Just as San Francisco has two different flavors of streetcar—the regular Muni light rail and, of course, those beloved cable cars—the city also has two very different streetcar museums. The better-known one is the Cable Car Museum up on Nob Hill, which we absolutely love for its collection of antique cars, that indefinable cable-car brake smell in the air, and the fact that you can watch the huge wheels that power the whole system turning right before your eyes. What we don’t love so much is its gift shop, which is, for the most part, filled with schlocky souvenirs. When we’re looking for gifts for the transit-obsessed, we head instead to the SF Railway Museum, around the corner from the Hotel Vitale. There, along with a few well-done displays about the collection of streetcars from around the world—including New Orleans—that runs up and down Market Street on the Muni’s F Line, you’ll find toy streetcars made out of wood, pint glasses with historic San Francisco transit ads (“At Sutro’s, Big Business Men come here a lot/To hatch out some Big Business Plot”), and a series of gorgeous, retro-style posters.
Photo Courtesy of Brian Leadingham via Flickr
Featured Photo Courtesy of kevinashphotography.com via Flickr