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San Francisco Cable Cars

Utah
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San Francisco Cable Cars

We are driving from LA to SF early March for our 40th Wedding Anniversary. Will be in SF one evening and our flight leaves from Oakland Airport at 4:45P.M. the next day. We have a reservation for Alcatraz Island for 8:45A.M. It says to allow 2 1/2 hours for Alcatraz. Do we have time to ride the Powell Hyde Line after Alcatraz? I'm not reading anything on how long it takes to ride the cable cars. Thanks.

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Oakland
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Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island
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1. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

It's up to you how long it takes to ride the cable cars... they're simply public transit so you can get off at any stop. The biggest limiting factor is the line to board them,

But, for a 4:45 pm flight out of Oakland, you'll need to check in at 3:15 pm or thereabouts. Taxi from SF to Oakland will be about 45 minutes at that time of day, so leave by 2:30 or earlier. You'll probably be done with Alcatraz around 11:30 am, so yes, you have time for a cable car ride, especially if you are staying near Union Square and will end up near your hotel so you can collect your luggage and go, if time is short. If you are staying at Fisherman's Wharf it's a little more awkward, as you'll have to do a round trip so have twice as much opportunity to be delayed by lines.

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Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf
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2. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

sure you do have time to ride a cable car before or after the alcatraz or even the night before. They run until about midnight and get going around 6. The actual ride is 20 minutes from Union Sq to Fisherman's wharf and the larger issue is line which are pretty much non-existent early morning or late night

My pre-alcatraz suggestion would be to go really early, have breakfast at FW and Buena Vista and to walk by 8.15 to the Pier 33. so you can work backwards

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Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf
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Utah
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3. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

Thanks for your input!

Utah
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4. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

Thanks for your input!

Newberg, Oregon
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5. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

Unless you have an overriding reason for choosing the Powell-Hyde cable car, I would suggest riding the California route. The Powell lines (Hyde and Mason) are always busy, especially mid-day and you may have quite a wait to board. After your Alcatraz tour, take the historic trolley to the Ferry Terminal Market then cross over Embarcadero, through the parklike area and board the California cable car in front of the Hyatt. It is rarely crowded and you are almost guaranteed a spot on the next car out. We visited SF for our 40th anniversary 3 years ago and did this numerous times in our 10-day stay. Never had to wait for the next car.

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Cafe Mason
Cafe Mason
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The Embarcadero
The Embarcadero
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6. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

I think if you are doing one cable car ride it should be the powell hyde and not the CA cable unless it is so packed then the California line is a very good alternative. I would just find the right time and do it and in March -- unlike Summer the lines won't be that huge

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7. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

Great advice from OregonJohn on the California Street line-another nice thing about this option is that when you reach the end of the line (on Van Ness Avenue) you can just stay on the cable car and go back to where you started (by the Hyatt). However, if you do it the other way around, or take any of the other routes, you have to get off the cable car and then re-board. Big time-saver if you want to experience a cable car ride!

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California
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Scottsdale, Arizona
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8. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

There is no question that the Powell/Hyde line is the best ride, especially the descent from Lombard to the Bay. I much prefer it at night when it looks like you are dropping into an inky abyss full of sparkling jewels. For best effect, try to get the "point", the rails up front.

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Lombard Motor Inn
Lombard Motor Inn
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Utah
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9. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. It looks like we'll have time for a cable car ride in San Francisco!!

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San Francisco
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Las Vegas, Nevada
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10. Re: San Francisco Cable Cars

Just took the Powell~Hyde route Cable Car in January....had to wait approx 45 minutes to board on both ends...but the bottom line is, it is worth it! The ride is Awesome. As mentioned above try to ride up front and/or "hang on" for a great ride...ENJOY!

http://www.sfcablecar.com/