Cable cars have become a popular mode of transportation and a tourist attraction in San Francisco. These cars are part of the city's rich history and culture, and riding on them is a must-try experience for any visitor. The cable cars of San Francisco are unique, as they are the only ones still in operation in the world.

Know before you go:

The cable cars run on three lines: Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde, and California Street. Each line has its route and takes tourists to different parts of the city. The Powell-Mason line goes from Fisherman's Wharf to Market Street, passing by the Cable Car Museum, Nob Hill, and the Financial District. The Powell-Hyde line, for example, goes from Fisherman's Wharf to Union Square, passing through Lombard Street, Chinatown, and North Beach. The California Street line goes from the Financial District to Van Ness Avenue, passing by Chinatown, Nob Hill, and Pacific Heights.

One of the benefits of riding the cable car is the convenience it offers. It stops at busy locations such as Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and Chinatown, making it easy for tourists to explore the city's most popular attractions. The cable car also stops near famous landmarks like Lombard Street, the twists and turns of which can be seen down the hill from the cable car.

The cable cars of San Francisco have become a symbol of the city's culture and history. They have been featured in Hollywood movies, and their images have been printed on postcards and souvenirs. With their iconic sound and appearance, they are a must-try experience for tourists visiting San Francisco. They are so popular that getting a seat on one can be an adventure in itself.

Experience something new in San Francisco:

Riding on a cable car is an indulgent treat for tourists. The cars are restored to their original design and offer a glimpse of the past, with their wooden seats and brass fittings. The conductors are knowledgeable about each line's history and share interesting facts and stories with the passengers. Tourists get a unique view of the city from the cable car, as they ride on rails up and down steep hills, passing by some of San Francisco's iconic landmarks.

A ride on a cable car is not just a mode of transportation; it is an experience that should be on every tourist's bucket list. It's an opportunity not just to see the city's famous landmarks but also to be part of its history and its culture. The cable cars of San Francisco offer tourists an unforgettable journey that is worth taking.

San Francisco Cable Car Guide: Navigating the City's Iconic Transportation

The San Francisco cable car system dates back to the 19th century and is the last manually operated cable car system in the world. It was originally developed as a solution to the city's steep hills, providing a reliable mode of transportation for residents. Today, the cable cars are both a functional means of getting around and a beloved tourist attraction that showcases San Francisco's rich history.

Fares and Payment Options - To ride the San Francisco cable cars, you need to pay a fare. As of 2023, the fare for a single ride is $8 for adults and $4 for children aged 5-17, with children under 5 riding for free. Keep in mind that exact change is required when paying cash, as the conductors do not provide change. Alternatively, you can purchase a MuniMobile ticket or use a Clipper card, which are accepted on the cable cars as well as other forms of public transportation in the city.

Tips for Riding the Cable Cars

  • Be prepared for lines: Cable cars can get crowded, especially during peak times. Be prepared for lines at popular boarding locations and allow extra time for waiting.
  • Choose the right time: If possible, avoid riding during rush hours when the cable cars can be more crowded. Consider riding earlier in the morning or later in the evening for a more relaxed experience.
  • Board at the ends of the line: If you want a better chance of securing a seat, try boarding the cable car at the end of the line, as they are less likely to be full.
  • Hold on tight: When riding the cable cars, hold on to the poles or straps inside the car for stability. The rides can be bumpy, especially when going up and down the hills of San Francisco.
  • Enjoy the views: Don't forget to take in the stunning views as you ride the cable cars. Keep your camera ready to capture the iconic San Francisco skyline, the Bay, and the charming neighborhoods.


The San Francisco Cable Car Guide provides you with everything you need to know to navigate the city's iconic cable car system. From the history of the cable cars to the various routes, fares, attractions, and helpful tips, this guide ensures that you have a memorable and enjoyable experience riding the cable cars of San Francisco. So grab your fare, hop on board, and embark on a charming and historic journey through the vibrant streets of the city.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What are the cable cars in San Francisco?

A: Cable cars are a unique form of transportation in San Francisco that run on tracks and are moved by an underground cable. They are a popular tourist attraction and a part of the city's history.

Q. How many cable car lines are there in San Francisco?

A: There are three cable car lines in San Francisco: the Powell-Mason line, the Powell-Hyde line, and the California Street line.

Q. How much does it cost to ride a cable car in San Francisco?

A: As of 2023, it costs $8 per ride to ride a cable car in San Francisco. However, there are also various passes and discounts available.

Q. Where do the cable cars go in San Francisco?

A: The cable cars in San Francisco run along specific routes, including popular tourist destinations such as Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, and Chinatown.

Q. How long has the cable car system been in operation in San Francisco?

A: The cable car system in San Francisco has been in operation since 1873 and has since become a beloved symbol of the city.

Q. Are cable cars the only form of public transportation in San Francisco?

A: No, San Francisco has a comprehensive public transportation system that includes buses, light rail trains, and the famous cable cars. The cable cars are a unique and historic mode of transportation that offer a memorable experience.

Q. Can I use my Clipper card or MuniMobile ticket on the cable cars?

A: Yes, Clipper cards and MuniMobile tickets are accepted on the cable cars, as well as on other forms of public transportation in San Francisco. Just remember to tag your card or activate your ticket when boarding.

Q. Can I bring luggage or strollers on the cable cars?

A: Yes, you can bring small luggage or strollers on the cable cars, but keep in mind that space is limited. Be considerate of other passengers and ensure that your belongings do not obstruct the aisles or create safety hazards.

Q. Do the cable cars run on a schedule?

A: Cable cars operate approximately every 10-15 minutes, but they do not adhere to a strict schedule. The frequency of service can vary depending on factors like traffic conditions and maintenance needs.

Q. Are the cable cars accessible for people with disabilities?

A: While the historic cable cars themselves are not accessible for individuals with mobility challenges, San Francisco offers accessible bus services as part of its public transportation system to accommodate all passengers.

  • imageDuration Required
    30 minutes

Address of Cable Cars

Powell-Hyde Cable Car, San Francisco, CA 94109, United States

Opening & Closing time of Cable Cars

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday

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