San Francisco Railway Museum

Every year, thousands of tourists take advantage of the opportunity to ride the rails along San Francisco’s beautiful, and seemingly gravity-defying streets. The city is one of the few left in the world where you can still ride the historic street cars once so common in urban areas. This makes San Francisco a popular destination for history buffs and train enthusiasts alike who want to take a trip back in time to the early days of urban rail transit. A visit to the San Francisco Railway Museum is a good spot for a primer on the history of this iconic mode of transportation.

The SFRM offers visitors an interactive lesson on the history of San Francisco’s world famous street car system. At the museum, visitors will learn about the impact these rail cars have had on the city. As part of the exhibition, visitors can interact with a full-sized replica of a street car model as it would have appeared on the streets in the early part of the twenty-first century. As a part of the experience, visitors are encouraged to stand behind the controls of the car and get a feel for what it was like to be at the helm of one of these cars as they were navigated around the city’s diverse neighborhoods. As part of the overall experience, visitors can also look through the many rare archival photographs and experience the audio visual exhibitions.

The San Francisco Railway Museum is located at 77 Steuart Street near the Ferry Building Marketplace along the Embarcadero. Fittingly, this is also the hub that connects the many neighborhoods of the city by ferry, bus and the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. The museum is closed Mondays during the winter months but otherwise is open to the public Monday through Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. Admission is always free at the museum, but be sure to spend some time browsing the museum’s gift store where you can purchase t-shirts, hoodies and hats emblazoned with S.F. Municipal Railway and Market Street Railway logos. You can visit the museum’s website at or contact them directly at 415-974-1948.

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