Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Sask99 on December 18, 2006

Alcatraz is a National Park located in San Francisco bay and is most famous for being a prison. It is a very fascinating place that you will easily spend several hours touring.

First things first, how to get there. You have to take Alcatraz Cruises from pier 33. In the fall of 2006 the ferry service changed to Alcatraz Cruises from the Blue and Gold Fleet so make sure if you are getting directions that they are current (although the Blue and Gold ferry location is not too far away). If you know what day/time you want to leave, it may be a good idea to purchase your tickets ahead of time. Since we are not used to all the traffic we were not sure so we just walked up to purchase tickets - and the next few ferries were sold out! We had to wait an hour and a half for an available ferry - although we used the time to check out Fisherman's Wharf which is within walking distance. If you have less time than that you can still check out some nearby shops or the sea lions.

The ferry is a short ride but gives an excellent opportunity to take pictures of both San Francisco and Alcatraz. You can purchase beverages on the ferry, or there is just water at the dock on Alcatraz.

Make sure you dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. There are quite a few areas that are wheel chair accessible. I was surprised that they have left some of the buildings in ruins and there are piles of rubble that are even marked on the map. The audio tour of the Cellhouse was most interesting and will likely take you longer than the 45 minutes mentioned, as we paused the tour several times to take pictures or to let crowds of people go by.

It was a very interesting place to visit, even for my husband the sports fanatic. I highly recommend it. Try to go on a nice day, as you spend a fair amount of time outside.
Alcatraz Island/The Rock
San Francisco Bay
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, 94133
(415) 705-5555

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