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Riding a Cable Car

San Francisco
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Who Likes This Place?

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  • 98%
    Family Travelers
  • 76%
    Local Culture
  • 65%
    Budget Travelers
  • 64%
    History Buffs
  • 56%
    Adventure Travelers
  • 55%
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • 55%
    Art & Design Lovers
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Member Reviews (201)Write a review

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  • Riding a Cable CarPro 2014
    Leigh Virkus
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Luxury Travelers
    5 Aug 19, 2013

    "To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars"...Cable cars are an important part of San Francisco ambiance, whether or not you choose to take a ride. However, you have to ride a cable car at least once! For an added experience, ride on a chilly night and breathe that crisp San Francisco air.

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  • Riding a Cable CarPro 2014
    Travis Katz
    Member of
    Business Travelers
    Family Travelers
    Foodies
    Nightlife Lovers
    5 Aug 12, 2013

    Better than starring in your own Rice-a-roni commercial! These cable cars are a really fun way to see the city and tackle some of the biggest hills! Get a spot hanging off the side for the best views.

    Recommended for:Family Travelers
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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Connie Pistilli
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Foodies
    + 5
    • Luxury Travelers
    • Adventure Travelers
    • Nightlife Lovers
    • Trendsters
    • Art & Design Lovers
    4 Aug 07, 2013

    Skip the Powell Street cable car down to Fisherman's Wharf or Ghirardelli Square, and avoid the long waits for the overly touristy destinations. Instead, take the California Street cable car. You can hop on with ease at the stop near the Ferry Building and ride through the Financial District, Chinatown, and Nob Hill to its final stop at Van Ness Ave. Then take a 15-minute walk over to Fillmore Street for lunch & boutique shopping or explore Japantown.

    Recommended for:BackpackersGreen TravelersFamily Travelers
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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Sharon K. Yapp
    Member of
    Family Travelers
    Foodies
    Wellness
    + 5
    • Vegetarian
    • Luxury Travelers
    • History Buffs
    • Nightlife Lovers
    • Trendsters
    4 Aug 01, 2013

    There's often a long line for this, but it's a pretty fun, must-go SF experience...just like in the Rice-a-Roni commercials! Live dangerously and try to get a spot standing on the perimeter of the car. Okay, it's not actually dangerous, but great for a photo opp!

    Recommended for:Local Culture
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  • Riding a Cable CarPro 2014
    Jaak Treiman
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Foodies
    + 2
    • History Buffs
    • Adventure Travelers
    5 Jun 30, 2013

    You really don't ride the cable car for efficient transportation. You ride it for the experience. From Fisherman's Wharf to Hyde and Powell you can join fellow tourists in seeing parts of San Francisco.

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Tom H
    4 Jun 28, 2013

    OK, it's cheese ball, but you HAVE to do it. Best bet is to get the one on columbus near ghiradelli square

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Leslie G
    5 Apr 25, 2013

    What better way to see SF streets than to ride the cable car? Visit Fisherman's Wharf and hop on the Hyde St Cable Car just blocks away!

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  • Riding a Cable CarPro 2014
    Eric Brink
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 6
    • Business Travelers
    • Family Travelers
    • Foodies
    • Green Travelers
    • History Buffs
    • Spiritual Seekers
    5 Apr 24, 2013

    The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last permanently operational manually operated cable car system, as a tramway whose cars are pulled along by cables embedded in the street. It is an icon in the City by the Bay, and was a key part of of my commute from the Powell Street BART Station to my former Russian Hill apartment. I would patiently wait in line, pay the fare, watch the tourists, marvel at the bell ringing and stick shift skill of the Cable Car operators, enjoy the view, get off at Swenson's, and walk down the hill with my ice cream cone in hand. I also love riding on the outside and hanging my body out. And in the morning I'd wake up and do it again. Amen!

    The Cable cars are part of the Muni system, and operate on two routes from downtown near Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf, with a third route along California Street. If you're a tourist, make sure that you pick the Hyde Street line when you hop on at Market Street. Otherwise you'll end up at the Projects at the end near Mason. If you're a Financial District type or want to go from the Ferry Building area to Chinatown or to hook up with the other lines, the California Cable Car is for you. The cable cars are also not to be confused with San Francisco's trolleys, which operate on Market Street. That's a different and cool ride in itself.

