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San Francisco, CA2707 Lombard Street, San Francisco, California 94123

Alcatraz Island

San Francisco, San Francisco, California, 94133
Category: Attractions
Alcatraz Island at San Francisco
About us
Before you go

Alcatraz Island

Step back in time to the 1930s when you visit Alcatraz Island. What began as a military post in the 1850s transformed into the infamous U.S. penitentiary known today. Visitors can take self-guided audio tours throughout the history-rich island to learn more about its notorious inmates and grim prison conditions. View historic photographs and documents as well as escape materials in the museum. Afterward, you can head out to the gardens for a breath of fresh air.


Hours -

Varies by season ; Departures every half hour after 9:00am


  • Child (under 4) - Free/Free
  • Junior (12-17) - $30/$36
  • Kids (5-11) - $18.25/$21.75
  • Senior (62+) - $28.25/$34.25
  • Day Tour/Night Tour
    Adult - $30/$37


  • Indigenous People's
    Sunrise Gathering
  • ESCAPE Alcatraz Triathlon
  • Junior Ranger Day


  • Cell Door Demonstrations
  • Free Programs
  • Exhibits & Collections
  • Self-Guided Tours

History & Culture

Though Alcatraz is largely known for its present-day claim to fame, the island has served several other significant purposes throughout its nearly three-century long existence. It began as a military post in the 1850s, then as a federal penitentiary during the 1930s. But perhaps the most influential event involves that of the American Indian occupation during the '60s. The 18-month stint ended the official Indian tribe termination policy of the U.S. government, leading to eventual Indian self-determination.

Nature & Science

While most of the island incorporates a largely grim atmosphere, the Gardens of Alcatraz provide a stark contrast to the otherwise grungy penitentiary. For more than a century, these magnificent gardens grew into the sprawling oasis seen by visitors today. Expect roses, fig trees, bulbs, and colorful succulents around the gardens as well as many of the other native species seen in historic photographs of Alcatraz.


  • Can I purchase advanced tickets to the Island?

    Yes, tickets can sell out weeks in advance, so it's best to make your reservations as far ahead as possible, up to 90 days. Check availability and pricing through Alcatraz Cruise's website, www.alcatrazcruises.com.
  • Can I do a self-guided tour at Alcatraz?

    Though there are some free programs, visiting Alcatraz is largely a self-guided experience. The Cellhouse Audio Tour—available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Portugese, and Mandarin—is included in your ferry ticket price and covers the inside of the cellhouse.

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