Alcatraz
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Alcatraz Culture & History

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: Alcatraz and Big Bus City Tour Ticket

5. 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

6. 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: Golden Gate Bike Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

7. 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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San Francisco: Alcatraz Tickets and Chinatown Walking Tour

8. San Francisco: Alcatraz Tickets and Chinatown Walking Tour

Begin your day with a local guide near the Dragon Gate of San Francisco's beloved Chinatown. Weave through time and space down the main street for a walking tour through a neighborhood lined with dragon lanterns, imperial terracotta statues, and all the adornment of a "Little Shanghai." Hear the stories of the former streets and alleys — how it came to be and the more seedy aspects of its Gold Rush foundations. Discover how the neighborhood has transformed over the decades. See neighborhood landmarks including Waverly Place and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Stop into a traditional apothecary featuring fascinating Chinese medicine. Snack on some fresh fortune cookies, a San Francisco invention, and take some home for the road (on us!). After your Chinatown tour, head out for lunch on your own into 2 incredible foodie neighborhoods. Your guide will set you up to find all the "locals only" spots and provide you with an easy map so you can enjoy San Francisco's eclectic cuisine options. After lunch, make your way to Alcatraz where your guide will give you all the insider information on how best to make the most of your time on the island. On the ferry ride, take in views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay. Explore the infamous Alcatraz prison, accompanying your visit with an award-winning audio guide.

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Muir Woods, Sausalito and Alcatraz Tour

9. Muir Woods, Sausalito and Alcatraz Tour

On this tour, travel across the Golden Gate Bridge and through the rugged coastal mountains of Marin County. Experience the magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay and valleys where the Coastal Miwok once lived. Stop at the Muir Woods Monument where ancient groves of giant redwoods tower over the Redwood Creek. As this tour allows more time in Muir Woods than any other tour group, enjoy being in nature underneath the massive trees as your guide educates you on the area. Next, visit the beautiful coastal town of Sausalito, which is a gorgeous Mediterranean-style village with quaint shops, art galleries and waterfront restaurants. Finally, head to Alcatraz Island with your roundtrip boat ride. Discover the history and secrets behind one of San Francisco's greatest landmarks with an award-winning cellular audio tour in 10 different languages.

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San Francisco: Luxury Van Tour with Snacks

10. San Francisco: Luxury Van Tour with Snacks

Explore the city on this luxury, air-conditioned van tour led by an expert local guide. Tours depart in small groups so you can enjoy a personal and friendly experience. Sit back, relax and avoid the crowds of bigger bus tours. Your tour starts at Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the city’s most beloved tourist destinations. The tour will stop for views over the Golden Gate Bridge and other popular sights such as Alcatraz. You'll have the chance to take it all in before heading over to lesser visited spots like Twin Peaks and Fort Point. Complimentary snacks and water are available as your guide takes you to local neighborhoods that the big tour buses don't visit. See the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the city and get to know the real San Francisco.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Alcatraz

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What people are saying about Alcatraz

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,013 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!

Highly recommend to start right at 8:00am. Not enough time to see and do everything at each stop. So plan ahead which stop you want to get off at for activities, etc. vs. which stops you just want to drive through and see. Very convenient stops. Timely pick ups. Didn’t have to wait longer than 10 minutes. Highly recommended if you are traveling with people with walking impairment.

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

Great boat tour except we couldn’t hear because the speaker system wasn’t loud enough

Lots,of great information Very interesting and learned a lot.