Celebrate an Iconic Landmark in San Francisco This Summer

By San Francisco Travel Association
June 26, 2023
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Cable cars on Powell Street in San Francisco by Daniel Abadia - Unsplash

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and its nonprofit preservation partner, Market Street Railway, have joined together with a dozen organizations, including business and merchant groups and history and preservation nonprofits, to stage a slate of special events in the Summer and Fall of 2023 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of cable cars, San Francisco's iconic symbol.

“For the last 150 years, residents and visitors have enjoyed the incredible experience of riding our cable cars through our neighborhoods to experience stunning bay views that are famous all over the world,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “You cannot imagine San Francisco without our iconic cable cars. In celebration of the 150th anniversary, we invite everyone to ride our wonderful cable cars to experience the magic of San Francisco.”

“No other city in the world has cable cars. San Francisco was the first city with cable cars, and since 1957, we've been the only city to run them,” said Rick Laubscher, President of Market Street Railway. “Our special 150th anniversary website, sfcablecars.org, is filled with cable car history and little-known stories. It also makes it easy to combine cable car rides with walking tours of Chinatown, the Barbary Coast, Fisherman's Wharf, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Union Square, Polk Gulch and the Financial District. It's a great year to rediscover San Francisco and the cable cars.”

Experience New Tours

The six-month-long series of events include the first-ever public tours of the Muni shop in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood, where cable cars are built and rebuilt; history-themed walk/ride tours of neighborhoods served by the cable car lines; the planned operation of “ghost” cable cars from disappeared lines, and a reenactment of cable car founder Andrew Hallidie's historic first run. All are detailed on sfcablecars.org.

San Francisco's cable cars are one of the only moving National Historic Landmarks. To make it easier for visitors and residents to experience cable car rides, starting July 1 through the end of 2023, a special $5 all-day pass will let riders hop on and off the California cable car line and explore neighborhoods along the route. A standard point-to-point cable car ticket costs $8.

Residents and visitors can also take advantage of the existing all-day, all-Muni Visitor Passport for $13 to hop on and off all cable cars, F-line historic streetcars, Muni trains and buses to take walking tours of neighborhoods near the cable car lines. The passes are available on the Muni Mobile smartphone app. For guides to must-sees along and near the cable car lines here, San Francisco Travel Association has created three guides on its website for the Powell-Mason Line, Powell-Hyde Line, and California Street Line.

Ride Historic Routes

A cable car on Hyde Street by Arnaud STECKLE - Unsplash

The cable car that starred in the kickoff event is unique. In the 1880s, it was open-sided and carried throngs of riders from the Ferry Building out Market and Haight streets to enjoy Golden Gate Park. After the 1906 earthquake and fire, 'Big 19' moved to the Sacramento-Clay route, successor to Andrew Hallidie's original 1873 cable car line, and ran there from 1907 until 1942, when that line shut down. Restored by Muni crafts workers, 'Big 19', one of the largest cable cars ever built, it inaugurated the celebration with a trip up California Street through Chinatown and over Nob Hill, just two blocks south of inventor Hallidie's Clay Street line.

Later in the summer, Muni hopes to have 'Big 19' in regular service every Saturday on the California Street line through the fall as part of the celebration. Likewise, if work can be completed, Muni plans monthly operation of cable car 42 on its original Hyde Street trackage. Cable car 42 ran the O'Farrell, Jones & Hyde line until 1954, when the southern half of the line was abandoned, and the tracks on Hyde were connected to part of a Powell Street line. Car 42 retains its original 1907 paint scheme and details. Decades after being sold as surplus to a cattle rancher in Santa Barbara County when the O'Farrell line closed, Market Street Railway brought it back to San Francisco and worked with Muni to restore it for service.

Watch the 150th Celebration

A cable car on Sutter Street by Milos Bojovic - Unsplash

On the actual 150th anniversary date, August 2, history reenactors portraying Andrew Hallidie, Emperor Norton, Domingo Ghirardelli, Lotta Crabtree and other notable San Franciscans from 150 years ago will gather at Hallidie Plaza at Powell and Market Streets at 10 a.m. to honor Hallidie's historic first run. A by-invitation luncheon will follow, honoring cable car heroes including Hallidie; Friedel Klussmann, who saved the cable cars in 1947; Senator Dianne Feinstein, who as Mayor personally led the rebuilding of the cable car system 40 years ago; Fannie Mae Barnes, the first woman to work as a “gripman” operating a cable car 25 years ago; and others.

