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Alcatraz and Ghost Hunting Tour

Recommended by 98% of travellers.

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San Francisco Tour

  • Meets near Chinatown
  • Free cancellation
  • 700+ 5-star reviews
  • Starting at $85
  • Low price guarantee

PLEASE NOTE : This tour regularly sells out. Book as soon as possible to avoid missing out!

Questions? Text, call or email:

Get your Alcatraz Tickets here for your afternoon visit to San Francisco’s most famous attraction and then join The Haunt on a real ghost hunt by nightfall. Experience the supernatural with a storyteller-ghost hunter on a nighttime adventure that’s perfect for believers and skeptics alike …

At a Glance

  • Alcatraz packages are only available with 4 days or more advance notice.
  • Your Alcatraz ticket is for an afternoon departure (2pm-5pm), possible) and our Ghost Tour departs at 8pm.
  • You should take the 6:00pm ferry back from Alcatraz to arrive in time for your tour
  • Retail price of a ticket to Alcatraz is $45.25. The combo package is $85.

from $85, plus tax

Departure Times

Nightly at 7pm, 8pm, or 9pm See calendar for current schedule

What’s Included

  • EMF meter for Ghost Hunter tickets
  • Collectible pin
  • Post-tour recommendations

What’s Not Included

Gratuities for your guide

Alcatraz meets at Pier 33 at Alcatraz Landing Ghost tour meets at Transamerica Building 

Suitable for children Paid ticket req’d for all

Max Group Size  

25 people  

What to Bring

  • Warm layers and jacket — San Francisco is very cold and windy

Book With Confidence

The lowest price. period..

Book directly on thehauntghosttours.com or call our office to get the best price on our tours. Find it cheaper? We’ll refund the difference!

Free Cancellations

Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a FULL REFUND . We know that plans can change, that’s why we offer one of the most generous cancellation policies in the tour industry.

alcatraz night tour halloween

Frequently Asked Questions

We regularly stir up energies and interact with spirits.

The tour ventures through some of the oldest and most haunted streets of Chinatown, where residual ghost impressions are felt, poltergeists heard, and after death after consciousnesses are witnessed.

Using our ghost hunting tools, this tour attempts to contact spirits and invite apparitions.

We’ve had guests report strange sensations (dizziness, feeling pinched, tapped or grabbed), hear shrill sounds and voices, see apparitions, and document unexplainable images in photographs from the tour.

Generally no — our tours are led even in rain, unless it is unsafe to do so.

We will cancel if the air is unhealthy according to the air quality index, due to California wildfire smoke.

Meet us by nightfall in the Jackson Square Historic District — a Gold Rush-era neighborhood of eerie Victorian architecture.

Your tour guide will outfit everyone with an EMF meter that you’ll use throughout the paranormal investigation, and explain the types of hauntings and ghosts that we encounter in San Francisco.

From there we’ll enter the old neighborhood, hearing about the forgotten graves and ships buried beneath us.

Down quiet alleyways, we’ll learn of the destruction of the Great Earthquake of 1906, and the residual hauntings that still plague the neighborhood.

At any point, we might detect EMF activity, and we’ll investigate further using tools such as dowsing rods and a Spirit Box.

In Chinatown, we’ll learn of the tragedies that mark the neighborhood’s past, including the true crimes whose energies still linger, from a mysterious death in a historic theatre, to the city’s biggest massacre at the Golden Dragon.

We’ll end the investigation with a ceremony to honor whatever spirits joined us, with a ritual to ensure that nothing follows you home.

Absolutely! We run tours for corporate teams, friends, family, weddings and funerals. Email [email protected] to learn more

We think so! The tour does include some talk of violence and the macabre, but is generally considered family-friendly.

There are no shock/scare moments.

Babies in strollers may join for free, but children ages 4 and older must have a paid ticket.

Yes, we allow well-behaved dogs on leashes 🙂

Sure! Have them book for the same date/time, you’ll be in the same group! We only run one tour at a time.

