Cable Cars, San Francisco

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 112 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • packed cable car
    packed cable car
    by mindcrime
  • cable car at Powel street
    cable car at Powel street
    by mindcrime
  • Cable Cars
    by TexasDave
  • painterdave's Profile Photo

    Cable Car Fun

    by painterdave Updated Jun 18, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    That's me ready to ride California Cable Car
    1 more image

    Most tourists know of the one cable car line called Powell Street. It goes from Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf. However, there is an easier line to use, mostly without lines of tourists. The California Street line starts at Market and California streets and goes up and over the hill. The Bart station nearby is Embarcadero.
    Best bet is to take this line and get off at the top of the hill, transfer over to the Powell Street line and go on down to Fisherman's Wharf. You have to be a little aggressive to squeeze on, but just be polite and go for it. Be sure and keep your paper ticket for your transfer.
    There are two workers on the cable car, the brakeman--cable grabbing person, and the person who gets your cash.
    Try to board the front where the seats are outside. You can also stand and hang onto a post. One caution--when you go by the other cars going in the other direction, watch out for your possible rear end collision. :-)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • K.Knight's Profile Photo

    San Francisco Cable Car

    by K.Knight Written Jul 20, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Great view of the Bay

    Take the Cable Car from Fishermans Wharf to the city.
    The Powell-Mason line begins at Bay Street at Fisherman's Wharf , and the line runs from there up and over Nob Hill and down to the Powell/ Market turntable.

    Tickets can be purchased at turnarounds or from the conductor as you board.
    COST.....$3.00 each way per adult or $9.00 for an all day pass

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    CABLE CARS

    by LoriPori Updated Nov 15, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cable Car

    The CABLE CAR was introduced to San Francisco on August 2, 1873 and the idea was conceived by wire-cable manufacturer Andrew Hallidie.
    The first cable car to descend down Clay Street on Nob Hill was an immediate success. Besides creating a vital link in San Francisco's public transportation system, the cable car opened the door for buildings on steep hills, which until this time was thought to be impossible.
    San Francisco's beloved cable cars are the only vehicles of their kind still in operation.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Andraf's Profile Photo

    Cable Cars Barn and Museum

    by Andraf Updated May 18, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cable Car Barn, San Francisco
    4 more images

    The massive brick building located at the junction of Mason and Washington Streets is San Francisco's only surviving cable car barn. Although the building's main function is as a powerhouse and barn, it also houses a small museum which offers insight into the inner workings of the cable car system as well as historical tidbits regarding cable cars. On the upper level there is a balcony which offers a view of the huge wheels over which the continuous loops of cables are revolving. It's quite an impressive sight, especially when you realize that the entire cable car system is run from here (the signs above the huge wheels read "California" "Mason" "Hyde" "Powel", the only remaining cable car lines). The museum's exhibits include the Car No 8, the only survivor of San Francisco's first cable car line, which began operation in 1873. The museum also includes explanatory displays, historical tools and photos. Downstairs you can take another look at the "sheave" (wheel) room where the thick steel cables enter the building before being routed up to the main sheaves.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • tere1's Profile Photo

    San Francisco cable cars

    by tere1 Written Aug 1, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    San Francisco cable car
    1 more image

    The cable cars are very typical in San Francisco and a nice and inexpensive way of seing the city. You can go almost everywhere in San Francisco on them.

    There are three lines, the Powell-Mason and the Powell-Hyde , which end both near Fisherman's Wharf, though in different areas, and the California Street line that runs from the Financial district through Chinatown.

    A ticket costs $3.00 each way while there are whole day passes for $9.00 or 3 day passes for $15.00.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    cable cars and historic trolleys

    by mindcrime Written Jan 20, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    cable car at California street
    4 more images

    Cable cars are icons of San Francisco, and one of the main reasons I visited the city anyway! It was great to see them and but also to ride some of them along the hills. The first ones operated at the end of 19th century at the top of Nob Hill. Although, they are slow, small and noisy and definitely less reliable there are still three routes that run in the SF. The most famous spot among the tourists is definitely at the corner Market and Powell streets. It’s the place where you can watch the cable car turntable. Two routes start from here (Powell>Mason and Powell>Hyde) but they are always packed with tourists, take a ride and enjoy some hair raising turns. We enjoyed much more the one at California Street that runs through Nob Hill just because it is used mainly from locals (you don’t see that much though and there aren’t any turns to get excited with).

    The single ticket costs $5 and can can be purchased at turnarounds or from the conductor as you board. I think the price is extremely high but we didn’t pay anything because we used the CityPass. The cable car can be almost empty (pic 3) in California line (pic 1) or fully packed in Powel lines (pic 2) with people standing on the door (pic 4)

    Don’t miss also some light rail cars, the historic trolleys (pic 5), especially the F line, it is slow and packed with passengers but it’s worth to do the ride just once and see the picturesque itinerary. It’s a great way to approach Fisherman Wharf , going down the Market street turn left at the Embarcadero till it reach the Fisherman’s Wharf. These vintage cars are very old but it’s worth to see one, especially those with the wooden interior, the ticket is the normal one you use for buses anyway.

    Was this review helpful?

  • leeludalas's Profile Photo

    Ride the Trolley!

    by leeludalas Written Mar 2, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    San Francisco Cable Car

    It's easy to find a cable car in Union Square. From there, you can take a ride down to Ghiradelli Square/Fisherman's Wharf area. On the way you will pass the ever winding Lombard Street. Fares are $2.50/adult one way. You can purchase a ticket once you board, or by walking down to the end of the trolley line where they turn round. It's usually easier to board a block or two up from the original boarding site, as it's less of a wait.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    Riding the Cable Car in San Francisco

    by SLLiew Written Aug 28, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is the fun thing to do in downtown San Francisco - hop on the Cable Car and going downhill towards Fisherman's Wharf.

