From the dock area, the city of San Francisco is visible in the distance. To tourists arriving to visit "The Rock", its just another scenic view. To the inmates, its another reminder of everything they are missing.
Inmates of Alcatraz had an exercise yard. It is high atop the rock with high walls and no way of escape. I imagine the inmates still appreciated getting out doors after the dark, dungeon-like cells they were accustomed to.
On high-season, you can meet in the prison an ex-inmate or an ex-prison guard would will be please to tell you his memories of the good-ol'days in Alcatraz.
If you want, they have enough stories to chat with you for hours...
The island is more and more turning into a park...you will see lots of flowers all over that grew since the prison close 40 years ago.
Walk around the island and discover all the wildlife that' growing. It's pretty nice. If you have enough time, go to Angel Island close by.
Inmates peep out through this little window to have a glance at the buzzling SF piers, it gives them a little hope....but for most of them the word hope never existed in Alcatraz.