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Cable Car Museum


The Cable Car Museum in San Francisco is a free museum dedicated to preserving the history of the city’s iconic cable car system, which is one of the last of its kind in operation in the world. Located in the historic Washington/Mason cable car barn and powerhouse, the museum not only offers a glimpse into the workings of the cable cars but also serves as an educational center about their history.


San Francisco’s cable car system was established in the late 19th century and became an essential part of the city’s public transportation network. The Cable Car Museum was founded to celebrate this unique mode of transportation after it survived threats of closure due to operational costs and the rise of the automobile.


  • Exhibits: The museum features a collection of historic cable cars, photographs, mechanical displays, and memorabilia.
  • Working Machinery: Visitors can view the actual cable winding machinery that pulls the cables running beneath the streets of San Francisco.
  • Historical Perspective: The museum offers insights into the invention, development, and operation of cable cars.
  • Gift Shop: There’s a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs and memorabilia related to cable cars.

Visiting the Cable Car Museum

Here are some essential details for planning your visit:

  • Location: The museum is located at 1201 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.
  • Admission: Admission to the museum is free of charge.
  • Hours: The museum is usually open every day except for certain holidays, but hours can change, so it’s a good idea to check the museum’s website or call ahead before visiting.
  • Accessibility: The museum is accessible to people with disabilities.

Tips For Visiting

  • Photography: Bring a camera, as the museum offers unique photo opportunities of the historic cable cars and machinery.
  • Time of Visit: Consider visiting during off-peak hours to avoid the crowds.
  • Educational Experience: The museum is educational for all ages, so it’s a great stop for families.
  • Combine with a Ride: To get the most out of the experience, combine your visit with a ride on one of the actual cable cars.
  • Exploring the Area: The museum is located in the Nob Hill neighborhood, which is worth exploring for its beautiful architecture and views of the city.


The Cable Car Museum is a fascinating attraction that provides insight into a vital piece of San Francisco’s history and culture. It’s a celebration of the city’s ingenuity and determination to keep the cable cars running as a functional part of its public transportation system, as well as a tourist attraction. Whether you’re a history buff, a transportation enthusiast, or simply curious about San Francisco’s past, the Cable Car Museum is a worthwhile addition to your itinerary.

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