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  • Address: Ferries depart Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf
  • Hours: Open daily; tour boats depart San Francisco 9:10am - 6:45pm (shorter hours in winter)
  • Admission: Park admission $26 - $58 (adults)
For almost 150 years, Alcatraz has given the innocent chills and the guilty cold sweats. Over the years it's been the nation's first military prison, then a forbidding maximum-security penitentiary, now a National Park. No wonder that first step you take off the ferry and onto 'The Rock' seems to cue ominous music: dunh-dunh-dunnnnh!

But a visit to Alcatraz is more than just seeing the inside of an old prison. The scenic ferry ride on the San Francisco Bay enhances the experience. On the way to Alcatraz, take in the breathtaking panorama of the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, and Angel Island; the Ellis Island of the West.

The roster of Alcatraz inmates read like an America's Most Wanted list. A-list criminals doing time on Alcatraz included Chicago crime boss Al "Scarface" Capone, dapper kidnapper George "Machine Gun" Kelly, hot-headed Harlem mafioso and sometime poet "Bumpy" Johnson, and Morton Sobell, the military contractor found guilty of Soviet espionage along with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Though Alcatraz was considered escape-proof, in 1962 the Anglin brothers and Frank Morris floated away on a makeshift raft and were never seen again.

Alcatraz is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Park rangers enhance the visit with anecdotes and information about the prison and the island. The cell blocks, 'Red Power' graffiti, and rare wildlife, such as the black-crested night heron and western gulls, are all part of the attraction.

Practical Info

The trip to Alcatraz is popular and space is limited. Purchase Alcatraz tickets as far in advance as possible, up to 90 days.

Alcatraz is accessible by ferry, which leaves from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf, every half hour, between 9am and 2pm. Allow about 2 1/2 hours for the round-trip boat ride. Be sure to bring along a sweater or windbreaker, as it gets much cooler once you’re out on the water. Bring along snacks, as the ferry has a limited beverage-and-snack bar, and only water is available on the island. Night trips are available Thursday through Monday and are a more intimate and wonderfully spooky experience.

Tours & Tickets

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Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 1278 Reviews

Combine a San Francisco City Tour and guided visit to Alcatraz for the ultimate introduction to San Francisco! You'll enjoy the beauty and attractions of ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $79.00

Viator VIP: Early Access to Alcatraz and Exclusive Cable Car Sightseeing Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 106 Reviews

Beat the crowds to Alcatraz and experience San Francisco aboard an authentic cable car with a modern twist. This exclusive tour puts you on the first ferry to ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $149.00
$169.00 Save $20.00

Alcatraz Tour plus Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods and Sausalito Day Trip

4.5 star rating: Recommended 657 Reviews

Contrast the brutal austerity of Alcatraz with the sheer beauty of Muir Woods and Sausalito on this enthralling day trip from San Francisco. It's a whole day ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $79.00

San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Ticket and Alcatraz Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 262 Reviews

Everything you'll need to see in San Francisco and at your own pace! From Alcatraz to modern San Francisco architecture, this tour covers the beauty and ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $99.99

Jail and Sail: Half-Day Tour of San Francisco Bay

4.5 star rating: Recommended 147 Reviews

Explore the best of San Francisco Bay on this great-value Alcatraz and sunset cruise combo! Start the afternoon with a trip to the notorious Island prison of ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $88.00

San Francisco in One Day: Alcatraz, City Tour, Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Cruise

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 33 Reviews

This is the perfect tour for those who want to experience the best of San Francisco Bay. Snap photos of Chinatown, Coit Tower, Haight-Ashbury and Twin Peaks ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 10 hours
Tour divided over 2 days from October 21 to March 9

From USD $113.99

San Francisco Combo: Alcatraz and City Segway Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 10 Reviews

Explore Alcatraz and take a city Segway tour to see top San Francisco attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf and the ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: Alcatraz: varies
Segway tour: 3 hours

From USD $100.00

San Francisco Combo: Alcatraz and Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Admission

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 10 Reviews

Have a full day of fun in San Francisco with a visit to Ripley's Believe It Or Not! and a trip to Alcatraz. Enter the world of the uncanny and bizarre at ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: Varies

From USD $65.99

San Francisco Land, Sea, Air and Alcatraz Adventure

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 22 Reviews

See the best of San Francisco from the land, sea, and air including a visit to Alcatraz Island! Over the course of approximately two days, your flexible, ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $399.00

San Francisco Combo: Ferry Building Food Tour and Alcatraz

The historic Ferry Building and Alcatraz are two of San Francisco's most prolific attractions. On this not-to-be missed combo tour, you get to see them both in ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 1-hour food tour
Flexible time on Alcatraz

From USD $119.00

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