Tickets to Alcatraz + 9 Helpful Tips to Read Before Booking

Alcatraz is a small island situated in San Francisco Bay, California, which was transformed right into a federal jail within the mid-Nineteenth century. Thanks to the sturdy currents and chilly water temperatures round it, this jail made escape virtually unimaginable for inmates, so naturally, it housed essentially the most harmful criminals! 

Alcatraz jail grew to become one of the crucial well-known in American historical past, and the island is now one of the crucial widespread vacationer sights within the US. 

In order to offer you extra readability on all of the choices for tickets to Alcatraz on the market and that will help you keep away from discovering your self and not using a ticket in any respect (they get booked out SUPER quick), I made this information with some helpful tricks to observe earlier than you e book Alcatraz.

I’ve additionally included some helpful info on your go to together with, opening hours, instructions, the perfect time of the yr to go to Alcatraz, and way more… Let’s begin proper now to find all of them!

Are you prepared?

If you’re in a rush

If you’re right here simply to get your tickets, listed here are the perfect hyperlinks to take action: 

  • Normal ticket – $41 (Official website)
  • Discounted ticket – $25 for Kids (5-11 years), $39 for Senior (62+ years), 
  • Free ticket – youngsters below 5
  • Alcatraz + Chinatown tour combo – $104 on Headout
Adults: Kids: Family: Senior: Cancelation Policy
Day Tour $41 $25 $119 $39 >72 hours prematurely Buy tickets
Night Tour $51 $30 $47 >72 hours prematurely Buy tickets
Behind the Scenes $96 $92 $89 >72 hours prematurely Buy tickets
Alcatraz + Chinatown Tour $104 >24 hours prematurely Buy tickets
Alcatraz + bay cruise $139 $129 Non-refundable Buy tickets
Alcatraz + sightseeing bus $150 >24 hours prematurely Buy tickets

Why purchase prematurely?

Alcatraz Island is considered one of San Francisco’s hottest vacationer sights, so tickets promote out tremendous quick, particularly within the excessive season (June, July & August), when the tickets are sometimes bought out two months prematurely!

If you’re planning on visiting Alcatraz through the summer season, I strongly counsel you e book tickets approach forward of time, whereas at every other time of the yr, it’s good to e book your tour ticket not less than 2 weeks prematurely. 

Check out part 3 if the tickets are already bought out on your chosen day. I’ve obtained some methods for you!

1. Different forms of tickets to Alcatraz

1 types of tickets to Alcatraz

If you wish to go to San Francisco’s well-known island, Alcatraz City Cruises affords in-depth excursions to Alcatraz. 

There are 3 totally different tour varieties, and every of them consists of round-trip transportation by ferry from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing station to the Island + outside National Park entry (~quarter-hour every approach with onboard narration).

All 3 tickets additionally embrace an audio information (out there in English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin) with headphones, which gives you a 45-minute, self-guided audio tour of the jail cell homes.

PRO TIP: If you don’t need the audio information, you will get an $8 refund on the entrance gate for this a part of the ticket!

You can solely purchase these tickets to Alcatraz on the official web site, but when the date/time you need is bought on the market, there are extra methods to go to that I’ll focus on subsequent!

NOTE: The tickets are named, and you want to present your ID, so they’re non-transferable!

1.1 Alcatraz Day Tour

1.1 Alcatraz Day Tour the cheapest option

The Alcatraz Island Day Tour is the most cost-effective choice (and the one one providing household tickets) and customarily has the most tickets out there since it’s not guided!

Even although they name this one a tour, it’s not a lot a tour however quite a timed entrance with an audio information. 

The ticket affords admission to:

  • Cellhouse audio tour
  • 2 exhibitions: “The Big Lockup: Mass Incarceration in the United States” and the “New Industries Building”
  • Several historic outside areas of the island, together with the Eagle Plaza, the Recreation Yard, the Sallyport, and the Rose Garden
  • The National Park Service App, providing an interactive map, excursions, data, tales, and photos of Alcatraz.

