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Alcatraz

Discover the chilling history of this onetime home to some of America's most dangerous criminals.

Alcatraz: Our most recommended tours and activities

San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

1. San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

Enjoy a 1-hour journey along San Francisco's historic waterfront and experience the thrilling history of the San Francisco Bay, with all the sound and glory it deserves. The 1-hour non-stop Bay Cruise takes you past the famous PIER 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, revealing the city’s fascinating skyline. Relax in comfort, with both indoor and outdoor seating, and enjoy a full narration describing major landmarks as you sail by. See sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the iconic San Francisco skyline as you go. Whether it’s your first time to San Francisco, or your 10th visit, the Bay Cruise is something you should experience at least once in your life. You will get a complimentary souvenir map, which is available in nine languages, and if you get hungry, there’s a full-service snack bar on board with food and drink available to purchase.

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

2. 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.

SF: Alcatraz Ticket w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Night Tour

3. SF: Alcatraz Ticket w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Night Tour

See the best of San Francisco with this combined hop-on-hop-off ticket and Alcatraz Island visit. Explore the island of Alcatraz and enjoy 2 days of sightseeing with insightful commentary from a live guide. Tour the famous prison that has played a role in jailhouse folklore and the historic evolution of the West Coast. 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 2-day ticket includes a full day of unlimited hop-on-hop-off 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)

San Francisco: Luxury Brunch or Dinner Cruise on the Bay

4. San Francisco: Luxury Brunch or Dinner Cruise on the Bay

Choose between a buffet brunch or plated dinner during this luxury cruise on San Francisco Bay. Enjoy on-board entertainment as you cruise by the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and other sights. Dazzling waves and soft breezes set the mood for this champagne brunch or luxury dinner cruise. Champagne Brunch CruiseThe brunch option offers a good-morning getaway featuring free-flowing mimosas and sparkling wine. Sit back and munch on a buffet stocked with classic breakfast dishes, lunch entrees, and desserts. Live music and views of San Francisco Bay’s renowned sights make this option the perfect way to unwind after a hectic week or celebrate a special event. Luxury Dinner CruiseThink of this as date night with a delicious, dynamic twist: When the sun sets and city lights twinkle from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate, your dinner cruise kicks into high gear. Get served a 3-course sit-down meal, including appetizers, salad, a choice of entrée, and dessert, with live music playing in the background. Sample Brunch Menu:Early Risers• Breakfast pastries - assorted muffins and Danishes• Scrambled eggs - American cheddar cheese• Breakfast meats - applewood smoked bacon, pork sausage links• Breakfast potatoes - caramelized onions, red and green bell peppers• French toast - whipped cream, maple syrup Late Risers• Kale quinoa salad - quinoa, roasted red pepper, spinach, lemon oregano vinaigrette• Green goddess pasta salad - sweet peas, white beans, scallions• Caesar salad - romaine lettuce, aged Reggiano parmesan cheese, herb croutons, traditional Caesar dressing• Oven-roasted flounder - spicy tomato and white bean ragu• Kid's station - chicken tenders and French fries• Hand-carved strip loin - signature spice rub, horseradish crème, au jus (broth)• Hand-carved oven-roasted turkey - cranberry sauce• Pasta al forno - alfredo sauce, panko parmesan crust• Scottish smoked salmon display - cream cheese, shaved red onions, Roma tomatoes, capers Dessert• Signature dessert station - cakes, brownies, seasonal fruit Sample Dinner Menu:Starter (choice of one)• Watermelon and baby arugula salad - feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette• Signature seafood chowder - clams, flounder, potatoes, cream Main Course (choice of one)• Root vegetable fricassee - butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, grape tomatoes, gremolata, cauliflower coconut cream sauce• Broiled salmon filet with roasted tomato vinaigrette - lemon orzo, farm-fresh seasonal vegetables• Oven-roasted chicken breast with rosemary and thyme - roasted new red potato salad with scallions, haricot verts, creamy mushroom sauce• Braised beef short ribs with Fresno pepper demi-glace - garlic mashed potatoes, baby carrots, broccoli Dessert• Signature chocolate cake - creme Anglaise, raspberry coulis, candied pecans• Mixed fruit with strawberries - Madagascar vanilla and orange cream• New York style cheesecake - lemon mascarpone cream, blueberry compote

San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

5. San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

Take a relaxing 90-minute round trip boat trip onboard a luxury catamaran. See sea lions, famous sights, and sunset views of San Francisco as the sun dips below the Bay. Sail by Alcatraz Island, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and past Sausalito. Search for the famous Pier 39 sea lions and other kinds of sea life playing in the ocean. Cruise along the shore, gazing on the city skyline as you watch the magnificent sunset. Relax with a complimentary drink on board either a 55- or 65-foot catamaran. Both come complete with a protected viewing area, providing panoramic 360-degree viewing, in addition to canvas trampoline nets for the more adventurous who want to experience the sights in the bracing open air.

San Francisco: Waterfront Guided Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

6. San Francisco: Waterfront Guided Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

See the best of San Francisco on an English speaking walking tour and learn the history behind each turn from your guide. Take in the views of the skyline on your ferry to Alcatraz before exploring this notorious prison. Meet your guide at the north end of Fisherman's Wharf 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 its 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, where you will present your photo ID to receive your 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 in the late afternoon.