Learn More at Local Archives

The San Francisco Public Library has compiled a list of cable car books available at its various branches for interested readers. The Main Library's San Francisco History Center will mount an exhibit of historic cable car photos later this summer, in collaboration with the SFMTA Photo Archive. Market Street Railway's free San Francisco Railway Museum on Steuart Street across from the Ferry Building will debut a special exhibit on 150 Years of cable cars in mid-July.

Participating partners in the celebration include the Chinatown Merchants Association, Chinese Historical Society of America, Downtown SF Partnership, Fisherman's Wharf Merchants, Friends of the Cable Car Museum, Pier 39, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco City Guides, San Francisco Historical Society, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco Travel Association, SF Heritage and Union Square Alliance.

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These Unique Seattle Tours Explore Fascinating Historical Events and Mysteries

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The Most Affordable Cities for Family Vacations This Summer

There's still plenty of time left this summer to plan a great vacation, and if you didn't think you could add it to your budget—think again. Forbes Advisor recently ranked the most affordable cities in the US to take a family vacation. While popular vacation destinations like New York City, Boston, Honolulu, and West Coast urban areas are some of the worst when it comes to affordable options, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on the fun. In fact, you might even enjoy getting off the beaten path and avoiding the most crowded spots. The most affordable cities list is dominated by East Coast and Midwestern locales, but the destinations still encompass a wide variety of travel styles and activities to give families different options when planning a budget-friendly getaway. To create the list, Forbes Advisor analyzed the 100 largest US cities, excluding any cities with an average temperature exceeding 95º F during the summer months (June, July and August)—when families tend to travel. They looked at metrics like the average round-trip airfare, hotel room rates, rental car prices, and meal costs. Below are the top cities that they found when it comes to affordable family vacations this summer. #5. Wichita, Kansas Airfare to Wichita can be on the pricier side but don’t let that deter you from a trip to Wichita. Once there, costs are lower than other cities for an average overall trip cost of $3,673. As a bonus, you’ll find plenty of low-cost activities to keep your expenses down further. Nearby Kansas City, Missouri also came in at #9. Head to the Old Cowtown Museum for a look at Wichita in its booming cattle town days, complete with reenactments. Outside of town, the Strataca underground salt museum includes tram rides that kids will love. Also nearby is the Cosmosphere, a space museum with exhibits intended for adults plus a whole section called CosmoKids for the other half of your family #4. Buffalo, New York Niagara Falls at night by Vinayak Sharma - Unsplash To combine affordable prices with comfortable summer temperatures, plan a trip to Buffalo, New York, where the average family trip cost is $3,669. Summer is primetime for local festivals, with something nearly every weekend from June through August, giving you a great opportunity to add low-cost entertainment to your trip plans in addition to the city’s permanent attractions, such as the Buffalo AKG Art Museum which reopens in June after a $230 million renovation. Only thirty minutes away, Niagara Falls is a can’t-miss add-on to your Buffalo vacation. Kids will love getting soaked on the hurricane deck at Cave of the Winds, an attraction that takes you practically to the base of the waterfalls. No passport is required for families staying on the American side of the falls. #3. Orlando, Florida Palm trees in Orlando, Florida by Drew Coffman - Unsplash Orlando is certainly a popular family vacation destination, thanks to Disney and Universal, but it may not be on your radar when it comes to cheap trips. However, a plethora of low-cost airlines and healthy competition keep flight prices reasonable. Overall, the average trip cost for our example family comes in at $3,634. Hotels, while on the higher side, often come with extra space, which might mean you can downsize to one room instead of two or make breakfast in your kitchenette instead of paying for a restaurant. While tickets to popular theme parks may be too much of a stretch, those aren't the only things to do in town. Gatorland has thrilling shows, a zipline plus off-road swamp rides. The beach and aqua park at Nona Adventure Park is the perfect summer day out. #2. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma The sun shines in downtown Oklahoma City by Karsten Winegeart - Unsplash Oklahoma City takes a prominent position on this list, in part thanks to its lower cost of hotels. Here, the average cost of a three-night trip totals $3,272. Families will find plenty to do at the Boathouse District, an outdoor recreation spot with activities for all ages. Similarly, the Myriad Gardens and Six Flags Frontier City will appeal to kids and adults alike. Nearby Tulsa also comes in at #7. Families that have time could combine both destinations with a single airfare purchase. In Tulsa, don’t miss the riverfront Gathering Place—a free park with one of the country’s largest playgrounds. #1. Toledo, Ohio A splash pad in downtown Toledo, Ohio by Cathy Holewinski - Unsplash Toledo, Ohio, comes out on top as the cheapest travel destination in Forbes Advisor's rankings. For a family of four, the average cost totaled $2,731 including economy airfare for four, three nights in two rooms at a mid-range hotel, a three-day rental car and three meals per day. Since Toledo is within a day’s drive of metro areas including Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Nashville, families may be able to save on airfare, too. Nearby towns Cleveland (#13) and Columbus (#16) also ranked high in affordability. The Toledo Zoo is an interactive experience with giraffe feeding platforms, a stingray touch tank and behind-the-scenes tours. The Imagination Station museum is equally hands-on and children and adults can hunt for corals, brachiopods, and trilobites at Fossil Park. Round out your trip with a day at Maumee Bay State Park Marina or Cedar Point amusement park, an hour away. —For more family vacation ideas, check out the full rankings at Forbes Advisor.


