If you’re a car geek, the United States is packed with places that celebrate these marvels of engineering. From car museums and factory tours to behind-the-wheel driving experiences and live auctions, these 10 attractions – voted as the best by our readers
– should be on every automobile enthusiast’s bucket list.
No. 10: The Revs Institute – Naples, Florida.
The automobiles showcased at the Revs Institute in Naples are among the most important and rarest built, almost all meticulously restored to peak operational condition. Visitors can see more than 100 vehicles from 1896 to 1995, including a 1939 Mercedes W154 Grand Prix, Panhard et Levassor Wagonette and the first Porsche 550-01.
No. 9: Mullin Automotive Museum – Oxnard, California.
This privately-owned automobile museum in Oxnard, California showcases the personal collection of philanthropist Peter W. Mullin, with a focus on French coachbuilders. Tickets to the 46,000-square-foot museum must be purchased in advance. Fans can also follow the museum on Instagram for virtual docent-led tours of the collection.
No. 8: America’s Car Museum – Tacoma, Washington.
America’s Car Museum celebrates the automobile with a collection of some 250 vehicles spanning more than a century of automotive history, as well as another 100 automobiles on loan from private collections.
No. 7: Antique Automobile Club of America Museum – Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The AACA Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, celebrates the automobile through a series of vintage cars on display and interactive exhibits covering cars, motorcycles and other automobiles from the 1890s to the 1980s. The collection currently includes some 150 vehicles, with 85 to 100 on display at any given time. While the museum is temporarily closed, supporters can visit virtually through the website, read items from the Museum Best Reads virtual bookshelf or try out some at-home STEAM activities geared toward kids.
No. 6: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia
celebrates “The Spirit of Competition” with a collection of more than 65 historically significant cars, ranging from Ferrari and Bugatti to Corvette and Ford. The vehicles were collected by Frederick A. Simeone over the course of five decades.
No. 5: Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum – Birmingham, Alabama.
More than a quarter million people pass through the doors of the Barber Motorsports Museum each year to enjoy the collection of some 1,600 vintage motorcycles, of which around 890 are on display at any given time. The collection includes 113 Harley-Davidsons and 55 vintage Lotus cars. The museum is currently open and following public safety guidelines.
No. 4: Mecum Auctions – Multiple Locations. Car lovers get to see some of the world’s most coveted cars at the Mecum Auction. The company averages more than one auction per month (rotating between cities across the U.S.), giving auto enthusiasts plenty of opportunities to watch all the action of this collector car auction. Mecum On Time has brought the auction online, with automotive-themed collectibles posted in new auction sessions each week.
No. 3: National Corvette Museum – Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Corvette, America's legendary sports car, is manufactured only in Bowling Green, and the city also plays host to the National Corvette Museum. Here automobile enthusiasts will find a collection of more than 80 Corvettes in period settings alongside numerous interactive exhibits. Visitors can even snap a selfie behind the wheel of a 2015 Stingray.
No. 2: Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions – Multiple Locations. Even if you’re not in the market for a classic car, the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction is a must for car lovers who get to see some hundreds of high-end autos on the auction block at their events around the country each year. There’s a bit of everything, from prewar classics and American muscle cars to souped-up hot rods and exotic vehicles, and the bidding makes for excellent people-watching.
No. 1: Museum of American Speed – Lincoln, Nebraska. The Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed showcases history-making cars, from Indy 500 racers to one of the world’s largest collection of exotics. Museum exhibits cover topics beyond cars, including engines, toys, pedal cars and driving safety.