Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

4.7
#1 of 3,745 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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45,487 reviews
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4.7
TripAdvisor
  • It is really enjoyable to walk around Alcatraz. Guides are very friendly and tell you great stories. Island is still in good condition, but some areas does not look maintained, maybe it is the meaning...  more »
  • We loved this place. Second time here in 20 years. Audio tour is very informative. Many areas are accessible. This is a must if visiting San Francisco, but make sure you book early.  more »
  • We travelled to Alcatraz on a beautiful sunny day in January. We found the self guided audio to to be very professionally done. The whole operation from the ferry ride to the introductory briefing and...  more »
Google
  • Well run establishment with an expertly made audio tour that was informative and enjoyable. Be sure to check with the staff regarding the days events before you set off exploring as some sections are closed until they are opened by park authorities. No food or drink (except water) is sold or to be consumed on the prison premises except the landing area. There are also many volunteers who maintain the garden grounds who also have some knowledge about the history. If you are lucky, an ex inmate of Alcatraz can be found in the gift shop signing books and taking questions. Excellent resource while he is still here.
  • I never expected that I could like it. I went there only because my family wanted to go. And surprisingly I really liked it. The main reason for that is their audio tour, which is included for free and is really high quality, informative and interesting. Also there is 1 nice trail with huge agaves which is open only 3 month a year, so we were lucky ( in January). And in general it was great boat trip in the nice sunny weather. My 5 yo son and my ~ 60 yo parents also really like that.
  • Totally worth the $37 admission. The views you get of the Golden Gate Bridge, bay bridge, and the San Francisco skyline are worth the trip alone. We did the ranger tour with Ranger John and he was awesome. He's been there for over 25 years and was funny and knowledgeable. The audio tour was interesting and guides you around the prison telling stories about various prisoners and guards. There's so much to see and you can stay for as long as you'd like. The return boats leave every 1/2 hour. All in all, this was probably our favorite place we visited our trip and would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the Bay Area.
  • Lived in the Bay Area as a kid and now with my own kids, for 5 years. Finally made it to Alcatraz and was [extremely] pleasantly surprised by the tour of the prison. An audio tour with a personal device could have been terrible but they did a fantastic job with it. Our group contained our kids, 8 and 10, my wife and I (40's) and the grandparents. Every one of us absolutely loved the tour. It was engaging, well-paced, and fascinating. I definitely recommend the tour to anyway.
  • We did the night tour and I can't recommend it enough. The variations of light within the prison due to the sunset and then the night, gave an idea of how it affects the place and I guess, how it could affect the inmates and guards in there. The presentations were great, especially the weapons! Staff is really welcoming and nice as well. And being able to see the sunset on San Francisco was a must! Really great visit.

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From inexpensive hostels in quiet residential areas to high-end hotels near the city center, San Francisco has accommodations for every budget. Key consideration is what kind of neighborhood you want to stay in. You'll find luxury hotels in Union Square, which has prime shopping, is near theaters, and is on the cable car line. Many hotels are in the northeastern portion of the city, near the tourist-driven neighborhoods of Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, both easily explored on foot. To get away from the tourist crowds, consider the smaller inns and family-run bed and breakfasts in some of the city's more charming neighborhoods, such as Noe Valley or Pacific Heights. There are also boutique hotels scattered around town. Avoid staying in the Tenderloin. If you plan to have a car with you, ask about parking availability and fees. Parking is often difficult and expensive.
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