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“Museum with heart”
Review of Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum
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$234.88*
and up
Private Tour: San Francisco Sightseeing - 3 Hour
Ranked #18 of 535 things to do in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: A museum to San Francisco's beloved cable cars, with a subterranean walkway that lets you see the moving cable.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Greeley, Colorado
Level Contributor
68 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Museum with heart”
Reviewed March 29, 2014

This self-guided exhibit on cable car history and mechanics is located in the powerhouse that actually drives the cables used on the city’s remaining cable car lines. Its organizers are clearly a dedicated group of cable car enthusiasts and historical preservationists, and after visiting the museum one can only wish them continued success in protecting this unique bit of American history. I never understood how cable cars worked until seeing the displays in this museum. Likewise, I hadn’t realized that the cable car was actually invented in San Francisco. The information in the museum does a good job of contextualizing the cable car within the evolution of mass transit in the US. The exhibits are on a mezzanine overlooking the actual functioning sheaves used to guide the continuous loop of cable that runs beneath San Francisco streets. It’s also possible to go downstairs below street level and observe the subterranean movement of the cable. With no entry fee, the museum is priced just right, but of course they accept donations. A gift shop is on the premises. One of the few hands-on exhibits is an actual cable car bell. Today’s young people are apparently experiencing a bell-ringing deficit and find this item irresistible. Children clang it incessantly, enjoying its ear-shattering reverberation within the brick wall enclosure. This, together with the considerable equipment noise from the working powerhouse, make it a high decibel experience. An hour or so is adequate for a thorough examination of the displays and may well be the maximum amount of time in which the noise can be tolerated.

Visited March 2014
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Thank Glenmere7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Tigard, Oregon
Level Contributor
75 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Learn how the cable cars work!”
Reviewed March 28, 2014

This is a wonderful place to go see how the cable cars work, how the brakeman grabs onto and releases the cable. There are lots of pictures and newspaper articles that have been written over the years...before and after the 1906 earthquake that destroyed some of the cars. However, several are still in use. A good learning experience for kids. A fun place to visit and it doesn't take up an entire afternoon. An hour here would be perfect and there is no charge!

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Love-Maui-101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kennewick, Washington
Level Contributor
174 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Best Free Entertainment in SF”
Reviewed March 27, 2014

Through the years we have returned to the Cable Car power house with kids and for all of the adults. It is a marvel to just sit and watch. All of the cables and motors that keep all those cars going up and down the hills is really engineering at its best. It is always Free, you can watch as long as you wish and usually takes us an hour. Jump off the cable car and walk right in. If you buy a daily or a 3 day ticked you can jump on and off any Muni cable car or street car and the price is right. They have added more and more information over the years to the history of the cable cars. It is just getting better and better.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Ed258536
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
Level Contributor
52 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Unique experience”
Reviewed March 25, 2014

It's nice to ride on the cable car while in San Fran, it's what the city is known for. But on a daily basis for locals, hardly worth it. Staff is slow, and not rushed to get you going places, which sucks if you want to get around the city. The cable lines are limited so you can't go too far on them. Not the cheapest ride in town.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Karen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangalore
Level Contributor
37 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Must Stop in SFO”
Reviewed March 23, 2014

Cable cars are really fun and this museum makes it even more interesting. It explains how cable cars actually work and you can actually see them in action.There isn't a lot to see but it does make up for a quick visit. You will also get to see how the cablecars have evolved in design.

Kids will definitely love the place + its free admission.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank PiyushAgarwal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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