Trip Planner: USA / California / San Francisco / Cable Car Museum
A free museum, Cable Car Museum gives visitors a peek inside the history of cable cars. Several cable cars are on display, as well as a few exhibits. Be sure to check out the viewing platforms in the power station. After viewing the power station from above, descend into the cavern at the junction of Washington and Mason streets, where the cables are routed. The power station is the working hub of the cable cars and still maintains the daily runs. PutCable Car Museum into our San Francisco journey planner and find out what's close by, where to stay, and where to head next.
Tours to Cable Car Museum
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Cable Car Museum reviews
This museum is free but so much information on what goes on with the cable cars. It was educational for kids and myself. I would love to go back and study the engineering of the cable car.
This museum is free but so much information on what goes on with the cable cars. It was educational for kids and myself. I would love to go back and study the engineering of the cable car. more »
This was my first visit to the Cable Car Museum. I don't know how it took me so long to see it. We really enjoyed it. It's interesting to see the actual operations with the wheels and cables. There's.... more
This was my first visit to the Cable Car Museum. I don't know how it took me so long to see it. We really enjoyed it. It's interesting to see the actual operations with the wheels and cables. There's.... more »
Great museum showcasing the history of the cable car and mechanics behind their operation. See cable car models, machinery, and the cables entering and leaving the museum. Great for any history or...
Great museum showcasing the history of the cable car and mechanics behind their operation. See cable car models, machinery, and the cables entering and leaving the museum. Great for any history or... more »
What a treasure the Cable Car Museum is! Whether you're a tourist or a local, this is one of the best free things to do in SF. You can bop in and check it out for 10 minutes or you can spend an hour or more looking at the displays and marveling at the machinery. If you're an engineer or lover of mechanical stuff, this is the place for you. The entire museum is situated around the actual working underground cable car machinery and mechanisms. It's breathtaking to imagine how this massive system of cables and steel was built well over a century ago and is still in daily use. Make sure you go downstairs (it's easy to miss) to see all the machinery at its own level. The museum has many historic artifacts and educational signage about the cable car system, how and why it was built, and how it was saved from extinction in the 1970s by a group of passionate residents who convinced the city that cable cars weren't obsolete, but help define the SF. Take the time to watch the very dated, but still interesting video about how the cable cars were saved. (You get to sit in an antique car while watching!) The museum is run by The Friends of the Cable Car Museum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping the heritage of these rolling landmarks alive. Please consider leaving a donation in the box if you enjoyed your visit so that future generations can enjoy this experience.
Interesting to learn about the history and operations, plus engineering feats, of cable cars in San Francisco. Since this is the central operating station if all 4 SF cable car lines, it's a working "factory" complete with noise and smell (industrial oils). Quite startling to see that there is a guy seated at the center of all those massive cables. Wonder about occupational safety... Small gift shop and real cable cars for photos.
This museum is really interesting, you get to see some original cable cars aswell as the giant wheels and motors that pull the cables around the city. You don't need long here, under an hour... but it is definitely worth a visit as it's on the cable car route and has free entry. My highlight though is when you go down stairs and see the cables and pulleys under Street level, it really makes you appreciate the engineering that went into the project all those years ago and is just fascinating to see. There is a small gift shop (cash only) and restrooms are available.
A must for anyone who is a fan of history or just wanting to get the full SF experience. It was neat taking the cable car, thinking of all the different people over the decades that had been sitting there just as you were. The museum was free, and you can stroll around for as little or long as you like. The history of the original invention, the engineering and the gentleman below still working on the machinery yo this day - 👌. Only downfall is when we wanted to grab a car back to the wharf, they were all full. So husband says "it's only a few blocks." I don't care if you think it's a good idea to get your steps in, work the cannoli off from lunch, or just "see the sights" on foot. Don't do it. An hour and a half later we got back to the car with $24 in unused one-way tickets for the cable car. Everyone was silent, sweaty, hungry and ANGRY. It was a poor way to end a fun experience. But otherwise, highly recommend!... Just not with my family.
This museum houses some of the most unique historical artifacts of transportation in San Francisco. Cable cars were invented to help San Franciscans commute within the city, given the mountainous topography of the city. It tells the story of the development of the cable car transport system in SF and how it evolved over the years. You will also learn about the earthquake and fire of 1906 and how these disasters adversely impacted this iconic transport system. Admission is free and you can also buy merchandise from the gift shop. You can also ride a cable car around the city for about $8. Fun fact: San Francisco is the only city in the world where you can still ride cable cars.
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