Fun Fact: No prisoners have been ever executed in Alcatraz! There have been no amenities to execute capital punishment, so nobody was ever despatched there with a demise sentence. If Alcatraz inmates dedicated capital offenses on the Island, they have been transferred to San Quentin State Penitentiary for execution.

The fundamental distinction separating the Day Tour from the others supplied is which you can keep on Alcatraz Island so long as you want contained in the common opening hours. With the opposite 2 excursions, though you get to entry extra of the ability, you’ll be restricted to particular time slots.

This means you’ll be able to determine how a lot time to dedicate to the attraction, however I counsel you permit not less than 2.5 to three hours on the Island!

Tours depart day by day each half-hour in summer season (each 60 minutes in winter) from Pier 33 from 8:45 am – 3:50 pm. The final return ferry leaves Alcatraz at 6.30 p.m.

PRICE: $41

DURATION: 3 hours 

1.2 Alcatraz Night Tour 

1.2 Alcatraz Night Tour limited to around 150 visitors

If you wish to mix a go to to Alcatraz with beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge throughout sundown whereas additionally avoiding the vacationer crowds, the evening tour could possibly be your best option for you. 

While this tour could be very widespread, it’s restricted to round 150 guests per night.

In addition to entry to the Cellhouse audio tour and exhibitions as within the Day Tours, the Night Tour consists of particular applications, actions, and night talks by professional historians on Alcatraz historical past, prisoners, and residents.

With this feature, additionally, you will have entry to extra areas of the jail which might be off-limits through the day, accompanied by the park rangers. One instance is the gun gallery on the second ground! 

Fun Fact: Spiritualists typically declare to really feel haunted auras and ghosts throughout their go to to Alcatraz. However, there are not any precise circumstances of ghost sightings by any of Alcatraz’s troopers, prisoners, officers, or park rangers.

Another bonus you gained’t get on the day tour is that, on the way in which to Alcatraz, the Night Tour ferry makes a guided journey across the island earlier than arriving on the dock. While on the Day Tour, the ferry goes instantly there.

I personally assume this one is the greatest worth amongst all of the excursions, giving much more worth for under round $10 greater than the Day Tour!

NOTE: There are two night-tour sailings to Alcatraz many of the yr, from Thursday by means of Monday (this tour isn’t supplied each day):

  • In summer season (April – November), the Alcatraz Night Tour leaves at 5:55 pm and 6:30 pm from Pier 33. The sundown in summer season occurs round 8:30 pm, so it is possible for you to to discover the island with the sunshine.
  • In winter (November – March), there is just one tour per evening, leaving at 4 pm and returning at 6:40 pm. The solar in winter units round 5 pm, so that you’ll take pleasure in each the sundown and the town lights

PRICE: $51

DURATION: 3 hours

1.3 Alcatraz Behind The Scenes Tour

1.3 Alcatraz Behind The Scenes Tour unique program

The Alcatraz Island Behind the Scenes is the most in-depth tour you’ll be able to have of Alcatraz with an in-person information, restricted to 30 members per tour. 

NOTE: You should be older than 12 to hitch this one!

With this distinctive program, you’ll take a chosen ferry to Alcatraz Island along with your small group, get a 1.5-2 hour guided Behind the Scenes Tour (in English) with an professional, and then you definitely’ll have a while to discover the Island by yourself (or with an audio tour).

The guided tour covers a unique route with “off the beaten path” unique areas of the Island, totally different from those you’ll be able to entry with the audio tour, and offers you secret tales in regards to the jail.

Some of those hidden areas embrace the Officers’ Row Gardens, the higher ranges of D Block, the Hospital, the Theatre, and extra. But they fluctuate relying on the climate, development security, group dimension, and different elements.

Fun Fact: Prisoners werenever really sentenced on to Alcatraz. They have been despatched to the Island for unhealthy conduct whereas at one other federal establishment. And quite the opposite, good conduct may earn a convict a switch out of Alcatraz to a different federal establishment.

