Skip to Main Content

Whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah ....whoah.
Whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah....whoah.

Pacific Bus Museum

Field review by the editors.

Fremont, California

Judging by the number of attractions devoted to cars, motorcycles, trains, and planes, Americans enjoy spending part of their vacations admiring the vehicles that got them there. But you're probably wondering "What about buses?" Don't they deserve a destination?

Families love the Pacific Bus Museum.
Families love the Pacific Bus Museum.

They do, and we're fortunate that there are at least three historical bus museums -- with nice geographic spread: Hershey, Pennsylvania; Hibbing, Minnesota; and Fremont, California. We've visited all of them!

The Pacific Bus Museum is a non-profit operation run by volunteers, a cluster of bus enthusiasts and preservationists. There are retired drivers and retired passengers who miss the smells, sounds, and feels of mass transit vehicles that once lumbered on routes in California's cities and towns. Formed in 1991, the group was fortunate in 1997 to find a long-term space in Fremont, with large garage bays and parking for buses. In 2014 they opened to the public (and continue to invite visits on the first Saturday of each month). The permanent collection includes about 20 coaches, along with many displays of signage and memorabilia.

The buses mostly range in vintage between World War II and 2000, though we saw one older and few more recent specimens. Bus restorations can take years: a 1932 Twin Coach bus that ran for decades in Oakland is an ongoing project. The bus underwent repairs to the engine and brakes. New tires were added. The interior flooring, seat frames, and cushion upholstery all required restoration or replacement. The museum is still raising funds to restore the windows and exterior.

Bus depot signage at the Pacific Bus Museum.
Bus depot signage at the Pacific Bus Museum.

Every bus is operational, if possible, although during the monthly public access day there's no guarantee that anything will be in motion. Informative signs on stanchions or taped in windows provide the nerdy arcana every true bus enthusiast craves:

"General Motors built two small parlor type models nominally seating 33 and 37 passengers respectively...their rear engines, either gas or diesel, were mounted straight in and coupled to a 4-speed manual transmission."

Duh, we knew that already, but thanks.

We happened to be in the vicinity of the Pacific Bus Museum on the one day a year (in August) when they throw open the gates to the public and also invite in other bus preservationists. Dozens of faithfully preserved or modified buses show up to join in the festivities. Visitors can climb on board and explore old school buses, Greyhound buses converted into private recreational vehicles, and various mass transit conveyances. We enjoyed the older models more than recently retired buses, but if you're feeling nostalgic for a particular eco-friendly downtown shuttle or seniors jitney, you may find a version here.

Don't leave. In the afternoon, there's a bus parade through town.

Pacific Bus Museum

37974 Shinn St, Fremont, CA
East of I-880 via 84/Thornton Ave., right on Fremont Blvd, left on Peralta (still 84) to left on Shinn St, cross RR tracks, museum on left.
Apr-Nov 1st Sa of the month, 10-2. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $5, 6-12 $3
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Niles Essanay Silent Film MuseumNiles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Fremont, CA - < 1 mi.
Mini-Forest of Crate-Bound Oak TreesMini-Forest of Crate-Bound Oak Trees, Fremont, CA - < 1 mi.
Horse-Drawn TrainHorse-Drawn Train, Fremont, CA - 4 mi.
In the region:
Mini-Pacifica Statue, Diego Rivera Mural, San Francisco, CA - 28 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in California

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in California.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Route 66 Experience: Metal Muffler Man, Springfield, Illinois (May 27-Jun 2, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings