Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island
4.5
About
Alcatraz Island was once the most secure federal prison in the U.S., and held notorious inmates like Al Capone. After being decommissioned in 1963, the prison is now a museum, welcoming millions of curious travelers every year. Catch the ferry on Pier 33 to Alcatraz and explore the island at your own pace as you soak up the views of San Francisco and the bay. You can take a guided tour with a park ranger to learn more about the intriguing anecdotes about the facility’s fascinating history. But book your spots early—tickets sell out fast. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 2-3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travellers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.
Top ways to experience Alcatraz Island
The area
See what travellers are saying
  • cherylogea
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Alcatraz Fun
    Such a great tour!!! Nice boat ride to the island with great views of the surrounding areas. Do it yourself tour, headset is a must! The headset gives you a narrated tour with tons of interesting information. You will not regret this tour!
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 24 June 2023
  • deezoomo
    Denham Springs, Louisiana451 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting but short
    It’s very interesting but seemed short to me. The self guided audio tour os very good but a live tour guide would be better. You dint get to see that much of the prison but if is still worth the visit.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 24 June 2023
  • snowski824
    Greenville, South Carolina35 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Our Favorite Thing in San Francisco
    This was really interesting. The audio tour was great. It kept our kids (ages 10-12) interest too. The gardens are beautiful and there are lots of birds to observe. The view of the city is nice. We all loved the ferry ride too. Everyone in our group said it was their favorite thing we did all day.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 29 June 2023
  • Journeys of Two by Four and Reekapeeka
    Greenacres, Florida219 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Alcatraz was interesting. Might be cold!
    This is a great experience! You take a large ferry over to Alcatraz The ferry has food for sale and coffee. You can also sit on the top if you don’t want to be inside. It was about 10 minutes ride. When you are there it is long walk up to winding hill to get up to the prison. The tour is short but very interesting. You get a headset and small device to put around your neck to listen as you walk through. Handicap ♿️? Don’t worry. There is a little shuttle that brings you all the way up to the door of the prison. My uncle walks with a cane. It comes every 15 minutes, so you can get a ride back down as well. Even if you are not disabled you can still ride it. The boat comes every 30 minutes.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 1 July 2023
  • nzwestie
    Hamilton & Waikato Region, New Zealand469 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly recommend this trip.
    Always wanted to see Alcatrax in real life after all the movies, and the actual real life of it all. We took the first trip of the day which I am glad we did. Got to hear from a real life prisoner who signed items etc in the shop afterwards. Just made it in time so be early to line up but you get on quick once the boat is open for boarding. We stood at the front of the boat so we could see where we were going and see the island. Great. We had beanies on and warm jacket. Once off we listened to the prisoner for a while then we walked up the hill to the beginning of the tour inside. Glad we got there before the others. Heatsets on and away we went. Did not drag out to long and was very interestng, very interesting and mind blowing what happened there and later you see what some people were in there for and it turns out sad as well, and just wrong. After we dropped off the headsets we walked all around. I loved this tour and would highly recommend it. On the boat ride back we stood outside again so we could see where we had been then went to the front to see where we were going.
    Visited May 2023
    Written 1 July 2023
  • sebastianvance
    Berkeley, California5 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Alcatraz After Hours: Captivating!
    This was an amazing landmark to explore close up in the Bay, and a must-see component of a comprehensive San Francisco itinerary. It was sobering to walk the prison halls, go into the solitary confinement chambers, and look out at the city a swim away. When doing the night tour, takes a few hours round trip, from ferry departure to its return at Pier 33. Overall, the standard price of admission gets you access to a lot, and if you pack a jacket (even in summer) you'll be comfortable. However, what wasn't clear, and could perhaps be better organized, is that it's up to each visitor to really maximize their time. The audio tour only constitutes one portion of the total exhibits and tour activities, some of which are rotating and overlapping. There's walking tours and demonstrations occurring throughout your time, offered by passionate guides, but the schedules aren't that accessible and are only conveyed verbally at the docks. I'd recommend taking a photo of the day's schedule of 'special events' at the gift shop, trying to finish the audio tour quickly, and attending those that are of personal interest, such as stories of escape or famous prisoners. Also worth a look is the prison gardens, which have some great plaques but unfortunately no clear signage. Overall, Alcatraz is a bucket-list item worth taking the time to experience, and if you're prudent and deliberate with your time, you'll be able to get a lot out of your visit.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 1 July 2023
  • Kim C
    Copenhagen, Denmark736 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing evening tour
    I have been on the daytime tour a couple of times so I decided to do the evening tour this time. And what a pleasant surprise. The day tour is not bad at all, but it just becomes more detailed and nerdy at night. It feels more like a prison than a tourist attraction and the staff seems extremely commited to their job at the later tour. Seeing the sun set behind the Golden Gate Bridge is great but also to really feel the mood change inside the prison as the night falls is amazing. I am so glad I did the evening tour.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 July 2023
  • tom l
    Swansea, United Kingdom19 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Alcatraz visit
    Excellent tour with Dylan’s tours which included the trip to Alcatraz. The ferry over to the island took around 20 minutes and once there you are free to explore. We headed for the cell block audio tour first where you are given a set of headphones and directed to the cell block. Once there the headphones are activated and you follow the guides info . Really well organised and informative. You can spend a good 2 to 3 hours there and the ferries run regularly . Great afternoon out
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 July 2023
  • Bunty8
    United Kingdom638 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Alcatraz visit
    Took one of the early trips over to Alcatraz, went prepared for cold but surprisingly nice day, didn’t need my jacket, but would recommend taking something warm as it can be chilly. Boat trip over was good and once on island we went around at our own pace, picked up audio tour headphones at the cell block first, this will guide you round. After we wandered around, there are nice gardens and you can visit some of the other buildings. It can smell a bit with the nesting sea birds, some areas smell is very strong. There is a list of boat departures times at dock, but they are quite frequent. Very enjoyable visit.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 3 July 2023
  • Kelvin
    Dunedin, New Zealand592 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Iconic location……
    This was on our list of must do things in the city, and was well worth it. We liked that once you get there, you can explore at your leisure and use the audio tour that is available as part of the visit. It’s very informative and covers everything. There is plenty to see and do around the wider site and the trip over on the ferry is a short one from Fisherman’s Wharf.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 July 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles56,223 reviews
Excellent
42,188
Very good
11,489
Average
1,975
Poor
294
Terrible
280

LeRoy D
Morse Bluff, NE1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Friends
Drug people all over never go back again trash on streets people screaming and fighting I had a gang chase meI ran as fast as I could luckily a police car came by I think I m still shaking
Written 20 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jacqueline H
Omagh, UK81 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
Excellent tour of Alcatraz.
Very hilly but if you take your time you can get round with ease. There is transportation offered for those with any disabilities.
The headset which guided you round the main cell area was excellent, you felt you were there with them. Very chilling experience but very interesting and enjoyable. Wear very warm clothes as the boat ride over and back is so cold and some areas of Alcatraz get high winds that are extremely cold also.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Alcatraz.
The gardens are beautiful and the volunteers are on hand to help make your visit more enjoyable with their expertise and point out the wildlife in particular. Lots of gift shops ok the island and not overly priced. Make sure you bring lunch as there is nowhere to purchase food and snacks and all must be ate at the dock area, no food to be consumed during the actual tour. Water only. Keep warm and enjoy
Written 17 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DesertRose
476 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
I had the bad luck to sprain my ankle the day before my visit to Alkatraz and I almost canceled but I'm really glad that I didn't.
There was transportation for those with mobility issues ( not for those with strollers) up to the top and a elevator for the last portion.
The tour itself is on flat surfaces and has some benches to rest on the way.
The staff was very polite and helpful.
As for Alkatraz itself, it is 100% worth seeing if you have any interest in history and the free audio guide was informative.
Written 13 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stacy T
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
Never been. Very interesting to hear some of the stories that went on. Had fun going into some of the cells. Tiny and very strict what they could and could not do. Good experience for everyone to see.
Written 11 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sue R
Portsmouth, UK24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
Well organised on the boat.
Freedom to walk around in your own time
Very good video on the Indian Occupation. Enjoyed the audio tour explaining everything about how the prison worked. Enjoyed all the flowers and seeing the birds including the snowy egrets with the golden gate bridge in the background. Also attended a talk by someone who had been in prison about what it was like to be incarcerated . Overall spent 4 hours on the island
Written 9 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DesertTrips
Morocco271 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Family
I recently visited Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, and it was an amazing experience! The ferry ride over was very enjoyable, offering beautiful views of the bay and the city skyline Once on the island the attractions were fascinating especially the small prison cells. The history of the place is both eerie and intriguing and walking through the corridors gave me a real sense of what it must have been like for the inmates. There is also a nice view of San Francisco City from the island. I highly recommend a visit to Alcatraz for anyone in the area It's a unique and educational experience that you won't forget!
Written 9 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M.Remi
Sarasota, FL49 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
My husband had never been to the island. Using the audio tour was so helpful to get more out of the visit. As we were on a tight schedule, the return time for the boat was perfect for us.
Written 4 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

saffy80
9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
It was on our bucket list . Definitely didn't disappoint was a spectacular experience well worth it. Was fascinating walking around and having an insight into what life must have been like there. A special bonus meeting an ex in mate . Something we will never ever forget.
Written 4 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tania T
São Paulo, SP66 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
This place is so amazing! The historical and big place can offer you so much! You will need comfortable shoes to walk every place!
Written 31 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anita S
Lake Cowichan, Canada78 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Solo
So glad I went!! Nice ferry w bathrooms and concession on board. Walked straight up to audio prison tour (tram available). So informative and interesting. I did audio tour 2xs. Walked all over island enjoying the info boards, birds, giftshop and flowers. Very friendly, professional staff. I loved how you cld take any ferry back, no time limit. Definitely recommend!
Written 30 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 42,156
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Alcatraz Island - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

All San Francisco HotelsSan Francisco Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in San Francisco
All things to do in San Francisco
Day Trips in San Francisco
RestaurantsFlightsTravel StoriesCruisesCar Hire