Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

4.7
#1 of 5,167 in Nature in United States
Tour the infamous former maximum-security penitentiary on Alcatraz Island. Nicknamed The Rock, this small island in the San Francisco Bay is now a national park. After taking a ferry to the island, follow the audio guide, available in ten languages. You'll go through the inside of the old prison's facilities, which include a lighthouse, military fortifications, and cellblocks. Though long considered escape-proof, the prison suffered an irreparable blow to its reputation in 1962, when three inmates mysteriously disappeared using a makeshift raft. Explore the protected recreation area with a park ranger, who can enhance your visit with little-known information about the island's current inhabitants: the black-crested night herons and western gulls. Using our custom trip planner, San Francisco attractions like Alcatraz Island can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Alcatraz Island Reviews
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4.7
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  • Tour was very well done--thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the rock. It is bird season so wear a hood or risk getting pooped on!  more »
  • I did not think it was going to be so interesting! Even the little kids were into it. Great experience!  more »
  • Though much about seen and heard and well worth visiting. By boat from the Mainland towards it. On location is a fine audio tour!
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  • Fun interesting historical tour of a great location. The way they do the tour is pretty good because stay on the island or as long as you like and they have boats leaving every 15 or 30 minutes. Up till 6:30 at night I believe. My only complaint is the way they do the audio tour in the cell blocks. I wish you could kind of skip around. But it's just play and pause and you have to go in order. But other than that it's it's great. Lots of informative people to help you along the way.
  • This is a bucket list item that you really must do if you are ever in San Francisco. Everyone is aware that Alcatraz was a maximum security federal prison that held gangsters like Al Capone, but there is so much more to it than that. The history is great and the gardens are beautiful! To get over to Alcatraz, you will take an approximately 10 minute ferry ride. The boat is very nice and has a snack bar and multiple levels for viewing. Once there, you will be welcomed by a park ranger with a short obligatory speech. Then you will take a long walk uphill to get your audio tour device. This audio tour is really well done and is very interesting. Take your time with it. Ferries leave about every half hour, but you can stay as long as you want and explore the island. Well worth the trip.
  • I have never had an experience quite like visiting Alcatraz, and I don't think I ever will again. The transportation there works well, the tours (audio, etc) all worked at an above expected level, and the history of the place itself is pretty cool. In my opinion, someone visiting San Francisco would be better off going to Alcatraz than most of the other touristy things, since there are bridges in other places (even though I love the Golden Gate), a bendy road with traffic isn't where you usually want to go to escape work, there are fantastic museums worldwide, and trolleys are trolleys. There aren't many ex-jails held on islands with a beautiful view of a beautiful city, though. But if you don't like the ocean, or if you don't like history, or if you have a fear of being stranded on an island, I can see why you'd pick somewhere else.
  • Awesome day at Alcatraz! My suggestion is to go early in the morning, as you'll want to spend some time or better yet, do the night tour. Heard it's amazing, but tickets for it were sold out while we were visiting (they sell out quickly!) We did the audio tour (self-guided) and felt that was good enough. Wear proper shoes! Some of the walking can be daunting as they are some steep inclines. A couple of washroom locations on the island. Snacks/drinks on the boat ride are a bit expensive, I would suggest bringing a snack if you anticipate you'll be there for a while. We also brought our water bottles as we could fill them up in a couple of locations on the island.
  • Some really amazing history here. I went on the behind the scenes tour which I recommend as you get to see a lot of cool places that the general tours don't. The solitary confinement cells in the basement were my favourite by far. Be sure to book early as the tickets seem to go quick. I booked a month in advance and there were only 6 tickets left at that point. We'll worth the extra cash.
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