Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9412337.802042 -122.438232
Thu-Sun 9:30am-2:15pm, 4:20pm-9:30pm (evening tour hours)
Neighborhoods: North, Marina
One of the best SF tours – Great informative, interesting tour of history! The ferry ride there was so fun, I recommend sitting on the top deck (even though its freezing, its so worth it!) Go during the "night" tours, they are the most informative and complete tours. I love the audio tour with the actual inmate voices. Is a bit pricey, but who cares? It's really worth it!
Fascinating piece of San Fran history – Going to Alcatraz is a fabulous tour through a chapter of San Fran history, as well as the history of correctional facilities in the US. The evening tour (we went in late afternoon and experienced sunset there) will lend a creepier feeling and some excellent sunset photo ops. Audio and guided tour was very interesting and informative. If you're a fan of cable tv prison documentaries like I am, you'll see that Alcatraz is a much smaller size than today's facilities, making it a more manageable size to tour. Arguably our favorite part were the unguided exhibits in the "theater" (which is near the bottom) - very fascinating stuff on Alacatraz and the penitentiary system, we stumbled upon this on our way back to the boat w/ only 10 mins left so be sure to leave time for this if you like that kinda stuff. It's a bird sanctuary so beware if you lean over the stone ledge to see the door to the original prison there (I learned that the hard way!).
Escape from the mainland to this legendary prison for a thrilling tour behind bars. – The Background
Perhaps the most famous former jail in the world, "The Rock" draws thousands of visitors every year to its echoing corridors. Alcatraz--home of the maximum-security prison from which Clint Eastwood once fictionally escaped, where Robert Stroud became a "Birdman" and Al Capone lost his mind--was also the site of a famous two-year occupation by American Indians. The place has long been rumored to be haunted.
The official ferry provider, Alcatraz Cruises, has boats departing from Pier 41 up to 16 times a day. Boats leave daily at 9:30am and 10:15am, then every half-hour until 2:15pm. Ferry service resumes in the late afternoon for the more complete, eerier evening tour available Thursdays through Mondays (boats leave at 4:20pm and 5:10pm). For a few extra bucks, visitors can get the audio tour, a magnificently done pastiche of history and recreation. Advanced reservations are recommended, as tours frequently sell out as much as a week in advance.
the first place required to see when you are there in S.F – when you get off the boat you feel like your standing in history and your allowed to walk for a moment but hten the park ranger will tell you that if you stay you 'll sleep here until the morning. the person that was there when i went was Darwin Coon who was an inmate in this famous place. they take you on a tour with a cassette player and t makes you walk around the whole cell boxes that are there . the person narrating it will give you information and talk about the escapes that occurred. one famous escape happened with three inmates that put fake face on the bed and did there escape. they were the first to escape the Rock as they call it . if you ever go the place is amazing and you will marvel at the person who was there and how they had to spend there days.
when you see the inmates you'll be shocked at the story that they'll tell you . well you better reserve you tickets because they sell out really quick.
see the movie – After dodging the piles of seagull poop, you walk up a long grade only to be strapped onto an audio tour headset that about a billion other people have worn. It is cold, damp, and smells like a bait shop. Inspector Callahan's LAWS rocket should've nuked the whole place, not just the guard tower. There is nothing here that you can't experience by seeing the DVD, except maybe to buy an over-priced copy of a key used to make a jail break. Go to Muir Woods instead.
The Rock – definitely a must see. many people who live in S.F. have never been there. buy a book and get it autographed by a former inmate--listen to his story.
Fascinating tour of a grim place – My future fiance and I visited the Bay Area just a month and a half ago. Being her 1st 'real vacation' she found plenty of pictures to take, capturing a memorable business vacation for the 2 of us. Starting with the ferry ride out to 'the Rock', we were escorted by a flock of Hitchcockesque seagulls, flying close enough to where one pooped on me since we sat on the upper deck. Inside was fascinating. The holes dug by the escapees from the famous movie are still intact. Walking around the rec yard and feeling the damp low 50s chill in the air, I find it difficult to imagine how any of the prisoners kept their sanity. Tour headphones guide you step-by-step through this classic prison.
Worth the visit – This was my second trip to Alcatraz. It was just as fascinating as the first trip was in 1997. First-time visitors will want to get the audio tour as others have recommendedit contributes greatly to the cellhouse tour experience. Alcatraz is more than just the cellhouse, howevervisitors should take advantage of the ranger-lead programs which discuss the history of the island from the Civil War days. Hiking around the island, with its great photo opportunities of downtown SF and the GGB, should not be missed. Eat before you gothere are no food facilities on the island. Be sure to reserve your tickets early during popular tourism times to avoid disappointment. Allow at least 3 hours for a complete Alcatraz experience. I consider Alcatraz a SF area must see.
MUST STOP BY! – Alcatraz was SUCH an informative trip! You can pay to have an audio device (which tells you where to stop and end as you walk through alcatraz) or take the trip of your own. The island is fairly big, so it's quite the fun! You even get to walk in a few of the cells. It can be kind of creepy, but a load of fun! It's not expensive either, so something that's a DEFINETE must in the city of San Francisco!
creepy and fun! – it was a blast --take the night tour to get the full effect.
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