Gene therapy for motor neuron diseases requires efficient gene delivery to motor neurons (MNs) throughout the spinal cord and brainstem. The present study compared adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector serotypes 1, 6, 8, and 9 for spinal cord delivery in adult mice, by the intraparenchymal or intrathecal route of administration. Whereas intraparenchymal injections resulted in local transduction of the lumbar segment of the spinal cord, intrathecal injections led to a broader distribution, transducing cells along the sacral, lumbar, and lower thoracic spinal cord. Overall, AAV6 and AAV9 performed better than the other serotypes. Dramatic differences in cell-specific expression patterns could be observed when constructs bearing the chicken β-actin (Cba) versus cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter were compared. In summary, intrathecal delivery of AAV6 or AAV9 vectors containing the CMV promoter yielded the strongest levels of biodistribution and MN transduction in the spinal cord.