San Francisco Alcatraz Tours
San Francisco is an incredible city to visit with some truly iconic landmarks that are recognizable to people around the world. The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of San Francisco, but there is one attraction that see more visitors a year than any other. The famous Federal Penitentiary, Alcatraz, is at the top of the list for tourists who come to the city by the bay.
So why would people want to see an old prison?
Alcatraz is more than just a prison, it was a famed Federal Penitentiary that was built on an Island in the Bay Area, publicized as being inescapable due to it location, surrounded by the treacherous waters of the San Francisco Bay. Even if inmates were able to escape the high level security of the building itself, it would be difficult for them to make it to shore by swimming through the cold and rough water. Despite this fact, there were actually 4 escape attempts involving a total of 36 prisoners. Despite their best efforts, 23 prisoners were captured, 6 were killed and 2 drowned. The remaining 5 were presumed drowned, however their bodies were never found.
Alcatraz was also known for the infamous prisoners that spent time there including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and The “Birdman” of Alcatraz. Because of the history of the prison and the beautiful island setting with panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline, people flock to the attraction all year long.
Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was only operational for a short amount of time, from 1934 to 1963. The prison was a moderate success, however it eventually shut down due to high operating costs, specifically from the costs associated with bringing food and water to the island and retrieving waste. After nearly a decade, the island eventually became a part of the Golden Gate Recreational Area and transformed in a tourist attraction.
To visit Alcatraz, you will need to take the Alcatraz Cruises Ferry, the only way to get to the island. The ferry leaves from Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf. Alcatraz tour tickets must be purchased in advance.
When you get to the island, you will be able to take you time and explore the various buildings and the ground and get a chance to get some sweet pictures for the ‘gram. There is also a free self-guided audio tour available, which will guide you through the prison to the cells of famous inmates, the recreation yard, the Warden’s quarters, dining hall and more. You can also take some time to check out the grounds, see the beautiful views of San Francisco and maybe even see some interesting birds and plants.
If you are visiting San Francisco, especially for the first time, signing up for one of the many San Francisco tours is a good way to see some of the best things the city has to offer. Since Alcatraz tickets can be difficult to get, especially during the busy season, choosing a tour will make things easier. Additionally, most of the tours offer visits to several attractions, so rather than just going to Alcatraz, you can see things like Napa Valley, the neighborhoods of San Francisco, Muir Woods and even drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.
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