Cruising Down The Bay: San Francisco’s Cable Cars


SAN Francisco’s cable cars are as iconic as the Golden Gate Bridge itself, so no way was I gonna miss the experience of riding on one!

The city’s steep slopes and hilly terrain meant that going about was a dangerous business for people (and horses) in the 1800s – and deaths occured frequently from horse carriages or streetcars sliding backwards on wet cobblestone paths.

Enter Andrew Hallidie, an industrious British-born engineer  who, together with several partners, came up with a cable car system using wire-rope tech. Thus, these famous cable cars that have been part of San Francisco’s transport system and tourism attractions for decades – was born.


After our visit to Chinatown, E and I walked through the very busy Downtown area to get to Powell station, the first and last stop for trams on the Powell/Hyde line. Downtown San Francisco is full of tall, corporate-looking buildings, glitzy high-end brands and luxury designer good stores.





On the way to the station we stopped at Union Square, a public plaza bordered by various shopping malls, posh hotels and restaurants. The place was once used for rallies and showing support for the Union Army during the American Civil War (hence the name). In the middle of the square is a statue of Nike, the goddess of Victory, on a tall pillar. The entire structure is called Dewey Monument.

The big building is The Westin St Francis Hotel, a luxury and historic hotel built in 1904.


Whenever anyone mentions Saks Fifth Avenue, people often think about their flagship store in New York. Turns out San Fran has a big one as well, just next to Tiffany & Co.


Walking to Powell Street Station. It was pretty damn cold as evening approached.


Cable cars!

Price for a one-way ticket to the Fisherman’s Wharf (where we were headed) was 6$ per person, and this is collected by a ticket conductor just like old-school buses. We got good outdoor seats for a better view instead of inside the enclosed carriage. It was quite scary because there were no railings. If the tram gets crowded, you  can even stand on the side and grab on the handles.

I wondered if anyone ever had an accident falling off the vehicle.


Because Powell St is the last stop, the trams are rotated on a large wooden platform. It was interesting to watch how the train staff pushed the heavy tram car around so that it faced the other way again.


And onto the tram we go.


Riding on the tram was a breeze, with the wind whipping our faces as we looked at the beautiful sights and sounds the city had to offer. When passengers wanted to get down they rang a pulley thing, just like in old buses.



Passing by the famous Lombard Street.


Some of the hills were very steep and going down was scary! I can’t imagine driving stick around here with my shitty manual skills lol.

It was dark by the time we got off at Fisherman’s Wharf. Had dinner at Chipotle and then shopped for some souvenirs to take home.


Saw this in a candy shop. I thought they were just worm-shaped candy.. turns out they were real worms. .___.

It was late by the time we got back to Chinatown, and we kind of forgot where our car was parked so we were walking around like a couple of lost souls. As we walked through Chinatown, there were gangs of young Asians smoking cigarette and pot. It was kinda scary lol. You won’t believe how relieved I was when we were finally in the car! I guess safety is a concern these days, even in the US.

More of San Fran to come!

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