- Type: Sightseeing, Tours
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Alcatraz stands as a consistently popular San Francisco attraction for young and old, but it's especially fun for families and history fanatics. The former penitentiary -- now a museum -- sits on a small, rocky island in the heart of San Francisco Bay, and remains visible from many landmarks throughout the city, including the Golden Gate Bridge. Here you can learn the history of the penitentiary, see how prisoners lived, and marvel at the many failed escape attempts.
Entrance to Alcatraz is free; however, you will need to purchase a ferry ticket to get to the island. Tickets are not cheap (about $26), but most travelers say the price offers great value. Tickets include a scenic boat trip to the island, a guided tour from a park ranger and an audio guide. Recent travelers recommend getting the audio tour. “It is just a great experience. Narrated by ex-guards and prisoners, it's a great balanced account of life on the ROCK,” explains one TripAdvisor. Tours depart starting at 9:10 a.m. and return throughout the day until 9:25 p.m. Popular tour times, including the evening tour, often have wait times that last several weeks, so book at least a month before visiting.