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55th Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest

Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 12:00pm

The Cable Car Bell Ringing competition is back.

Clang clanging into San Francisco’s Union Square from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 10, this event is a free and fun chance to hear the one-of-a-kind sounds of our world-famous cable cars.

Come hear cable car conductors and grip operators demonstrate their best rhythm and originality for a chance at trophies and prizes--decided by local celebrity judges and community leaders. The official Cable Car Blues Band will also be onhand to play music on more traditional instruments.

Hosted by the SFMTA, the Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest is a tradition now in its 55th “Emerald” anniversary year. This unique event celebrates a world-famous attraction – no visit to the city is complete without climbing our famous hills on a cable car. The cable car was invented in San Francisco in1873. They were declared a moving National Historic Landmark 55 years ago.

So celebrate the 55th Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest with us. No ticket or RSVPs needed. Just gather ‘round the square and take part in a cherished San Francisco tradition.

Pro tip: Get to Union Square on Muni --including the Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason Cable Car lines.


Referenced Materials

Cable Car History

Cable cars were invented by Andrew Smith Hallidie here in San Francisco in 1873. Hallidie's cable car system was based on early mining conveyance systems and dominated the city’s transit scene for more than 30 years.  Hallidie's cable car system would survive the great San Francisco earthquake and fires of 1906, soldier on through two World Wars and outlast political attempts to remove the cars from city steets in the late 1940s and 1950s to become the worldwide symbol of San Francisco that it is today.

Cable Cars


Facemasks are still required to enjoy your ride on the cable car. 

Hours of operations will be 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

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