But Don't Miss F Line Trolleys
Talk about an understudy stealing the show: After the cable car system was shut down for restoration in 1982, city officials organized the Historic Trolley Festival as an alternate attraction. Colorful and stylish, the vintage streetcars proved so popular that they earned a permanent role in the transit system.
Today, passengers can hop a historic ride on the F line to travel from scenic Fisherman’s Wharf along the Embarcadero and head up Market Street to the Castro District. Some of San Francisco’s own antique cars—including a blue-and-gold 1914 Iron Monster, dedicated to former newspaper columnist Herb Caen—run on this route. But you’ll also see original trolleys from around the world: green trams from Melbourne, orange Peter Witt streetcars from Milan, even open-air “boat trams” from Blackpool, England, decorated with festive strings of lights.
A number of President’s Conference Committee trolleys—most hailing from Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia, Pa.—have been painted in tribute to the North American cities where they once operated. Look for likenesses of Chicago’s Green Hornet, Toronto’s Red Rocket, and a Los Angeles car sporting a “fruit salad” palette. Crossed Mexican and U.S. flags honor a vehicle that ran between the border towns of El Paso, Texas, and Juárez, Mexico.
More Zippy Transport
Tooling around in a bright yellow open-air GoCar is a wickedly fun alternative to taking a narrated bus tour. The tiny two-seaters not only point out the sites, but also crack jokes, recommend restaurants, and use GPS to verbally guide you to the city’s landmarks.
There’s nothing like getting a pedicab ride from a smiling cyclist with chiseled calves. Call for a pickup or a custom tour from Golden Gate Pedicab or San Francisco Pedicabs, or hail your human-powered taxi along the Embarcadero, where you can visit the Exploratorium’s free pedicab–cum–science exhibit, the Rickshaw Obscura.
It took over 60,000 trees and shrubs, as well as a pair of irrigating Dutch-style windmills, to turn the Outside Lands from a sand dune desert into today’s gloriously green Golden Gate Park.