1201 Mason Street, San Francisco, Ca 94108

Phone Number

(415) 479- 1887

Date Visited



Link to Website

San Francisco Cable Car Museum


The Cable Car Museum is located at 1201 Mason Street, San Francisco.

Parking needs to be found on the street or you can call the museum to ask about garages.

There is a street-level, double-door main entrance. The handicapped-entrance is up a ramp to the left of the main entrance, on Washington Street.

If you enter at street level you must walk up eleven steps to the museum level or down seventeen steps to the cable car working area.

If you use the handicapped entrance you are on the upper (museum) level.  From here you can take the elevator to the other levels.

All floors are smooth.  There are some benches throughout.  There is ample space to navigate.

Multi-stall restrooms with large handicapped-accessible stalls  are located on the upper level near the gift shop.

There are baby-changing facilities.

There are no food services.

Everyone was friendly and knowledgeable.


    Doors:  double-doors
    Number of floors:  3
    Elevators:  one
    Ramps:  none inside
    Steps and staircases:  to all levels
    Width of aisles:  ample space
    Places to sit:  some benches
    Location of restrooms:  on upper level
    Type of restroom:  multi-stall, with large, handicapped-accessible stall
    Ease of entry and exit:  OK
    Baby changing station:  yes
    Available food services:  none
    Friendliness of staff:  very pleasant and informative
    Notes:  * Parking must be found on the street. We were not able to find a garage nearby. Call the museum to ask for suggestions for parking.

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We have always had fun experiences on San Francisco’s famed cable cars. I personally had never given any thought to how they run, or their history, but my better half has an interest in all of this. He found out that San Francisco had a Cable Car Museum, located in the cable car barn and powerhouse.  Off we went!

This venue is in the heart of San Francisco ( I will explain shortly) and therefore in a very hilly location.

We did not see any garages nearby, but were lucky to find a spot on the street about 1/2 hilly block away.

Upon entering the street-level, double-door main entrance we found that we had to go up eleven steps to get to the main exhibit area.  There is a ramp to the left of the entrance ( on Washington Street) which gets one to the handicapped entrance and museum level.  From here you can take the elevator to all levels.  Take note, if you enter at the main entrance there are seventeen steps down to see the working area (which is actually under the street).

The Cable Car Museum is not a well-known tourist destination but it should be. It was fascinating!

From our vantage point on the upper level we could see the comings and goings of the cable cars on the lower level.  The lower level is the actual cable car barn and powerhouse from which all the cable cars are run.  “”The museum deck overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables.  Downstairs is a viewing area of the large sheaves and cable line entering the building through the channel under the street. This is the only operating cable car system in the world. No motor or power – they run at 9.5 mph continuously, all day long.”” (website)

We got a history of the cable car (since 1873) and how they operate, during a 15 minute video we were able to watch while sitting in an actual cable car seat! “On display are various mechanical devices…and a large collection of historic photos.” (website)

Level two has cable cars that are not in service at the moment.  Only 26 cars are out on the street at any given time.

I d the large gift shop area, with a great variety of interesting souvenirs.  I wound up buying things for all the kids on my gift list.

Multi-stall restrooms with large, handicapped-accessible stalls are located on the third level.

Although this may not be a place for a whole day visit, it was definitely a good choice for us, and we think, for anyone visiting San Francisco!

As always, we at Destination Accessible advise you to visit a venue’s web,, when planning a visit, to “know before you go.”



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