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Visit “The Rock”

Alcatraz is a must-see for any traveler visiting San Francisco.

The Alcatraz Island tour starts with a scenic 10-minute ferry ride from San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Taking the ferry to Alcatraz will afford you amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, and the San Francisco city skyline from the north. When you land on the island, you’ll get a short history of Alcatraz, and then head up into the prison! You’ll be equipped with an audio tour titled “Doing Time: The Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour”, which features interviews and stories of prisoners and correctional officers who either worked on or were incarcerated in the United States Penitentiary-Alcatraz.

An orientation video, ranger-led tours and docent tours are also available.When you’re through at The Rock, you simply catch a ferry back to land: they run every 30-40 minutes!

You may choose to skip the crowds and travel a little later, taking the Alcatraz Night Tour. This includes all of the same highlights as the day tour, but it’s usually less crowded, and the sunset view of the bay is amazing.

Alcatraz Island sits about a mile and a half off the north coast of San Francisco. Roughly 0.3 x 0.1 miles across, this island is one of 18 in the San Francisco Bay (this count includes both uninhabited rock formations and larger bodies like Angel Island, Alcatraz, and Treasure Island. Alcatraz was named after the Spanish or Portuguese word for “pelican”, for the birds that roosted on the island. It was called “La Isla de los Alcatreces” (the island of the pelicans), and was later shortened to “Alcatraz”. The island of Alcatraz became a military asset in the early 1850s at the end of the Mexican-American war, when California became a part of the United States. In the beginning of the American Civil War (1860s), it was determined that Alcatraz was a good protection from approach by sea, and over 100 cannons were mounted on the island. The island functioned as the arsenal for San Francisco’s firearms and began to be used as a holding place for military prisoners (mostly Confederate sympathizers). In 1868 (after the war), Alcatraz was designated as a long-term military detention facility, and the population increased during the Spanish-American War in 1898. In 1907 the prison was officially designated as the Western United States Military Prison, and in 1909 construction began on the main cell block that still stands today. Alcatraz is most famous for its time as a Federal Prison from 1934-1963, when it housed such famous prisoners as Al Capone, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Most of the inmates were bank robbers and murderers, and they came from all over the US. While there are many urban legends about escapes from Alcatraz, it is believed that no inmate ever successfully escaped from The Rock. The federal prison was closed in 1963 by Robert F Kennedy (then the US Attorney General) for financial and environmental reasons. From 1964 to 1971, the island of Alcatraz was occupied by Native American activists, the major occupation taking place from 1969 to 1971. The Native Americans were protesting federal policies that denied land rights to native tribes. This occupation continued until President Richard Nixon created new legislation that rescinded the previous policies that denied federal recognition of the tribes. The occupation, which lasted 19 months and 9 days, ended in 1971. To this day, there are many cultural activities and exhibits on the island recognizing the native people that occupied the island. In 1972, Alcatraz became a national recreation area under the protection and management of the National Parks System, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. More than one million people visit Alcatraz Island annually to learn about its rich history. Book your tickets today to see The Rock for yourself!

Tours of Alcatraz Island


Alcatraz Island Tour + Yosemite Day Tour and Aquarium

2 days | $259 book now

On your first day, see the historic Alcatraz Federal Prison and explore the Aquarium of the Bay. The next day, see all the highlights of Yosemite Valley including: El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and Tunnel View (Inspiration Point)!


Muir Woods and Sausalito Tour + Alcatraz Day Tour and Aquarium

2 days | $169 book now

Muir Woods and Sausalito Tour + Alcatraz Night Tour and Aquarium

12 hours | $179 book now

Visit Muir Woods National Monument and the beautiful town of Sausalito on this refreshing 1/2 day tour. Ride the full loop back to San Francisco, or take the ferry across the bay from Sausalito – the choice is yours! Finally, depart from Fisherman's Wharf for Alcatraz Island and experience the prison at night!


Muir Woods Tour with Sonoma Wine Country + Alcatraz Tour and Aquarium

2 days | $239 book now

On your first day, see the historic Alcatraz Federal Prison and the Aquarium of the Bay. Then, walk through the misty trails of Muir Woods and taste a variety of local California wines in Sonoma County on this great combination day tour.


Alcatraz Island Tour + Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour and Aquarium

2 days | $279 book now

Check out the Aquarium of the Bay and Alcatraz Island, and then taste a variety of local California wines from both Napa and Sonoma counties on this relaxing and educational 2-day tour package.


Silicon Valley Tech Tour + Alcatraz Tour

2 days | $199 book now

Visit Alcatraz Island – San Francisco’s #1 attraction! The next morning, “Check in” at Google Campus, the Computer History Museum, the Apple Visitors Center, and see the Facebook Thumbs-Up sign in Silicon Valley.


Alcatraz Island Tour + San Francisco Bay Sailing Tour

2 days | $99 book now

Visit Alcatraz Island – San Francisco's #1 attraction! The next day, board a catamaran sailing vessel for an exciting tour of San Francisco Bay.


2-Day San Francisco City Tour + Alcatraz Island

2 days | $150 book now

This hop-on hop-off double decker bus is a great way to familiarize yourself with San Francisco without having to drive. Explore the 20+ stops around the city with this 2-day pass, and see Alcatraz Island as part of the package!


Alcatraz Tour + San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise

1 day | $129 book now

The Best of the SF Bay in a Day! Visit Alcatraz Island – San Francisco’s #1 attraction, and then board a biodiesel ship for a relaxing cruise around San Francisco Bay with live music, refreshments, and a sunset view of the Golden Gate Bridge.


Alcatraz Night Tour + San Francisco Bay Cruise

1 day | $109 book now

The Best of the SF Bay in a Day! Board a biodiesel ship for a relaxing cruise around San Francisco Bay, and then visit Alcatraz Island – San Francisco's #1 attraction – at night!


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