Alcatraz is the prison-island in the San Francisco-Bay. It's very famous because famous gangsters like Al Capone were there and nobody has ever escaped from it.
But in my opinion the touristic island nowadays is not as fascinating as it's history is.
You have to wait on a ferry taking you over (which is full of tourists). Most of the time you have to book this trip, because the ferries are always full. And what you see on the island is very disappointing...
Old buildings, dark and cold....
Impressing first, but gets boring very quickly...
Fun Alternatives do not spend too much time on it
One of the many tourist traps would be Alcatraz island. Yet, no San Francisco trip seems complete without a mandatory visit to Alcatraz. After all, it has captured our imagination in the movies such as 'The Rock', or in the story, 'Papillon'.
You can get tickets on-line now by checking out the website: www.blueandgoldfleet.com -- they offer comprehensive details on the schedules and prices of tours. The ferry departs from Pier 41, latest at 4.15pm in Summer. If you book on-line, there is a service charge of US$2.25 per ticket.
I found that if you go to the pier at about 3.45pm, there isn't much of a queue. We were there on 5th June, a Wednesday afternoon. Otherwise, it's been advised to get your tickets early due to the long queues. I'm glad that we took the late afternoon ferry as Alcatraz wasn't very crowded at that time of the day.
Due to lack of time I did not take the boat and go to visit this historical place but I did buy a book and read the history.
There have been many films made here too: Papillon and The Rock come to my mind as I've seen them!
the ferry to alcatraz is supposed to be worth every penny, but you have to book it a few days in advance (at least). If you try to get tickets the day you want to go, there will be lots of people offering bay cruises in that general area. they range from $20-$40, and most are not worth it. if you want a good view of the bridge, go down the pier to ghiradelli square (and get some chocolate while you are there) and walk out on the long fishing piers. it's just as good as the boat tour, without the motion sickness.
If you know you want to visit then book online well in advance.
It can be cold, wrap up.
Apart from that, go, enjoy.