National Museum of Making Music


Location: Carlsbad (32 Miles / 35 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 5PM (Closed on Mondays)

Cost: $7 ($5 for Students 4 – 18 and Seniors 60+)

Features: History of Music; Huge Collection of Musical Instruments; Music Exhibitions and Events

music-museumHighlights for the Museum of Making Music: Henry Steinway, of Steinway & Sons piano company fame, was the founding president of the Museum of Making Music. The Museum is located in the headquarters of the International Music Products Association (also known as NAMM). This music museum houses over 450 musical instruments, separated into rooms representing various time periods in music history. The displays explain the development of new music genres with each passing generation.

The Museum of Making Music has a number of historically important pieces and unique instruments that have been donated by its association members, the makers of musical instruments. As a result, this Museum is able to present one of the most diverse displays of musical instruments in the world.

The Museum brings life to the history of music by adding videos that further describe special exhibits, music boxes that play tunes from musicians of different eras, and a room where you can play different musical instruments.

What to Expect

  • Tours of the Museum are generally provided free of charge on Saturdays at 2:30PM.
  • Plan on spending up to two hours exploring the Museum.
  • If you have children, ask for the children’s guide, which encourages kids to find answers to questions on the history of music as they walk around the collections.

Current Exhibition – In addition to its permanent displays, the Museum hosts temporary exhibitions. Exhibitions typically run 3 – 6 months and have included “The Violin in America” and “That Beatles Sound”.

Interactive Exhibits – Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pick up a real electric guitar, strum a banjo, or play drums? The Museum offers you that opportunity with over a dozen instruments in their interactive room.

Music Events – The Museum sponsors a number of music related events including concerts, lectures, and lessons, such as learning how to groove on a drum set.

Location / Food – The Museum is located on the east side of Armada Drive. The west side of Armada Drive provides great views overlooking the Carlsbad Flower Fields (spring only), Carlsbad, and the Pacific Ocean. After taking in the views, you can find a number of restaurants in the Carlsbad Premium Outlets, which is on the opposite side of the Carlsbad Flower Fields on Paseo del Norte. You will also find a number of restaurants near the intersection of Palomar Airport Road and Paseo del Norte.

Information on Visiting the Museum of Making Music

Admission Costs: (Costs are Approximate)

  • Parking is Free
  • $7 for Adults
  • $5 for Kids Ages 4 – 18, Seniors 60 years and over, and Active Military with I.D.

Directions from Google Maps to 5790 Armada Drive in Carlsbad, CA 92008. (The Museum is located in an upscale business park. The parking lot and main entrance for the Museum are on the opposite side of the building that faces Armada Drive. Look for building signs with NAMM as well as the Museum of Making Music.)

Traffic – Traffic is relatively light during the Museum’s normal hours. Those visiting on weekends during the summer may encounter some delays heading south on highway I-5 after leaving the Museum. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)

Transit – Buses leaving the Carlsbad Village Coaster train station go within a quarter mile walk of the Museum. However, Coaster train service is very limited on weekends. (See San Diego Transit Information for the train and bus schedules and information for the online Transit Planner.)

Related Attraction – You may also be interested in touring the Taylor Guitars Factory, which is known for producing the best acoustical guitars in the world. It is located east of downtown San Diego.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: *Top San Diego Museums*, Music Attractions, North County Coastal, Nostalgia & Western Frontier, Scenic Views |

2 Responses to “National Museum of Making Music”

  1. The Best Places in San Diego says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve never been to South Dakota but I’ll definitely make a point to visit the National Music Museum when I go.

    The Museum of Making Music is short and sweet. It gives a really nice tour through the history of music with a number of notable musical instruments donated by manufacturers as well as provide an interactive area where you can play a number of instruments.

    And yes, visitors to this museum get to enjoy an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean from a park across the street. It’ll inspire music in the soul!

  2. Curious says:

    “This music museum houses over 450 musical instruments, separated into rooms representing various time periods in music history.” Hmm! That’s nice, but the National Music Museum in Vermillion SD has nearly 14,000 instruments! But then, that’s Vermillion (where’s that, you ask?), not San Diego. Incidentally, I don’t live anywhere near either location. (I’m in the Southeast.)

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