Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. The small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a federal prison from 1934 until 21 March 1963.
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The most famous prisoners in Alcatraz history

Alcatraz is home to a Civil War military garrison, seabird colonies, and the West Coast’s oldest working lighthouse. But if its walls could talk, they’d give a whole lot away about some of America’s most dangerous criminals. Here’s a quick overview!

Al Capone
Perhaps the most famous gangster of all time, Capone eventually ended up in cell 181 were, by most accounts, he was unable to cope with prison life.

Robert Franklin Stroud
The “Birdman of Alcatraz” actually became a respected ornithologist at his previous prison, Leavenworth. Alcatraz wouldn’t let him keep animals!

Mickey Cohen
Harvey Keitel won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Cohen in “Bugsy.” It was a fitting tribute to a man who invented every Hollywood mobster cliché!

James “Whitey” Bulger
Before he was one of America’s most feared crime bosses, the notoriously brutal Bulger spent three years in Alcatraz. The bogeyman of Boston is currently incarcerated in Florida.

Insider tips

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.

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).

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.

What people are saying about Alcatraz

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Wonderful city tour combined with the Alcatraz tour was a great day!
Antonio was a wonderful tour guide and very accommodating. He took us to many sights and we were impressed with how much he showed us! He was very knowledgeable about the city and its history. I would highly recommend Antonio and his tour service. The Alcatraz tour was good — the audio tour was excellent and was narrated by former prison guards and inmates. Very informative.

San Francisco City Tour with Visit to Alcatraz reviewed by Kathleen

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Using a tour is the best way to see the city
Our guide was very professional and gave us a lot of interesting facts about that we would not have known if we had not done a tour.

San Francisco Grand City Tour with Alcatraz Ticket reviewed by Maureen

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Alcatraz was excellent. We couldn’t ride the go-cart.
We wish we could have gone on the go-cart but time limitations, on us, did not allow it.

Alcatraz Combo Full-Day Adventure Package reviewed by Elbira

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Visiting San Francisco by Segway was fabulous !!!!
We have particularly enjoyed our visit to San Francisco by Segway. It was fabulous and original !!!! And Melanie, our instructor, was so kind and interesting !!! Her positive behavior was very appreciated. Alcatraz’s visit was so instructive and mysterious…

San Francisco VIP Segway Tour and Alcatraz Ticket Combo reviewed by Catherine

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