We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Win Big When You Book on TripAdvisor

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

Certificate of Excellence
Neighborhood: Balboa Park
Sponsored by:
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101-1621
Phone Number: +1 619-696-0199
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Tue - Fri 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sat - Sun 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

One of the world's largest model railroad museums features a scale model...

One of the world's largest model railroad museums features a scale model railway that replicates San Diego's tracks.

read more
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Go San Diego Card
Why book on Viator?
  • Tour highlights & full itinerary
  • Easy online booking
  • Lowest price guaranteed
More Information ›

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 341 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 203
  • 88
    Very good
  • 21
  • 6
  • 3
Back to your childhood, miniature railsystem and trains.

This extraordiarily unique museum of train models, railsystem and miniature landscapes provides whole picture of this kind of transportation in US every region: pacific coast... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
via mobile
Add Photo Write a Review

341 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More
Showing 321: English reviews
Level Contributor
493 reviews
288 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

This extraordiarily unique museum of train models, railsystem and miniature landscapes provides whole picture of this kind of transportation in US every region: pacific coast , desert in southwest through east coast. There is special section for Christmas : trains in snowy environment with presents, gifts and San ta clause.

Thank berm1974
Level Contributor
36 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Great activity while visiting Balboa Park. Multiple train layouts, from older Christmas style Lionel to historically accurate representing Southern California and the famed Tehachapi loop. Lots of knowledgeable folks on hand to talk trains.

1 Thank mikemcnj
Level Contributor
66 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I had what I thought was a great O guage Lionel set which took most of my parent's basement as a kid. Nothing like this! Several rooms of operating HO trains with fantastic landscape. Of course they now have electronic controls which we did not have in the 50's. Various types of locomotives and diesels.Don't miss this exhibit.

1 Thank J R R
Dover, New Jersey
Level Contributor
68 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Be sure to take your camera. Be sure to atleast spend 2 or 3 or more hours. I'm an HO Scale Man myself and admire the work done by those who've worked on the layouts over the years. Take many many pictures of O and HO Scale.

1 Thank Vishal P
Level Contributor
148 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

This place made me feel like a kid in a candy store! If you are interested in model trains and miniature maquettes you will adore this place. The trains were wonderful to watch as they operate. The people that work there (some donated their own model trains) are awesome people. They will tell you all about it and about their... More 

Thank PeterTravelAdvisor
Carlsbad, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2016

enjoyed walking around and seeing the layout of the track The trains are running which makes viewing the exhibit interesting and enjoyable.

Thank 728explorer
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 27, 2016

So much history, and cool models. This was a lot of fun. It might be too much for a very young or very active child. Also the child needs to be at 3 feet to see everything.

Thank Kristye G
Ottery St. Mary, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2016

Give yourself plenty of time her.The layouts go on and on.One train takes over an hour and a half to go around just one of the displays.Whether you like trains or not you must go

Thank Sally D
Spokane Valley, Washington
Level Contributor
25 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2016

We happened across this museum while visiting Balboa Park. It is the largest set up of model railroading I have ever seen and they were still expanding. Very realistic set up with many different trains. A must see if you are a model railroad enthusiast.

Thank Greg M
Kaneohe, Hawaii
Level Contributor
36 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2016

If you have never had a model railroad set, you will be surprised at how great this place actually is. If you are a fan of model railroads, you will also be surprised at how much time you could spend here. They have a great decoration set up on some of the railways for the holidays, so it is a... More 

Thank Chris H

Travelers who viewed San Diego Model Railroad Museum also viewed


Been to San Diego Model Railroad Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from San Diego Model Railroad Museum staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?