14 San Diego Car & Auto Shows You Need to Visit

San Diego Car & Auto Shows: Car Meets in San Diego You Need to See

San Diego is home to more than breathtaking beaches and fabulous restaurants. People come from all around Southern California and the world to view and check out some of the raddest cars, from vintage to contemporary. Let’s explore those car shows, but first we’d like to give a shout out to SD Select, our go-to for car detailing in San Diego.

The Weekly Best Car Shows in San Diego to Visit

Read below to check out our complete guide of San Diego Car Shows hosted weekly in America’s Finest City. 

Rancho Santa Fe Cars and Coffee

Highlighting classic and vintage cars, the Rancho Santa Fe Cars and Coffee is held every Saturday from 8-11 am in the center of Rancho Santa Fe. Polish your ride, drive out to show off your classic car, or drive down and grab a bite to eat and check out all the showcase cars parked along Paseo Delicias and Avenida de Acacias. For the sports car enthusiast, rent a Ferrari and join the fun! Be sure you have comprehensive insurance first. If you need tips for renting a car in San Diego, we’ve got it covered. 

  • Held every Saturday 8-11 am
  • Free to the public
  • Address: 5978 Paseo Delicia, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Carlsbad Cars and Coffee

Come down and grab a cup of coffee and check out all the exotic, classic cars on Saturdays in Carlsbad. All makes and types are welcome at this San Diego car enthusiast’s tradition. 

  • Held every Saturday 7-9 am
  • Free to the public
  • Address: 5620 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Cruisin’ Grand Escondido

The largest San Diego car show is held in North County. The Cruisin’ Grand Escondido is held every Friday evening. Over 5000 people come to view over 500 sports cars, muscle cars, and vintage cars. This is the classic car show in San Diego for enthusiasts to check out and run from mid-April through September from 5-9 pm. 

  • Held weekly on Fridays from 5-9 pm
  • Located in historic downtown Escondido, East Grand Avenue, Escondido, CA 92027
  • Free to the public

The Best Car Shows Held Multiple Times Per Year in San Diego to Visit

Get your motors revving during these car shows in San Diego that are held multiple times throughout the year.

JBA Speed Shop Car Show

Held the second Sunday of every month, the JBA Speed Shop Car Show is the one San Diego car show where spectators can check out the vintage collectibles, as well as catch a live burnout right in the middle of the show. Located in Kearny Mesa, check out the event calendar for more information. 

  • Held 2nd Sunday of every month 530-930 am
  • Free to the public
  • Address: 5675 Kearny Villa Rd., San Diego, CA 92123

Cars, Coffee, and Doughnuts San Diego

The Cars, Coffee, and Doughnuts in Mira Mesa are the event for you for a cooler vibe. Held once a month, cruise out, grab a donut and some coffee, and enjoy all the cool cars and cooler people. Monthly themes may highlight Cadi’s, VW’s, and more. 

  • Held once a month on Sunday 7-9 am
  • Free to the public
  • 8820 Kenamar Dr., Ste 503, San Diego, CA  92121

Encinitas Classic Car Nights

Known as a sleepy surf-town, Encinitas boasts the Encinitas Classic Car Nights featuring cars of a bygone era like woodies, hot-rods, and more. Held along the 101 freeway, this is the San Diego car show for nostalgia buffs. 

  • Held 3rd Thursday of every month running May through September, 530-730 pm
  • Located at South Coast Highway 101 from D to J Street, Encinitas, CA 92024

Cajon Classic Cruise

The Cajon Classic Cruise is a weekly event for classic and specialty car enthusiasts of all ages. Held in downtown El Cajon, this event features over 400 unique cars on display and cruising through the area every Wednesday with plenty of venues, restaurants, and shopping for everyone. 

  • Held late-April through October on Wednesday nights, 5-8 pm
  • Located at the intersection of Main Street and Magnolia, El Cajon, CA 92020
  • Free to the public

The Annual Best Car Shows in San Diego to Visit

Check out these much-anticipated car shows in San Diego that are held annually.

La Jolla Concours d’Elegance

San Diego’s premier event is the La Jolla Concours d’elegance highlighting some of the most elegant cars made. From historic beauty’s like the Rolls Royce to contemporary performance like the Lamborghini, this car show is a car lover’s dream. But the event is more than just a car show, from cocktail receptions to decadent dinners. The Concours d’elegance is the car event you won’t want to miss. 

  • La Jolla Concours d’elegance is held annually, every April 
  • The 2022 dates are April 22-24
  • Address: 1133 Coast Blvd at Ellen Browning Scripps Park 

San Diego International Auto Show

The car show where cars are stars, the San Diego International Auto Show is the event for car fans everywhere. With the broadest selection of new and vintage makes and models, you need to get your San Diego car show tickets early as the event sells out fast. Held annually in late December or early January, this is the one car show in downtown San Diego that attendees come from worldwide to check out the coolest cars on the planet. 

  • Held annually in late December or early January
  • Located at the San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

Day at the Bay Car Show

Held at beautiful Embarcadero Park, the Day at the Bay Car Show is perfect for steel and ink enthusiasts. With classic cars, low-riders, and tattoo artists all in one place, the San Diego car show is a yearly event that showcases some fantastic cars and bikes from around the area. 

