Cable Car Museum
With its proximity to Nob Hill and Chinatown, the Cable Car Museum is easy to fit in during a day of sightseeing. It’s included on a few city tours but not most, so consider a private sightseeing tour that you can customize if you want to ensure a visit.
The museum is located inside the cable car barn and powerhouse, where mechanical displays, from the grips to the brakes, depict the functionality of the cars and how they manage to get up and down San Francisco’s steep hills. Windows in the museum overlook the wheels and engine that pull the cables, with a downstairs viewing area of a cable line under the street. There’s also a collection of historical photos from a time when the cable cars were one of the only ways to get around town.
Things to know before you go
- The Cable Car Museum is wheelchair accessible from the Washington Street side.
- The museum is a nonprofit organization with free admission.
- This attraction is ideal for engineering and history buffs.
How to get there
The Cable Car Museum sits at the corner of Washington and Mason streets on the northern side of Nob Hill. Both the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason cable car lines stop at the museum. The MUNI bus #1 stops a block away on Clay Street or two blocks away on Sacramento Street.
When to get there
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from late morning to early evening, with slightly shorter hours in the winter. Weekend afternoons are the busiest.
Fairmont San Francisco
Two blocks straight up the hill from the Cable Car Museum, the Fairmont San Francisco is one of the city’s favorite hotels. Opened in 1907 and listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, the Fairmont provides a taste of old San Francisco luxury, and its tiki bar, the Tonga Room, is a popular place for drinks.