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Alcatraz Island

  • Guided tours
  • Water activities
  • Multi-day trips
  • Day trips
  • Hop-on hop-off tours
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Alcatraz Island: Our most recommended tours and activities

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

1. 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.

San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

2. 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: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

3. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Cruise around the Golden Gate Bay on a boat tour. Enjoy informative commentary, see sights like Alcatraz Island, and purchase food and drink from the onboard bar. Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, this 1-hour cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for over 75 years. With 8-14 departures daily from Fisherman's Wharf, you will sail along San Francisco's breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and close to the notorious Alcatraz Island. Discover San Francisco's fascinating history, brought to life through audio commentary broadcast in 16 languages via personal headphones. Look out for wildlife along the way, including pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins and whales. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, and San Francisco Maritime National Park, before heading west towards Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio, before cruising under Golden Gate Bridge. Steam back into the Bay, traveling past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands, and the legendary town of Sausalito, once home to the 1960s’ flower generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, cruise around the infamous Alcatraz. After a full hour of exciting sights, the barking sea lions at Pier 39 welcome you back to Pier 43 1/2. A full bar with drinks, snacks, and merchandise, including logo wear, is available at reasonable prices on board the iconic red and blue sea vessels.

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

4. 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 Vista Helicopter Tour (15-20 minute tour)

5. San Francisco Vista Helicopter Tour (15-20 minute tour)

Take in an aerial view of San Francisco and the Bay Area with the Bell Jet helicopter. Choose between 3 departure times and pickups at Union Square, Nob Hill, or Fisherman’s Wharf. Relax on the ride to the launch pad. After a safety briefing, climb aboard and see a vista of the world-famous city.   Admire the city's landscape and see landmarks like Alcatraz Island, the Transamerica Pyramid, the Ferry Building, Ghirardelli Square, Coit Tower, and AT&T Park. View both the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge; if you're lucky, fly over and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Throughout the 15 to 20-minute flight, enjoy inspiring background music and live narration from your pilot. After touching down back at the launch pad, you will be transported back to your original departure point.

San Francisco: City Tour and Alcatraz Entrance Ticket Combo

6. San Francisco: City Tour and Alcatraz Entrance Ticket Combo

Enjoy an approximately 4-hour guided tour of San Francisco. At each stop, you’ll have the chance to get off the bus and see the sights. Along the way, your fully narrated tour will show you San Francisco as you’ve never seen it before. Tour the city from the Bay to the Ocean, with photo stops at key locations. Enjoy great views and visit famous attractions, including the Golden Gate Bridge. Stopping at Twin Peaks will give you a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city from 1000 feet above sea level. Your tour begins in Union Square and ends in Alcatraz but along the way, you will take in the superb vistas of Alcatraz Island and San Francisco Bay on this comprehensive half-day guided tour. Alcatraz Island remains one of San Francisco's greatest landmarks — and now you can experience its chilling allure for yourself. Packaged with the Grand City Tour, this Alcatraz combo features an award-winning cellular audio tour and round-trip boat ride to ‘The Rock.’ Alcatraz Island Combo Tours require 11 days advance reservations (no day of Alcatraz combos available). This Grand City Tour and Alcatraz Package is simply a must-do for anyone visiting San Francisco for the first time.

From San Francisco: Muir Woods, Sausalito and Alcatraz Tour

7. 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.

1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

8. 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: Sail & Jail Boat Cruise & Alcatraz Ticket

9. San Francisco Bay: Sail & Jail Boat Cruise & Alcatraz Ticket

Experience the beautiful San Francisco Bay on a 1.5-hour catamaran cruise. Take in San Francisco's breathtaking skyline as you sail by Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Feel the Californian breeze in your hair and keep a look out for sea lions in the bay. The first part of your combination tour is a ferry ride and visit to the notorious Alcatraz prison, which served as a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963 and housed infamous criminals like Al Capone and Robert Stroud, the Birdman. Take the award-winning 45-minute Cellhouse audio tour and hear the tales of those who lived Alcatraz. This tour brings history to life through the recounting of tales from correctional officers and prisoners. Then, go on a catamaran cruise and view your surroundings from a protected viewing area, or you could really live on the edge and stand on the canvas trampoline nets with the waves beneath your feet. Pick up a helpful navigation guide providing information about San Francisco's landmarks as you sail past. Complete the trip by taking the helm from the captain for a chance to steer the boat yourself: it's the perfect activity for kids as well as kids at heart. The captain and crew are always there, happy to snap a photo or answer your questions about the sights of San Francisco. If all this excitement makes you hungry, there are snacks, soda, beer, or wine available at the cabin's snack bar. So come and see San Francisco's skyline like never before on this incredible sailing adventure. Please note that the catamaran cruise does not stop at Alcatraz Island. You will receive a separate ticket to board the ferry from San Francisco's Pier 33 to Alcatraz Island.

San Francisco: Alcatraz Island and Guided City Tour

10. San Francisco: Alcatraz Island and Guided City Tour

Discover the notorious former prison of Alcatraz Island on a guided tour in San Francisco. Take a short tour of the city's beautiful waterfront, spend a few hours on the island, and enjoy a guided city tour of some of the city's famous neighborhoods during the afternoon. Following pickup, enjoy a 30-minute tour of San Francisco's waterfront where you will see notable landmarks such as Embarcadero, Levi’s Plaza, and Fisherman's Wharf. Enjoy a brief coffee break at the Ferry Building. Next, make your way to Pier 33 where you’ll board the ferry to start your Alcatraz Island tour. Listen to an audio presentation featuring recordings of inmates and guards that worked and inhabited the island. Explore "The Rock" where you will have time for a guided tour and some free time to explore.  Take one of the late-morning ferries to San Francisco so you can join for the afternoon portion of your day tour. Cruise along San Francisco’s waterfront and the Marina District, and then visit the Palace of Fine Arts. Explore the culturally rich neighborhoods of San Francisco. Learn about what made the Haight-Ashbury, Mission, and Castro districts what they are today and why they’re important to so many. After a slow drive through Nob Hill and Chinatown, visit the charming Italian neighborhood of North Beach. Finally, enjoy a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge and pause along the cliffs to admire the beautiful views of the “city by the bay”. Take in the spectacular beauty of Golden Gate Park before finishing your tour.

Other Sightseeing Options in Alcatraz Island

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What people are saying about Alcatraz Island

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 4,040 reviews

Our cruise was towards the end of the day and I admired the staff. They were still welcoming and helpful. We enjoyed listening to all of the historical information as we were seeing the landmarks. There were pauses in the recording at just the right times so we could enjoy and reflect on what we were seeing. I had family guests here from Nebraska and I was so happy how successful this endeavor was!

No complaints… Daughter and I bought tickets ahead of time… All the information disseminated beforehand was accurate… The Cruise itinerary is great for a first time visitor or like us ; people who’ve already seen the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Would highly recommend!

We just rode around the bay and saw the golden gate and surrounded the Alcatraz island two time. It was a really fun experience

I had a glorious time on the cruise. Staff members we are so nice and friendly.

excellent boat, clean, narration very clear and informative.