Running every day, cable cars are a great way to get a feel for San Francisco and enjoy amazing views, from the Bay to the Bay Bridge. They're also an ideal mode of transportation. There's a cable car stop near Union Square at Powell and Market Streets, just a short two-block walk from the Hotel Nikko. That line will take you to Fisherman's Wharf. There's also a line that runs from the Financial District to Van Ness Avenue along California Street.
Cable cars operate every day of the week from 6:00 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. Time tables are available at http://www.sfmta.com.
Regular tickets are $6.00 each way for adults and youth, ages 5-17. Children under five are free. Seniors (65+), disabled riders, and Medicare card holders pay $3.00 before 7:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m.
Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest
Do’s & Don’ts
Yes, there is cable car etiquette. Before boarding, you need to wait for the car to stop completely. Since cable cars are open on both sides, you can enter on either side, as long as there’s enough room. If there are no seats on the inside, feel free to grab on to the poles on the outside of the car. Make sure to stay as close to the car as possible as objects are definitely closer than they appear.
You can pick up a cable car at Powell and Market Streets near Union Square, at Hyde Street near Ghirardelli Square, at Mason Street near Fisherman’s Wharf, at the Embarcadero, and at Van Ness Avenue.
What are the cable car routes?
There are three San Francisco cable car routes. Both the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines leave from Powell and Market Streets en route to Fisherman’s Wharf. The Powell-Mason line ends up at one end of Fisherman’s Wharf and the Powell-Hyde line finishes its route at a little further west near Ghirardelli Square. The California Street line runs, not surprisingly, along California Street from the Embarcadero to Van Ness Avenue, passing Chinatown and the Nob Hill mansions along the way.
Can I visit the Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse?
You sure can. The historic Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse is where you’ll get an up-close-and-personal look at how cable cars operate. You’ll see the actual cable winding machinery along with the path of the cable that enters the building and leaves underneath the street. Mechanical devices like brake mechanisms and grips are all on display.