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Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

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eindhoven
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Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

It may sound strange to you and I do know that Alcatraz is one of the attractions in SF but honestly, is it really worth going ? Our time in SF is limited (1.5 day) ? Is it a MUST?

Thanks!

Down Under
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for San Francisco
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1. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

Only you will know if it's a must____we don't know your likes and dislikes.

Having said that it does receive an almost perfect score of satisfaction even from those who didn't think they would enjoy the visit. I can't remember the last time someone on this Forum had a bad review.

It certainly is not a tourist trap .

If you are pushed for time I often recommend the early bird time so as you get it done early in the day before other attractions smetimes are even open.

Only book it with

www.alcatrazcruises.com

Edited: 10 September 2010, 23:15
Anaheim, California
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2. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

I agree, it is an excellent tour with a lot packed in it.

You get a boat ride in San Francisco Bay with wonderful views.

Then the Island itself, a very historical place, and is run by the National park Service. A former Military Fort, then a famous Prison. Lots to see and do, and once again, some wonderful views of the area from an unique viewpoint.

And for just $26 a person (most tours with online advance purchase), it is a very good bargain.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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3. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

Yes, it is a historic site and part of the National Park Service. The National Park Service exists to preserve, protect, and manage America's natural and historic heritage and make it accessible for people to see and enjoy.

Alcatraz is not a commercial venture like Disneyland, Calico, a shopping mall, or any kind of privately owned attraction. You won't hear spooky sound effects, bump into dummies hanging in dark corners, or get caught in a staged prison breakout. What you see is the real prison where genuine "Public Enemy No. 1" characters did their time. I think the recorded narratives include some actual former guards and inmates telling their stories.

And as Darkbeer said, you get a beautiful scenic ride on the Bay.

San Jose, California
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4. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

I agree. It is most definitely not a tourist trap. Now whether it makes the list of things to see on your short visit is another question entirely.

San Francisco
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5. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

I find it a fascinating place. If you do take the early bird on either a Friday or Sunday there is also a tour of the reconstructed Gardens of Alcatraz. People don't think about the families (both civilian and military) who lived on the island and the gardens are evidence of their attempts to improve the otherwise austere atmosphere.

And yes, it has fabulous views.

However, with just a day and a half, it will eat up a minimum of 2-3 hours. Only you can decide if it fits within your other priorities.

Indianapolis
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6. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

I agree that Alcatraz is not a tourist trap. We spent a week in San Francisco this summer, and we did most of the things tourists do there. Alcatraz was in our top three. But, there are so many other things to do in San Francisco, if Alcatraz doesn't sound appealing to you, do something else instead.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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7. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

And I know you didn't ask for our opinion on this, but I think it's unfortunate to come all the way across an ocean and a continent and find yourselves with only a day and a half in San Francisco. If there's any way at all to add even a day or two, it would make your visit much more leisurely and you would have more leeway in choosing what to do.

Berkeley, Ca.
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8. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

The trip to Alcatraz will get you out on the Bay, but so would a ferry ride to Oakland or Angel Island or Tiburon (which is sort of a nice tourist trap).

Yucaipa, California
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9. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

I'm curious to know if Angel Island has historical tours. I've seen a travel log and find the history interesting because of the WWII history and the internment camp. Between the two islands, which would be the better to visit, or does it just depend on where your interest lies? I'm not planning a visit, but just curious.

Edited: 11 September 2010, 04:04
Santa Cruz...
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10. Re: Alcatraz -a tourist trap or?

Alcatraz is an important historic site. If you feel that you can fit that in to your 1/5 days in San Francisco, and are interested in historical sites, then do it.

I cannot even imagine seeing much of San Francisco in 1.5 days, but if you have to I would suggest a city tour. Otherwise you wont "see" San Francisco. That would give you an overview of the city and give you some ideas about what interests you when you have time to come back for a longer visit and do the city justice.