    I recommend the ride from Stocton Station at China Town down to Hyde Station at Beach Street, Fistherman's wharf.

    There are 3 major cable car lines
    1) Powell-Hyde Line
    2) Powell Mason Line
    3) California Street Line

    So hope on and hope off the cable car like in the movies and television dramas. You can hear the bell ringing as the cable car has the right of way.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Lhenne1's Profile Photo

    Free Ride

    by Lhenne1 Written Nov 9, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Give walking those hills a rest and hop on a cable car. The trick? Don't get on at one of the ends, hop on at a stop on one of the streets along the route. The tickets usually cost $3-$5 and can be bought onboard, but our conductors didn't care and told us and other riders not to worry about paying. I don't know if this is a regular occurance, but give it a try and see if it works for you.

    We got on at Lombard St and rode through China Town and the Italian District before stopping at the end of the line downtown. We got to see a lot of the downtown area in about fifteen minutes.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Andraf's Profile Photo

    Cable Cars

    by Andraf Updated Aug 27, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cable Car, San Francisco
    4 more images

    Cable cars are considered one of the San Francisco signatures. This public transportation system was invented in 1873 and was designed to deal with the city's steep slopes. Presently there's only three lines left (Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde, and California Street). The concept is quite simple. Under the city streets there's looped cable which is powered from the central powerhouse. When the cable car gripman operates the handle the grip grabs the cable and the cable car is pulled along by the moving cable. Hop in and enjoy the ride.

    Was this review helpful?

  • wadekorzan's Profile Photo

    You must ride a cable car!

    by wadekorzan Written Jan 24, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    SF Cable Car

    The San Francisco Cable Car is the only moving National Landmark in the United States. It is not just a way to get around the city, it is a unique experience. The men that work the cable cars have quite a personality and the views you get while riding the cable car are simply fantastic.

    Absolutely everything you would like to know about the San Francisco Cable Cars can be found at the incredible website www.sfcablecar.com...but before you go to the website, a couple if tips that might help:

    1. Lines at the end stations can become extremely long, especially for the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde Routes. If this is the case, you may want to try getting on at a stop a little further on. The risk there, however, is that there may not be room to get on.

    2. Usually less people ride the California street line and lines are shorter if there is one at all. Going on this line from Van Ness Avenue and California is great, because once you go up and over Nob Hill, going down the other side is incredible!

    3. I highly recommend to visit Lombard Street, the windiest street in the world, while you are in San Francisco. The best way to see it is on foot, though of course it is fun to drive as well. If you want to avoid walking all the way to the top, which is rather steep, take the cable car line Powell-Hyde and get off at the top of Lombard Street. You can then enjoy the walk down and from the bottom you can easily make it to North Beach or Fisherman's Wharf by foot.

    Click here to go the great SF Cable Car website.

    There is also the Cable Car Museum, which is very interesting to visit if you want to learn more about the history and development of this great mode of transportation. Click here to go to the San Francisco Cable Car Museum website.

    If you want to more about cable cars around the world, check Joe Thompson's website.

    Was this review helpful?

  • MarvintheMartian's Profile Photo

    The Cable Car experience is a must for any visitor

    by MarvintheMartian Written Aug 29, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just swinging it around for you

    A good place to start your journey is on the corner of Market Street and Powell Street.
    This is where the cable car is turned around.

    It gets quite busy here so get in early!

    The cable car can take you to various parts of the city - I got off at the top of Lombard Street.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • isolina_it's Profile Photo

    Cable cars

    by isolina_it Written Sep 1, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Very funny to see passing by but, for my experience, how hard to get in. I couldnt do it, everytime to much to wait for the queue and, the only chance i got to at a intermediate stop, the cable car passed by being already ``full``. Well, next time!

    Was this review helpful?

  • shdw100's Profile Photo

    Cable cars

    by shdw100 Written Aug 21, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You cannot visit here without taking a cable car ride up and down the hills. There are not too many of them that run now, but the ones that do are cool. The conductors are fun to watch, as it is definately an art to be able to drive one. Riding one also gives you a good view of city life, shops and the feel for the city! Notice in the picture that all the cars are parked toward the curb, not sideways as it's too steep. The picture is taken looking towards Alcatraz

    Was this review helpful?

  • geeyook's Profile Photo

    San Francisco's Historic Cable Cars

    by geeyook Updated Jul 28, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    California Street Cable Car

    A trip to San Francisco is not complete without a ride on one of San Francisco's legendary cable cars. There are 3 cable car lines. The Powell-Mason (Market St./Powell to Fisherman's Wharf), Powell-Hyde (Market St./Powell to Aquatic Park) and California Street line (Market St./California to Van Ness/California. The best lines to ride are the Powell-Mason or Powell-Hyde. These lines are longer, curve through neighborhoods and terminate at either Fisherman's Warf or Aquatic Park. The California Street line is shorter, has no curves and runs in a straight line up the California Street hill.
    Fares are $3.00 each way.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: San Francisco

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

85 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Cable Cars
4.5 out of 5 stars
2912 Opinions
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
411 Opinions
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
531 Opinions
0.1 miles away
Show Prices

View all San Francisco hotels