Climbing the steep streets of the city on a cable car is a quintessential San Francisco experience.
You'll be riding the world's only remaining manually operated cable car system, with three routes in operation. The Powell-Hyde route is a popular option, beginning near the tourist-friendly Ghirardelli Square, topping Nob Hill and ending at the Powell Market turnaround, where the conductor steps off the car and puts muscle into rotating it 180 degrees. On your ascent, stop off at the Cable Car Museum in the historic Washington-Mason car barn. There you'll see the engines, wheels and cable line powering the cars from underneath the street, plus antique vehicles from the 1870s. Admission is free.