"Cable Cars" San Francisco Transportation Tip by sue_stone
San Francisco Transportation: 639 reviews and 825 photos
I must confess that one of things I was looking forward to the most before visiting San Francisco was seeing and riding on the city's iconic cable cars. And they lived up to expectations! The cable cars date back to 1873, when they began to replace horse-drawn streetcars, and they still look today as they did back then.
There are three cable car lines, and the cars run from around 6am until 12.30am each day. It is not the most convenient method of transport as it covers a rather limited area, and sometimes the cars are so full that you can't get on. If you want to board at one of the 'turnarounds' - the end/start of the line where the cable car is literally turned around - you may be in for a long wait. Some of the queues we saw at either end of the Powell-Mason route would have meant a wait of over an hour had we joined the throng.
We had more luck jumping on mid-route, and in the numerous time we rode the cards we got to sit both in and outside, and also got to hang off the side when the car was almost full. Good fun : )
Tickets can be bought at ticket machines at the turnarounds, or from the conductor onboard. There are also travel card options available (see separate tip).
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