Riding on the Powell & Hyde cable car was by far one of my favorite things we did while we were in San Francisco. You will wait in a long line to get a ride (expect at least 45-1 hour min to board the trolly), and the ride lasts about 15-20 minutes, but it is worth it! We sat in the front corner so I could stand part of the way and that was even more fun. If you are comfortable with standing, I highly recommend trying it for at least a part of the ride.
There are a few different stops that the cable cars make, and you can get on and off but you can only get back on if there is enough room on the trolly so keep that in mind.
Where does the Powell Hyde cable car start?
The Powell Hyde cable car has two different main locations that you can get on and off. One is at Fishermans Wharf, and the other is in Union Square. The one at Fisherman’s Wharf area is at the cable car turnaround at Hyde Street and Beach Street. The turnaround in Union Square is at Powell Street and Market Street. Both of these locations will be busy and take some time to get on because there is a waiting period between each car leaving. You can alternately choose to try and get on at one of the stops on the route, but it’s not guaranteed you will be able to if the car is full, and you won’t get the full experience. You do have to get off when it gets to the end – and wait in line to ride it back.
The thin yellow lines and (most) of the red markers are the cable car lines and their stops. You can see Hyde Powell go from the top left corner down to the middle bottom.
How long does it take to ride the Powell Hyde cable car?
The ride is about 17-20 mins once it starts moving. There are some fun hills you will go up and down and some turns so be careful and hold on. With wait time to board I would give yourself at least 1 hour to 1:30 min one way.
How much does it cost to ride the cable cars in San Francisco?
Fares for the Cable car are Adult & Youth (ages 5-17) $8.00 each way (as of 2022)*. There may be discounts for seniors/disabled/Medicare depending on the time you ride. You can go online and buy the tickets and this is what I recommend. If you want to ride the cable cars more than once, or will be riding other public transportation, I would recommend buying a Muni Pass – These include unlimited Muni rides and cable car rides. You can get them for $13 in the MuniMobile app. *prices are subject to change
History of the trolley cars in San Francisco:
Cable cars were invented by Andrew Smith Hallidie here in San Francisco in 1873. Hallidie’s cable car system was based on early mining conveyance systems and dominated the city’s transit scene for more than 30 years. Hallidie’s cable car system would survive the great San Francisco earthquake and fires of 1906, soldier on through two World Wars and outlast political attempts to remove the cars from city steets in the late 1940s and 1950s to become the worldwide symbol of San Francisco that it is today.https://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/muni/cable-cars/cable-car-history
I hope you have so much fun on your trip to San Francisco and enjoy your time there. It is so much fun!