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“Small, friendly, informative and free.”

San Francisco Railway Museum
Ranked #135 of 558 things to do in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The San Francisco Railway museum is the place to learn about the antique streetcars and national landmark cable cars that regularly run along the city's main arteries, and how rail transportation shaped development of the city. The museum is located at the Steuart Street F-line stop, half a block south of Market St., catty-corner from the Ferry Building, and only steps away from the California St. Cable Car terminal. Admission to the museum is free.
Reviewed 28 February 2012

If you're a tourist on Fisherman's Wharf, you'll probably have used the historic F-line streetcars that run down to Castro via Market Street.

This museum is about the history of public transport in the city, including the reintroduction of the old cars from across the globe on this line.

It's small, but full of interesting information and some great souvenirs and unusual gift items. The staff are really friendly and enthusiastic and it's worth a look even for a few minutes out of a busy day.

Kids will probably love the mocked up streetcar with levers and bells to try out and adults will enjoy the interactive touchscreen displays.

1  Thank inspec71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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71 - 75 of 95 reviews

Reviewed 25 February 2012

This was a must-stop location for me. The historic streetcar and many bus routes stop outside and it's free! There are many interesting displays and cool merchandise for sale, all of which goes back to support the streetcars. Definitely stop here on your tour!

1  Thank Kiwibirdman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2011

I've lived in San Francisco for 4 years, but have never rode on one of San Francisco's historic streetcars. I've rode on plenty of cable cars, but never the cute streetcar that runs the length of Market Street. So last Saturday, John and I headed out on a mission to ride the streetcar and it was fabulous. We hopped on the F line car at Van Ness and Market. We didn't take the first one because it was packed with tourists and I wanted my ride to be perfect. So we waited a few more minutes for a nice empty street car with only two passengers, one of which was a total Asian cougar with yellow thigh-high patent leather boots. I knew we picked the right car for my first time when I saw her.

The streetcar ride is a completely different experience than the cable car. It's not as loud and much more comfortable. The inside of the cars have the "history of streetcars" plastered on the inside which makes the ride not only entertaining but educational. Plus once you hop on, you feel like you've been magically transported back to the turn of the century.

We took the car all the way to the end at the Embarcadero and magically at that same spot is the San Francisco Railway Museum. The museum serves as a visitor center that tells the history of streetcars and cable cars and how they are used today in San Francisco. The museum is small but very entertaining. We spent about a half-hour looking at all the historic pictures, watching a historic film of a streetcar on Market street days before the big 1906 earthquake, and playing conductor on the full-size replica streetcar. We also managed to buy a streetcar magnet. A new treasure.

Next time you are looking for something random to do in the city or want to learn a bit of history stop by the San Francisco Railway Museum on Steuart across from the Ferry Building. It's best to pretend you are a tourist so that the docent will give you his entertaining spiel on the history of the streetcar.

1  Thank alicestader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 December 2009

I've seen other railway museums which are much more interesting. This one is more of a store than a museum and is quite small. There are some informational placards and a video for patrons to view. We only spent a few minutes here and left. Admission is free.

1  Thank globeseeker007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2017
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Thank Minamikuma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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