Everything you need when planing a vacation trip to San Francisco
The Excerise Yard On Alcartraz Island


Alcartraz Island with its lighthouse and prison administration building

In a Nutshell...

"Break the rules and you go to prison. Break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz."


Alcatraz Island is an abandoned 22 acre prison island in San Francisco Bay, one and a half miles off shore from Fisherman's Wharf. During its heydays it housed some of American's most notorious federal prisoners such as "Machine Gun" Kelly, and Al Capone.

Visitors can explore the old toughest “maximum security, minimum privilege” prison in America, learn about Alcatraz’s long and colorful history and enjoy some of San Francisco’s best views. A free audio guide is handed out to visitors as they enter the block house. This audio guide is excellent with high production value which brings the experience alive. It is narrated by a former inmate of the prison and there is something in his voice that no actor can fake.

The only way to get to the island is by boat (no surprise), and Alcatraz Cruises LLC has an exclusive contract with the National Parks Service to ferry visitors on and off the island.  Tickets should be bought in advance due to Alcatraz’s popularity, especially during the summer and around holidays. The best way to do that is from their web site at AlcatrazCruises.com. Doing so will allow you to know if your choice of date is available and avoid long lines at the ticket booth. There are ticket resellers but they charge a premium for their services.

Tours typically take about two and a half hours. Visitors should be prepared for cold windy weather and carry snacks since only water is sold on the island.


Cell block inside the prison on Alcatraz


  • Some of the best views of one of the most beautiful cities
  • Excellent free audio guides


  • Same day passages to the island are often not available
  • No food is sold on the island


Guard Tower on Alcatraz

Day Tour hours
Departure: approximately every half hour from 9:10 am to 1:55 pm
Return: approximately every half hour from 9:25 am to 4:25 pm

  • Adults (12-61) $26
  • Junior (12-17) $26
  • Seniors (62 and over) $24.50
  • Children  (5-11) $16
  • Children  under 5 - free
  • Family (2 Adults, 2 Children age 5-11) $79. Unavailable online, only in the ticket booth or by phone (415) 981-7625 from 8 am to 7 pm PST

Night Tour hours

Departure: 6:10 pm and 6:45 pm


  • Adults (12-61) $33
  • Junior (12-17) $32
  • Seniors (62 and over) $30.50
  • Children  (5-11) $19.50
  • Children  under 5 - free


The view from Alcatraz with the lighthouse in the foreground


Disembarkment Location:
Pier 33
1272-1398 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111 / AlcatrazCruses.com


View Alcatraz Disembarkment Point in a larger map


The boat to Alcatraz




bottem of the shadow


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