The first time you visit San Francisco, a trip to the infamous Alcatraz is a must.
You can get a ferry from Fisherman’s Warf to the island. Pre-booking on the internet saves some money and means you get on the departure time you want, as it is jam-packed in peak season. We went with Alcatraz Cruises.
The ferry ride to Alcatraz gives you a view of the city from the Bay, and you’ll probably spot some of the many sea lions that have made the city their home. Even if it is a warm sunny day, remember to bring some layers. It can get quite windy out on the Bay.
The rocky island is a reasonable size, and you are free to roam around the prison and the old fort buildings, which guarded the Bay long before the prison arrived.
An audio tour is available around the prison and is well worth doing as it brings to light the escapes and gun battles on the island. Our kids loved the audio tour (it’s not really graphic or disturbing), though it won’t hold the attention of very young kids.
Despite the prison’s reputation, the cell sizes are quite large, and there’s plenty of light too. Unlike some of the old prison buildings in the UK, which are a few hundred years older than Alcatraz.
Of course, there’s an opportunity to put your kids in jail. 😉
If the weather is kind to you, and the Bay Area fog hasn’t descended, Alcatraz gives you a fantastic view of the City.
Once you have done the tours, you can hop on a ferry back to San Francisco. Apart from the last ferry, there’s no set return time so you can enjoy being imprisoned there as much as you like.
In the next post, we’ll cover a few more sights and sounds of San Francisco.
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