San Francisco's most popular attraction is ready to welcome back visitors. Here's what you'll need to know for your visitor experience.

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April 26, 2022
Photo by @kimhorstmanshof

What to Expect When Visiting Alcatraz

It used to be that no one wanted to go to Alcatraz. The infamous prison was home to only the most notorious criminals. Now, it's San Francisco's most popular attraction and part of one of the most visited national parks in the country. Here's everything you need to know about planning your next visit to the famous island outpost in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

Which tours can I take?

All Alcatraz tours are available: Day, Evening, and Behind the Scenes tours.

Which parts of Alcatraz can I see?

Alcatraz is currently a self-guided experience as staff-led tours are not offered at this time. Visitors will be able to explore the windswept island and learn about its layered history through outdoor interpretive signs, a Discovery Guide island map, and exhibits. Rangers will be stationed around the island to assist visitors and answer questions. 

The current tour includes:

  • Round-trip ferry service to Alcatraz Island with ample social distancing and plenty of fresh air
  • Admission to the Alcatraz Cellhouse for all visitors taking the award-winning Cellhouse Audio Tour. Use audio equipment provided to you onsite or download the Alcatraz Experience app and use your own cellphone and earbuds during your visit! App details provided on Alcatraz.
  • Access to outdoor historic spaces such as Eagle Plaza, the Recreation Yard, the Sallyport, and the Rose Garden
  • Access to the New Industries Building, which includes a fascinating exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the influential Occupation of Alcatraz by Indians of All Tribes
  • View political messaging left by Indians of All Tribes during the 1969 Occupation
  • Scenic vistas and iconic, close-up views of the exteriors of the Cellhouse, Building 64, Warden's House, Water Tower, Officer's Club and Model Industries Building

Are there any health and safety requirements that people need to follow?

Alcatraz Cruises has enacted its SafeCruise precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable visitor experience. Contactless payment options are available and new cleaning protocols of the ships has been enacted.

Currently, proof of vaccination is not required for Alcatraz Island visitors or Alcatraz City Cruises guests. Face coverings are required in boarding areas and onboard vessels on Alcatraz Island. Please continue to check this website for important information and tour updates.

For more information on keeping visitors safe, visit the SafeCruise page.

What other changes should I be aware of? 

  • To allow ample time for screening, it is strongly recommend that you arrive at Alcatraz Landing at least 45 minutes prior to your departure time.
  • Due to social distancing requirements in the Cellhouse, there may be a lengthy wait for the Cellhouse Audio Tour. 
  • Food and beverage service is not available at Alcatraz Landing, onboard the ferries, or on Alcatraz Island.
  • Credit cards are the only acceptable form of payment at this time.
  • Disposable masks and hand sanitizer will be available for purchase.
  • Hand washing stations are located throughout Alcatraz Landing.
  • Hand sanitizer is located onboard the ferries and on the island.

Buy Your Tickets

While Alcatraz has made changes to keep you safe, what hasn't changed is its popularity. You'll definitely want to book your tickets well in advance.

Alcatraz Cruises no longer has same-day ticket sales early in the morning.  However, their online inventory is constantly updated and tickets become available quite often. 

Click here to get yours!

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