Alcatraz was one of my favorite things that we did in San Francisco and I didn’t even want to do it originally. My husband said it was his must see and since I had already drug him all over the city….it was only fair. Take one for the team.
TIP: Buy your tickets WAY ahead of time. We didn’t and ended up purchasing a tour package at $90 a piece. We skipped the other parts of the tour and headed straight for the ferry.
You take a ferry across the bay to the island. Alcatraz is nicknamed “The Rock” so I was unprepared for all the beautiful flowers and trees that were all over. Be prepared to walk up a fairly steep hill to get to the prison ward. They have a golf cart/shuttle for those that can’t make the walk.
The inside is very interesting and the audio tour is honestly the best one I have ever taken. It’s refreshing to put on your headphones on and walk. They have different voices that tell the story. My husband kept making videos threatening to put me in the cell and leave. lol Some of the prison was closed for renovation so in order to go to the rec yard we had to go around the island and up some steep stairs. It was fun to stand on home plate of their baseball field. The day we visited there was a former prisoner there signing copies of his book.
I was really surprised by two things. One was how close to the city the island is. You can clearly see buildings and they said that at night you can hear noise from the city. The view of Golden Gate Bridge was stunning. Two, that entire families lived on the island and that the children were ferried to school. They said they felt quite safe and didn’t even lock their doors. There was even a bowling alley on the island.
It was really an interesting place and I highly recommend it to everyone that visits San Francisco. I’m so glad I “took one for the team!”