MNN Galleries

9 great public transit options for sightseeing

By: Josh Lew on Sept. 3, 2013, 3:36 p.m.
2 of 11

San Fran's trains, cable cars

Most people still associate public transportation in San Francisco with the iconic cable car. Three cable car routes are still in operation, though they are mainly used by tourists, not commuters. These legendary vehicles run up the often-photographed and impossibly steep streets of Nob Hill and Russian Hill. The historic F Line street car, meanwhile, travels along the waterfront, offering some equally-sought-after views. 

Both Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains and San Francisco’s Muni light rail trains provide access to the rest of the city and the wider Bay Area. A public transit card called a Clipper Card is the Golden Gate City's version of London's Oyster Card or Hong Kong's Octopus Card. The Clipper can be used on all forms of Bay Area transit, including on some ferries and the regional CalTrain that runs from San Francisco down to San Jose. The aforementioned ferries travel all around the Bay, leaving from the San Francisco waterfront and passing famous sights like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.