An area of natural beauty
A visit to Alcatraz is more than a prison tour. Named after the Spanish word for pelican, the island is home to a large population of seabirds, including cormorants and guillemots, allowing visitors to get up close. Alcatraz’s numerous rare species of flora and fauna are a flash of color amid the imposing concrete prison.
Views of the island’s history
For 19 months between 1969 and 1971, American Indians occupied the prison island in protest at their treatment by the US government. Nowadays visitors can relive the experiences of this community, pacing through the now-deserted squats and seeing the graffiti left behind.
When: Every day of the year except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Where: Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. Half-hourly boats cross the bay from the city’s Pier 33, along the Embarcadero.
Duration: The standard tour is 2 ½ hours. Buying tickets in advance is strongly recommended.