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California Automobile Museum

California Automobile Museum


The California Automobile Museum stands as a beacon for car enthusiasts, historians, and families seeking an engaging educational experience.

Located in the heart of Sacramento, this museum is a testament to the rich history and evolution of the automotive industry.

Its extensive collection spans from the earliest horseless carriages to contemporary electric vehicles, providing a unique lens through which visitors can explore the past, present, and future of automotive technology and design.


Situated at 2200 Front Street, Sacramento, CA 95818, the California Automobile Museum is strategically positioned near the scenic Sacramento River.

This central location not only offers easy access from various parts of the city but also provides a picturesque backdrop for the museum’s impressive array of exhibits.

The museum’s proximity to other cultural and historical attractions makes it an ideal stop for tourists and locals alike.

Historical Background

The California Automobile Museum was established in 1983, originally known as the Towe Auto Museum, housing Edward Towe’s collection of classic Fords.

Over the years, the museum expanded its collection to include a diverse array of vehicles from various manufacturers and eras. This growth transformed the museum into a comprehensive repository of automotive history, showcasing everything from early 20th-century classics to cutting-edge electric vehicles.

Today, the museum serves as a vital educational and cultural institution, dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich heritage of the automobile industry.

Getting There

Directions and Accessibility

Reaching the California Automobile Museum is straightforward, whether you’re coming from within Sacramento or from other major cities. For visitors driving from Sacramento, the museum is accessible via Interstate 5, with clear signage directing you to the Q Street exit.

Those traveling from San Francisco can take Interstate 80 East towards Sacramento, merge onto Interstate 5 South, and follow the signs to the museum. From Los Angeles, the journey involves a scenic drive north on Interstate 5, covering approximately 385 miles.

For those who prefer public transportation, the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) provides convenient bus routes that stop near the museum.

The nearest light rail station is a short walk away, making it easy to incorporate a visit to the museum into a day of exploring the city.

On-site parking is plentiful and can accommodate visitors of all types, including those arriving in buses or RVs. During peak times and special events, additional parking is available in nearby lots, ensuring a hassle-free start to your visit.

Getting There

Hours and Admission

Opening Hours

The museum welcomes visitors from 10 AM to 5 PM, Wednesday through Monday, offering ample opportunity to explore its vast collections. It remains closed on Tuesdays and major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

For those planning a visit during special events, it’s advisable to check the museum’s website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on extended hours and event-specific timings.

Admission Fees and Membership Options

Admission fees are designed to be affordable, making the museum accessible to a wide audience. Tickets for adults are priced at $10, while children between the ages of 6 and 17 can enter for $5. Seniors aged 65 and over receive a discounted rate of $8.

For larger groups, discounted rates are available with prior arrangement, ensuring a cost-effective visit for school trips, corporate outings, and other group activities.

Memberships offer exceptional value, providing numerous benefits such as unlimited free admission, discounts on special events and in the museum shop, and invitations to exclusive member-only events.

Individual memberships start at $50 annually, with family memberships available for $80. Higher-tier memberships offer additional perks, including behind-the-scenes tours and special recognition, making them an attractive option for dedicated supporters of the museum.

Exhibits and Collections

Permanent Exhibits

The heart of the California Automobile Museum is its permanent collection, which offers an in-depth look at the history of automotive design and technology. Visitors can marvel at classic cars from the early 20th century, which highlight the dawn of the automotive era.

The muscle car collection showcases the powerful engines and bold designs that defined American car culture in the 1960s and 70s. Luxury vehicles on display epitomize elegance and sophistication, offering a glimpse into the high-end market of past decades.

A growing collection of electric and alternative fuel vehicles illustrates the ongoing evolution and future of environmentally friendly transportation.

Special Exhibits

To keep the experience fresh and engaging, the museum regularly hosts special exhibits that explore unique themes and stories within the automotive world.

Recent exhibits have celebrated the contributions of women in racing, showcasing their achievements and breaking down barriers in a traditionally male-dominated field. Another exhibit delved into the history of electric vehicles, tracing their development from early experiments to modern innovations.

Fun and popular exhibits have featured famous cars from movies and television shows, drawing fans of all ages and adding an element of pop culture to the museum’s offerings.

Interactive Displays

Interactive displays are a key feature of the museum, enhancing the visitor experience through hands-on activities and multimedia presentations.

These displays are designed to educate visitors on various aspects of automotive technology and history. For instance, visitors can explore the mechanics of different vehicle types, learn about the societal impacts of car culture, and even try their hand at basic car repairs through interactive simulations.

These engaging displays ensure that visitors of all ages leave the museum with a deeper understanding of the automotive world.

Tours and Programs

Guided Tours

For those looking to gain deeper insights into the museum’s collections, guided tours are available daily. Led by knowledgeable docents, these tours offer detailed explanations and fascinating stories behind the vehicles on display.

