7 Reasons to Ride on San Francisco Cable Cars: Trolley

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Source:Paul Sullivan
Started as long back as 1873, cable cars are one of the best and most affordable ways to get around San Francisco. Just hop on to one of these motorized cable car trolleys that will whisk you around the city and let you feel the pleasant breeze across your face. These open cars are perfect if you want to explore the city without actually having to walk around. You won’t have to deal with traffic jams and you will get to view the city in all its glory.

There are also organized tours where you can explore all the major attractions or offbeat places on a journey that can range from 45 minutes to two hours. It is advisable to book these packages in advance, as they can get a bit crowded, especially during peak season. You should try taking a day or weekly pass for these cable cars so that you can use it unlimited number of times. There is also a cable car barn and museum, which you must check out in order to get a little background on these historic cable cars. Let us see 7 reasons why you should take a ride on these fun and convenient cable cars!

1.Whisk past major attractions!


There are three routes that you can use to get to your desired destination in the city. Since these cars are open, you can also enjoy the view as you whisk past major attractions of the city and the cultural hubs. The Powell-Mason route starts at the Powell/ Market and ends at Fisherman’s Wharf. On the way, you can view Nob Hill and Bay Street. The Powell-Hyde route starts at the Powell Market as well and ends at Ghiradelli Square. On the way, you can view Nob and Russian hills and Aquatic Park. The California Street route starts from the Financial District and ends at Van Ness Avenue. On the way, you can view Chinatown and Nob Hill.

2.You are riding on a historic landmark itself


All those who have come to the city to explore some historic sites should take a ride on the cable cars, as they are historic landmarks in themselves. Andrew Hallidie invented these cable cars in 1873 after he witnessed a horrible accident where a horse-drawn streetcar was unable to handle the weight of the passengers and collapsed. The streetcars slid backwards while the five horses couldn’t take the load and died. This is when he decided to build a cable railway system that would not rely on animal labor and thus the San Francisco Cable Car system was born.

3.Get set for a fun trolley tour

Source:Matthew Black

There are also several trolley tours where you can climb aboard these cable cars and partake in a fun adventure! There are trolley tours that can take you around all the major attractions like Golden Gate Park, Little Italy, or Chinatown or just to one destination. You can try the wineries tour that takes you to all the famous wineries of the city in no time!

4.Get clicked here

Source:Joe Ross

You can have professional photos taken inside these trolleys, as they are the only moving historic attraction at present. Many wedding parties have chartered a ride in these cable cars and got some magnificent pictures clicked inside here. You can also charter an entire cable car trolley and get you and your family clicked inside these cars in various different kinds of poses. You will be the envy of many when you show them these wonderful photographs.

5.An aerial view of the city


There are also motorized sky tours that give you an aerial view of the city in these cable cars. Climb aboard one of these cable cars and be mesmerized by the beautiful city skyline. You also get an aerial view of all major attractions like the Pier 39 @ Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, Lombard Street, Union Square, the Painted Ladies at Alamo Square and the Palace of Fine Arts. You can book these tours online and they run all year round. They generally start from around 10 in the morning.

6.Peek into the workings of the cable car


Source:Yves Remedios

You can even learn how these cable cars are made and how they function at the Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse located at Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse 1201 Mason Street San Francisco, CA 94108 (corner of Mason and Washington Sts. The sheave room area will let you view where the cable cars enter and leave the buildings from and you can also watch all the machinery from an elevated gallery. Go ahead, learn more about these historic cars before taking a ride on them. This Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse is open: April 1st – September 30th 10AM – 6PM October 1st – March 31st 10AM – 5PM.

7.Take a walk down memory lane

Source:Dennis Jarvis

You should also pay a visit to the Cable Car Museum where you can delve into the past of these cars and understand their significance as well as how they have evolved. There are three antique trains from the 1870s you will come across here that includes the Clay Street Hill Railroad No. 8 grip car, The Sutter Street Railway No. 46 grip car, and the No. 54 trailer. You can sort through some historic photographs or even pick up some memorabilia, clothing, and cable car bells as well!


  • Name: San Francisco Cable Cars
  • Mail id: comments@sfcablecar.com
  • Price: Adult & Youth (ages 5-17): $5.00 each way.
    • Senior (ages 65+) & Disabled: $5.00 each way ($1.00 9pm-7am).
  • Passes:
    • Passports allow riding on cable cars.
    • One Day: $13.00.
    • Three Days: $20.00.
    • Seven Days: $26.00.
  • Fast Passes: Monthly unlimited riding for cable cars
    • Adult (ages 18-64): $60.00.
    • Youth (ages 5-17): $15.00.
    • Senior (ages 65+) and Disabled: $15.00.
  • Free for children under the age of 4 years
  • Information all the stops: https://www.sfmta.com/
  • Website: http://www.sfcablecar.com/

Have a good trip and travel!

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North America, San Francisco County, State of California, U.S.A.