Alcatraz Island Travel Guide
Where the ferry arrives on the island.
Alcatraz from the ferry.
Place of history & legends of the notorius
Hard to get in, make a reservation a day or 2 in advance
A visit to Alcatraz Island
We caught the ferry at Pier 33 for the 10 minute trip out to the island and were so lucky as the weather was perfect.On arrival you are given a short welcome by a National Park Ranger and then free to explore the island and the prison.The 35 minute audio set tour of the...
Robert Stroud, Birdman of Alcatraz Cell # 42
Even with the likes of Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelley being inmates at Alcatraz, Robert Stroud, known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz" is its most famous prisoner. Stroud was portrayed as a short-tempered, but brilliant man by Burt Lancaster in the movie "Birdman of Alcatraz,"...
Other Famous Inmates ~ Part I
As previously stated in another tip, Alcatraz was home to several famous or infamous criminals -- perhaps the most famous of which was Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz." But other notorious criminals called Alcatraz home at one time or another. Mafia boss Al Capone...
We visited Alcatraz last August. We took the last ferry 6:45pm out. I would advise do not take the last ferry out. Definitely the 6:10pm would have been better. Being the last group of people on the island was good but I felt it was a little rushed at the end. In the dark we...
ALCATRAZ AUDIO TOUR
If you do the tour the Alcatraz Tour, choose the one that has the Audio option. You are given individual headsets and controls, and are directed where to go to fully experience the area where the cells are. There are narrations/recollections by inmates themselves, sounds...
Alcatraz Island is located about one and a quarter miles out into San Francisco Bay and 10 minutes from Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and is reacheable soley by ferry boat. No admission tickets are sold on the island itself. As Alcatraz is very, very popular, it is wise...
New!! The Gardens of Alcatraz
A new attraction on Alcatraz that was not present when we visited in 2000 is the "Gardens of Alcatraz"! Throughout the island's history of various uses, the cultivation of gardens on "The Rock" represented the softer side of life for those individuals and families who lived...
You Think Your Life is Miserable!
When Alcatraz functioned as a federal prison, it was known for its harsh rules and regimen. (Click on the picture to see the list of rules.) Nearly every minute of the inmate's day was structured and accounted for. There were virtually no breaks during the day. Silence was...
Famous Escape Attempts from the Rock
Alcatraz is unlike almost all other prisons in that it has natural barriers to thwart escapes. The fact that it is basically a big piece of rock surrounded by the strong, cold currents of San Francisco Bay, and a distance of 1 1/4 miles to San Francisco itself is formidable...
Other Famous Inmates ~ Part 2
Another inmate at Alcatraz, Henry Young, might be famous for a couple of reasons. Warner Brothers made a film entitled, "Murder in the First" portraying his early life virtually the same as the Jean Valjean character right out of Victor Hugo's famous "Les Miserables"!!....
"Island of the Pelicans"
Alcatraz was originally known as "La Isla de los Alcatraces" or "Island of the Pelicans" when it was given the name by a Spanish explorer, Juan Manuel de Ayala, who charted the San Francisco Bay in 1775. It was uninhabitated except for birds. In the mid 1800's, the "Island...
The old prison/island that is now a tourist destination. I did the tour in October 2005 with some friends from work. It was an interesting and educational experience. To be in a real, hard-core prison was surreal... I felt like an intruder. I think most visitors feel that...
Alcatraz and Gardens
Alcatraz is not all decaying cement and cold prison cells. There are many beautiful flowers and plants now growing in the wild on the island. During the 1860's the island was a military fort and prison. Homes were built and formal gardens were started. The gardens were...
Alcatraz Ferry Cuisine: Grabbing a Bite on the Alcatraz Ferries
Unfortunately there are no restaurants on Alcatraz Island. But I think Alcatraz Cruises has done a nice job of providing a few good choices of food and beverages on its ferries on your ride to and from the island.They have fresh baked goods, yogurt & granola parfaits (YUM!!)...
Now Departing Pier 33
Tickets to Alcatraz Island must be purchased as far in advance as possible due to the popularity of this attraction. Tickets will include transportation by ferry to the island and generally leave every half hour and your ticket will specify the exact ferry departure time...
San Francisco's Famous Cable Cars
It's almost a sure thing that if you are visiting San Francisco for the 1st or 31st time, you will probably want to ride the famous Cable Cars. If you use the cable cars to take you to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 33, you will be "killing 2 birds with 1 stone." Cable cars from...
Escape from Alcatraz
As you may have guessed, escaping from Alcatraz would be difficult, if not impossible. The water surrounding the island rarely, if ever, reached a temperature of above 58 degrees, making hypothermia a certainty within minutes. The strong currents of the bay were difficult to...
Anti-Scalping on Alcatraz Tour tickets
If you book tickets for the Alcatraz Tour online, you can get the actual tickets in any of the electronic kiosks near the pier. Except when you book for a large group. There were 7 of us doing the tour, the kiosk didn't work so one of us had to go to the ticket booth. The...
Alcatraz and the civil war
The fort built at Alcatraz was operated as a defense point during the civil war. A fortress was built on the island's highest point and protected by rows of canons. No shots were ever fired from here though. The fort was decommissioned in 1907. Several exhibits describe the...
Barracks and apartments
The barracks once used to house military personnel became the apartments where correctional officers and their families lived. This portion of the island was fenced off for security for the families who lived there. But there were no attacks on the officers and their...
Explore Deeper into Alcatraz Island