Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island is one of those places that you have to go to at least once in your lifetime. After that one time, you really never feel the need to go again. In fact, I’ve dropped people off on the ferry before and went for a short stroll into a bar while I waited with my close friends, Vodka and Tonic, until they came back.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island has free admission, but it’ll cost you to take a ferry over. Tricky tricky! Remember to book your ticket in advance and make it to the ferry dock on time! They will leave without you and tickets are typically non-refundable. Round trip including the tour is roughly 2.5 hours. This is the park’s recommended private cruise company, Alcatraz Island Cruises.

Three things to note when you’re planning on visiting Alcatraz Island, San Francisco:

Pier 33: Recently, the ferry boats moved from Pier 39 to 33. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard tourists ask me where the Alcatraz dock was. I usually point them in the wrong direction, mostly because I’ve been visiting Vodka and Tonic way too long (see above). Remember, it’s between the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Bring a jacket: It’s a general misconception that Northern California is constantly 80 degrees. Nevarrr! So remember, Alcatraz is an island surrounded by cold frigid water that no one (except that one super-bionic 9 year old who keeps swimming from Alcatraz to pier) ever gets into. Bring a sweater and remember that it is extremely windy on the island. Alcatraz weather forecast: unpredictable!

– Transportation: The parking in that general area is typically horrendous on the weekends, not to mention ridiculously expensive. If you must park, try parking closer to the Ferry Building for a $10 flat rate and taking a beautiful stroll down Embarcadero to Pier 33. Otherwise, San Francisco has an excellent public transportation system. Plan out your trip with 511 Take Transit Trip Planner. If you have a chance, take the F-Market Line, which takes you down the very lively Market St. and Embarcadero in a historic street car.

(Find more information about visiting San Francisco in the WanderRegions section of our site.)

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