For many visitors to San Francisco, the cable cars are not merely a way of getting to the sights; they are one of the sights.
First commissioned back in 1873, the cable cars were initially ridiculed, and even dubbed ‘Hallidie’s Folly’ after the engineer who designed them. However, the cable cars slowly began to gain a following and when the city council proposed closing them in the 1950s, San Franciscans unanimously voted to keep them, and have even protected them through a city charter. Today, the cable cars are a major tourist icon, and although this means long queues, the cars are still worth a ride. There are three main cable car routes: Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde and the California Street. An interactive route map can be found on the company’s website.