San Francisco Cable Car Museum

History Museum · Nob Hill
1201 Mason St (at Washington St), San Francisco, CA 94108, United States
Closed until 10:00 AM tomorrow (Show more)
  • Mon–Sun
    • 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
Credit Cards:
Yes (incl. American Express & MasterCard)

At the corner of Mason and Washington this is both the free cable car museum and the working wheelhouse for the Cable Car system and where the cable cars "live" at night.


Based on 223 votes

People like this place

  • What you need to know
    Jared Z.
    "you can see the giant wheel that winds the cable here, super cool."(13 Tips)
    Estefanía L.
    "A must to understand (and actually see) how the cable car works."(4 Tips)
    Otto G.
    "Nice place to see how the cable car system works"(4 Tips)
    Doug A.
    "Free admission, open 7 days / week, see the machines that..."(3 Tips)
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61 tips and reviews.

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  • museums
  • winding wheels
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  • Todd N.

    Really great place to stop and learn about cable car history

    Todd Nilson · 1 week ago
  • Ken

    Ever wonder what drove the cable cars?

    Ken · October 13
  • Makinder C.

    Free admission. Amazing historical look at the much loved cable cars. Some great photo restoration in here too. Definitely worth a visit to appreciate what goes into the uphill battles.

    Makinder Chahal · September 30
  • Nahid A.

    Good but not intresting

    Nahid Ashri · August 7
  • Doug A.

    Actual working museum, open 7 days / week

    Doug Ales · July 5
  • Doug A.

    Free admission, open 7 days / week, see the machines that pull the cable car cables

    Doug Ales · July 5
  • Abby C.

    Very interesting. For free admission it is a must do if traveling to SF and taking cable cars.

    Abby C · July 1
  • Ali A.

    Free! And worth 30 minutes of your time if you're curious about the cable car scene in SF

    Ali Anderson · June 23
  • Ms H.

    Historic building and houses the cables that run the whole system today, models of old cars and history. Free.

    Ms Helen · June 7
  • Debra

    Lovely little fascinating place and free!

    Debra · March 22
  • MisterEastlake

    Admission is free, but small donations are appreciated to help keep the premises open and operating.

    MisterEastlake · February 14
  • MisterEastlake

    Built in 1873, this is the oldest continuously operating Cable Car barn in the world. It has been in operation since the days of the Gold Rush.

    MisterEastlake · February 14
  • MisterEastlake

    The cables inside of this building control a network of cables that run throughout the city to which cable cars clam onto in order to be pulled up and down the steep hills of SF.

    MisterEastlake · February 14
  • Bennett W.

    If you're majoring in electrical or mechanical engineering, then this is a good spot to visit. It's a definite go to spot when you want to enhance your knowledge on how the cable car system functions.

    Bennett Wong · November 7, 2014
  • Tristan T.

    Very interesting if you want to learn a lot about the cable car history in less than an hour!

    Tristan Tran · October 27, 2014
  • Emiliy M.

    It's free! Learn about SF's history and see the cables in action.

    Emiliy Marino · September 17, 2014
  • Geoff R.

    Free museum! Go downstairs to see the actual gears that power the trolley cars. Then hop on the Hyde line one block north for views of Lombard Street on the way to Fisherman's Wharf. Trolley costs $6

    Geoff Reinhardt · August 31, 2014
  • Justine C.

    Very interesting from a mechanical and from a historical point of view!

    Justine Chevrier-Lord · August 27, 2014
  • Bourbon🍸Explorer

    Excellent display of San Francisco's railway heritage which dates back to 1912. It's a must visit if you love trains.

    Bourbon🍸Explorer · August 26, 2014
  • Geoff G.

    Documents the history of the cable cars and you can see the current system in action.

    Geoff Green · August 23, 2014
  • Jeremy J.

    Well its free! Pretty interesting, but not much there. I loved the info video they played that was made in like 1979

    Jeremy Jacobowitz · August 22, 2014
  • Shreyas J.

    Small museum but get to learn some very interesting facts about the SFO cable car

    Shreyas Jhaveri · July 7, 2014
  • Tommy A.

    Worth the stop. Surprised these things are still running.

    Tommy Adams · July 6, 2014
  • Estefanía L.

