San Francisco Alcatraz Island
(San Francisco, California - CA, USA)
Alcatraz Island (The Rock in the Bay)
Address: Pier 33, San Francisco, California, USA, 94133
Tel: +1 415 705 5555
This eerie and menacing island is a fantastic place to visit and is understandably one of the top tourist attractions in the San Francisco area. From 1934 until 1963, the 'Rock in the Bay' was once the most notorious prison in the whole world and home to some of America's most dangerous offenders.
The guided tour of Alcatraz is very popular and should be booked in advance to ensure you place. Alternatively, you can take the audio tour, which uses voices from the actual guards and prisoners from Alcatraz. Also, look out for the 'Ranger Tours' which are sometimes available and take you to parts of Alcatraz island that are usually closed.
Alcatraz was a maximum security, minimum privilege jail and prisoners were not allowed cigarettes, candy bars, chewing gum, soft drinks, newspapers, radios, televisions, paroles or rehabilitation programs - sentence on the Rock were tough. Inside Alcatraz the prison building is cold and damp, so be prepared and dress accordingly.
There are also night tours available, which include the audio track and access to the hospital, to see places that are not available to tourists visiting during the day. With fewer tourists, this relaxed tour is by torch light and is incredibly atmospheric.
Open hours: fall and winter - ferries leave at 09:30, 10:15 and then every 30 minutes until 14:15
Spring and summer - ferries leave at 09:30, 10:15 and then every 30 minutes until 16:15
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and seniors