3 Great Summer Fishing Trips

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From Thursday, July 13 through Saturday, July 15, events include a Kids' Clinic, Junior Angler Tournament, and the main attraction, the Kingfish Challenge, with cash prizes up to $20,000. The weekend also includes live music, food, raffles, and more. The Junior Challenge is $25, registration for Kingfish Challenge is $320, and Backwater/Kayak Challenge is $75. This tournament takes place at Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor. If you are looking for a way to get out on the water and learn a thing or two about fishing, but aren't tournament-ready, there are plenty of places around Florida's Historic Coast to cast a line. Visit the St. Johns County Ocean & Fishing Pier in St. Augustine Beach for your chance to catch everything from tarpon to king mackerel. Other fishing piers in the area include Lighthouse Park on Salt Run, the Vilano Beach Pier and Usina Boat Ramp Fishing Pier on the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Rose of Sharon Pier north of the Bridge of Lions. 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Try Little Greys River Trail just north of Alpine, Wyoming or Strawberry Creek Trail near Bedford, Wyoming. In addition to the river fishing, there's Cottonwood Lake, about 6 miles east of Smoot, full of cutthroat and brook trout. Swift Creek, east of Afton, features two small reservoirs that are well stocked by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department with cutthroat trout. Murphy Lake is about a half-hour trip from Alpine and stocked with some hatchery brood stock culls, and Palisades Reservoir holds trophy brown trout as well as cutthroats and some kokanee salmon. Saltwater Angling Off of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Progreso, Mexico by Anton Lukin - Unsplash The Yucatan is typically easy to travel to from most major U.S. cities, with many direct flights going into Cancun. Oftentimes flights are reasonably priced, which helps to keep overall costs low. Progreso is one of the most popular beach towns in the state of Yucatan. Located just 22 miles from the capital city, Merida, the town was founded in 1871 and has grown to become the main port of the Yucatan coast. Today it is a tourist hub and a border point open to commercial exchange with the states and countries on the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Due to its commercial activity, Progreso is the most-visited port in the state and a popular cruise destination for visitors from all over the world. Along the boardwalk, visitors will find both international and local restaurants, as well as shops and boutiques. The market of Progreso is a destination in its own right, selling local food, crafts, and more. The beaches are the real star of Progreso, with white sand, turquoise water, and endless activities from kitesurfing and windsurfing to water skiing and fishing. Fishing on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula can be incredible in the late summer and into the fall. During this season, there are large numbers of resident permit, bonefish, and snook around that receive low pressure from visiting anglers. For fly fishing adventures, try the outfitters at Yellow Dog. There's also Yucatan Snook, which offers in-shore excursions for some of the best shallow water speckled sea trout, snook and tarpon fishing in the area.

