Old Town Model Railroad Depot

Old Town Model Railroad Depot

Old Town Model Railroad Depot
4.5
Speciality Museums
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This location was reported permanently closed
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About
We close our doors as a museum on November 6, 2022. Thank you for your support through the years. We are still selling our inventory online.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Old Town
How to get there
  • Old Town Transit Center • 9 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
190 reviews
Excellent
154
Very good
30
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
4

Dick L
Union City, CA24 contributions
Apr 2022
The Old Town Model Railroad Depot is worth your time when visiting San Diego’s Old Town. The Old Town Trolley Tour begins and ends its tours (Stop A) in Old Town so there are multiple opportunities to stop by and visit, and admission is included if you are already on the trolley tour. The train display is of trains meandering through any town USA with nostalgic references throughout the display. The diorama is divided in two sections, where one room has trains travelling through the day and the second has the same trains travelling through the night. The buildings and landscaping are constructed with great detail providing you with wonderful visual experience. The staff is friendly, informative and welcoming. It appears that the entire operation is created and managed by model train enthusiasts who want to share what they have created. The self-guided tour can be as quick or slow as you wish with steps up providing views at many levels and perspectives. Photography is allowed and a small wall of train themed items are available for purchase. The visit to the Old Town Model Railroad Depot will not take much of your time but could be one of the fun memories of your visit to San Diego’s Old Town.
Written April 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eric Mut
Phnom Penh, Cambodia127 contributions
Sep 2020
I used to visit this museum with my grandma when I was a child, over 30 years ago. I recently visited, and because it was close to closing it was only $2 to visit, which is a fair price for this smaller intimate attraction.

This attraction is full of amazing works of moving art, that were hand crafted and have been cared for lovingly over the past 30 years since my last visit.

I enjoyed visiting, and will visit again next time I am in town.
Written October 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Shawn N
Pittsburgh, PA12 contributions
Dec 2021
Had an hour before closing after visiting the zoo so we figured we would stop by as I hadn't been in 20 years. The level of detail and the amount of work displayed on these layouts is simply amazing. Definitely worth the stop and the fee to help support people doing their master craft.
Written December 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jeri B
13 contributions
Mar 2020
My husband is into model railroads, but I like anything miniature. So this was interesting for both of us. It is amazing how big these displays are! THere is also a Toy Train room that is more fun, especially for kids as it incorporates Mater from CARS, plus other fun things. For anyone (young or old) interested in model trains, this is a nice museum to visit.
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jason M
1 contribution
Jan 2020 • Business
I had a great experience with all staff associated with this location. I must say that Art, Elia, Josh and Mr. Jose were by far superb! They made me feel welcomed and a special guest at all times! These gentlemen greet you with a smile and professionalism time and time again! I'd recommend this location to anyone visiting San Diego (Old Town). Thanks guys!

Jason (New Orleans)
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lord Clifford Hume
Greater London, UK165 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
This venue evokes lots of childhood memories and is pure nostalgia.

It is an ‘O’ gauge railway and the detail is exquisite. Friendly staff are there to assist and the place relies on donations. If I had more time I would have happily stayed and watched mesmerised by this fascinating model.
Written January 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eurojet
San Diego, CA102 contributions
Oct 2018 • Solo
I live in San Diego, and visited this small museum for the first time this week. The woman at the door seemed nice, and explained that although admission is FREE, there is a donation box on the wall as you exit should you CHOOSE to donate. I walked around the museum, spoke with the man in charge of the exhibits who was very nice, but when I went to leave was confronted by the "bouncer" at the front door who reminded me to leave a donation! I told her that I had visited Mexico the day before, so had no cash on me, but because I live in town, would gladly donate on my next visit. She then told me that I could make a donation with one of my cards, so I assume she meant a credit card. Once again I had to explain that I wasn't carrying cash OR my credit card because of my visit to Mexico the day before. I found her persistence very annoying, and took it as a shake down for cash on my way out, rather than a simple thank you for visiting from her. I did not need to be reminded to leave a donation on my way out, nor did I feel like I owed her an explanation on why I couldn't donate then and there! I will never return to this place again, nor will I take any of my out of town visitors there either. I would highly recommend you skip this attraction, and spend your money on visiting the Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park where you either buy an admission ticket, or can visit on one Tuesday per month if you are a local resident with ID.
Written October 31, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mike952
Manchester, UK72 contributions
Sep 2018 • Couples
My wife and I were walking along the road when we saw a sign for "trains", so we went in and were greeted by a man at the front desk who said the shop was free but donations were accepted. Honestly we thought it was a shop upon entering and having spent literally one minute walking around I smiled and said thank you to the man upon our exit. Unfortunately this is where the bad experience started, he said "would you like to donate" so I said no thank you and opened the door to leave, to be met with a rude comment under his breath. He then said again that they accept donations to which I said there should be a sign on the door if donations were mandatory or they should just charge for entry...

He looked very unpleasant which was not a nice way to be greeted in SD. This is like a busker on the street having a tip jar and hassling everyone that walks past listening that doesn't decide to tip. One of the rudest people we've ever met.

I'm sure this place is great if you are into trains but be prepared to either pay on the way out or be hassled.
Written September 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tucsongrma
Tucson68 contributions
Aug 2018 • Friends
Model railroad enthusiasts will delight in this display and so will the general public! Several sizes of trains run on an intricate system of tracks. The display was made by experienced railroaders and maintained by them as well. It's the kiknd of place you will want to visit again and again.
Written July 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TourGuideTed
Dudley, UK183 contributions
Jun 2016 • Couples
We found out about this on the internet and made it a must do on our short visit to San Diego. It was easy to find down in Old Town which is easily accessible via Trolley. We entered and were warmly welcomed. It's free to enter, though they do appreciate a donation before you leave - they also gave us a coupon for a free appetizer at Cafe Coyote.

The layout is huge and split in half as night and day. There are several trains running on the layout with appropriate sounds and even steam! The staff were there to point out Superman in his phone box, Marilyn on the air vent and other neat touches, they even have a fireworks display! My favourite part was the Dakota (C-47/DC-3) flying overhead in storm clouds - with thunder and lightning!

We spent a good hour in here though we are model (and real) train fans. We learnt some stuff about the workings of the layout and the trains (steam and diesel running on the tracks). Totally worth a visit.
Written July 25, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for taking the time to write a great review. Your pictures were terrific. Please come back and visit.
Written July 27, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Old Town Model Railroad Depot (San Diego) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go