No longer a prison for some of America's most dangerous offenders, Alcatraz is part of the National Park Service and is a ... More
No longer a prison for some of America's most dangerous offenders, Alcatraz is part of the National Park Service and is a must-see for visitors to the city. Visitors to the island will certainly be captivated by its history and its incredible beauty. A photo opportunity awaits behind every corner. Also, dress in layers (even during the summer months) because the island can be breezy, and the inside of the prison is cold and damp. Ferries to Alcatraz depart from Pier 33 and are run by Alcatraz Cruises.
My daughter and I decided to "skip" our birthdays and head to Alcatraz just because we could!!! Our trip was rather last minute but oh boy did we ENJOY it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The island is a MUST!!!!!!!!!!! You get a real feel of history. The self walking tour is perfect!!! If you are somewhat mobile go fo it!!!!!!!!!! Check off another one on the "Bucket List". Suggestion: We ordered our tickets in advance and were sooooooooooooooo glad that we did. They were sold out the day we toured and could have sold our tickets 10 times over.
If you plan on visiting you shld definitely bring a sweater. When we went the weather was warm and sunny but there is such a breeze in the water and on the island. Overall it took about 2.5 hrs to complete. Interesting site.
The one and only negative thing I could say is we were there in mid august and I still froze my b***s off !!, other than that, it was awesome.
if you go, spend a few extra bucks and get the head phones for the audio tour, there's nothing creepier than standing in an empty cafeteria, and listening to hundreds of inmates eating dinner ! going again tomorrow morning, can't wait !!!
I was expecting a really creepy place and found a prison where prisoners had radios in their cell, played music, had an all-you-can-eat policy, cigarettes 3 times a week... not saying that's bad just that coming from Eastern Europe I have a different definition of what a scary prison should be and this is definitely not it.
Otherwise, the tour is interesting and it's a nice place to visit.
Prior to arriving in San Francisco, we made online reservations to go to Alcatraz. As we approached the 'pay booth' there were 2 lines. One line with prior reservations (ours) had no one in line; and the other line that must have had at least 100 people in line to buy tickets. Amazing what a little planning does. Do yourself a big favor and make the needed reservations online. After getting our boat boarding ticket we only waited a few minutes before boarding to go to Alcatraz.
Alcatraz is a must see if you're going to San Francisco. The history there begins as a Fort (Civil War era and after) to protect the San Francisco Bay and Harbor, then the Penal Institution (which most people know it for) and subsequently when the Prison closed, as an unwilling captive of an American Indian group who took it over for a short period of time attempting to confiscate it essentially...then as a preserved part of the Penal system in San Francisco. So, as you can imagine each period in time left their mark, that can still be seen today, on this little island.
It's understandable, after viewing the island, why the penal institution was closed. Everything (and I mean everything) had to be shipped in. There is a reason it is called 'The Rock'. There is a self-guided tour with headsets to take you thru the entire prison. You can stay as long as you like in any area...as long as you board the boat at the last time designated for that day.
Very informative with specific details of how the prisoners ate, slept, exercised...and just survived during the prison days. There is also history left behind and addressed when it was a Fort with Soldiers stationed on the 'Rock' as a prison.
We went in May of 2009 and it was cold so dress appropriately or you will regret it. Remember this is 'Northern' California on the coast, so keep that in mind. Northern California and Southern California (where we're from) are very different...climate included.
Glad we went and this is one of the few 'Tourist attractions' that you will go to and actually find souvenirs that are affordable and not outrageously priced, which was cool as we bought for every member of our family. Enjoy your trip!
It was my first time visiting Alcatraz island and i just loved it the moment i stepped on the island. When you arrive at the island, first thing you will see are writings on the walls by the native americans...it makes you think of the history on this island. Than we slowly walked up the hill top to where the prison cells are. The audio introduction is good, it tells you the history and the happenings in this prison. The view of San Francisco city was awesome from the island. I love the boat trip back...the view was spectacular during sunset. I would definitely go again if i have the chance!
The recorded guided tour was so realistic. I felt as though I was there while it was still in operation. It is one of the most realistic and fasinating destinations in the United States. I would urge anyone visiting San Francisco to see it. Karen Bradford, Milltown, New Jersey
we did the evening cruise tour and it was perfect. the weather was dark and drizzly, some wind blowing, and it just added to the ambiance of the place! it was very interesting, we were not bored at all. it seems like the tour lasted about an hour? not positive on the time, but it was very cool to see. i would definitely recommend it. kids under 10 or 11 may be bored, depending on how much they love to walk about and see jail cells!
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