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Top National Parks for Hiking

National parks are a national treasure—and Americans know it. In fact, the National Park Service saw 312 million recreation visits in 2022 (that’s up 15 million visitors from the previous year!), and almost half of Americans (48%) say visiting the national parks is on their bucket list. National parks help preserve and protect many of our nation’s stunning natural landscapes, so we can behold the beauty for years to come—often through one of thousands of breathtaking hikes. With all this in mind, KURU Footwear wanted to dig into data and find the top 10 best national parks for hiking to help Americans discover their next adventure. To rank each park, KURU used Alltrails to find all of the available trails in each of the 63 National Parks, and analyzed them based on the following metrics: number of trails (total), total distance of trails (in miles), average trail rating, number of annual visitors, and acreage of the national park (public areas only). Pacific Coast Jewels Giant trees and a park visitor in Sequoia National Park by Vitto Sommella - Unsplash The Sierra Nevadas are well-represented in the top 10 best parks for hiking. In 8th place overall, Sequoia National Park has an excellent 4.48 average trail rating and 1,624 trail miles total. Nearby Kings Canyon National Park comes in at #9 with 1,583 miles of trails and equally well-loved trails with an average 4.47 rating. Fourth place overall goes to Olympic National Park in Washington, with over 3,000 miles to traverse across 194 trails. Nearby Mount Rainier National Park took 12th place overall. Wild Rocky Mountain Frontiers A bull elk in Yellowstone by Harrison Hargrave - Unsplash Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming ranks as the third best for hiking. With 267 trails totaling over 3,500 miles, visitors will encounter incredible views and wildlife. However, with moose, wolves, and bears also making this park their home, hikers need to exercise extra caution and awareness when on the trail. Next door, Grand Teton National Park came in at #11, making it an easy place to visit on the same trip. In 6th place, Glacier National Park in Montana also isn’t too from away from Yellowstone. For the ultimate hiking trip, combine trails from Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Glacier. In 7th place sits Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado with 235 trails covering 1,970 miles of pristine mountain wilderness. It’s trails are some of the most-loved by visitors with an average rating of 4.5. Conveniently, this park isn’t too park from Denver International Airport, making it a little more accessible than Yellowstone and Glacier, which are only near smaller airports which often come with higher ticket prices and limited flight routes. Eastern Stand-outs Sunrise rolling over clouds in Shenandoah National Park by Taylor Wright - Unsplash The 5th best park for hiking is Shenandoah National Park, tucked along the Blue Ridge Mountains and rolling hills and valleys of western Virginia. While it isn’t too far from Washington, DC and is close to many college towns, it doesn’t make the top 10 list for most visitors in 2022, so the trails here are likely to be less crowded than many of the other parks on the list. It boasts the 4th highest number of trails and the 5th most trail miles of all parks. While Acadia National Park in Maine didn’t break into the Top 10 Best Park for Hikings (falling just shy in the #14 overall spot), it did rank as the 5th most visited park of 2022 and it also has the 5th highest number of trails. If you’re close to or local to the Northeastern US and New England, this is the park you’ll want to visit. Classic American Parks The Grand Canyon by Omer Nezih Gerek - Unsplash It makes sense that some of the most well known parks in America also top the list for hiking trails. At number nine overall, Grand Canyon National Park has 133 trails, 1,562 total miles of trails, and an average trail rating of 4.32. It was also the second most-visited park in 2022. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the highest number of trails, with 348, and took second place overall for best park for hiking. It also came in second for most miles of trails with 4,354. Overall, trails in this park average a 4.38 rating. Stretching across North Carolina and Tennessee, this park boasts the most number of visitors, and by a long shot; in 2022, it had over 12 million visitors (for comparison, the second busiest park was the Grand Canyon, at only 4.7 million). So if you're looking for seclusion, you may not quite find it here (but at least you know its a crowd pleaser!). The best of the best for hiking is Yosemite National Park; the park took the number 1 spot with 278 trails, 4,729 miles of trails (the most of any park), and a 4.56 average trail rating. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California (along with several other ranked parks), Yosemite is known for its iconic and striking Half Dome, tall waterfalls, and giant Sequoia trees. —For more details on the rankings, visit KURU Footwear.