    A must to understand (and actually see) how the cable car works. Really interesting!

    Estefanía López Deflory · June 13, 2014
  • Santiago R.

    This is the cable mechanism which moves the cable cars thru the streets and up & down the hills of San Francisco.

    Santiago Rivera · May 16, 2014
  • Stefano G.

    This is the place to be to learn everything about the cable car system. If you have an interest in engineering and its history, you'll love this place!

    Stefano Guidolin · May 7, 2014
  • Jeepin' Jeff

    Free museum. Fascinating to see how the cable cars work, see the motors and cables under the streets, etc. really cool.

    Jeepin' Jeff · September 17, 2013
  • James C.

    Great History. Short sweet and to the point.

    James C · July 29, 2013
  • kelly f.

    free museum that shows how the cable cars work. interesting and historical. made my ride on a cable car much more memorable once i knew what made it go!

    kelly fig · June 11, 2013
  • TheRealArno

    Great place to see, and it's free!

    TheRealArno · June 1, 2013
  • Rachael G.

    jump off at Mason and see the free cable car museum! Leave about an hour to enjoy.

    Rachael Green · May 14, 2013
  • Olga B.

    It's US National Heritage. Cannot be sold or privatized by he government, that's why it's free. (And the reason why an employee may feel up to explaining you the workings of the system ;-D)

    Olga Brezo · March 21, 2013
  • Olga B.

    Museum closes at 5pm (at least in March). If you are lucky, you may get invited into the barn by an employee, who shows and explains you how the cable, wheels and system works.

    Olga Brezo · March 21, 2013
  • Paul

    Great place to go if you have given up on life

    Paul · February 27, 2013
  • Siddarth C.

    Insanely cool.

    Siddarth Chandrasekaran · February 9, 2013
  • Nick B.

    5 people injured and taken to the hospital today because of the cable car and now I've wasted my time and money... Not happy with first cable car experience.

    Nick Baer · February 7, 2013
  • Nick B.

    Pos broke down... 30 mins so far

    Nick Baer · February 7, 2013
  • Jeffrey M.

    $10 minimum to use credit card at gift shop. Lame for a tourist spot.

    Jeffrey M · January 11, 2013
  • Jared Z.

    The trolly cars work by grabbing on to a big set of cables that run under the city. you can see the giant wheel that winds the cable here, super cool.

    Jared Zimmerman · November 6, 2012
  • JulienF

    Excellent museum, you got to see the first cable car back in 1873, many historical pictures and as well the engines and winding wheels who pulls the cables. Amazing and all this for free !

    JulienF · November 1, 2012
  • Kaitlyn K.

    Free! Plus a bathroom, so a good tourist stop all around.

    Kaitlyn K · September 3, 2012
  • Mr. Stone

    I really love this place, the CORE of the Cable Car since... almost always.

    Mr. Stone · June 28, 2012
  • EmilyPosts

    Free. Nice photos and info about the quake and fire. Loud.

    EmilyPosts · April 16, 2012
  • Tim U.

    It's free and only takes a few minutes to see this amazing museum.

    Tim Unger · March 7, 2012
  • Scoutmob

    San Francisco cable cars are the only moving National Historic Landmark.

    Scoutmob · November 28, 2011
  • Jens H.

    It's free (I guess the only thing in SF that is for free)

    Jens Heim · November 4, 2011
  • Exploratorium

    Did you know that San Francisco has last permanently operating, manually operated cable car system in the world? Check out our Science in the City video to learn more about SF's cable cars! Read more

    Exploratorium · September 12, 2011
  • Lynette K.

    i love cable car parking, it means i'm about to see my lova!

    Lynette K. · August 21, 2011
  • The Bold Italic

    Watch the hilariously dated movie from the 1970s that plays in the corner of the gift shop, explaining how the cable car works. Read more

    The Bold Italic · June 2, 2011
  • SF Weekly

    SF Weekly’s Best Of 2011 Winner – Editorial Pick – BEST MUSEUM TO SPEND YOUR LUNCH BREAKSThe mesmerizing highlights of the museum are the gargantuan "winding wheels" that pull the eponymous cables.. Read more

    SF Weekly · May 24, 2011

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