Cable Car leaving Fisherman's Wharf

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October 14, 2019
San Francisco's Powell-Hyde Cable Car is accessible with CityPASS

Seeing San Francisco is Easy with CityPASS

Forget the stress of traffic jams, circling for spots or costly parking lots. San Francisco visitors can visit all of the city’s iconic sites using public transit and a San Francisco CityPASS ticket booklet. With unlimited rides for three days on the city’s historic cable cars, CityPASS holders can reach all of the attractions using San Francisco’s Muni system.

It’s a great deal: the CityPASS San Francisco Muni & Cable Car 3-Day Passport is valid for three consecutive days starting with the first date of use.


Cable Cars

Riding a cable car is a quintessential San Francisco experience. They were invented in 1873 to climb the city’s mighty hills. They start running at 6 a.m. and, during weekends, many cars fill up immediately at the start of the line. Knowing where to board can be key. The cable cars are pretty easy to catch coming down the hill, but there’s often a huge line at the turnaround locations to go back up. Therefore, it’s best to board at least four blocks above the turnaround.

Locals don’t often take cable cars because they cost $7 per ride and move at speeds of just under 10 mph. They also operate in a relatively small part of San Francisco with just the Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde, and California Street lines remaining. But for the rest of us (and admittedly many San Francisco residents), it’s still a thrill to hang on to the outside, or stand at the back of the cable car when it’s going up one of the city’s treacherously steep hills.


Like cable cars, San Francisco’s streetcars run on steel rails, but there’s no slot between the tracks. Instead, streetcars are propelled by on-board electric motors and require a trolley pole to draw power from an overhead wire — just like the trolley buses mentioned below. In the first half of the 20th century, streetcars quickly eclipsed cable cars and horsecars in the city. San Francisco has the world’s most diverse collection of historic streetcars in regular transit service.


Similar in appearance to diesel buses, electric trolleys are connected to overhead wires, which help provide a quieter and cleaner ride than fossil fuel-powered coaches. Trolleys can go off of the overhead line for a short distance if necessary. They also operate better on hills, travel much faster than cable cars and require far less maintenance than other forms of transit. And, because the power is generated by a local hydroelectric project, the power is almost entirely pollution free.

Muni’s stops include CityPASS attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences, Aquarium of the Bay, Exploratorium, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), and even down to PIER 39, where you can catch a Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise. Muni also shuttles riders to the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown.

With San Francisco CityPASS and Muni’s cable cars, trolley buses and historic streetcars, visitors have the entire city at their disposal - and can save 45% off adult admission.


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