Visit Alcatraz from San Francisco | Tips, best way & time, tickets

Alcatraz is one of the most famous prisons in the world. Alcatraz prison is on an island. You can visit Alcatraz from San Francisco by ferry. Discover the best tips and ways to visit Alcatraz on a guided or self-guided tour.

ferry to go to the alcazar island tickets

How to get to Alcatraz Island from San Francisco?

Take a ferry. You need to take one of the ferries of Alcatraz Cruises, which operates between San Francisco and Alcatraz Island.

Where? Boats leave from Pier 33, which is in the Fishermanโ€™s Wharf area of โ€‹โ€‹San Francisco. In general, departures are every 30 minutes.

Alcatraz tour. Tickets to go to Alcatraz by ferry include entrance tickets to visit the prison with an audio guide. Thanks to the explanations in the audio guide, you can dive into the life of the prisoners of this place, which was one of the most secure prisons in the world. The visit to Alcatraz Island lasts 45 minutes.

Good to know! In summer, tickets for the ferry sold out very quickly. There also may be no more places for the visit on the same day. If you do not want to miss the Alcazar visit, booking ferry tickets at least a few days in advance is best. And in high season, even two weeks in advance.

When to Visit Alcatraz: Day tour or Night tour?

Really, at night? You can go to Alcatraz Island during the day or at the end of it. Tickets to visit Alcatraz at the end of the day are called tickets for a night visit, even if it is a visit during sunset.

Alcatraz: day tour or night tour? There are fewer people at the end of the day, and you can enjoy pretty views if you visit at sunset.

Some tips. It is often windy in San Francisco Bay, where Alcatraz Island is. So take a jacket to protect yourself from the wind, especially if you visit in the evening. In addition, prefer comfortable shoes for this visit.

best time to visit alcatraz san francisco

Tickets to visit Alcatraz

How much does it cost to visit Alcatraz? There are several tickets to visit Alcatraz. The prices start from 50 $ per person. Some include only the ferry + entrance tickets, while others include other visits. Here are some examples.

Cruise. When you visit San Francisco, the Golden Gate is a must-see place. You can experience it from the water! It is a magical moment to experience as a couple or family. You can then opt for a tour cruising in San Francisco Bay and then going to Alcatraz. See prices here.

With a guide. Before visiting Alcatraz, you can enjoy a guided tour of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf area. The pier for Alcatraz ferries is in this area. It is one of the most visited neighborhoods in San Francisco. You discover more about Alcatraz and San Francisco thanks to the guide’s explanations. Read more here.

By bike. You can also tour Golden Gate by bike with a guide, then continue your tour by going to Alcatraz Island: see more information here.

Hop-on hop-off bus. This combined ticket combines the visit to Alcatraz with tickets to visit it from San Francisco by bus. It is a good option if you stay in San Francisco for a few days. See prices here.

If you cannot find tickets to visit Alcazar

In this case, you can cruise in San Francisco Bay. Sailing near the Golden Gate is a great way to view Alcazar. You will love this cruise that will make your trip memorable! More information here.

Can you go to Alcatraz without a tour?

To visit Alcatraz Island, you need to take a ferry. The tickets for the ferry are sold by Alcatraz Cruises, which operates between San Francisco and Alcatraz Island. The tickets for visiting Alcatraz include audioguide. 

How long do you need to visit Alcatraz?

How long does it take to get to Alcatraz by ferry from San Francisco? The ferry takes 15 minutes to reach Alcatraz Island from San Francisco.

And visit the island? Typically, visitors spend 2 hours on Alcatraz Island. Plan for about 3 hours, including transport, if you want to visit Alcatraz.

guided tours alcatraz

Visiting Alcatraz is visiting one of the must-do things on a trip to San Francisco. It is an exciting place to see if you discover San Francisco in 2 days or more. The Fisherman’s Wharf area, from which ferries depart to Alcazar, is fascinating. Many travelers even choose to stay here on their first trip to San Francisco (read our blog post:ย Where to stay in San Francisco).

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