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Climb Aboard History At Powell Plaza

Friday, December 15, 2023

A black and white photograph of a historic cable car at Market and Powell from 1945.Powell Street Cable Car 503 at Market and Powell Street Turntable | August 13, 1945 

They’ve been sung about by Judy Garland and saved by Dianne Feinstein, and now you can experience San Francisco’s historic cable cars in a brand-new way at Powell Plaza.  

Starting this Saturday, Dec. 16, a 150-year-old cable car will be stationed at Powell Plaza every Tuesday and Saturday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., weather permitting. Visitors and residents can climb aboard history, take photos and explore this mobile museum up close. 

A true San Francisco original, cable cars were first invented right here in the city in 1873 by Andrew S. Hallidie. Our street-running cable car system is the only one of its kind remaining in the entire world, and San Francisco’s cable cars are a designated National Historic Landmark. 

This pilot activation at Powell Plaza is a unique opportunity to learn about the history of these iconic vehicles and experience them for free and up close. SFMTA’s cable car ambassadors will be on site to share information and answer your questions.  

A cable car is rotated at the Powell Plaza turnaround by SFMTA operators.Cable Car ride to celebrate Filipino American History Month | October 11, 2023

Visitors have flocked to the cable car turnaround at Powell Plaza for generations, and few symbols capture the imagination and magic of San Francisco like our cable cars. Whether you’re visiting the city for the first time, or are a life-long San Franciscan, this pilot activation makes it easier than ever to experience some cable car magic, connect with local history and take a photo souvenir.  

This pilot project is a partnership between the SFMTA and Mayor London Breed, to highlight a piece of our history and support downtown activation -- just in time for the holidays. This pilot is being offered for a limited time only, so don’t wait to climb aboard.  

Can’t get enough of our cable cars? Learn about the cultural connections our cable cars celebrate and support in the latest episode of the SFMTA’s Taken with Transportation podcast on our podcast webpage (SFMTA.com/Podcast). Explore more Muni history at the “120 Years: SFMTA Photo Archive 1903-2023” exhibit at the Harvey Milk Photo Center.