Alcatraz is an infamous prison, nicknamed ‘the Rock’, and is located on Alcatraz island.
It’s isolated location made it an ideal fortress and gave Alcatraz its reputation as ‘inescapable’.
Initially used as a military prison, the main prison building was built in 1910-12.
From 1934-1963 Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was a notorious top notch high security prison.
Because the inmates were the worst criminals of America, rules were strict.
Firstly, there was a no talking policy during Alcatraz’s early years.
Criminals were sent to solitary confinement if they disobeyed the strict rules.
Here offenders were often beaten, stripped, and fed only bread and water.
Notorious criminal inmates include gangster Al Capone and Henri Young, who murdered a fellow inmate.
Alvin Francis Karpavicz ‘creepy karvis’ was a leader of the Ma Barker gang.
He is one of only 4 criminals named “public enemy no.1” and the only one to be captured alive and imprisoned.
How to get to Alcatraz?
Alcatraz Cruises is the only company allowed to take visitors to Alcatraz.
Ferries leave Pier 33 regularly during the day, between 8:45am and 4:45pm.
A visit to Alcatraz only takes approximately a couple of hours, depending on the tour you choose.
Because visits don’t take long, its easy to combine a trip to Alcatraz with another attraction.
Below are 17 of the best Alcatraz combination tours.
1/ Big Bus Combo
This hop on hop off tour gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace.
The 2.5hr loop gives you the opportunities to hop off at multiple locations.
These include the iconic golden gate bridge, Union Square and Fishermans Wharf.
In addition, Alcatraz is easily visited and reached using the bus stop at pier 33.
2/ Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour
A hop on hop off tour of San Francisco Bay area with live narration.
Ultimately it a great way to learn about the history and architecture of one of America’s most interesting cities.
The 2 day ticket allows you extra time to see as much as possible.
With buses every 20 minutes its an easy, convenient and comfortable way to explore the city and Alcatraz.
3/ San Francisco Sightseeing Combo
This combination tour is the perfect introduction to San Francisco for first time visitors.
Enjoy being taken to iconic sights such as the Ferry Building and Golden Gate Bridge.
In addition, the audio guide tour of Alcatraz is excellent for learning about the harsh life of inmates.
4/ Segway Combo
Leave the traffic behind and discover San Francisco by Segway.
Try something different while taking in all that San Francisco bay has to offer.
Appreciate glorious views including the Golden gate bridge, Coit Tower and Fishermans Wharf.
A fun and relaxed way to see the city, and an excellent combination with Alcatraz.
5/ Cable Car Combo
Visiting Alcatraz on the early bird tour allows you to beat most of the crowds.
After learning about the strict lives of Alcatraz’s inmates enjoy a lighthearted tour of the city.
The classic cable car is a novel way to explore San Francisco, allowing you to experience the history of it’s public transport in modern day comfort.
Additionally you can visit many notable sights including the Palace of Fine Arts and Presidio National Park.
6/ Go Car Combo
Your partner will love exploring the city independently with you using a Go car.
Take advantage of the inbuilt GPS to visit your choice of over 50 attractions.
language is no barrier as you can pick your preference for the GPS.
A tasty lunch is included at Fishermans Wharf after your trip to Alcatraz.
7/ San Francisco Dungeon and Madame Tussauds
Visit 3 of San Francisco’s most intriguing attractions in one day.
Rub (wax) shoulders with celebrities at Madame Tussaud’s, a museum of life sized wax figurines.
Discover 200 year of San Francisco’s gruesome history at the Dungeon.
This interactive experience is not for the faint-hearted.
Afterwards head to Alcatraz for more hair-raising real stories of prisoners.
Visit the cells where notorious criminals were imprisoned, including Al Capone.
8/ Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Combo
Ripley’s Believe it or not Odditorium, Marvelous Mirror Maze and Impossible LaseRace is a brilliant family day out.
Discover the strange, bizarre, and downright odd, including authentic shrunken heads and strange human and animal exhibits from around the globe.
Test your prowess at navigating through a web of lasers, and escape the mirror maze.
After visiting Alcatraz, enjoy some excellent light-hearted fun interspersed with very interesting memorabilia.
9/ Ferry Building Food Tour Combo
The Ferry Building and Alcatraz are 2 of San Francisco’s most famous attractions.
The Ferry Building was built in the late 1800s and renovated in 2003, including its 245 ft (75m) clock tower.
This iconic part of San Francisco’s cityscape now houses a fantastic selection of local and artisan food.
It is a food lovers haven and the food tour is the perfect way to sample as many culinary delights as you can manage.
With a full belly, head to Alcatraz, where the only good thing going for inmates was it’s superior food.
10/ Red & White – Golden Gate Bay Cruise Combo
Explore Alcatraz and its 29 years of history as a federal prison.
In addition, discover the historic gardens and abundant wildlife that now call Alcatraz island home.
After a short stroll to Pier 39 hop aboard your boat for a 2 hr sunset or twilight cruise (depending on the time of year).
The trip is annotated by the ships captain.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a must see attraction of San Fracisco.
It is a dramatic feat of engineering that the whole family will be impressed to see.
