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San Diego Automotive Museum – tickets, prices, timings, what to expect

Edited by: Rekha Rajan
Fact checked by: Jamshed V Rajan


Fuel your engines and course through an automobile enthusiast’s dream destination at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

Established in December 1988 as the San Diego Premier Transportation Museum, it is a tribute to the automobile industry and its culture, providing visitors with an immersive experience.

The museum aims to highlight the automobile industry’s evolution and countless milestones achieved over the years. 

Housed at Balboa Park, a melting point for different cultures, the San Diego Automotive Museum attracts all kinds of history buffs, car lovers, and visitors.

This article shares everything you must know before booking San Diego’s Automotive Museum tickets.

What to expect at Automotive Museum

See the Automotive Museum San Diego’s expansive collection of beautifully restored classic cars and rare vehicles dating back to 1905.

Shift through rare and iconic Indian and Harley motorcycles, American muscle cars, Italian supercars, and exquisite automobiles from every conceivable era. 

Discover exhibits that portray the evolution of automobiles and learn how cars have impacted society, culture, and design. 

Rev your engines at the museum, which boasts a unique collection, exciting exhibitions, and educational programs.

For uber-passionate enthusiasts, a vast library houses a large collection of vintage car magazines, books, and manuals.

Visit the San Diego Automotive Museum Gift Shop and browse various automotive books, clothing, gifts, and toys suitable for auto enthusiasts of all ages.

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Where to buy Automotive Museum tickets

The San Diego Automotive Museum tickets are available online in advance or at the attraction ticket window.

We recommend booking your tickets in advance to avoid the hassle of queuing up at the counter and wasting time. 

Not only can you save time, but you can also get exclusive discounts and offers by booking online. 

Because the attraction sells a limited number of tickets, during peak days they may sell out. Booking early helps avoid last-minute disappointments.

How online tickets work

Go to the San Diego Automotive Museum ticket booking page, select your preferred date and the number of tickets, and buy the tickets right away.

After the purchase, you will receive the tickets in your email. 

You can walk into the museum by showing the e-ticket on your smartphone at the gate on the day of your visit.

Automotive Museum ticket prices

The San Diego Automotive Museum tickets are priced at US$16 for adults aged between 18 to 64.

The tickets for children between four and 17 years old are priced at US$10.

Students with valid IDs can get tickets for US$12.

Senior Citizens above 65 years of age can get tickets for US$12.

If you are a serving member of the military or have served in the past, you can get in for US$12 as well.

Infants up to 3 years of age can enter for free.

San Diego Automotive Museum tickets

San Diego Automotive Museum tickets
Image: Tiqets.com

Gear up and prepare for an unforgettable journey through time, exploring the fascinating history of moving vehicles with a collection featuring the legendary trend-setting DeLorean and motorcycles from around the world.

Louie Mattar’s impressive US$75,000 car is the only vehicle to complete a round-trip journey across the United States without stopping.

Rare memorabilia and videos offering a cultural perspective on the evolution of automobiles are sure to fascinate all visitors.

This Automotive Museum ticket also lets you explore the incredible library and shop at the store for amazing souvenirs.

Expect a delightful and informative experience from the well-informed staff and remarkable Automotive Museum San Diego displays.

Ticket Prices

Adult Ticket (18 to 64 years): US$15
Child Ticket (4 to 17 years): US$10
Student, Military, and Senior Tickets: US$12
Infant Ticket (up to 3 years): Free

Automotive Museum + GoCar tickets

San Diego Automotive Museum + GoCar tickets
Image: GoCarTours.com

While planning a visit to the beautiful city of San Diego, be sure to include a ride on the world’s first GPS-guided tour car, which includes an in-built tour guide.

Pair your visit to the Automotive Museum San Diego with an on-wheel tour through the city.

Explore San Diego at your leisure, renting a custom GoCar for 1, 2, or 4 hours or even the whole day.

Hop on with a passenger, ride through San Diego’s greatest downtown sights, or grab a bite at the famous Hillcrest.

Choose between options taking you to different parts of the city, including Little Italy, the historic Gaslamp Quarter, and more.

Get the best deal on booking this combo tour below.

Ticket Cost: US$75

Save time & money! Buy San Diego City Pass and get access to 55+ San Diego activities, tours, cruises, and attractions. Visit SeaWorld, Belmont Park, Hollywood Museum, and many more famous sites, or go for a whale-watching cruise or hiking tour. 

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How to reach Automotive Museum

The San Diego Automotive Museum is located in Balboa Park.

Address:  2080 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101, United States. Get Directions

You can reach the San Diego Automotive Museum by public transport or car. 

By Bus

Get down at the San Diego (Balboa Park) Bus Stop to visit the San Diego Automotive Museum.

You can reach the stop by boarding the FlixBus 2017.

Take the bus number 7 and get down at Park Blvd & Presidents Way and walk for seven minutes to reach the museum.

By Subway

The nearest light rail stop to the Automotive Museum San Diego is 5th Avenue Station, which can be reached by the blue, orange, or silver line.

By Car

If you’re driving by car, turn on Google Maps and get started!

You can park for free outside the museum at the Pan American Plaza Parking Lot.

There are numerous parking garages around the attraction.

Opening hours of Automotive Museum

The Automotive Museum in San Diego is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4.30 pm.

The popular attraction stays closed on most Mondays.

The museum remains closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas and closes early before these holidays.

How long does Automotive Museum take

While visiting the San Diego Automotive Museum, plan to walk through the exhibits for about an hour.

It can take longer if you are a car enthusiast and wish to soak in all the antique cars on display.

Best time to visit Automotive Museum

The best time to visit the San Diego Automotive Museum is when they open at 10 am because you get to spend time with the exhibits before the crowd starts coming in.

If you are a local, we suggest the third Sunday of every month.

Every third Sunday of the month, the museum welcomes San Diego residents and visitors to showcase their classic cars and enjoy coffee while chatting with the staff. 

The event starts at 7.30 am, and the museum opens early at 8 am with a discounted ticket price until 10 am.

San Diego residents can enjoy free admission every fourth Tuesday of the month simply by presenting their ID at the venue.

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FAQs about San Diego Automotive Museum

Here are some questions visitors usually ask before visiting the San Diego Automotive Museum.

What is the idea behind San Diego Automotive Museum?

The San Diego Automotive Museum is dedicated to the history of automobiles and their impact on society.

What types of cars are on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum?

The museum features an expansive collection of automobiles from different eras, from 1905 to modern vehicles.

Where can I park when visiting the San Diego Automotive Museum?

Park for free at the Pan American Plaza Parking Lot outside the Museum.

Are guided tours available for the Automotive Museum San Diego?

Guided tours can be booked in advance for groups of 10 or more people.

Is the Automotive Museum San Diego wheelchair accessible?

The museum is fully accessible, with ramps and elevators throughout the building.

Are pets allowed inside the San Diego Automotive Museum?

Pets, apart from service animals, are not allowed inside the museum.

Is photography allowed at San Diego Automotive Museum?

Yes, photography is allowed at the automotive museum.

What other places can I see when visiting the San Diego Automotive Museum?

The San Diego Air and Space Museum and the Comic-Con Museum are neighbors to the SDAM.
Many other popular Balboa Park museums are a short walk away.

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# Sdautomuseum.org
# Wikipedia.org
# Tripadvisor.com

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