Alcatraz

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Alcatraz: Our most recommended tours and activities

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

1. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket. See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

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San Francisco: Waterfront Guided Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

2. San Francisco: Waterfront Guided Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

Meet your guide at the north end of Fisherman's Wharf at 9:30 AM and start your experience by taking in the amazing views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Hear how San Francisco transformed from a sleepy village to a booming port city when gold fever swept the nation in 1849. Learn about the life of the Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli at the famous former chocolate factory in Ghirardelli Square. Stroll along the fog-lined waterfront and drool over the numerous stalls selling crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls. Walk a portion of the historic Barbary Coast trail while your guide tells you about it's colorful past. You and your group will then make your way to Pier 39 and admire historic ships in the harbor. Witness the colony of sea lions that have taken over many of its docks. Continue along the Embarcadero Promenade and learn about its evolution from a traditional maritime port to a modern urban waterfront filled with trendy restaurants and amusement piers. The walking tour concludes at Pier 33 at 10:45 AM, where you will present your photo ID to receive your 11:00 AM Alcatraz tickets. Board your ferry and enjoy a self-guided tour of Alcatraz upon the island.  Learn about the history of the cell house and its former residents with an award-winning audio tour available in multiple languages. You can expect to be done with the whole experience by around 2:30 PM.

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San Francisco: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour with Alcatraz Ticket

3. San Francisco: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour with Alcatraz Ticket

Get a huge amount of choice for sightseeing in San Fransisco in one go—access to the hop-on hop-off city tour route, a special night tour, and tickets to the Alcatraz Island for a self-guided audio tour of the notorious prison.  Audio guides are available in a variety of languages but the hop-on hop-off tour is only available in English. With open double-decker buses and a guide on each one, you can see just about everything and learn just as much. You can get to all the most famous spots in the city, and 48 hours is enough time to go back and visit your favorites again. Official City Loop highlights include:• The Palace of Fine Arts• North Vista Point where you can take photos of Golden Gate Bridge• Golden Gate Park where you can enjoy the Japanese Tea Gardens• Haight-Ashbury district• San Francisco Downtown, Chinatown• The Civic Center• The Embarcadero• Fisherman’s Wharf• Barbary Coast• The Financial District and the Ferry Building The 90-Minute Night Tour covers many of the attractions on the other routes, but with a whole new perspective. It is not hop-on hop-off and departs from Fisherman’s Wharf at 18:30 all year round with additional departures during the summer months.

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San Francisco: Alcatraz Island and Guided City Tour

4. San Francisco: Alcatraz Island and Guided City Tour

Following pickup, enjoy a 30-minute tour of San Francisco's waterfront where you will see notable landmarks such as Embarcadero, Levi’s Plaza, and Fisherman's Wharf. Enjoy a brief coffee break at the Ferry Building. Next, make your way to Pier 33 where you’ll board the ferry to start your Alcatraz Island tour. Listen to an audio presentation featuring recordings of inmates and guards that worked and inhabited the island.  Enjoy 2-3 hours on "The Rock" where you will have time for a guided tour and some free time to explore.  Take one of the late-morning ferries to San Francisco so you can join for the afternoon portion of your day tour. Cruise along San Francisco’s waterfront and the Marina District, and then visit the Palace of Fine Arts. Explore the culturally rich neighborhoods of San Francisco. Learn about what made the Haight-Ashbury, Mission, and Castro districts what they are today and why they’re important to so many. After a slow drive through Nob Hill and Chinatown, visit the charming Italian neighborhood of North Beach. Finally, enjoy a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge and pause along the cliffs to admire the beautiful views of the “city by the bay”. Take in the spectacular beauty of Golden Gate Park before finishing your tour.

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San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

5. San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

Take a relaxing 90-minute round trip boat trip onboard a luxury catamaran. See sea lions, famous sights, and sunset views of San Francisco as the sun dips below the Bay. Sail by Alcatraz Island, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and past Sausalito. Search for the famous Pier 39 sea lions and other kinds of sea life playing in the ocean. Cruise along the shore, gazing on the city skyline as you watch the magnificent sunset. Relax with a complimentary drink on board either a 55- or 65-foot catamaran. Both come complete with a protected viewing area, providing panoramic 360-degree viewing, in addition to canvas trampoline nets for the more adventurous who want to experience the sights in the bracing open air.

