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Things to Do in San Francisco: Top Sights and Attractions


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#3. Explore Alcatraz
Things to Do in San Francisco: Top Sights and Attractions

Alcatraz Island

©2010 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

Alcatraz prison wasn't always a place people wanted to go, but today it's one of the city's most popular sights, its mystique pumped up by famous films about the criminals who lived on it or tried to escape from it.


You'll take a ferry to get to Alcatraz and once on the island, you can walk up to the prison buildings and tour the cell block, exercise yard and other locations. A self-guided audio tour lends a sense of life to the abandoned facility.

If you want to go, be especially careful about tour packages. Some will says their tour includes Alcatraz, but it can be a bit of slightly optimistic marketing: they may just take you for a ride past it without stopping.

Pros and Cons

You'll have bragging rights back home after you visit, but you'll use up a lot of your vacation hours collecting them - almost half a day, counting the ferry ride out and back.

More About Alcatraz

If you need more information, check the Complete Guide to Alcatraz. It will tell you about hours, how to get tickets - and the best time to go to maximize your sightseeing day.

Scenes from Alcatraz

Enjoy some of our best shots on this Photo Tour of Alcatraz

See where it is on a map. It's the bright pink marker.

Don't Take Our Word For It

See how others rate Alcatraz - from Yuck! to Awesome! For your reference, everyone's taste is different, our readers are a fussy bunch and they get even pickier in San Francisco, with the best-rated attractions in the San Francisco area getting 55% to 60% Awesome votes.
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