11/ Bay Voyager San Francisco Boat Tour Adventure Cruise Combo
Adventurous souls will love the thrill of a cruise and salt spray in the bay.
The small group (limited to 12) is a fabulous way to get a more personal experience as you see the main sights by boat.
As well as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Presido Waterfront, you will get to see sea lions at pier 39.
Gear is provided to keep you warm and dry on your voyage.
Imagine what crossing the channel must have been like for the few prisoners who managed to escape the island.
12/ Helicopter Combo Tour
Fully appreciate the size and scale of San Francisco by air on a helicopter flight over the bay.
Firstly, enjoy unique views of the Golden Gate Bridge from above.
Secondly, listen to expert commentary and tales from your friendly pilot.
Thirdly, the arial views of Alcatraz, Treasure island and the Ferry Building will make this flight unforgettable.
Seeing Alcatraz from the air only highlights its isolation, and the difficulties inmates faced when planning escapes.
13/ Sea Plane Combo Tour
Take to the air on a 6 seater seaplane, with large widows and high wings for exceptional photo opportunities.
Flights depart at Sausalito, a picturesque Mediterranean style village across the bay from San Francisco.
Wonder at the panoramic views on offer of San Francisco’s Bay and key attractions located there.
Afterwards explore Sausalito, and head to Alcatraz at your leisure for a self guided walking audio tour.
14/ Craft Beer Combo
There are approximately 15 craft breweries in the San Francisco bay area.
Sample beers in a small group with a local guide for a genuine pub experience.
In addition, your local guide can advise you on other pubs and breweries to visit after the tour.
Perfect for craft beer enthusiasts or those who are just discovering the delights of microbreweries.
|Alcatraz and Walking Craft Beer Combo Tour
A morning trip to Alcatraz is followed by a 4 hr craft beer walking tour. Visit 3 local bars in Fishermans Wharf and North Beach, sightseeing along the way. Learn brewing techniques, beer styles, and try some of the best brews San Francisco has to offer.
|Alcatraz Admission & Small-Group Craft Brews and Bike Tour in San Francisco
Following a visit to Alcatraz cycle through some of San Fransisco’s sociable districts, including artistic SoMa and the hip Mission District. Stop at 3 brilliant bars, and wash down your craft beer with anecdotes from your guide.
15/ Wine Tasting Combo
The Sonoma Valley is perfect for wine growing with its hot climate.
Visit Cline Cellars Winery which is one of the regions oldest and was established in 1989.
Sample their wares while looking out over beautiful hilltop views.
The Larson Family Winery is known for it’s friendly staff and large outdoor space.
A perfect place to relax and taste different wines. Afterwards visit Alcatraz Prison, home to several legendary criminals.
16/ Aquarium Combo
San Francisco’s Aquarium is a fantastic day out for everyone, from families to couples and groups of friends.
With over 20,000 animals living here you are bound to be impressed.
The ‘Discover the Bay’ exhibit showcases San Francisco’s natural marine life, including green moray eels and orange Garibaldi.
The 300 foott long tunnel system of the Under the Sea exhibition will take your breath away.
Especially as it gives you a first hand insight into life below the Pacific Ocean.
17 / Muir Woods and Sausalito Combo
Escape the hustle and bustle of San Francisco and contrast the severe conditions of Alcatraz with 2 places of beauty.
Sausalito is a stunning Mediterranean style village and is reputed to be the ‘prettiest village in California’.
It’s unsurprisingly a haven for artists and a great place to browse quirky shops and galleries.
The virgin forest of Californian Coats Redwood Trees of the Muir Woods is a national monument.
Leave the skyscrapers behind and stroll beneath some of the oldest and tallest Giant Redwoods in the world.
Why did Alcatraz close?
- Alcatraz closed on March 21st, 1963. The decision was made mostly due to costs. Firstly at $10 per prisoner per day it was about 3x more expensive to run than other prisons. Secondly repairs to structural damage from constant salt spray required at least $5 million investment. In addition the escape from Alcatraz in 1962 shattered its reputation.
How many people escaped Alcatraz?
- Of 36 inmates attempting to escape the prison, only 5 ever succeeded. In 1937 Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe cut the iron window bars during a workshop assignment and fled into the stormy bay. In 1962 Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin devised an intricate plan, including building a raft, and escaped the prison. None have been found and officially declared ‘lost at sea’.
Is Alcatraz haunted?
- Alcatraz is supposedly one of the most haunted sites in America. Prisoners, Rangers and Visitors have reported countless strange happenings, from ghostly whispering to phantoms. D-block, where inmates were kept in solitary confinement, is reportedly where most of the hauntings occur.
Alcatraz is undoubtedly one of the most famous attractions in San Francisco.
It’s an unmissable sight because of it’s notorious reputation as an inescapable prison.
In addition, the harsh life faced by inmates is bound to leave a strong impression on you.
Especially as inmates were restricted to small bare cells or worse, a dark empty room in solitary confinement.
Finally, the brutal battle of Alcatraz in which 20 people were injured or shot proves how desperate inmates were to escape.
It would be a shame to miss out on Alcatraz.
Particularly when there are so many combination tours so you won’t miss out on other attractions.