The Behind the Scenes Tour leaves each day from Tuesday to Saturday at 4:20 pm and lasts 4.4 hours (you’ll be suggested on precisely when the return ferry boats depart Alcatraz Island).

NOTE: The guided a part of the tour is obtainable solely in English, whereas the Cellhouse audio tour is obtainable in all of the languages I beforehand talked about.

PRICE: $96

DURATION: 4.5 hours

2. Combo excursions – go to Alcatraz with one other tour or exercise 

2 visit Alcatraz with another tour or activity

Another choice to go to the island is with combo tickets. Combining Alcatraz with different well-known sights or cool actions in San Francisco is ideal in case you don’t have a lot time to spend within the metropolis or if the official excursions are bought out

NOTE: Take into consideration that tour corporations providing mixture excursions want to offer Alcatraz Cruises the names of holiday makers not less than 4 days earlier than the scheduled tour, so be sure to e book greater than 4 days prematurely! 

Fun Fact: The common convict size of keep in Alcatraz was 8 years.

Check out the perfect combo excursions in San Francisco: 

  • Alcatraz visit + bay cruise: Visit Alcatraz Island with an audio information and luxuriate in a ferry cruise with panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay, Pier 39’s sea lions, the waterfront space, and the town’s skyline. With this combo, you get a 3 hours tour with all the conventional issues as you’d within the day tour + a separate 60 min cruise of the bay, which even goes below the golden gate bridge, for $140.
  • Alcatraz visit + hop-on-hop-off bus: Save some cash and see essentially the most of San Francisco with this mixture of a 2 days ticket for the hop-on-hop-off bus, which stops in any respect of San Fran’s greatest sights, plus an Alcatraz Island go to with an audio information and a 1-hour panoramic evening metropolis tour, all for $150.
  • San Francisco Tour + Alcatraz Ticket: Enjoy a 4-hour guided strolling tour with an expert information to a few of San Francisco’s high sights like Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Pier 39 earlier than visiting Alcatraz jail for $99.
  • Alcatraz + San Francisco Tour: With this 7-hour day tour, you should have entry to Alcatraz with an audio information (together with spherical journey transfers on a ferry) and discover 2 of essentially the most well-known areas in San Francisco (North Beach and Chinatown) with an expert information for $104.

If you’re on the lookout for extra mixtures, examine for comparable excursions on Get Your Guide, Viator, or Headout

3. How to search out tickets if it’s bought out

3 How to get tickets to Alcatraz if they sold out

As I discussed within the intro, in case you don’t e book your Alcatraz tickets some months prematurely, there’s a excessive probability that you simply gained’t discover any left since tickets to Alcatraz get booked out tremendous quick (particularly through the summer season months).

But I’m right here to save lots of you with some various issues to do in case you don’t discover out there tickets to Alcatraz on your dates:

Option 1: Be versatile along with your tour selection and dates

If the Alcatraz tickets on your desired day are bought out (and also you keep greater than someday in San Francisco), the perfect resolution is to be versatile along with your tour selection and the dates.

Check out the provision for the opposite days or a unique tour choice. For instance, the evening tour and the behind-the-scenes excursions are all the time booked out months prematurely, whereas the day tour normally has extra availability. 

PRO TIP: The Day Tour has essentially the most tickets on the market every day and is commonly the one one out there on the final minute – so don’t overlook to examine right here!

Option 2: Check various ticket web sites

3.2 Check alternative ticket websites for Alcatraz

Unfortunately, ticket resellers don’t provide the conventional excursions of Alcatraz on their very own. But that doesn’t imply you don’t nonetheless have various choices! 

Even if all of the tickets are bought out on the official website, most of the time, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover further tickets out there together with different sights within the metropolis. 

I discussed just a few of those above in part #2, however in case you don’t wish to do the rest and solely wish to discover sold-out tickets for Alcatraz, I checked all of the potential choices to search out you the most affordable combo. 