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San Francisco: Alcatraz and Big Bus City Tour Ticket

6. San Francisco: Alcatraz and Big Bus City Tour Ticket

Tour the famous prison that has played a role in jailhouse folklore and the historic evolution of the West Coast. Explore the island of Alcatraz and learn about its history as a U.S. Army asset as well as a federal prison. You'll learn more about the 14 unsuccessful escape attempts by over 30 prisoners and their fates. Your Premium Big Bus hop-on-hop-off pass is a great way to see the sights of San Francisco. Listen to commentary by live English-speaking guides, or enjoy pre-recorded audio commentary in 10 languages. Your ticket is valid for 1 full day of unlimited hop-on-hop-off, 1 walking tour, and a 1-hour panoramic night tour. Explore one of San Francisco's most fascinating neighborhoods on a fun and informative walking tour of Chinatown. The tours are offered daily, and you can ask an agent for locations and time schedules. Also included are a bonus 1-hour bike rental (with the purchase of a 1-hour rental) and Players Arcade Drink and Game Tokens. Hop-on, hop-off tour stops include: Stop 1: Corner of Jefferson & Mason StreetStop 2: Holiday Inn Northpoint b/w Jones & ColumbusStop 3: Washington Square - Columbus & Union StreetsStop 4: Embarcadero Center - Corner Clay & Battery StreetsStop 5: Ferry Building - Market St b/w Stuart & Spear StreetsStop 6: Union Square South - Geary St across from Macy’sStop 7: Hilton Hotel - Corner Mason & Ellis StreetsStop 8: Civic Center - Fulton St b/w Larkin & Hyde StreetsStop 9: Alamo Square - Corner Fell & Pierce StreetsStop 10: Haight Ashbury - Haight & Shrader StreetsStop 11: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate ParkStop 12: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista PointStop 13: Palace of Fine Arts - Richardson & Francisco StreetStop 14: Marina Neighborhood - Lombard & Fillmore StreetsStop 15: Lombard Street Corridor - Lombard & Gough StreetsStop 16: Union Square North - Post & Powell StreetsStop 17: Chinatown Gate - Grant and Bush StreetsStop 18: Portsmouth Square - Kearny & Clay StreetsStop 19: Pier 35 Cruise Terminal - The EmbarcaderoStop 20: Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf (then return to Stop 1)

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San Francisco: City Sights, Muir Woods & Alcatraz Day Tour

7. San Francisco: City Sights, Muir Woods & Alcatraz Day Tour

Meet outside Fisherman’s Wharf at your chosen tour time. After a brief roll call, you’ll board the bus and travel to your first stop. Over the next 3 hours, you’ll be treated to stories about the neighborhoods, diversity, and geography of the area. You will exit the bus at several stops for photo opportunities and exploration. At the end of the adventure, you will be dropped off at Fisherman’s Wharf or North Beach, where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch and explore Lombard Street. You can also take in stunning views over the city from the Coit Tower or watch Pier 39 infamous sea lions. Your guide will recommend restaurants and must-see locations during your break. After lunch, walk over to Pier 33 to depart for Alcatraz. Upon arriving to Alcatraz Island you will take the official tour and have the opportunity to explore additional exhibits at your convenience. Lastly, return by ferry from Alcatraz back to Pier 33 where you are free to enjoy the rest of your evening. Here are the places you will explore (photo stops noted by *): • Alcatraz* - Used as a federal prison between 1933-1966, Alcatraz housed some of the most dangerous criminals of the time, including Al Capone, James "Whitey" Bulger, and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. Featuring unbelievable views of the San Francisco peninsula, a visit to the island is essential when in town • Fisherman's Wharf - One of San Francisco's most popular destinations - from beautiful old shipyards to Boudin's Bakery and of course, the sea lions of Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf has it all • Fort Point* - Located just beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point gives you a front-row seat to the San Francisco Bay. This former military fortification was used during both the Civil War and World War II • Golden Gate Bridge - Declared one of the 10 wonders of the modern world, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognized symbols of San Francisco • Pacific Heights* - Offering one of the most scenic outlooks in all of Northern California, Pacific Heights is home to Billionaire's Row, featuring the estates of politicians, tech titans, and other San Francisco celebrities • Chinatown - Boasting the largest Chinatown in the United States, this 24-block mecca is bustling with energy, amazing food, and unique shops that give this area its charm • North Beach - Voted as one of the USA's ten great neighborhoods, North Beach is best known as the home of Little Italy. From delicious restaurants to authentic sidewalk cafes and bakeries, you will feel the charm of San Francisco as soon as you arrive • Haight Ashbury* - The origin of the hippie culture and the birthplace of the “Summer of Love.” From the stunning Painted Ladies to the homes of music’s favorite 60’s bands, this district started the counter-culture movement across the USA • Tenderloin - Nestled near downtown San Francisco, the Tenderloin neighborhood continues to resist gentrification, all while spearheading the local arts movement. It’s a must-see in our modern-day city • Golden Gate Bridge - Declared “one of the 10 wonders of the modern world,” the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognized symbols of San Francisco

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San Francisco: Wine Tasting on the Bay

8. San Francisco: Wine Tasting on the Bay

Marvel the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Start at Pier 39 and glide towards the Golden Gate Bridge, up close to the infamous Alcatraz, down the San Francisco city front, and past many other famous landmarks and attractions. Experience San Francisco from unique perspectives and take iconic photos of the world-famous skyline and wildlife from a 360-degree walkway around the boat. Enjoy personalized treatment and a large selection of local wines. Beverages are available for purchase during your tour.

