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San Francisco RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Riding the San Francisco Cable Cars

By Viator, August 2017

4.5 1744 Reviews | Add your review

For a quintessential San Francisco experience, catch a ride up and down the city's hills on a classic cable car. From the views of the bay to the charming historic cars, this is one of the best ways to see the sights in SF. Here are your options.

Highlights
  • See the best of San Francisco on its most iconic form of transportation.
  • Ride the official cable car on its established routes, or take to the roads in a motorized cable car for more flexibility.
  • Many tours will combine a cable car ride with other means of transportation to cover a lot of ground while still offering the iconic cable car experience.
  • Motorized cable car tours often include commentary featuring San Francisco history and fun facts.

Independent Cable Car Rides
Three main cable car lines run through the city: California, Powell–Mason, and Powell–Hyde. Lines to purchase tickets are often long, as each car only carries about 30 passengers. Book a city tour that includes a cable car ticket so you can explore independently without having to wait in line for your ticket, or choose to ride the less crowded California line rather than the ones that run up Powell.

Sightseeing Cable Car Tours
See the city and tackle its famous hills from the comfort of a motorized cable car. You'll pass top sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, and Fisherman's Wharf with flexibility to hop on or off as you'd like. Or, choose a more structured tour with an expert guide, either a group tour or one with a private chauffeur.

Combo Tours
For extra flexibility, select a tour that combines a ride on a hop-on hop-off motorized cable car with a visit to Alcatraz. Other cable car tours also include a bike rental so you can cycle along the San Francisco waterfront and see areas unreachable by road.

Tours & Tickets

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Viator Exclusive: San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Plus Bike & Bay Cruise, San Francisco, null
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Viator Exclusive: San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Plus Bike & Bay Cruise

2.5 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better 3 Reviews

Take in the highlights of San Francisco with a mix of a hop-on hop-off tour, a bike ride, and finishing off with a Bay Cruise. This is the easiest, most ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: Varies

From USD $89.00
Viator VIP: Early Access to Alcatraz and Exclusive Cable Car Sightseeing Tour, San Francisco, ... 
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Viator VIP: Early Access to Alcatraz and Exclusive Cable Car Sightseeing Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 927 Reviews

Beat the crowds to Alcatraz and experience San Francisco aboard an authentic cable car with a modern twist. This exclusive tour puts you on one of the first ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $192.50
San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Ticket and Alcatraz Tour, San Francisco, Viator VIP Tours
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San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Ticket and Alcatraz Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 399 Reviews

Everything you'll need to see in San Francisco and at your own pace! From Alcatraz to modern San Francisco architecture, this tour covers the beauty and ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $111.50
San Francisco Experience - City Tour, San Francisco, Hop-on Hop-off Tours
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San Francisco Experience - City Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 50 Reviews

This is a one-of-a-kind premier city tour lets you travel the streets of San Francisco in style aboard our authentic Classic Cable Car that lets you disembark ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $75.00
San Francisco Holiday Nights and Sights, San Francisco, City Tours
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San Francisco Holiday Nights and Sights

3 star rating: Worth doing 4 Reviews

Celebrate the holidays in San Francisco on a holiday nights and sights tour by refurbished cable car! Aboard one of San Francisco’s famous cable cars, which ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 80 minutes (approx.)

From USD $39.00
San Francisco CityPASS, San Francisco, Christmas
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San Francisco CityPASS

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 361 Reviews

For the best deal in San Francisco, go for the CityPASS! Your pass to the City by the Bay includes tickets to world-renowned attractions, discounts and ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: Flexible

From USD $89.00
San Francisco Private Sightseeing Tour, San Francisco, Sightseeing & City Passes
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San Francisco Private Sightseeing Tour

Explore San Francisco in a private luxury vehicle and enjoy everything that San Francisco has to offer including the Embarcadero Center, Cable Car, Golden Gate ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $240.00

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