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Whitney Woodruff
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 5
    • Family Travelers
    • Foodies
    • Wellness
    • LGBT
    • Luxury Travelers
    5 Sep 11, 2013

    It was a nice ride. My mother and I rode in a cable car from our hotel to the Fisherman's Wharf and back on our first night in SF!

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Mike Pistilli
    Member of
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    Business Travelers
    + 3
    • Family Travelers
    • Foodies
    • Luxury Travelers
    4 Apr 01, 2013

    While the cable car might be one of the most iconic things in SF it isn't necessarily the most practical for getting around. A fun novelty at most but still worth riding at least once.

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Joyce Cheng
    4 Mar 13, 2013

    This was a cool experience. I wouldn't know how it would of felt if it was raining, but riding in a trolley on cables controlled by a lever, that all it does is go and stop, pretty cool. It brings us back to the 1870s for sure.

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  • Riding a Cable CarPro 2014
    Albert Qian
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Budget Travelers
    Business Travelers
    Foodies
    5 Feb 24, 2013

    The cable car is always an adventure in San Francisco. Though touristy you can always see more of the city and do it in a vehicle that defines the city as well.

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Stephanie
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Budget Travelers
    Foodies
    5 Feb 11, 2013

    No stop in San Fran is complete without taking a ride on the cable car. This is a great way to navigate the steep hills and get from Union Square to the Wharf in fun fashion. A must do if you're visiting.

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  • Riding a Cable CarPro 2014
    Alex L
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Foodies
    + 2
    • Wellness
    • Green Travelers
    5 Dec 31, 2012

    I don't care how touristy it is. I love riding cable cars. I'm surprised the overly-careful police haven't denied us this joy yet. But there's just nothing like hanging off a cable car with the smells and sounds and sights of San Francisco. Be warned: you could be waiting up to an hour at Fisherman's Wharf or Union Square. If you want the experience with out the wait, take the cable car that heads out on California St.

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Lia Rock Lantz
    3 Dec 29, 2012

    The cable car was fun. I was ready for take off or the steep hill and ended up on a stranger's lap. After that, I held on for dear life as the natives were barely hanging on. I wanted to be Mary Tyler Moore so badly. It was a fun ride and watching it turn around.

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    John H.
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 2
    • Foodies
    • Backpackers
    5 Dec 24, 2012

    Make sure to do this once in your trip to SF. It's a little kitschy and there are other ways to get from Union Square to Ghirardelli Square. But it's probably the most fun way to do it. Try to get one of the outside seats and bring a jacket. It's usually quite nippy unless you're riding in the middle of a hot summer day.

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Ronda Ussery
    5 Dec 20, 2012

    Nothing like riding a cable car, try to make it to SF in October, the weather is almost always perfect.

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Jim Barton
    Member of
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Backpackers
    5 Dec 17, 2012

    This is a must purely because if you don't go on one of these then I don't consider you really being in San Francisco. Iconic!

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Rebecca Everson
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Foodies
    Wellness
    + 4
    • Luxury Travelers
    • History Buffs
    • Trendsters
    • Art & Design Lovers
    4 Dec 13, 2012

    Of course touristy and overrated but you must try it once in a lifetime. No trip to San Francisco is complete without it.

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  • Riding a Cable Car
    Mark Lucas
    4 Nov 21, 2012

    Best not to try to get onto cable car at Powell and Market. Too long a line. Best to get on 4 to 5 blocks later.

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OverviewEdit

4.5 out of 5
201 members' reviews
2,829 people visited Riding a Cable Car

Description

San Francisco's cable cars have been running since 1873, invented to replace the horse-drawn carriage (a mode of transportation that became treacherous on San Francisco's steep hills, especially in rainy weather). Today, there are 3 main lines. Two, the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde leave from Powell & Market Streets and take different routes and finish near Fisherman's Wharf. The California Line ... read more
runs through the Financial District, through China Town and over Nob Hill to Van Ness.

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