1.4 miles, 1-3 hours
Riding the famous San Francisco cable cars should be at the top of the list for any visitor to San Francisco. These historic cars have been around since the year after inventor Andrew Smith Hallidie tested the first line in 1873 (he gained inspiration after witnessing a cart sliding backward down a slippery hill, dragging five horses with it). Today, tourists can ride the rail through many interesting San Francisco districts, including Union Square, North Beach, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Lombard Street and Fisherman's Wharf.
You can hop on and off the car as much as you like, but be aware that the next car that comes by may already be full.
This line runs through the Financial District, Chinatown, over Nob Hill and ends at Van Ness.
Tickets cost $6 each way for adults and children 5-17. You also can purchase passes for multiple days: $14 for one day, $20 for three and $26 for seven days.
You can board from either end of the line as well as on every stop along the route (when there is room available). If boarding in the middle of a route, wait on the sidewalk and wave to the gripmap (driver) so that he knows to stop. Wait for the car to completely stop. Remember that there are poles for you to hold onto, leaning outside of the car, but be careful and watch for objects outside as you zip down the hills.