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December 26, 2018

San Francisco: Escape to Alcatraz

Filed under: Architecture, Photography, San Francisco, Travel, United States — Tags: , , , , — anotherheader @ 10:16 pm


Inside an Alcatraz cell block

Every tourist that spends more than a day in San Francisco heads to Alcatraz. That’s a fake fact that I just made that up. But it does seem that way. Alcatraz is without doubt one of the City’s premier tourist attractions.

Living in the San Francisco area for thirty odd years, it would seem that I would have done what all of the tourists do. But I hadn’t. I took until January of 2017 for my first visit to The Rock. I didn’t have anything against Alcatraz. It just seemed that a visit was inevitable and thus there was no need to rush. Apparently I took the “no need to rush” to heart.

The Rock

The arrival pier

In the intervening years it has become considerably more difficult to visit Alcatraz. Tickets for the ferry are best booked in advance and, as we learned, sell out quickly even in January.

The upside of Alcatraz’s popularity is that, as an attraction, it is well managed. People flow through the complex easily. There are many docents available who give excellent tours and explanations. The old prison has many stories to tell and the National Park Service presents Alcatraz well.

A bonus of a visit to the rock in the middle of the bay is the boat ride. On a clear day the views of the city are spectacular. Unfortunately you can’t book the weather with your ticket. There’s some luck involved. Happily San Francisco has many blue bird days, even in the winter. The weather odds are in the visitor’s favor.

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