Explore Chinatown! We recommend:

  • Drinks – General Lee’s and Melody Lounge for cocktails and DJ’s
  • Food – Suehiro Mini (ramen), Full Moon House (Chinese)

The tour is entirely outdoors, and you are encouraged to socially-distance to your level of comfort.

You are not required to wear a mask if you are fully vaccinated.

Tour guide will carry hand sanitizer for your use after touching our ghost hunting tools.

In short, yes!

We joke that the most dangerous part of the tour is crossing the street. Please pay attention to your surroundings 🙂

There aren’t many unhoused folks in these neighborhoods, but we have respectful interactions when we do meet any.

We’ll end with a ceremony to ensure that no evil ghosts/spirits follow you after our tour concludes.

Yes, the tour is wheelchair- and stroller-friendly.

Refunds must be requested at least 24 hours before the tour.

If you didn’t have a great time on the tour, email us at [email protected] and we’ll make it right.

  • Are there bathrooms? Nope, please do this before the tour.
  • Can we drink? This ain’t New Orleans! We will remove guests who are noticeably drunk and disruptive.
  • Is this the best ghost tour ever? Probably.

Learn more if you dare…

The Haunt is San Francisco’s #1-rated, real ghost hunting excursion, with engaging storyteller guides sharing dark tales of the city’s haunted past.

Explore  the eerie Victorian architecture of the Gold Rush-era Jackson Square under the cover of night.

Investigate  ghostly phenomena with several tools and learn about the different types of hauntings in San Francisco.

Uncover the hidden history of forgotten graves and buried ships as you navigate the old neighborhood.

Delve into Chinatown ’s dark past, uncovering true crime and tragedies that still haunt the are

Participate  in a closing ceremony to honor the spirits encountered and ensure a safe departure without any lingering entities.

Why you’ll love this tour…

Escape The Mortal World

Break free from the monotony of everyday life with an immersive ghostly experience that will leave you wide-eyed and wondrous.

Real Paranormal Experiences 

Feel your heart race as we seek to communicate with the city’s otherworldly residents, open our minds and open the portal to the other side.

See San Francisco Like Never Before

Explore the lesser-known, macabre side of San Francisco’s past, as we reveal chilling tales of tragedy and mystery beneath the city’s beautiful surface.

Enriching Cultural Insights 

Our tour takes you on an illuminating journey from the Gold Rush and Great Earthquake of 1906 to today, offering you valuable insights into the city’s rich heritage and the captivating legends that have shaped it.

Hauntingly Unforgettable Memories 

Share the thrill of exploring the city’s most mysterious sites with your loved ones, while conquering your fears and reveling in the excitement of the supernatural.

Group-Friendly Fun 

Unite your group with an unforgettable experience, as The Haunt creates a captivating, mysterious, and entertaining adventure that caters to everyone’s interests, leaving lasting memories for all.

Award-Winning Guides 

Your tour guide, a skilled storyteller and friendly host, is a wealth of knowledge, able to answer any questions you have throughout the tour.

Armed With Ghost Hunting Tools

Enhance your supernatural adventure with cutting-edge paranormal investigation equipment, as you seek out spirits and mysterious energies throughout the tour.

Safe Nighttime Exploration 

The Haunt ensures the safety and well-being of our guests, providing a carefully planned journey through San Francisco’s eerie streets. Put your mind at ease knowing that your safety is our top priority.

Ghost Adventures with Zak Bagans

Tripadvisor, certificate of excellence, best of the bay, winner - best tour.

  • Starting at $49

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Alcatraz Night Tour

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The Complete Alcatraz Tour

Duration: Approximately 2 ½ Hours Available: Tuesday thru Saturday. Until March 9th: 3:50 PM check-in. Beginning March 12th: 5:55 PM, 6:30 PM and 7:05 PM check-in.

  • E-Ticket Mobile Check-in
  • Alcatraz Island roundtrip ferry
  • Access Inside Alcatraz Prison
  • 45-minute Cellhouse Audio Tour
  • Orientation video
  • Ranger and docent tours
  • Onboard narration
  • Guided tour
  • Other special activities

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The Alcatraz Night Tour provides an engaging evening Alcatraz experience with special programs. This tour includes a personally narrated boat tour around the island; guided tours from the dock to the main prison building; "Doing Time: The Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour". Also, several programs and presentations are offered only at night. Visitors may choose to attend one or two during the course of their evening. Enjoy a sunset and breath-taking views of San Francisco as night falls. A truly exceptional experience.

