San Francisco is proud of its historical transportation options. In addition to our famed cable cars, you will also find vintage San Francisco street cars.
The F line runs from Fisherman's Wharf all the way to the Castro District. It runs along the Embarcadero and down Market Street as it makes its way between these two SF neighborhoods.
They run on tracks, which are similar to those used by cable cars. However, they run about two to three times faster than a cable car.
The first line started running in 1892. After the damage from the 1906 Earthquake and Fire (learn more), San Francisco street cars started to replace the cable cars.
Over the years, the city used the lines less and less as faster transportation options became available. Over time, the city started to move the lines underground and by 1982 they moved the final San Francisco street cars into the subway.
In 1983, business leaders, Muni and Mayor Dianne Feinstein invited historic ones from around the world to run up and down Market Street during the Historic Trolley Festival. The festival renewed interest in them and the effort began to get the F line back above ground.
Several of them now call San Francisco home today. Even though there is just one line, you will find a variety of these vintage vehicles cruising up and down the F line.
They are an important part of the overall SF public transportation system. I recommend riding one while you are here.
Each one is a little different and from various places throughout the world. The cool thing is that you can learn a little about the history of the one you are on during your ride.
Here is an example of the sign you will see inside each one. They are usually toward the front, so make sure you sit in that area if you want to learn more about it.
The cost to ride them is just $2.50 per person. You can also ride these with your multi-day Muni transit pass included with the CityPass discount card.
If you want to learn even more about the San Francisco street cars, head over to the Railway Museum. It's free and tells the story of all those currently running on the F line in the city.
One of the exhibits inside the museum
This SF museum includes a full-size replica platform where kids can play conductor. The museum also houses historic films, photographs and other SF transportation artifacts.
You will find the museum at the Steuart Street F-line stop. Just look for the sign below or ask the conductor to tell you when you reach your stop.
The Railway Museum is open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday - Sunday. It is closed on Monday.
While you are there, ask the attendant if you can see the screen that shows the current location of all of the street cars. On the screen, you will see a little picture of each one moving around the city. It's a small thing, but kind of cool to see.