  • Held annually in late Summer
  • Free to the public
  • Tattoo artists and food vendors on-site
  • Address: 500 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101

Motorcars on Main Street

The San Diego car show located in the resort town of Coronado, Motorcars on Main Street, is for the vintage car lover. For over 20 years, this annual event takes place off the main street of Orange Avenue and Isabella Avenue, blocks from the iconic Hotel del Coronado. This event features beautiful, timeless rides and live music.

  • Held annually in April
  • Free to the public
  • Located at the corner of Isabella Avenue and Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

Goodguys Del Mar Nationals

The Del Mar car show in San Diego is your answer for sun, sand, and cool cars. This annual event is held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds every spring, featuring vendors, live music, indoor and outdoor exhibits, and over 3,000 classic cars.  

  • Held annually in Spring
  • Located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014

National City Automobile Heritage Day Car Show

America’s fascination with the automobile is over 100 years old. The National City Automobile Heritage Day Car Show reflects on the unique heritage and culture of the car in America. This event is held every August in National City by showcasing unique and exclusive historical and contemporary super-cars selections. 

  • Held annually, every August
  • Located at Kimball Park – East 12th Street and D Avenue, National City 91950

American Heritage Car Show

The American Heritage Car Show is the San Diego Car Show for classic car fans pre-dating 1974, from woodies to hot-rods and muscle cars. Held every May at Grape Day Park in Escondido, this event has food vendors, DJs, raffles and prizes, and more to make your day extraordinary!

  • Held annually, every May
  • Located in Grape Day Park – 321 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025

FAQs About Car Shows in San Diego

Which car shows in San Diego are free?

Finding great car shows in San Diego means you have many options. Some are free, others are low-cost, and then there are also plenty in higher price ranges. Enjoying a free one means you can save your entertainment money for something else, while still enjoying a great car show in San Diego. Here are some of the best places to see a free San Diego car show.

Benefit Classic Car Show in a Cemetery, Sunday, June 26, 8 AM: This car show is free to the public, but auto-owners will pay a fee for entering their car, and proceeds go to benefit the non-profit organization called The Garden of Innocence. Want a family-friendly car show with great country music? This car show will feature ‘The Hot Rod Trio’ Live for this amazing benefit. They’ll be playing music while attendees can check out all the amazing cars from near and far. This classic car show is a local favorite in San Diego and goes to a great cause.

All American Car Show, Saturday, July 16, 9 AM: Join car owners, car enthusiasts, and more at this local car show in San Diego. They’ll feature some of the best cars in the region. Regular admission to the event is free and organizers will give out trophies and awards.

What auto shows in San Diego do you have to pay for?

While there are great car show options for free, some of the best places to see a San Diego auto show charge an entry fee. Visiting a San Diego car show means that the best car owners come from all over to showcase their beautiful vehicles, and you get to see them. Some of the fees are as low as $5-$10 and others can get up to $30 or more per person to visit a San Diego car show. Here are some of the best paid events where you can visit a San Diego auto show.

Greatest Show on Turf Car Show!, Saturday, September 10, 9 AM, Cost: $30+: Considered one of the best car shows in San Diego, people love visiting the Greatest Show on Turf Car Show. There will be food, awards, music, and events for the kids as well. Stay at one of the best hotels in La Jolla to enjoy the region all weekend long.

Car Show at SD Bay Fair, Sunday, September 18, 10 AM, Cost: $25: Bring your car and bring your friends to a fantastic San Diego auto show. Check out all the beautiful cars, watch the boat races, and more.

San Diego’s Auto Swap and Car Show, Monday, September 5, 6 AM, Cost: $15: Another excellent San Diego auto show is coming in September. Not only can you show off your incredible vehicles, but you can also sell your car or car parts. Stay all week long to enjoy the beautiful September weather and even enjoy a little gambling at hotels with casinos in San Diego.

What are the best hotels near San Diego car shows?

Finding a great hotel near the car shows in San Diego means you can easily travel in from out of town and get a great place to stay while you’re here. There are also plenty of pet friendly hotels in San Diego that allow you to bring your family dog along for the ride. Being close to the shows means that you won’t need to contend with as much traffic on your way to the local car meets in San Diego. Ocean Beach Hotel has great views, and is near some of the auto shows in San Diego. Another great hotel is the Found Hotel in San Diego.

Final Thoughts on Car Shows in San Diego

San Diego offers a ton of things to do, and for the car enthusiast, there’s a ton of events to check out. So whether you’re looking for a San Diego Car Show at Qualcomm Stadium to the San Diego International Car Show or simply something a little more casual, there is a show for everyone to check out.

About the author: David Throop is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, fitness, and wellness with an eye toward his clients achieving their outcome objectives. When he is not being bitten on the ankles by precocious puppies and children he likes to spend his time outdoors. Additional reporting by LaJolla.com staff.

About the banner photo: A very special shout-out to Del Mar-based car enthusiast and friend Ryan W., who gave us access to his collection of car show photos, one of which we used for the banner photo in this article. He also helped us find some photos that he didn’t have. See you at the car shows, Ryan!

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