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Alcatraz Custom Tours Specialist

Alcatraz island prison tours and tickets from san francisco

  • Alcatraz and San Francisco Custom Tours Specialist A whole world on single island
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Experience Alcatraz Night Tour -->

Embark on a spine-chilling alcatraz island night adventure with included tickets and ferry ride. experience the eerie alcatraz night tour chills after dark, soaking in twilight views at nightfall. and there's more – indulge in a 4-hour private, fun-guided tour exploring san francisco's top attractions, description.

  • CANCELLATION & REFUND POLICY

🌙🚢Embark on an exclusive Alcatraz night tour, plunging into the eerie ambiance of the former federal prison after dark. This sought-after experience, available only from Tuesday through Saturday nights, offers a unique perspective as you tread in the footsteps of former inmates, witnessing Alcatraz Island's mysterious transformation under the cover of night.

📸👻Immerse yourself in the chilling atmosphere after dark, relishing twilight views at nightfall. Unravel mysteries, decode Alcatraz escapes, and whether you find it spooky or embrace the intriguing atmosphere, the night tour guarantees an unforgettable journey into the mysterious side of Alcatraz. But wait, there's more – this Alcatraz combo tour includes a 4-hour private fun-guided adventure through San Francisco's top attractions – a delightful blend of landmarks, trendy spots, history, architecture, entertaining stories, photo opportunities, and much more, all in addition to the Alcatraz tour!

🛒 What's included? Hotel meet and greet, pickup in downtown San Francisco or Fisherman’s Wharf, and a 4-hour private, fun-guided exploration of San Francisco's top attractions followed by the Alcatraz Night Tour. Inclusive Alcatraz ticket covers ferry, Alcatraz cellhouse audio tour, and fees. Enjoy a fun experience with Alcatraz Night Tours and Behind the Scenes Tours. Secure your tickets through Alcatraz City Cruises.

⏰ Duration: Approximately 7 hours – 4 hours for San Francisco's private tour and 2 to 2.5 hours for the Alcatraz Island night tour.

🚢🌉 Embark on an extraordinary Alcatraz and San Francisco combo adventure in two thrilling acts :

🚗 📸 Act A (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.): Immerse yourself in the captivating exploration of San Francisco's treasures. Experience the full splendor with a private custom-guided tour in a luxury vehicle, including pickup in downtown San Francisco or Fisherman’s Wharf.

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🚢 🚶‍♀️ Act B (6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., approximately): Brace yourself for an unforgettable Alcatraz Night experience on Alcatraz Island, where mystery and history converge in an adventure you won't soon forget! Seize the reins of excitement and embark on this empowering journey of discovery!

alcatraz night tour halloween

📅⏰ Plan Ahead! Book Alcatraz Night Tour tickets at least 3 months in advance due to limited availability. Exclusive to Tuesday through Saturday nights, this unique experience offers special sage programs and activities not available during the day. Limited sage visitors allowed per night.

⏰ Tour times may change based on the season and Alcatraz ticket and tour availability.

🌟💫Embark on an empowering Alcatraz Island Night Adventure! Feel the mysterious energy after dark, embrace Twilight views at Nightfall, and delve into a 4-hour private, fun-guided tour exploring the best of San Francisco's iconic attractions!

🏞️ 🗺️ Your Alcatraz and San Francisco adventure unfolds in two thrilling acts:

🚗📸 A - The first leg of this private combo tour (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.): Explore San Francisco

🚢🚶‍♀️  B - The second leg of the tour transports you to Alcatraz Island from 6:30 p.m. to approximately 8:30 p.m., setting the stage for an immersive exploration of Alcatraz.

