For some, cars are creations meant to be admired, respected, and in some cases, revered. For others, they’re a way to get from point A to point B and that’s about it. Regardless of where you find yourself on the automobile appreciation spectrum, car museums can be a fabulous place to check out motorized masterpieces, see seriously some seriously cool concepts, and maybe learn a thing or two along the way. Here are 6 must-see museums devoted to the art of the automobile.
The National Automobile Museum (Reno, Nevada)
Next time you find yourself in Nevada, be sure to make visiting the National Automobile Museum a top priority. Boasting a collection of cars that you won’t find anywhere else, this is the spot for enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes to get their fix. Fun exhibits (like one devoted entirely to pedal cars) and a hardware store keep things fresh and the Harrah collection is not to be missed.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum (Indianapolis, Indiana)
The Speedway may be best known for its famous races but did you know that it also features an internationally recognized museum? The 96,000 square foot facility houses 75 cars (including past Indy winners), track and race equipment, trophies, and interactive exhibits. Open year-round, this is the definitive happy place for race fans of all ages.
Emirates National Auto Museum (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Quite possibly the only car museum housed in a pyramid, the ENAM is where you want to go if you’re keen on being dazzled. The museum is devoted to the private collection of H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan who is no stranger to fabulous automobiles. Included in the mix are a week’s worth of custom-painted Mercedes, a military vehicle featuring a rooftop golf range, and a Dodge Power Wagon with built in four bedroom apartment.
AutoWorld (Brussels, Belgium)
Located in the beautiful Cinquantenaire complex, AutoWorld is a vintage car lover’s dream come true. Featuring an impressive collection of European models, the museum focuses not only on displaying gorgeous machines but educating the public about them as well. Spend some time browsing the exhibits, checking out the restoration workshop, and then refuel at the onsite brasserie. As an added bonus, parking for AutoWorld is always free.
Riga Motor Museum (Riga, Latvia)
Latvia isn’t necessarily known for it’s contributions to the automotive world but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t made any. Spend some time at the Riga Motor Museum and you’ll quickly discover that this Baltic country has produced some pretty cool rides, two-wheeled ones included. The 230 exhibits range from displays of locally made machines to a collection of Kremlin cars, all absolutely worth seeing. Little automobile enthusiasts will enjoy the slot-car construction workshops and racing competitions offered as well.
Cite de l’Automobile (Mulhouse, France)
Under no circumstances will you be bored, not even for a minute, while visiting the Cite de l’Automobile. Heck, even the building’s exterior is entertaining! Visitors of all ages will be blown away by the interactive exhibits, electric train tour, exhibition track (which includes seating for 4,500), not to mention the actual cars themselves. There are over 520 vehicles on display, ranging from antique rarities to contemporary masterpieces so it goes without saying that no self respecting car connoisseur should leave this spot off their bucket list.
Who is Kate Walker? She’s a freelance writer, yoga addict, and citizen of the concrete jungle. When not on the mat, Kate can be found at the dog park or on the dock in Muskoka. She is also pretty fond of running, skiing, and Settlers of Catan.