It is imperative that you visit both the official websites for Alcatraz Cruises and the National Park Service website to check on availability, terms and conditions and any changes which may not be reflected on this website. Below is a quick summary of the most frequently asked visitor questions and these details are provided in greater depth on the Alcatraz Cruises and NPS websites. Both agencies maintain excellent websites and are required reading prior to making any travel arrangements to Alcatraz. Their websites also includes an excellent collection of audio & visual media materials for researchers and visitors.
Operating Hours & Seasons
The hours of operation vary with the season - departures are available about every half hour throughout the day beginning at 9:00 AM. Evening tours and combined Angel Island - Alcatraz Island tours are also available depending on the season. Alcatraz is open every day except Christmas and New Year's Day. The island ferries run between Alcatraz and San Francisco approximately every 30-minutes. During the summer, the island closes at approximately 6:00 PM. During the off season, (fall, winter and spring), the island closes at 4:00 PM. The ferry schedules and hours of operations are subject to change, especially for major events. Alcatraz is closed only on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Extreme weather conditions may also result in closure.
The Alcatraz Night Tour
There is also special night tour program where visitor can go on specially guided tours after dark, see locations that are off limits during the daytime self guided tours, and experience the history in a unique environmental setting. The night tour is highly acclaimed as it also offers smaller crowds and special tours with a tour guide versed in the rich history of Alcatraz. See the Alcatraz Cruises website for more information.
Alcatraz Island frequently sells out - up to a week in advance in summer and near holidays, and sometimes even several weeks in advance. It is strongly recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance. Visit the official website for Alcatraz Cruises at the links provided above of up-to-date information. You can also reference the Fees & Reservations section on the National Parks Service under Plan Your Visit for additional information including links to purchase tickets online.
The weather on Alcatraz can be somewhat unpredictable and can change quickly - it may be warm and sunny in the city and very windy and cool on the island. Summer days can sometimes be as cool as winter due to thick fog and strong winds. We recommend dressing in layers.
There is no food service available on the island - only coffee and water is available on site. Eating, drinking and smoking are only allowed at the dock level. This rule is strictly enforced by the National Park Service. Any food or drink that is brought to the island may only be consumed in the picnic area and dock areas. Food, drink and other refreshments are available on the Alcatraz Cruises ferry both to and from Alcatraz.
Fees & Reservations
There is no entrance fee to visit Alcatraz Island. However there is a charge for the ferry service to and from the island which is supplied by the official concessioner for Alcatraz, Alcatraz Cruises. For additional information on schedules, prices, and to purchase tickets in advance (tickets are made available about 60 days in advance) please visit the Alcatraz Cruises website for tickets. The price includes the cellhouse audio tour, which is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin and Dutch.
The natural geography and physical dynamics of the structure locations may create some challenges for those with mobility limitations. The main roadway between the Alcatraz Dock and the main cell house is ¼ mile (.4 km) and the elevation in 130 feet, which is equivalent to a 13-story climb. There are many walking hazards that include uneven surfaces, steps, cracks, and potholes which may create hazards, especially for those with health conditions. The island has numerous steep road and pathways that may be challenging for some to navigate. Alcatraz does not have any wheelchairs for loan, but does offer an electric shuttle service for those unable to climb hills. SEAT (Sustainable Easy Access Transport) offers first-come, first-served seating. The tram runs on a regular schedule between the dock and main cellhouse.
Exhibits & Programs
Alcatraz offers a richly unique experience to visitors. It is a historic location that allows the visitor to experience the various and opulent layers history as it was during the periods of operation. The award-winning audio tour enhances the experience with the actual voices of inmates, officers and residents recounting their memories of life on Alcatraz. The island offers exhibits that chip away the various layers and periods of history through video, audio photographic, Alcatraz nature and historic garden exhibits. Alcatraz includes a fully accessible theatre which provides an orientation video produced by the Discovery Channel and is open captioned in English and Spanish. For more information on current information, please visit the National Park Service website.
Please click on the image link below to visit the official website of Alcatraz Cruises.