Cable Car top

Fisherman's Wharf

Cable Cars

The cable cars are among the most famous attractions of San Francisco. We all can imagine travelers standing on the sideboards, hanging onto the railings as a car climbs the hills, with the San Francisco Bay in the background (and some of us can picture a famous Rice-a-Roni commercial with the same view). So when you visit San Francisco, how could you possibly ignore the cable cars?

Sadly, the 7,000-kg cable cars aren’t as prominent as they once were.

Andrew Hallidie, the man who came up with the cable car concept, originally created 23 lines that surrounded the city. Only 3 lines exist today.

It’s partly due to natural disasters, such as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, which destroyed more than 117 cable cars, and also due to new technologies, such as electric busses and the MUNI system, San Francisco’s main transportation system.

Cable Car in Fisherman's Wharf

The cable cars, after all, were created in 1873, so you can only expect so much shelf life. Of course, that’s one of the reasons they’re so popular.

Today, about $7 — along with a painful wait in line — will get you onto a car. At Orange Sky Adventures, we suggest you ride the trolley at non-peak hours, such as late night or early morning. You also can try a less popular line, such as the California-Van Ness track.

Cable car on Hill

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Regardless, you should hop on a cable car. It’s a mode of transportation sometimes ridiculed by locals, but it’s a rite of passage most of us go through.

Cable car down hill

How Do I Find A Cable Car?

  • You find the cable cars by roaming around and finding the tracks. Trouble is, though, most people wait in lines WAY to long for a ride. Instead, read up on San Francisco Travel Tips and do the cable cars the right way — without the lines.
  • The 3 main tracks run in two directions: Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf and back. Basically, the cable cars are here to cart tourists from Union Square (the hotels) to Fisherman’s Wharf (the attractions). The price says it all — $6 PER RIDE. One more track runs from the Financial District to Van Ness Ave. It’s rarely crowded.

Cable Car and Coit Tower

Orange Sky Co. says:

Orange Sky SF Logo

Cable cars are a rite of passage for many San Francisco travelers. The ring ring and obligatory hanging-off-the-side photos are a bucket list item for some. But the long lines — along with the price — is not. Instead, study the cable car system and you’ll have no problems with the S.F. moving landmark.

Location of the Cable Car Turnarounds