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February 6, 2017

San Francisco Frequently Asked Questions: How Do I Visit Alcatraz

Alcatraz is a top attraction, so this week Nicole educates you about how you can buy your tickets in advance, how to get tickets the day of and some tips on how to visit The Rock during your stay in San Francisco.


A ticket to Alcatraz is one of the hardest tickets to get in San Francisco. They sell out three months in advance!

Where You Can Buy Tickets to Alcatraz

Buy your official Alcatraz tickets at or here.

Don't Have a Ticket?

Here are some alternatives.

Wake Up Early

Yeah, like 5 a.m. early! Alcatraz Cruises will release canceled tickets on their website, so check early and often (refresh that page like a pro!). They do not have tickets at the booth.

Take a Bay Cruise

Although they don't technically go to the island, they get pretty damn close. Along with a close-up view of Alcatraz, they also provide you with an audio history of the prison. Buy tickets.

Wanna Do More Than Just Alcatraz?

There are plenty of tour packages that include not only Alcatraz, but the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, the Painted Ladies and other icons as well. Buy tickets.

Tips When You Visit

If you got yourself a ticket, here our tips so you can enjoy your time out on The Rock.

  • Arrive 30 minutes before your departure time.
  • Always bring a jacket. It gets cold on Alcatraz.
  • Don't worry about printing a physical ticket. Just go to the window to present your ID and the credit card you paid with.
  • Once you get on Alcatraz, the boat returning leaves pretty often, so don't feel rushed. Enjoy yourself.

If you're visiting San Francisco in the summer, it's a good idea to buy your tickets to Alcatraz now.

Stay tuned for next week's SF FAQ.


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