Vintage streetcars are another fun way for visitors to take a ride through the streets of San Francisco while getting great views of San Francisco Bay, the Ferry Building, Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf.
Meet the Fleet
The fleet of restored streetcars includes international and domestic trolleys from the 1920s and 1930s, collected from cities all over the world. Look closely at the side of the trolley as it passes to see the city of its origin. Streetcars from Brooklyn and Boston, Melbourne and Milan, Detroit and Dallas, Louisville and Los Angeles, Chicago and Cincinnati are all in operation, among others. Look for the narrow one painted sky blue and white, not frequently seen. It was built for Brussels in 1952, but it’s painted in the colors of Zurich, as a salute to San Francisco’s sister city in Switzerland.
Notice that the electric streetcars run on steel rails, drawing power from an overhead wire. Among these are San Francisco’s first streetcar dating from 1912 and two of “The StreetCar Named Desire” streetcars from that fabled French Quarter route, both acquired from New Orleans in exchange for a California Street cable car.
Museum in Motion
The streetcars have been restored by Muni employees and enthusiastic volunteers, making a colorful, functional and picturesque addition to the cityscape. They even have their own non-profit organization, Market Street Railways, to help keep these beauties in shape and in service. We like to think of these historic vehicles as a museum in motion, open 365 days a year from about 5:45 a.m. until about 1:15 a.m. See more at the SF Railway Museum near the Ferry Building at 77 Stueart Street on the F-line.
The popular F-line runs a total of five miles beginning at its western terminal in the Castro District, down Market Street to the Embarcadero and ending at Jones and Beach streets in Fisherman’s Wharf. Operated by Muni, the streetcar fare is the same as a bus fare for the daily service operating every 6 to 12 minutes. Hop on!