Turn Around….Time For The Cable Cars!

When you’re exploring a new city, there are lots of ways to get around.  On foot, subway, Segway and even by that ever popular double-decker bus tour.  However, when you are visiting San Franciso there’s a mode of transportation that you had better not miss, the Cable Cars.  Steeped in tradition, the Cable Cars of San Franciso are the last of the manually operated Cable Car systems in the world, and they are fascinating.

Running from 6 am until midnight every day, finding a Cable Car to ride is an easy and a practical way to get up and down the steep terrain of the City by the Bay.

What you need to know:

Each Cable Car has a Conductor who collects the fares and a “grip” man or Grip Operator who works the amazing underground cable grip or brake and the bell.

Catch your ride by waiting at one of the many stops along the lines, or at the turnaround point.

Fares are $7.00 per person and is collected once you board the car.  Exact change is appreciated. If you think you will ride more than once consider buying an all-day pass for $17.00 or a CityPass which includes rides for the duration of your booklet.

Once you’re safely on board just sit down and enjoy the show err ride.  Best seats face the outside, or if you’re feeling brave, you can stand on the running board!  If you are a standing rider, do not lean out!  If you do, you will (gruffly) be told to stop leaning!

If it’s chilly out, those seats on the inside of the Cabe Car are quite a bit warmer, but the view isn’t quite as fabulous.

The cars only hold about 65-70 people and they fill up fast.  It’s easiest to catch the Cable Car at the main turnaround, but you can get on at one of the many stops marked along the city.  Wait at the stop and be sure you are visible to the Grip Operator.  Give him a wave and if the cars aren’t’ full they will stop to let you on.

Cable Cars stop every 10-15 minutes.

Something to see if you have the time; the cable car turnaround.  The turnaround is located at the intersection of Powell and Market Street near Union Square.  They turn these Cable Cars by hand!

Cheesy, iconic and dare I say romantic?  Riding a Cable Car while in San Francisco is must do.


  1. Laurie P says:

    I would be able to leave until I got to ride on a cable car!

  2. Stephanie LaPlante says:

    I’ve never seen one in person. They look awesome and so much fun. I’d be the weirdo screaming WEEEE!

  3. Melinda Jana says:

    we really enjoyed taking the cable cars. great views, plus experience what it was like riding a public transit from years ago

  4. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    ” If you are a standing rider, do not lean out! If you do, you will (gruffly) be told to stop leaning!” and you know this because you were the one who was caught? LOL

  5. Looks neat! My son would love to experience a cable car ride, and see it turnaround too!

  6. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    What a view that photo shows, marvellous. 🙂

  7. Florence Cochrane says:

    Great way to see more of the city unlike subways.

  8. HEIDI C. says:

    I loved traveling through San Francisco on the cable cars. We always took the chance to hang on the sides!

  9. Julie F says:

    San Francisco always looks amazing and is on my bucket list

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