Tours typically last about an hour and cover highlights from both the permanent and special exhibits. Private tours can also be arranged for groups, providing a more personalized and immersive experience.

These tours are particularly popular with school groups, corporate outings, and car clubs, offering a unique way to explore the museum’s treasures.

Educational Programs

Education is a cornerstone of the California Automobile Museum’s mission, and the museum offers a variety of programs aimed at different age groups. Workshops for children introduce basic automotive concepts and encourage creativity and problem-solving skills through hands-on activities.

School field trips provide tailored tours and activities that align with educational standards, offering a fun and informative experience for students.

Teachers can access a range of resources, including lesson plans and materials, to integrate automotive history and technology into their curricula.

These programs are designed to inspire a love of learning and an appreciation for the rich heritage of the automotive industry.

Events and Activities

The museum hosts numerous events throughout the year, attracting car enthusiasts and families alike. Classic car shows feature beautifully restored vehicles, offering an opportunity for car owners to showcase their prized possessions.

Swap meets provide a venue for buying, selling, and trading car parts, memorabilia, and other automotive items. Educational seminars cover a range of topics, from car restoration techniques to the future of automotive technology.

Annual events like the “Cruise Fest on Fulton Avenue” draw car enthusiasts from across the region, featuring live music, food vendors, and a parade of classic cars. These events create a vibrant community around the museum and offer something for everyone to enjoy.

Visitor Amenities


The California Automobile Museum is committed to ensuring that all visitors can enjoy their experience. The museum is fully wheelchair accessible, with ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms.

Wheelchairs are available upon request at the front desk, and staff are trained to assist visitors with disabilities, ensuring a comfortable and inclusive visit for all.

Museum Shop

The museum shop offers a wide range of items for visitors to take home as mementos or gifts. The selection includes souvenirs, apparel, automotive books, model cars, and more.

The shop is a treasure trove for car enthusiasts, offering unique items that reflect the rich history and culture of the automotive world.

Proceeds from the shop help support the museum’s educational programs and exhibits, making each purchase a contribution to the museum’s ongoing mission.

Food and Beverage

While the museum does not have an on-site café, there are several dining options nearby. Visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants within walking distance, offering a variety of cuisines to suit all tastes.

Alternatively, visitors can bring their own food and enjoy it in designated picnic areas. The museum’s location near the Sacramento River also offers beautiful spots for an outdoor lunch, providing a scenic and relaxing setting to complement your museum visit.

Supporting the Museum


As a nonprofit institution, the California Automobile Museum relies on the generosity of donors to maintain and expand its collections, as well as to support educational programs and special exhibits. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online, by mail, or in person.

Donors have the option to contribute to specific projects, such as vehicle restorations or new exhibits, or to make general donations that support the museum’s overall operations. Every donation, large or small, helps to preserve the rich history of the automobile for future generations.


Volunteers play a crucial role in the success of the California Automobile Museum, assisting with everything from guiding tours to helping with events and administrative tasks.

Volunteer opportunities are available for individuals of all ages and backgrounds, offering a rewarding way to give back to the community while gaining valuable skills and experiences.

Volunteers receive special benefits such as free admission, discounts in the museum shop, and invitations to volunteer appreciation events.

The museum’s volunteer program is a great way to meet new people, share your passion for automobiles, and contribute to a beloved cultural institution.

Supporting the Museum


Corporate sponsorships provide critical funding for the museum’s exhibits, events, and educational programs. Sponsors receive recognition in museum publications and on-site, as well as exclusive event invitations and promotional opportunities.

Sponsorship packages can be tailored to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, offering a range of benefits and visibility options.

Becoming a sponsor is an excellent way for businesses to support the museum while gaining exposure and demonstrating a commitment to community engagement and cultural preservation.

Contact Information

Phone and Email

For general inquiries, visitors can call (916) 442-6802 or email The museum’s website also provides detailed contact information for specific departments, such as membership, events, and education. Staff are available to answer questions, provide additional information, and assist with planning your visit.

Social Media

The museum maintains an active presence on social media, providing updates on events, exhibits, and more. By following the museum on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, visitors can stay connected and receive the latest news and announcements.

Social media also offers a way for the museum to engage with its community, share behind-the-scenes content, and highlight special features and stories from its collections.

Mailing Address

The California Automobile Museum is located at 2200 Front Street, Sacramento, CA 95818. This address serves as the main point of contact for all correspondence, including donations, membership applications, and general inquiries. Visitors can also visit the museum’s website for additional information and resources.

The California Automobile Museum is a treasure trove of automotive history, offering a unique and enriching experience for visitors of all ages.

Its diverse collections, engaging exhibits, and robust educational programs provide an unparalleled opportunity to explore the fascinating world of automobiles.

From classic cars to modern electric vehicles, the museum showcases the evolution of automotive technology and design, highlighting the creativity and innovation that have shaped the industry.

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