1500 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109  |  (415) 441-4000

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san francisco hotel near cable car stop

San Francisco Transportation Guide

Riding the Cable Cars, BART, and More!

“San Francisco itself is art...every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal.” - William Saroyan

You made it to the Golden City: San Francisco. You’re ready for sunsets reflecting on the bay, long walks across the Golden Gate bridge, and the enchanting, invigorating smell of salt air on every corner. The mornings are fresh and the evenings are magical. And while you’re here, you’re determined to see, touch, taste, and take in every inch of the city.

It’s important to know the best way to get around, and as your home base of exploration operations, the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway’s central location makes your effort easier and fun. Whether it’s your first or tenth time in San Francisco, keep this guide handy for easy-access when you’re planning day trips out and about town.

Insider tip: download the Routesy app ahead of time for all public San Francisco transit schedules at your fingertips.

Ride San Francisco's Iconic Cable Cars

san francisco cable car

Cable Cars Stop Right Outside Our Door
Part of what makes San Francisco a dreamscape is the nostalgia of the cable cars snaking up and down the iconic hills. It’s not just an activity to watch on TV - you too can feel the wind rushing in your hair and take in the sight of the bay as you coast up and down again towards the coast.

At the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, there’s a cable car stop right outside our hotel doors. Hop on the Powell-Hyde line, which runs from the Fisherman's Wharf/Ghirardelli Square area, all the way to Union Square. You could hop off at the top of Lombard Street and walk down on foot - it’s the perfect spot for a photo of the world-renowned twisty avenue. Then, from there, it's just a couple of blocks to the water.

Tips for Riding the Cable Car

Remember - all passengers over the age of four need a ticket to ride, and one fare is only good for one ride. If you get off and get back on, you will have to pay again.

Make sure you have plenty of small bills available if you plan on purchasing from the conductor at the time of your ride, or purchase a Visitor Passport. You’ll get unlimited cable car rides, as well as passage on the Market Street F-Line streetcar and the city-run buses - it’s a great deal!

Cable Car Fare: $7.00
3-Day Visitor Passport Price: $22.00
Nearest Stop to the Hotel: California St & Van Ness Ave, half block from the hotel
Cable Car Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Cable Car Frequency: Every 6-12 minutes on weekdays, 12-15 minutes on weekends

Use the BART System

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a San Francisco visitor’s best friend. With service running to both major airports and throughout the city and East Bay area, it’s one of the fastest and most effective ways to get around and can save you from traffic and parking troubles.

Holiday Inn Golden Gateway is about 1.4 miles from the closest BART station - Civic Center. It’s a brisk walk or a short Uber, then you can catch a train to locations as far out as Fremont or Richmond, with one-way fares starting at low as $1.95.

BART Fares

BART fare cards can be purchased from ticket vending machines at any BART station. Ticket machines accept cash, credit, and debit. BART cards can also be purchased at select retail locations throughout the Bay Area and SFO Airport. Fare cards are reusable, so don't throw them away.

BART Hours of Operation

BART fares vary and are determined by the distance traveled. To get a better idea of BART pricing, check out their helpful fare calculator. For basic

SFO to the Hotel: $9.65
OAK to the Hotel: $10.95
Around San Francisco: Approximately $2.50 to $5.00
From the Hotel to Oakland: Approximately $4.00 to $6.00
From the Hotel to Berkeley: Approximately $4.00 to $6.00


5:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. - every 6 minutes
11:00 p.m. - 1:15 a.m. - every 20 minutes


6:00 a.m. -11:00 p.m. - every 6 minutes
11:00 p.m. - 1:15 a.m. - every 20 minutes


8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. - every 6 minutes
11:00 p.m. - 1:15 a.m. - every 20 minutes

Note: connections are limited after midnight, so plan on alternative transportation if your flight’s arrival is significantly delayed into the early morning hours.

See the Sights on a Street Car

street car in san francisco

“One day if I go to heaven...I’ll look around and say, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.’” - Herb Caen

Streetcar, trolley, tram...call it what you want, but don’t call it a cable car. Cable cars move via an underground cable, but streetcars are propelled by overhead wires - there’s a big difference! But both are a great way to see the city, and in San Francisco, streetcars themselves are one of the sights. The city has the country’s most diverse collection of streetcars, perfect for a vintage vacation photo shoot.

For a historic tour of the city, take the F line, which begins near Fisherman’s Wharf, runs down the Embarcadero, turns down Market and ends in the Castro district. Check out the map to find your closest stop - $2.75 is cheap for what feels like a trip into a time machine!

Biking: Good Exercise and a Fast Way to Cruise Town

bikeshare station in nob hill san francisco

We’re firm believers that one of the best ways to experience San Francisco is by bike. Pedal up steep hills and coast down the other side, by the Painted Ladies and through Alamo Square Park. You’ll hear the seals bark at Fisherman's Wharf, smell the fresh ocean air, and feel the warm setting sun on your back as you cruise back to your comfy hotel, thoroughly tired but rejuvenated by the sights and sounds. You can even take a scenic ride to an through Golden Gate Park!

The Ford GoBike Share is alive and well in San Francisco. There’s a docking station at Union Square, only a mile from us, and plenty more throughout the city. Pay $2.00 for a one-way, 30-minute trip or get a 24-hour pass for only $10.00. The Ford GoBike app will show you the closest docking station to you with available bikes and you’ll even get personal ride stats!

Where to Park in San Francisco

where to park in san francisco near holiday in golden gateway

As is the case in many bustling cities, street parking in San Francisco can be challenging. For guests at Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, we offer on-site self parking for $40.00 per day (plus tax), with unlimited in and out privileges. We can arrange airport shuttle or a limo service for a fee.

For visitors who will be driving around town, we recommend using apps like SpotHero to reserve parking spaces ahead of time - it can be a lifesaver. Also, make sure you download the PayByPhone app before you come. If you find an open public spot, it makes it easy to pay - no pocket change required.

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