🚐 2 p.m. – Kickstart your adventure with the San Francisco and Alcatraz Combo Private Tour Itinerary. Begin the day with a lively meet-and-greet at 2 p.m. and enjoy a complimentary pickup at your hotel in downtown San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf, or nearby areas.

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🏰 🌉Embark on a Tailored Adventure: Immerse yourself in a personalized guided tour of San Francisco's iconic attractions and exclusive sights. This Stress-Free Journey Through San Francisco requires no prior planning or special requests. Your private tour guide, leading in a luxury SUV or spacious van tailored to your needs, ensures a fun-filled exploration of the city's top places, complete with numerous photo stops and entertaining stories. The trip itinerary will be customized based on your preferences, allowing you the freedom to ask questions, skip a place, or add one seamlessly. Rest assured, if you have no specific preferences, the tour guide will curate the experience in the best way possible. So, relax and enjoy the guided tour, with abundant photo opportunities along the way, inviting you to step out, capture stunning views, and delve into the history and entertaining local stories shared by your knowledgeable guide.

🌉 San Francisco, renowned for its iconic landmarks and vibrant culture, boasts a plethora of must-see attractions. Commence your adventure with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, a marvel of engineering set against the city's stunning backdrop. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Fisherman's Wharf, a waterfront district bustling with shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

🛍️ Dive into the shopping extravaganza at Union Square, San Francisco's ultimate retail playground! Then, elevate your experience as you ascend to the pinnacle of luxury—Nob Hill. This posh neighborhood is renowned for its opulent hotels and the historic grace of the Cathedral. Witness the iconic cable cars gracefully ascending from the financial district, just as Tony Bennett immortalized in his legendary song. 🌆💎

🌈✨ Embark on a vibrant journey through the heart of San Francisco! Dive into the cultural tapestry of Chinatown, wander through Golden Gate Park attractions, including the Dutch windmills, Blue Heron Lake, and more. Soak in the beauty of Ocean Beach, then discover hidden gems like Sea Cliff and Lands’ End. From the iconic Lombard Street to the bohemian vibes of Haight-Ashbury, our adventure covers it all. But that's not all—join us on this rollercoaster of excitement! Explore Little Italy, the Financial District, and more. Capture the city's diverse spirit with a customizable itinerary—no planning required!

🎉 🚐 Conclude your adventure with a spectacular finale! Experience the thrill of visiting the famous Alcatraz Island and embark on an adrenaline-pumping exploration of the notorious Alcatraz prison. Seize the opportunity for laughter, exploration, and unforgettable moments—reserve your spot now before this extraordinary combo tour reaches full capacity!

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🌉 🏰 Part 2: Dive into the Thrills of the Alcatraz Island Night Adventure! Unveil the Mysteries After Dark!

🌉 🚗 Following a delightful, guided tour of San Francisco, we'll cruise to the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf. The journey culminates at the Alcatraz ferry landing terminal, where we meticulously handle all the details. From redeeming your Alcatraz Island tickets to ferry vouchers, we spare you from enduring long lines at the booth—all seamlessly included in your tour package price. 🎟️💨

alcatraz night tour halloween

🚢🏰 Get ready for the thrilling Alcatraz Night Tour Expedition (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.)!

Board an exciting ferry ride from the mainland to the iconic Alcatraz Island, cruising through the picturesque San Francisco Bay at sunset. Enjoy mesmerizing views of the bay and the city skyline, sparkling at night, setting the stage for an unforgettable adventure. Marvel at the changing light over Alcatraz and San Francisco Bay, creating a breathtaking backdrop. Alcatraz Island becomes a vantage point for panoramic views of San Francisco's skyline, enhancing your night tour experience and setting the stage for a thrilling adventure.

 🚶‍♂️👣 Upon disembarking, join the park ranger's orientation for your Alcatraz walking tour. This 2-hour exploration includes uphill walking, stairs, and thrilling adventures. If the ascent seems challenging, avail yourself of the complimentary electric shuttle that shuttles 🚎 to and from the prison building.

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🏛️ 🌙👻 Unveiling the Spooky Secrets: Alcatraz Night Tour Experience!