This 4-hour tour features a round-trip boat to/from Alcatraz Island (time assigned), the CellHouse Audio Tour, and a bonus of $15 credit score for lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf Vendor for $98.  While it’s fairly much more costly than the common tour, and for my part, you don’t get much-added worth for the worth, it’s the most cost-effective strategy to get assured tickets whether it is utterly bought out on-line and also you don’t have sufficient time to reap the benefits of any of the combo tickets. 

That being mentioned, if you’re taking place this route and do have the time, I nonetheless assume the combo tickets I point out in part #2 are a greater choice on the subject of worth for cash, providing entry to Alcatraz and different sights of San Francisco on the identical time.

NOTE: Usually, you’ll be able to’t purchase these tickets lower than 4 days prematurely because the tour operators want to offer a confirmed record of names to Alcatraz prematurely. 

Option 3: Re-fresh the official website (a number of instances)

3.3 official website for Alcatraz tour tickets

If you’ve tried all the above choices and all types of Alcatraz tickets are bought out, I like to recommend you’ve a second strive on the official website for Alcatraz tour tickets. 

Since there will be last-minute cancellations as much as 72 hours prematurely, these tickets are periodically added again to the web site to be re-sold. 

Check by means of all the excursions (day, evening, and unique behind-the-scenes excursions) and instances supplied on the web site rigorously, and hold refreshing the web page with the day and ticket you need chosen… you may discover your ticket (and it wouldn’t be the primary time it occurs!).

Option 4: Night Tour stand-by tickets

In the previous, you have been capable of purchase some last-minute tickets on the day on the pier. But since they started re-selling canceled tickets by means of the web site, that is now not potential. However….

Another choice you may strive is to get a standby ticket for the Night Tour. You can attempt to buy a standby ticket on the ticket workplace at Pier 33, they promote them each day that the Night Tour runs (Tuesdays by means of Sundays) for a similar value you’d purchase an everyday Night Tour ticket.

But…Getting a standby ticket doesn’t guarantee you’ll really get onto the tour!

In reality, they are going to solely allow you to be a part of the evening tour if there may be nonetheless room on the ferry after they’ve boarded the passengers for that crusing (within the case of no-shows or final minute cancellations). If you don’t handle to get on, you’ll need to return to the ticket workplace that evening (by 7 pm), and they’ll refund you. 

The variety of Night Tour stand-by tickets are restricted, so it’s best to get into the queue as quickly as potential, contemplating that the ticket workplace opens at 7.30 am. Then come again later along with your stand-by ticket to hop in line and hope somebody doesn’t present up! 

Important issues it’s best to learn about visiting Alcatraz

4 things you should know about visiting Alcatraz

Now that you’ve got all of the details about the perfect methods to buy your ticket and the various kinds of excursions out there, it’s time for some sensible info you ought to be conscious of earlier than visiting this superb attraction in San Francisco.

Fun Fact: The jail was by no means stuffed. There are 336 “mainline” cells and 42 “solitary confinement” cells within the Cellhouse, however the common convict inhabitants was about 260 males, reaching the very best occupancy of 302 convicts.

1. How far prematurely do you want to purchase your tickets

In normal, the tickets to Alcatraz get booked out fairly quick, however if you’re planning on visiting the attraction within the excessive season, through the summer season months (June, July & August), it’s best to reserve your ticket 2 months prematurely if you wish to you should definitely discover them!

I do know it sounds loopy, however it’s higher to be on the secure facet. You can all the time get a refund the worst case in case your plans have modified.

Other onerous instances to get tickets are round the primary festivities: Christmas, New Year, Easter break, Memorial Day (finish of May), and Labor Day (starting of September)… so, in different phrases, many of the yr. 

The solely exceptions are January, February, and early March, throughout which you’ll be able to permit your self to order the tickets just some weeks prematurely as it’s not very busy.

