This San Francisco treat may not be the warmest ride in town, but it sure does beat cramming into a packed BART train. The three lines—Powell, Hyde and California Street—boast wonderful picture opportunities and deliverance to some of San Francisco’s most frequented sites (Grace Cathedral, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ferry Building, Union Square).
Most of the time the line for the Powell/Hyde line sinews for what seems like an eternity, so prepare to wait (and be “entertained” by a fair amount of street performers). The conductors actually save a bit of space for folks hopping on farther up the line, so consider hitching a ride from Chinatown.
Unless you are aiming to go to Fisherman’s Wharf, try riding the California line instead (conveniently located near the Ferry Building). Besides an epic uphill climb with views galore, you won’t have to wait as long in either direction.
To get to Fisherman’s Wharf, note that the Hyde Street line deposits you a decent walk away from Pier 39 — though it is across the street from the historic Hyde Street Pier (and some delicious Irish Coffee, mom and dad).
If you plan to use the cable car as your main mode of transport for a week or so, then buy a pass at the Powell Street station. FYI: Little kids are not allowed to stand outside and hold on.
Muni/BART: Powell or Embarcadero.