Tip to Getting Around San Francisco as a Tourist (Cable Cars & More!)

San Francisco is easy to get around as a tourist. And no experience is more iconic than hopping on a cable car in the same way as native San Francisco residents have been doing for the last 150 years. This method of transport in San Francisco is famous the world over but unlike many tourist attractions around the world , the cable cars are still in everyday use by locals and are not expensive to ride on.

The cable car network is impressive. There are three cable car lines and they take in most of the interesting historic sights of the city.

Two of the lines start at Powell and Market and run to Fisherman’s Wharf. The third line starts at California and Market and runs to Van Ness Avenue.

If you just fancy a sight-seeing trip around the city jumping on and riding the cable car is a fantastic way to take in the sights. And of course there are plenty of stops along the way where you can get off and explore before catching another cable car to carry on with your journey.

If you are a visitor to the city, you can buy a pass that offers you unlimited travel for a period of time such as a day, three days or seven days. It’s a good idea to download the app too, so that you can plan your trip.

You don’t have to do any of this of course to ride the cable cars. A single ticket costs $2.50 and gives you 120 minutes of travel. However you must be sure to have the exact change if you are paying in cash so most people opt for a pass which can simply be flashed at the driver. You get a discount too as cash payments can slow down the service. You can download the Muni Mobile App online to make this easier.

You can’t see everywhere in San Francisco from the cable car. However transport links are very good and Muni , the company that operates the cable cars also runs the local bus network , F-line, Vintage Trolley Cars, Historic Cable Cars, and light rail, which have routes to/from Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, SOMA district, and more.

Another option for getting around is to walk or to hire a bike and cycle. Unlike many US cities, San Francisco is very pedestrian and cyclist friendly so although the hills can be hard going, the neighbourhoods are close together so are easy to explore.

Driving is not a great idea in San Francisco. Parking can be hard to find and expensive so this is one city where you can forget your car and use public transport. Taxis are equally problematic. It can be hard to find a cab unless you are in downtown San Francisco and you will probably be surprised at just how much it costs. Luckily the public transport system runs round the clock, including a night service so you can always get where you need to go with the minimum hassle.

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