I always imagined that a visit to Alcatraz would be like an episode of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. Lost souls, who were wrongfully (or rightfully) imprisoned, would wander the cold and damp hallways for all eternity. Uneventfully, but thankfully, there was no paranormal activity.
Instead, hoards of tourists flood the prison, just to get a glimpse of what was once one of Al Capone’s temporary homes. Included in your paid ticket, you get an audio-guided tour, where you have the liberty to go at your own pace. This also means that everybody else around you is at a different stage of the ‘tour’. The jailhouse pretty much becomes a madhouse. But if you don’t mind the crowds, it is a pretty interesting and informational tour.
Just make sure you book your tickets online ahead of time. And when I say book online, make sure you don’t go through a third party site, where you will be paying more. Instead, head straight to the National Parks’ government website. It’ll bring you to a legit Alcatraz Cruises website. You must pick your departing ferry time, which is about a 15-minute ride from Pier 33. On the way back to the Wharf, you can pick any time slot – as long as the ferry is not full. Day tours are $37.25, and night tours are $44.25.
If you don’t plan to visit anytime soon, I’ll leave you with these 10 Things You May Not Know About Alcatraz. It’s worth a read.