1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

7. 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

The Official city tour begins in Fisherman's Wharf heading towards the ferry building, then downtown Union Square. Go on a shopping spree with the top brands in the world and take lots of pictures with the heart of San Francisco. The tour will then continue to the Civic Center which houses the City Hall, Opera House and Symphony Hall. Moving on, you will be at Alamo Square with the world famous attraction 'painted ladies' (Victorian houses) and taken back in time to 'Summer of Love' at Haight & Ashbury. Next stop will be Golden Gate Park which holds the California Academy of Sciences, De-Young Museum, Japanese Tea Gardens, Conservatory of flowers and many more attractions. From here, you will be taken to the most iconic attraction of San Francisco, The Golden Gate bridge. Don't forget your cameras to capture the great views of the bridge, Alcatraz Island and the Bay. On the way back to downtown, you will pass The Palace of Fine Arts. Continuing through Van Ness Ave, down to Chinatown with lots of restaurants and souvenir gift shops, bustling cultural shops and the famous Chinatown Gates. At the end of your tour, you will return to the Fisherman's Wharf area with Pier 39, San Francisco Dungeons, Aquarium of the Bay, Madame Tussauds, etc.

San Francisco: Bay Sailing Tour with Drinks

8. San Francisco: Bay Sailing Tour with Drinks

Embark on a relaxing cruise along the San Francisco Bay and enhance your sightseeing experience with two complimentary drinks. Take in views of the San Francisco skyline and important landmarks, including the Golden Gate bridge. Be welcomed by your captain and first mate and make yourself comfortable on the Privateer, a double-masted sailboat. Motor out of the dock towards the bay and watch the sails rise above you. Be served two complimentary drinks of your choice from a selection of beer, wine, soft drinks, or water. Pass Alcatraz and Angel Island and see the Bay Bridge. Glide past the city of Sausalito before cruising parallel to the the Golden Gate Bridge for some great photo opportunities. Feel free to ask the crew any questions about the landmarks. Finally, be returned to the departure point.

From San Francisco: Muir Woods, Sausalito and Alcatraz Tour

9. From San Francisco: 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.

San Francisco: Alcatraz at Night & Fisherman's Wharf Tour

10. San Francisco: Alcatraz at Night & Fisherman's Wharf Tour

Discover San Francisco on a tour of the neighborhood of Fisherman’s Wharf with a stop at Boudin Bakery, followed by a visit to Alcatraz Island to explore the former prison as night falls over the bay.  Begin your experience near Ghirardelli Square. Wander through the old factory grounds, where, in 1849 Domenico Ghirardelli brought his confectionery to the shores of San Francisco.  Depart the square for a “behind the scenes” view over Aquatic Park where brave swimmers jet through the cold bay waters preparing for the annual Escape from Alcatraz race.  As you weave your way through, Alcatraz Island will appear and fade you walk. With small interjections of Alcatraz lore, your guide will prepare you for your evening spent at the notorious prison.  Head down to the nearby waterfront to begin your walk towards the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf passing the iconic Powell-Hyde Cable Car turnaround. Pass a famed restaurant perched at the end of a wharf, and access a locals-only door to enter the crab stands lining the heart of the Wharf where the iconic mast sign welcomes your arrival.  As you leave behind the bustling stands, catch the scent of yeast and flour tinging your nose as you get nearer to Boudin Bakery. Enter the bakery and head to the small museum where your guide will share the history of the longest-running establishment in San Francisco.  Departing the bakery, spot San Francisco’s unofficial mascots - the lazy sunbathers of San Francisco Bay, the San Francisco Sea Lions. Head to Pier 39 and take the lesser-beaten path to view the famed sea lions as they lounge.  As the sun begins to descend into the Pacific Ocean and the shadows become deeper, load the boat to the “Inescapable Island”. Discover Alcatraz Island with a National Park Ranger. a Walk towards the cell house where you will collect your audio guide. The audio guide is an excellent way to hear the stories of former inmates, correctional officers, and the children that once called Alcatraz Island home. Wander the island, join small experiences throughout and then with the lights of San Francisco off in the distance, board the ferry back to the City by the Bay.

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To enter Alcatraz, you need to have a ticket or be part of a guided tour.

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What people are saying about Alcatraz

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 4,666 reviews

We loved every minute of this cruise. The crew were so down to earth and easy to get along with. It was fun being able to sit in the captain's chair and have them take some pictures of us. The first drink was included and the crew came around and took our order. It is much more fun being on a cruise with a smaller number of guests, which allows the crew to be much more personal. The cruise takes you right up and under the Golden Gate Bridge. We got fantastic photos and were lucky the weather was great and the skies were clear and free of fog.

Amazing cruise and very informative tour about the Bay Area and near by places. Would definitely recommend this tour. Remember to carry a hoodie as it gets cold on the upper deck.

exhilarating!!! Our captain Charles was incredible, so knowledgeable and made us feel super safe. Couldn’t recommend this boat ride enough!!

Great. Captain and first mate were great fun. Informative, entertaining, and most of all made us feel safe and happy!

They had alternatives for handicapped visitors. The staff was very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable.