Alcatraz

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The most famous prisoners in Alcatraz history

Alcatraz is home to a Civil War military garrison, seabird colonies, and the West Coast's oldest working lighthouse. But if its walls could talk, they'd give a whole lot away about some of America's most dangerous criminals. Here's a quick overview!

  • Al Capone

    1. Al Capone

    Perhaps the most famous gangster of all time, Capone eventually ended up in cell 181 where, by most accounts, he was unable to cope with prison life.

  • Robert Franklin Stroud

    2. Robert Franklin Stroud

    The "Birdman of Alcatraz" actually became a respected ornithologist at his previous prison, Leavenworth. Alcatraz wouldn't let him keep animals!

  • Mickey Cohen

    3. Mickey Cohen

    Harvey Keitel won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Cohen in "Bugsy." It was a fitting tribute to a man who invented every Hollywood mobster cliché!

  • James "Whitey" Bulger

    4. James "Whitey" Bulger

    Before he was one of America's most feared crime bosses, the notoriously brutal Bulger spent three years in Alcatraz. The bogeyman of Boston is currently incarcerated in Florida.

  • Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin

    5. Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin

    In 1962, these three cracked an intricate plan thought to be the only successful Alcatraz escape attempt. What happened to them after that is anyone's guess!

Planning Your Visit

  • How to get there?

    You can only reach Alcatraz by ferry, which sets off from Port 33 on the Embarcadero.

  • Best time of year to visit?

    Alcatraz gets quite foggy during the summer months, so you'll experience the best weather at the end of spring or beginning of fall. May and June are ideal for bird activity.

  • Best time of day to visit?

    It only really matters if you want to spend the whole day there, in which case you'll obviously want to get there as early as possible! There are a limited amount of people allowed on the island, which keeps crowds from getting out of hand - so be prepared to wait.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Ferry departures from 9AM daily.
  • Is it expensive?
    Ticket prices vary, from $30 for adults.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Experience Alcatraz as part of a hop-on hop-off tour of other San Francisco sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, and save money - there'll be a guide giving you all the information you need for every destination.
  • How to get there
    As Alcatraz is an island, the only way of reaching it is by ferry. You can do this on the F line of the Muni (bus).
  • Additional information

    • The island has some steep hills, so make sure to wear good walking shoes.

    • Bring a jacket or sweater - it can get chilly near the coast!

What people are saying about Alcatraz

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 4,482 reviews

Dara Mihaly, our tour guide was knowledgeable and friendly. She provided a great experience with historical information that was fascinating. I would highly recommend her for any tourists.

Only recommendation is that I would’ve appreciated the crew pointing out landmarks and giving a bit of history . There was no interaction with that regard . Cruise was fun still .

Our guide Miss D was excellent. I would definitely recommend this tour and guide to anyone. Only draw back was Covid and some things not open. Not the tour guides fault!!!!

Our guide was awesome. Very friendly and upbeat. Shared alot of information about San Francisco. Dropped us off at the Alcatraz tour place. Would recommend to everyone

We had an amazing experience! The views were spectacular and I would highly recommend this tour to anyone in SF.