🚢Upon reaching Alcatraz, National Park Service staff welcome you, providing safety guidelines for an immersive exploration of the iconic Cellhouse. Dimly lit cells and eerie surroundings set the stage for ranger-led storytelling sessions, unveiling the rich history and infamous inmates of "The Rock."

👻Indulge in the chilling ambiance of the Alcatraz Island Night Tour, where every step brings eerie sensations and mysterious chills. Embark on an exclusive Alcatraz night tour, transcending the ordinary day visit and immersing yourself in the eerie ambiance of the former federal prison after dark. This sought-after experience is available only from Tuesday through Saturday nights with 90 days advance booking required.

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🌙Our Alcatraz night tour presents a unique perspective as you step into the footsteps of former inmates, witnessing Alcatraz Island's transformation under the cover of the night. Whether you find the experience a bit spooky or embrace the intriguing atmosphere, the night tour promises an unforgettable journey into the mysterious side of Alcatraz.

🎧 Upon reaching Alcatraz, step into history with an inclusive guided tour lasting 2 hours based on your pace. Afterward, enjoy a scenic ferry ride back to San Francisco, reflecting on Alcatraz night tales and experiences that make this tour truly memorable. The award-winning audio tour is included and paints a vivid picture of the challenges and resilience of those who once called Alcatraz home.

👦Embark on a journey beyond the cell blocks to uncover captivating areas inside the prison. Unlock Alcatraz's Secrets: Explore the mysteries within Alcatraz Prison at night and on the Island! Step into the Cell House to discover where notorious inmates were held. Experience the harsh conditions of Solitary Confinement, like "The Hole." Peek into Officer's Quarters to understand the living quarters of Alcatraz's correctional officers. Note that while some of these areas might be closed at night, you will still have a glimpse from outside.

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💡Exploring Alcatraz at night unveils exclusive access after regular visiting hours, with dimly lit corridors and strategically illuminated cells contributing to the mysterious ambiance. Special programs, presentations, and the award-winning audio tour enhance your understanding of Alcatraz's history, offering a unique perspective on life within its confines. Strolling through the Parade Grounds and gardens at night provides a unique perspective on the island's natural beauty, complemented by a visit to the historic lighthouse for panoramic views. Limited crowds create an intimate and contemplative environment, allowing visitors to forge a deeper connection with Alcatraz's history.

📸For photography enthusiasts, Alcatraz at night becomes a captivating haven. The dramatic lighting, intriguing shadows, and unique perspectives that emerge during the evening create opportunities to capture memorable images. Visiting Alcatraz at night transcends a mere visual spectacle; it's a distinctive experience that invites engagement with the island's history and atmosphere, leaving lasting memories and a thought-provoking encounter with one of America's most iconic landmarks.

🚗 Note: Please be aware that hotel drop-off is not included after your Alcatraz night tour. We suggest staying in the nearby area, such as Fisherman’s Wharf, conveniently within walking distance of Alcatraz Ferry at Pier 33 in San Francisco. Alternatively, there are public and private transportation options available at affordable costs, including the cable car.

📅🔒 Limited Availability! Book now for an adventure that transcends a mere journey—it's a memory-making escapade! Limited availability, 3 months advance booking is required, especially during the summer and holidays as both destinations tend to sell out months in advance.

👕 Dress warmly in layers, including a warm jacket, comfortable walking shoes, and a hat. Get ready for an adventure that blends history, excitement, and breathtaking views! 🚀

🔒 ⏰ Tour times may change based on the season and Alcatraz tickets and tour availability. Booking early is advised, as they tend to sell out weeks and months in advance.

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🚢🌉 Dive into the eerie with Alcatraz night thrilling tour experience ! Unveil the spooky comparison between day trips and night adventures:

🌙 👻 Discover 10 spine-chilling reasons to choose the thrilling Alcatraz night tour!

