteers, the museum additionally has a well-versed and pleasant employees. Guests continuously rave about how a lot the staff improve the expertise. 

They’re vessels of data ready to reply any of your questions or provide enjoyable details a couple of piece of their assortment you discover attention-grabbing. 

If in case you have questions that come up earlier than or after your go to, you could find the employees’s contact info on the museum’s web site. 

The Present Store 

SDAM has the present store of children’ goals. The superb present store comprises enjoyable shirts, memorabilia, and a set of classic sizzling wheels.

If you happen to can’t make it to the present store in particular person, hop on-line. The museum’s present store is so good that they’ve posted some gadgets on eBay

Even higher? Something you buy within the present store goes again to the automotive museum. Which means your buy isn’t solely bettering SDAM however serving to alongside efforts just like the vocational schooling academy. 

Prime picture credit score: One other Believer, CC BY-SA 4.0, through Wikimedia Commons


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