2. Opening hours 

alcatraz best time of day to visit

The opening hours in Alcatraz change relying on the season:

Spring/Summer schedule (April – November): 

  • Day Tours: Tuesday to Saturday, 8.45 am – 6:30 pm, ferries leaving each half-hour. 
  • Behind the Scenes Tour: Tuesday to Saturday, 4:20 pm departure pm solely
  • Night tour: Thursday to Monday, 5:55 pm or 6:30 pm departures, with the return from Alcatraz Island at 8:40 pm or 9:25 pm. 

Fall/Winter schedule (November – March)

  • Day Tours: Tuesday to Saturday, 8.45 am to 4:25 pm, leaving each 30 or 60 minutes
  • Behind the Scenes Tour: Tuesday to Saturday, 4:20 pm departure pm solely
  • Night tour: Thursday to Monday, 4 pm departure solely, returning at 6:40 pm

NOTE: The leaving and return instances for the ferry are posted at Pier 33 and the dock on the island.

Even in case you e book a tour prematurely, you’ll need to decide up your tickets on-site, so it’s all the time good to arrive an hour earlier than the start of your Alcatraz tour (to get within the line), particularly in case you’re visiting through the summer season season, which is tremendous busy.

3. Best time to go to

Alcatraz day tours reviews

Quietest months – If you wish to keep away from crowds, the greatest time to go to Alcatraz is the primary two weeks of November or December, and anytime from January to March, which is the low season.

Best Weather – If you care extra in regards to the climate, plan your Alcatraz go to for April/May or September by means of October, that are the sunniest months (summer season will be foggy in San Francisco).

Best time of day – If you go on a day tour, Alcatraz will get extra crowded because the day progresses since there’s no time restrict, and you may take any boat again. So I counsel you go as early as potential within the morning! 

4. How to get to Alcatraz

How to get to Alcatraz

To get to Alcatraz, you’ll take a ferry at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing, situated on the foot of Bay Street on the Embarcadero, about half an hour strolling or 10 minutes driving from Union Square (one of many best areas to stay in San Francisco).

Public transport 

Since parking will be fairly troublesome alongside the Fisherman’s Wharf space, the best choice is to take public transport. Check out’s web site for the perfect public transportation routes, and get off on the Bay Street Station (for bus and railway), situated only a few steps away from Pier 33 (1 min stroll).

Hop-on Hop-Off Bus

Another straightforward choice is to make use of the hop-on hop-off bus ticket to succeed in the Pier. Jump on board at any of the designated stops and luxuriate in an audio tour of the town earlier than being dropped off precisely at Fisherman’s Wharf. 

You should purchase it as part of a combo tour of San Francisco + Alcatraz Island or by itself (in case you solely want 1 day).


If you wish to get right here with a automotive, you want to contemplate that there’s no parking out there particularly for Alcatraz guests, so that you’ll have to go for road parking. Every area has a parking meter and takes bank cards, with charges starting from $0.25 to $6 per hour, 7 days per week, however in fact, this may be full.  

Otherwise, you’ll be able to park the automotive at 55 Francisco Street and 80 Francisco Street parking tons, situated 5 minutes strolling from the touchdown station, costing round $50 per day.

NOTE: If it’s a must to park, you should definitely arrive within the space not less than 2 hours earlier than your scheduled departure, so that you’ll have all time to discover a spot and gather your tickets.

5. What to deliver (and to not deliver) to Alcatraz

What to bring and not to Alcatraz

To enter the attraction, you’ll need to point out your printed tickets, legitimate government-issued photograph ID or passport, and the bank card used to buy the tickets.

Other non-compulsory however very helpful issues I counsel you deliver are: 

  • A light-weight jacket or sweater – regardless of how the day begins, the perfect factor in San Francisco is all the time to decorate in layers!
  • Rain gear – throughout moist winter months
  • Bottled water – You can’t eat meals or drinks apart from water on the island or on the boat
  • A hat – to be protected against the solar if you’re taking a day tour
  • Camera – to take some nice photos!

Do NOT deliver

  • Luggage 
  • Food, drinks apart from water, or coolers
  • Oversized backpacks and packages (they’re not allowed for security issues: the utmost dimension accepted for backpacks is 16” x 20”). 

