There’s something very gorgeous about a cable car ride in San Fran.

Yes it’s touristy. But it’s also super fun.  

The cars are classic and pretty. Full of historic charm. And they go surprisingly fast.

A ride on one will get you a good look at some of the beautiful, colourful San Fran architecture. And you’ll finish up right near the bay (and dangerously close, in fact, to an In-N-Out Burger).

Here’s the start of the line at the Market Street Turntable –


If you’re in town visiting and staying near Fisherman’s Wharf, the cable cars are a great way to get back to your accommodation from a shopping trip at the Union Square, Market Street and Powell Street shops.

What’s not to love?

Here we are at the start of the Powell-Mason line.


We are SO READY 

Now I should warn you. There will be a line. And it will probably be quite long.

But don’t be put off. We cleared it faster than the line at the closest Sephora (which is a killer – the Powell Street Sephora should be avoided at ALL TIMES).

It’s said the idea for the cable cars came from a horrible horse and carriage accident on the steep San Fran hills.


They sure are steep.

The system was up and running by 1873 and at their peak there were 23 lines criss-crossing the city. Now just 3 operating lines remain.

But they are a nice 3. I mean seriously, look at this pretty scene –


So, you’re thinking – sure this looks nice, but how fast do they go? Well, they do reach an impressive and fun speed, especially when heading downhill.

And you can hang off the sides to your heart’s content. Which we loved.


And so did this guy! Who is he?

Heading towards the end of the line, the bay starts to come into view.


You’ll also get the chance to see some great San Fran architecture along the way.

I’m pretty sure these row-houses are in the bay-window italianate style.


I see two pink houses, with potential bay views – let’s pool our funds! Who’s with me?

And here we are, at the end of the line.


But don’t be sad. Everyone knows there’s only one way to end a cable car ride when you finish up near Fisherman’s Wharf.

And that my friends, is with a bite at In-N-Out burger.


For the record – the fries are just OK. The burgers? VERY GOOD.

Trip Notes:

The historic cable cars now operate on 3 routes – the The Powell-Hyde line which begins at Market Street and stops near Ghiradelli Square, the Powell-Mason Line which starts at Market Street and ends at Bay Street in Fisherman’s Wharf and the California Street Line which will get you to the financial district. These really are handy routes to get across town.

A single ride costs $7 and you can pay on-board with cash. Want some more info? Well, because you asked so nicely – here you go.

And make sure you keep your eye out for all the gorgeous architecture. So good.


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