Get an up-close-and-personal look at this famous attraction, a former high-security prison where big-time criminals like Al Capone resided from 1934 to 1963. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Alcatraz Island is accessible by a gorgeous ferry ride across the San Francisco Bay. Visitors can roam the halls and get a behind the scenes look into one of American's most notorious islands. Along with prison tours, the Alcatraz offers a working lighthouse, tide pools, a fort, and gardens.
- Departures start at 8:45 am, last boat back at 4:25
- $30 for adults; family tickets for 2 adults + 2 children (only available by phone) $90.25; Night Tours & Angel Island Tours more expensive
History and culture
Alcatraz has a long and storied history as a military base and prison location. Famous criminals like Al Capone and Robert Stroud called “The Rock” home during its 29-year stint as a penitentiary, and it was a sight of Native American protests in the 1960’s. A visit to the island brings this vital history to life. There are historic exhibits on the island and the website has a fascinating collection to browse.
The island is an excellent place to see nature in action. There are a huge variety of sea birds that call Alcatraz home, and during a visit you can see them nesting, mating, and interacting with their young up close.
Can I purchase advanced tickets?
Tickets sell out fast for Alcatraz, especially in the summer and holiday season. You can reserve tickets online up to 60 days in advance.
Are there self-guided tours?
Most of the Alcatraz experience is through self-guided and audio tours. Ranger programs take place throughout the day, but visitors can explore at their own pace and stay as long as they want. Evening tours provide a much more curated visit with several optional tours and events.