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Alcatraz, San Francisco

4.0 stars



I couldn’t have gone to San Francisco and not visit the Alcatraz. Everyone in my family that heard I was going to San Francisco told me the Alcatraz was one of the best places to visit there, so I decided to go. Most people say you need a whole day for visiting it, and I must say I agree. I got there by ferry. I loved the ferry ride. It was really fun, as I met some people and spent the whole day with them. I really liked the Alcatraz, the long walks full of history and a lovely atmosphere. There were very many tourists there when I visited, which kind of ruined the atmosphere a little, but I really enjoyed it. [more ]

Alcatraz Prison Cruise

Alcatraz is one of the world oldest and most known prisons. The prison was in full operation from 1934 until 1963. Now, it is open for excursions and tours. Passengers can cruise out to Alcatraz Island and learn all about the history of the prison facility and about the criminals that once called Alcatraz home.

Alcatraz was a federal penitentiary and is located on a rock in the San Francisco Bay. Many famous criminals such as Al “Scarface” Capone and “Birdman” Robert Stoud once was imprisoned within the walls of Alcatraz and help to establish the prison’s popularity.

In addition to prison and criminal history, Alcatraz Island is also the home to many rare and exotic plants and marine animals. Hundreds of sea birds nest around the island as well. It is a sanctuary of beautiful wildlife and plant life.

Alcatraz Island Cruise is the official source of tickets to Alcatraz Island. They offer both day and night tours of the island. Group tours are also available throughout the year.

When touring Alcatraz, passengers should be aware that the building is on a steep and hilly rock and some walking will be required. The distance from the dock to the prison is about ¼ mile and the elevation is about 130 feet.

After touring the Alcatraz Island, visitors can enjoy a delicious seafood meals and shopping at the Fisherman’s Warf on the waterfront. Fisherman’s Warf is one of San Francisco’s most popular destinations and is a great way to end the tour of Alcatraz Island. It is just a short walk from the Alcatraz Cruise boarding area. [more ]

The boat to Alcatraz

After all this walking around I decided to make my way back to the wharf area. I was intent on visiting Alcatraz. This is a very popular attraction, and as such there were plenty of tour operators providing an all inclusive boat ticket and pass for the tiny island. I spent an interesting couple of hours there, before heading back to the mainland. It was dusk and I was able to spend some time walking around the wharf area towards North Beach as the sun went down. There is certainly plenty of action here at that time of day as the ending of numerous boat tours gives way to evening dining on the waterfront. [more ]

Alcatraz, San Francisco

It was actually my birthday. I had nothing better to do today than to go to jail. And not any jail… but the most famous of them all, Alcatraz!, I headed for pier 41 in the san Francisco bay area and booked a ferry and tour ticket with Blue and Gold Fleet Tour Co. to take me to Alcatraz Island. The day was quite cold, but it was a bright day with clear blue skies. Once I arrived at the famous Island, I was able to view all of the areas of “the rock”, including the cells and the yard. This place has an eerie feel of reality to it, especially when I was able to experience being locked in one of the small cells. Alcatraz remains a top attraction and it is worth experiencing, just for a day! [more ]


Visiting Alcatraz was amazing. Walking around the prison, looking at the cells in which all those infamous prisoners had been, thinking about what it meant to be a prison guard where you lived and worked on this small island, in many ways as stranded as the prisoners (though with obvious difference), watching your children go on a boat to school every day.

We got ther ferry from San Francisco bay and arrived at the island at about 10.30 in the morning. It was a good idea to get there early as there was less people and also there is quite a lot to see and do here if you take the time to absorb it. There was a park ranger that gave us a walking tour although he did try and involve people by asking questions. This in itself wasn’t the problem. Rather the young kid about 7 I would say who raised his hand dutifully every time. Even his father walked away pretending he didn’t know him. We also went on a walking tour of the prison. They give you head sets. I liked this as you can take your time, pause it if you are looking at something or particularly interested in something. Basically, it gives you a chance to go at your own pace. Some of the cells were presented as they would have been with pictures, books, guitars and so on giving a sense of the lives lived here. There was also a movie playing in another section which was incredibly interesting and looked at part of the history that I was unaware of, the Indian occupation in 1969. We also walked around the outside and you can see San Francisco bay and the Golden Gate bridge - always that little bit too far away for the prisoners, music apparently floating over sometimes lest reminders be needed of what they were missing. [more ]

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