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Know Before You Go: Tips for Visiting Alcatraz

By Viator, September 2017

4.5 5988 Reviews | Add your review

Perched on a rocky island in the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz once housed such legendary criminals as Al Capone. Today, the former prison is an extremely popular National Historic Landmark. Here are the top things to know when planning your visit.
 
Book your ticket in advance to secure your spot.
Tickets to Alcatraz sell out days and even weeks in advance, especially during the summer season. As the island is only accessible via the Alcatraz ferry service, it’s essential that you purchase a tour in advance (tickets are rarely ever available for same-day purchase).
 
Pay attention to the time.
Your ticket for the ferry ride to the island will have a specific departure time. Make sure you’re at Pier 33, aka Alcatraz Landing, in time to catch your assigned ferry. Once you’re on the island, you can stay as long as you wish, returning to the city on any departing ferry. Allow at least 2.5 hours for both ferry rides and your time exploring the island.
 
Select a combo tour for an enhanced sightseeing experience.
One of the best ways to make sure you don’t miss a trip to Alcatraz is to book a tour that includes admission to the island plus another Bay Area experience, such as a city tour, a Segway tour, a twilight bay cruise, an independent GoCar tour, or a trip to see the redwood trees of Muir Woods.
 
Bring layers.
The ferry ride provides fabulous views of the San Francisco city skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and Alcatraz Island, but the trip often comes with wind and fog. To enjoy the scenery and stand on deck at the same time, you’ll want to bring a jacket, even in the summer.

Tours & Tickets

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Jail and Sail: Alcatraz Tour and Twilight Bay Cruise, San Francisco, null
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Jail and Sail: Alcatraz Tour and Twilight Bay Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 457 Reviews

Explore the best of San Francisco Bay on this great-value Alcatraz and sunset cruise combo in the summer months or hop aboard the twilight cruise in the winder ...  Read more

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

From USD $105.25
The One Day in San Francisco Tour with Alcatraz, San Francisco, Day Cruises
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The One Day in San Francisco Tour with Alcatraz

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 29 Reviews

Embark on a 9-hour journey for a comprehensive 'Day in the Bay.' This tour will give you the opportunity to stop at 11 different locations, 5 various photo ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $149.00
Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour Combo, San Francisco, City Tours
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Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour Combo

4.5 star rating: Recommended 2216 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 $120.80
Big Bus San Francisco Sightseeing and Alcatraz Combo, San Francisco, City Tours
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Big Bus San Francisco Sightseeing and Alcatraz Combo

4.5 star rating: Recommended 200 Reviews

See all of San Francisco's top attractions with this special Big Bus hop-on hop-off tour and combo package. Create your own sightseeing itinerary, hopping on ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 1 day pass

From USD $110.00
San Francisco Combo: Ferry Building Food Tour and Alcatraz, San Francisco, Hop-on Hop-off Tours
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San Francisco Combo: Ferry Building Food Tour and Alcatraz

4.5 star rating: Recommended 104 Reviews

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: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $145.00
Alcatraz Tour plus Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods and Sausalito Day Trip, San Francisco, Food Tours
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Alcatraz Tour plus Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods and Sausalito Day Trip

4.5 star rating: Recommended 1074 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 $124.40
San Francisco Combo: Alcatraz and GPS-Guided GoCar Tour, San Francisco, Day Trips
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San Francisco Combo: Alcatraz and GPS-Guided GoCar Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 90 Reviews

Explore Alcatraz and then whiz through San Francisco at your own pace aboard a GPS-guided GoCar on this combo tour. Hop on the ferry and take a fascinating ...  Read more

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

From USD $245.88
Alcatraz and San Francisco Bay Sightseeing Boat Tour, San Francisco, Self-guided Tours & Rentals
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Alcatraz and San Francisco Bay Sightseeing Boat Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 81 Reviews

Enjoy two separate adventures on San Francisco Bay with this combo experience that includes an Alcatraz tour inside the world famous prison and a sightseeing ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $145.00
San Francisco Combo: Alcatraz and City Segway Tour, San Francisco, Day Cruises
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San Francisco Combo: Alcatraz and City Segway Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 107 Reviews

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

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $112.25
Viator VIP: Early Access to Alcatraz and Exclusive Cable Car Sightseeing Tour, San Francisco, ... 
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Viator VIP: Early Access to Alcatraz and Exclusive Cable Car Sightseeing Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 928 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 one of the first ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $192.50

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