between Golden Gate and Grove Sts Admin Offices
San Francisco, CA
While the cable cars of San Francisco will certainly take you around town, they are also a destination unto themselves and many feel a trip to Shaky Town isn't complete without holding tight the poles of a cable car while careening down Lombard Street. The San Francisco Cable Cars are the nation's only moving National Landmark.
Cable cars began operating in 1873 and opened up much of the city to growth because they allowed building on hills too steep for horses. Cable lines expanded across the city, but after the earthquake and subsequent fire of 1906, the municipal railway (or MUNI) replaced the cable cars as the principal means of public transportation. Three lines still work today, however. Take the Powell-Hyde line (recognized by the brown signs) to Nob Hill, Russian Hill, down Lombard Street, and eventually stopping at Ghiradelli Square. The Powell-Mason line (marked by yellow signs) will take you through North Beach and to Fisherman's Wharf. Hankering for some Dim Sum in China Town? Take the California Street Line.
You can board the cable cars at any turnaround or along the way. Just wait patiently by one of the brown-and-white cable car stop signs and give a little wave when you see one coming. Buy a ticket from the conductor as you board or at a turnaround. Fares are one-way, so if you plan on riding the cable car more than once, you might consider purchasing a Muni Passport, which works for not only the cable cars, but the F-Line streetcar and all the buses.