Insider's Guide to San Francisco

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4.5 star rating: Recommended 612 Reviews

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  • Location:San Francisco, California
  • Duration:6 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

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

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Visit Alcatraz Island before most visitors arrive and tour San Francisco on a motorized classic cable car with this combo Viator VIP experience, available nowhere else. You’ll head to Alcatraz early for priority entry to this National Historic Landmark District. Explore the former prison via the award-winning audio guide, and enjoy a sightseeing tour of Chinatown, North Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge on a cable car retrofitted with wheels, so you can see more of the city.


  • Early-bird ferry to Alcatraz and exclusive cable car sightseeing tour
  • Experience San Francisco like a VIP insider with this Viator tour, available nowhere else!
  • Beat the crowds and be the first to Alcatraz for a fascinating award-winning audio tour
  • Admire fantastic city views aboard a cable car bus, a converted cable car with wheels for mobility
  • Snap photos of Chinatown and North Beach, and cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge
  • Enjoy lunch from the famous Boudin Bakery

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

Getting on one of the first ferries out to Alcatraz is the ideal way to explore the infamous prison – it is so quiet out there, and you arrive before the large tour groups. Plus, sightseeing around San Francisco on a converted classic cable car is a really amazing experience!

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

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

See San Francisco's iconic sights by motorized cable car

This exclusive Viator VIP experience in San Francisco combines one of the city’s top attractions, Alcatraz, with a tour of famous neighborhoods and sights. You’ll start in the early morning at Union Square to board your motorized cable car, a converted but still authentic version of this San Francisco icon that allows you to traverse more of the city than the limited cable tracks.

Drive through North Beach and Chinatown, enjoying a light breakfast as you make your way to Pier 33 to board an early ferry to Alcatraz. This priority ferry provides admission to the island prison before most other visitors are allowed, so you can enjoy a more tranquil experience. When you arrive, tour the cellblock and other areas independently using the award-winning audio guide, which includes commentary from former inmates and guards. Learn what life was like inside the jail cells of notorious criminals like Al Capone.

When you return to San Francisco, get back on the cable car with your guide to continue your city tour. You’ll receive a boxed lunch on board from Bodin Bakery, a renowned city eatery known for its sourdough; while you eat, cruise up and down the hills to admire views of Victorian homes and the bay. Then cross the Golden Gate Bridge and make a stop for photos at Vista Point.

End your tour with the ride back to Union Square, where you’ll be dropped off to continue your day at your leisure. 

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

This tour was perfectly timed and amazing! I definitely would recommend it!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Our day at Alcatraz was sensational! As were have been there previously, we thought it would be great to go on the early access tour, we thought it my add to the eeriness of the rock. Unfortunately we didn't go over early we simply just took the first ferry that others were catching but we still had a great time. Whilst I was there I bought a book, Murderers on Alcatraz' written by former guard George Devincenzi, who happened to be there on the day and was kind enough to personally sign my book - I was thrilled. George is a lovely man and I felt very privileged to meet him. We left Alcatraz and got back on the cable car for more sightseeing which was also sensational as we saw many places we wouldn't if we had gone it alone. This was accompanied by lunch provided by Boudin Bakery - they have a sourdough to die for. Our ambassador was very knowledgeable and took us to places and told us the history, such as the Presidio, Coit Tower etc. It was a great day and I would highly recommend this tour.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Excellent tour!! Jaime was an incredible tour guide that you will get if you go on a Sunday. She was so knowledgeable and made this tour so much fun.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Our driver Arturo was the best took pictures for us realy went out of his way to give us the best experience we had in a long time everything was perfect we booked it on line and everything was on schedule

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

The tour was amazing. BEST part was the different places the Cable Car will take you that the traditional double deck buses do not. I am sorry to report I can not remember the man's name that took us on the tour, but he was both entertaining and charismatic. To the man or woman in charge of reviewing these internally please commend our tour guide!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Alcatraz wasn't as good as I expected. It needs to expand into the WHOLE history of the rock, rather than just the time as a Federal Prison.
But the TOUR isn't Alcatraz. The TOUR is of San Francisco. And that part is spectacular.
Fun trip on the 'bus'. But the information and entertainment that our guide provided, and the places he took us, were out of this world well, they WERE within this world, but we got to see YODA, so...
I was amazed by the places we got to see, never expecting that aspect of the trip.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

This was a great addition to my trip to San Francisco! The tour was very personal and the guide was really good and knew lots of cool little details you would otherwise miss. It was a bit pricey but I think absolutely worth every penny.
It was impossible for me to get Alcatraz tickets with such short notice so I took this guided tour and it actually turned out to be really nice because you got to see a lot of SF at the same time.
The cable car was able to go to places the normal tour buses cant go so I would absolutely recommend this to anyone going to San Francisco!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

My tour was great..The tour guide was very educated and friendly. I would recomend this tour. I had a great time.I rate this a 5 star tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

This was a wonderful experience and this was just the way to do it!
Great fun sightseeing bus with a top guide and a fantastic tour of Alcatraz to boot!
Thank you.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Excellent way to see San Francisco. Alcatraz is a must when in SF. Althought I would have like more time there.

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Tour code: 2242VIPALCATRAZ


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