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San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Bike Tour

9. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Bike Tour

Experience San Francisco with the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin on this stunning city tour that takes you on a ride across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Truly the best way to see the bay, this tour is perfect for families and individuals seeking an up close and personal look at the city’s most celebrated landmark. Start the tour at the picturesque Aquatic Park in Fisherman’s Wharf, and then ride through the mostly flat National Park and through to Fort Mason, the Marina, Presidio National Park, and then onto the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Along the way, your local guide will share entertaining and educational information with you, including the history behind the Golden Gate Bridge and the city itself. Marvel at the stunning views across the bay as you cross the bridge on the sidewalk, followed by a 10-minute downhill ride into the charming bay side town of Sausalito. The tour ends here but your all-day bike rental allows you to explore the area at your own leisure and return the bike once you’ve explored it all. Why not grab a bite to eat, relax, shop, and enjoy Sausalito’s famously wonderful weather before taking your bike on the ferry back to San Francisco.

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San Francisco: Golden Gate Bike Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

10. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bike Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

Cross San Francisco Bay on a journey to the notorious Alcatraz Prison by ferry. This world-famous prison served as a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963 and housed infamous criminals like Al Capone and Robert Stroud, the Birdman. Take the award-winning 45-minute Cellhouse audio tour and hear the tales of those who lived in Alcatraz. This tour brings history alive through the recounting of tales from correctional officers and prisoners. Your bike tour will take place the previous day 10:00 AM. Set off from Fisherman’s Wharf and enjoy a leisurely cycle for around 3 hours. You’ll be kitted out with a current model bike, front handlebar bag, lock, helmet, rear gear rack, and takeaway map – and then you’ll be ready to head out on tour! Follow the San Francisco waterfront with your guide, past Aquatic Park, Fort Mason, the Marina, and the Presidio, through Crissy Field and to Fort Point. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge on a wide bike path, and then proceed to Vista Point and on to Old Fort Baker. The cycling tour comes to an end in Sausalito where you’ll have time to enjoy the shops, the many art galleries, and the delicious food. You can return to San Francisco right after the tour ends, or you may keep the bike until closing hours and enjoy additional time exploring this fascinating area on your own. Important Note: All bike tours take place 1 day prior to your selected Alcatraz departure. The date and time selected on your confirmation is for your day 2 Alcatraz Tour. Afternoon Alcatraz departure times are allotted, and so will be confirmed to customers approximately 30 days before departure.

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Planning Your Visit

  • How to get there?

    You can only reach Alcatraz by ferry, which sets off from Port 33 on the Embarcadero.

  • Best time of year to visit?

    Alcatraz gets quite foggy during the summer months, so you'll experience the best weather at the end of spring or beginning of fall. May and June are ideal for bird activity.

  • Best time of day to visit?

    It only really matters if you want to spend the whole day there, in which case you'll obviously want to get there as early as possible! There are a limited amount of people allowed on the island, which keeps crowds from getting out of hand - so be prepared to wait.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Ferry departures from 9AM daily.
  • Is it expensive?
    Ticket prices vary, from $30 for adults.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Experience Alcatraz as part of a hop-on hop-off tour of other San Francisco sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, and save money - there'll be a guide giving you all the information you need for every destination.
  • How to get there
    As Alcatraz is an island, the only way of reaching it is by ferry. You can do this on the F line of the Muni (bus).
  • Additional information

    • The island has some steep hills, so make sure to wear good walking shoes.

    • Bring a jacket or sweater - it can get chilly near the coast!

Other Sightseeing Options in Alcatraz

Want to discover all there is to do in Alcatraz? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Alcatraz

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 3,444 reviews

We did this tour on the first full day we were in San Francisco and we felt it was a great introduction to the city! Joseph was our tour guide and Archie was our driver and they made a great team with their combined knowledge from growing up in the area. Alcatraz was awesome and we were lucky enough to experience it during fleet week with the Blue Angels flying above us. Highly recommended activity!

Me and my girlfriend had the greatest time on this tour! I would highly recommend anyone to come and enjoy the ride as well as the drinks they have! Captain Evans is hands down one of the coolest captains I have ever had and was a great and courteous person!

This was a spur of the moment activity while we were visiting California and ended up being one of the most exciting activities we did while visit. Everything was perfect. The staff were amazing!! I HIGHLY recommend doing this.

Our tour guide John was chatty, informative and a fantastic tour guide. We loved spending time with him Yesterday. From Sally & Sam

Perfect experience. Just as advertised with a bonus trip around Alcatraz. Perfect end to the day.