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Combo Tour: Alcatraz Island and San Francisco Grand City Tour
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Traveller rating
42,188
11,489
1,975
294
279
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Reviewed 24 August 2010

We went on the night excursion because it was touted as being the "most comprehensive" one with extra thrills and spills...so to speak. We spent a lot of time in a very cold and draughty line up at Pier 33, but had a very good audio commentary on the boat on our way over (20 mins.) Arrived at the dock and it was as cold as they say it is. We EACH wore 2 fleece tops, hats, long pants and hiking shoes and we both FROZE while there. The wind is pretty harsh coming off of the ocean, so all I can say is SERIOUSLY OVER -DRESS if you are going there! We were there August 21st, btw! The first tour guide we had was actually more interested in birding than the history of the prison, and although I love birds too, I really don't need a 15 minute explanation out in the freezing wind, of what a baby seagull looks like and how hungry he is and how, imagine this, he will eventually be fed by his mother (did I pay for this ?) I rather would have preferred info about prisonners, their life, their victims, etc...however, this was only the first guide. She led us to the shower area (inside) where we picked up our audio head sets with pre-recorded tour info. (available in many languages). The audio tour was very good, very clear, easy to follow and quite comprehensive. It lasted 45 minutes. It was now 7:30 and the boat wasn't going back until 8:40 or the last one at 9:30 or something. There isn't really much else you can do after your tour, they have a gift shop full of Alcatraz paraphenalia...mugs with Al Capone 's "mug" on it, Alcatraz water (?) keys, T-shirts etc....and offer little extra tours afterwards that are posted on the board daily I understand. Unfortunately the only one that really interested me was going to be held at around 9:15 and I wasn't going to wait around that long in the cold to experience the cell door being slammed shut behind me in solitary ...they had a quick talk (held outside again!!) about some of the more popular cons that were held in the prison over the years but again, it was outside and SO DARN COLD!!!! We decided to walk down to the dock to the bookshop and wait to get on the first boat back and to our chagrin, it was closed, so we had to wait out in the wind again....and watched the warm boat while we all lined up for about 30 minutes unprotected. I think they should have allowed us back inside, all things considered. I mean, we WEREN'T prisoners, were we?! Or were they trying to give us a real life-type of experience?!! HA!HA! I am sure the prisoners were even colder than we were, but then again, we didn't kill anyone or do anything horrid to get put in there in the first place, so...yes, go to Alcatraz, once. Dress as if you are going to the Alps....learn a lot about the place. And its' residents. It's good for a one-time visit.

1  Thank Foodyguru
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 23 August 2010

The alcatraz trip was amazing! IT was very interesting and the audio tour was great!
Recommend: book early! You won't get tickets at the last minute! Wear warm clothing... even the end of july was very cold! Learn about alcatraz before you go so it makes seeing parts of the tour even better. we watched "escape from alcatraz" before we went and we were glad we did!
The only downside was that it was pretty crowded... but with any attraction like this you can only expect it! we did the day tour (not the night tour so cannot compare the two)

1  Thank ashleyJM
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 21 August 2010

All the previous reviews say it all, fantastic historical sight, audio tour a must !
1 tip I would give, is that if you are unable to pre-book, then you can still get tickets on the day, if you are prepared to get down there prior to 7.30am (whole party has to be present), your time slot is then in the morning around 9.00am.
This is obviously no good, if you want an afternoon or evening trip.

1  Thank TripMember01072020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 21 August 2010

Pre bought tickets on line a must. we had the first trip of the day 9.10, when we came back all tickets not available for 6 days.
Quick efficient clean ferry ride to island.
Walk up steepish slope. Must get headphones which are also free to take you round prison, interesting stories, kept children 8 & 12 entertained
My 8 year daughter did junior ranger quiz, booklet from information booth by ferry. This kept her busy, it was free and she got a badge and certificate.
Must place to visit in SF

1  Thank stolkien
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 17 August 2010

There is not a lot to be added to the previous reviews, except to reiterate that the tours get booked up so book in advance if you don't want to be disappointed or are only there for a short break, Late July they were booked solid for 8 days but we had booked our evening tour months before our trip. The only way people could get tickets for the next day was to pay way over the odds to re-sellers who add little value but can uplift $26 tours to $85+.

We took the early evening tour which was in smaller groups, being atmospheric as the sun set and included the opportunity for two aditional talks before getting the first boat back. The views of SF as the sun went down were awesome. It does get chilly later on so take a warm top (and not shorts!) and good footware. The souvenir shop has some neat items and is cheaper than some stores in SF & the surrounding resorts.

An unmissable experience when visiting the city.

1  Thank Mighty-Red
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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