NOTE: You gained’t discover any storage amenities in and round Pier 33, so in case you deliver considered one of this stuff, chances are you’ll not have the ability to go to Alcatraz Island (and also you gained’t be refunded for that). 

6. Age limits for younger guests

The solely age restriction for Alcatraz tickets is for the Alcatraz Island Behind the Scenes tour: youngsters below 12 can’t take part on this program. And typically, company below the age of 18 will not be allowed to enter Alcatraz Island with out an grownup!

In each circumstances, they are going to be despatched again to Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing with no refund. 

Anyways, the attraction is not scary in any respect. Even although it’s a jail, there’s nothing that might trigger nervousness to youngsters. 

7. How a lot time do you want to see Alcatraz? 

How much time do you need to see Alcatraz

If you be a part of a day tour, throughout which you gained’t have time restrictions, permit not less than 2-3 hours to discover the island. You’ll go to some components of Alcatraz with the 75 minutes audio information, however there may be lots extra to stroll round at your personal tempo. Also, contemplate that the ferry journey from and to Alcatraz Island is round quarter-hour every approach!

The evening tour lasts 3 hours and the behind-the-scenes tour round 4.5 hours, however they’ve a hard and fast time, so that you don’t have to fret about that! 

8. Facilities inside/close by the attraction

Right on the island, you can find bathroom amenities and a present store, however there are no storage lockers or eating choices, and you aren’t allowed to deliver meals, so I counsel you propose and luxuriate in your meals earlier than or after your go to.

Otherwise, as quickly as you get again to Pier 33, you’ll be proper within the Fisherman’s Wharf space, providing eating places, bars, espresso, and outlets for any style!

NOTE: All the areas on the island are wheelchair accessible!

FAQs about Alcatraz Tickets

alcatraz day tour vs night tour

🌐 What is the perfect web site to purchase Alcatraz tickets?

The greatest web site to purchase tickets to Alcatraz is City Experiences, that is the official web site providing in-depth excursions to the island. The fundamental ones are the Alcatraz Day Tour, Alcatraz Night Tour, and Alcatraz Behind the Scenes Tour. 

💲 How a lot are tickets to Alcatraz in San Francisco?

Depending on which tour you wish to e book, the Day Tour prices $41, the (guided) Night Tour $51, and Behind the Scenes $96, every with entry to totally different routes and sights.

⏰ What is the perfect time of day to go to Alcatraz?

The greatest time of day to go to Alcatraz is within the early morning if you’re becoming a member of the Day Tour (at round 9) or late within the night with the Night Tour, at round 5 / 6 pm.

📅 Should I purchase Alcatraz tickets prematurely?

Absolutely sure, tickets to Alcatraz promote out tremendous quick, so you should purchase them not less than 2 months prematurely throughout excessive season (June, July & August), when the attraction will get tremendous crowded, or 2 weeks prematurely throughout the remainder of the yr


extensive guide for how to book tickets to Alcatraz

Here we’re on the finish of this intensive information for easy methods to e book your tickets to Alcatraz. I’m positive by now you’re now not confused about that are the perfect choices and options to go to this superb attraction in San Francisco!

To offer you a fast recap, you should buy the most affordable tickets to Alcatraz on the official website, however be sure to do this months prematurely as a result of they promote out extraordinarily quick! 

Otherwise, if tickets there are bought out you’ll be able to try different tour combos like Alcatraz visit + cruise, the Alcatraz visit + hop on hop off bus, or the Alcatraz + San Francisco Tour supplying you with entry to Alcatraz mixed with different sights or actions.

But if all these aren’t out there, I additionally gave you some extra tricks to get tickets and a few sensible info that you simply’ll discover helpful to know earlier than your journey! 

I hope this put up will make you get tickets for Alcatraz, and in case you nonetheless have any questions for me, 

Feel free to depart a remark beneath and I’ll get again to you as quickly as I can! 

Enjoy your go to!


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