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Cable Cars

The cable cars have made its mark on not just the city, but pop culture as well. Learn how to get there, the surrounding neighborhoods, fun facts and famous movies they make a cameo in.

San Francisco is one of the few places in the world where people can ride on a national historic landmark. The cable cars are the world's last permanently operational manually operated cable car system, in the U.S. sense of a tramway whose cars are pulled along by cables embedded in the street.

Ever ride a national landmark? It's being done every day in San Francisco. The City's right-out-of-the-Smithsonian cable cars were named a national historic landmark in 1964. Refurbished and equipped with new tracks, cables, turnarounds and cable propulsion machinery, they operate much as they did on Aug. 2, 1873 when Andrew S. Hallidie guided the first car down the Clay Street grade.

General Visitor Info

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) runs three cable car lines. These historic vehicles are not self-powered; rather they move using a mechanism that grips cables that run beneath San Francisco's streets.

The three cable lines are:

Powell-Hyde
Powell-Mason
California Street

How to Get There

Multiple Muni, bus and BART lines intersect with the cable car lines.

For information, routes and schedules, please visit the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency or call 415-673-6864. Please visit BART for information on their lines

Surrounding Neighborhoods

North Beach
Fisherman's Wharf
Union Square
Nob Hill

Get more information on the neighborhoods here.

Did You Know?

  • 9.7 million people take a nine-mile per hour ride on them each year.
  • Building a cable car is an exacting art that takes several dozen craftsmen 18 to 24 months to complete.
  • Streetcars are different from cable cars
  • The war opened up cable car jobs for African-Americans and women. Maya Angelou was a cable car conductor.
  • Muni holds a cable car ringing competition every year.

Movies that included the cable cars:

  • The Rock (1996)
  • Memiors of an Invisible Man (1992)
  • Foul Play (1978) 
  • In Harm's Way (1965)
  • The Birds (1963)

Buy a Cable Car Pass from CityPASS