1. 👻 Atmosphere:

  • ● 🌟 Day Trip:
  •      ○ The day trip offers a bright and well-lit atmosphere, allowing visitors to explore Alcatraz Island and its features in natural daylight.
  •      ○ The ambiance is relatively relaxed, and the surroundings are visible in detail.
  • ● 🌙 Night Tour:
  •      ○ The night tour provides an exclusive and mysterious ambiance, as the island is cloaked in darkness, enhancing the eerie atmosphere of the former prison.
  •      ○ Dimly lit corridors and cells contribute to a haunting and otherworldly experience that is absent during the day.

2. 🚶‍♀️ Exclusive Access:

  • ● 💡 Day Trip:
  •      ○ Visitors share the island with a larger crowd during the day trip, making it a more bustling experience. However, there are many more sections open to the public during the day trip, as these sections are closed for the night tour, and visitors at night are limited to some areas. Access to certain areas might be restricted at night.
  •      ○ The night tour offers exclusive access to Alcatraz Island after regular visiting hours.
  •      ○ Limited ticket availability ensures a more intimate and secluded experience with fewer visitors exploring the historic site.

3. 🌉 Scenic Views:

  •      ○ The day trip provides stunning views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Area under the natural light of the sun.
  •      ○ The scenic beauty is more vibrant during the daytime.
  •      ○ Breathtaking night views of the San Francisco skyline and the illuminated Golden Gate Bridge become a highlight.
  •      ○ The city lights add a dramatic backdrop to the historical setting, creating a unique and picturesque experience.

4. 🎧 Tour Inclusions:

  •      ○ The day trip typically includes a ferry ride to and from Alcatraz, access to the Cellhouse, and the option to join ranger-led programs during the day.
  •      ○ The night tour is a comprehensive package including roundtrip ferry transportation, a guided tour from the Dock to the Cellhouse, the Cellhouse Audio Tour with actual voices of former inmates, a live boat narration, and a keepsake souvenir brochure.

5. 🌉 Programs and Presentations:

  •      ○ Daytime programs may focus on general historical aspects of Alcatraz and may include ranger-led talks on various topics.
  •      ○ Special programs and presentations are a key feature, often delving deeper into the history of Alcatraz, sharing stories of famous inmates, and providing insights into escape attempts.

6. 📸 Photography Opportunities:

  •      ○ Photography is best suited for capturing the island's features and scenic views in natural daylight.
  •      ○ Excellent opportunities for capturing dramatic lighting, shadows, and unique perspectives emerge during the evening, creating memorable and captivating images.

7. 🌅 Panoramic Views:

  •      ○ Visitors can appreciate panoramic views of San Francisco and the bay during the day, with clear visibility.
  •      ○ Panoramic views are accentuated at night, offering a different perspective with city lights and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge illuminated against the night sky.

8. 👦 Crowd Size:

  •      ○ Expect larger crowds during the day, especially during peak visiting hours.
  •      ○ Limited ticket availability ensures smaller crowds, creating a more personal and contemplative exploration of the island.

🚢 🏰 Detailed Itinerary : Here's a detailed step-by-step itinerary for your empowering Alcatraz Island Night Adventure:

🚐 🌉 Act 1: Explore San Francisco (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.)

🚗 2 p.m. - Meet and Greet: Kickstart your adventure with a lively meet-and-greet at 2 p.m. Enjoy a complimentary pickup at your hotel in downtown San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf, or nearby areas.

👦Tailored Adventure in San Francisco: Embark on a personalized guided tour of San Francisco's iconic attractions and exclusive sights. Your private tour guide, leading in a luxury SUV or spacious van, ensures a fun-filled exploration with photo stops and entertaining stories.

🏰🌉 Highlights of San Francisco:  Discover the vibrant tapestry of San Francisco with these highlights:

  • ● Explore the elegance of the Marina District, marvel at the Palace of Fine Arts, and venture through the historic Presidio with captivating views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
  • ● Immerse yourself in the cultural richness of Chinatown, experience the charm of North Beach, often referred to as "Little Italy," and savor the lively atmosphere of Fisherman's Wharf.
  • ● Indulge in a shopping spree at the Financial District and Union Square, where you'll find an array of shops offering the latest trends and timeless classics.
  • ● Admire the architectural grandeur of the Civic Center and Nob Hill, known for its opulent hotels that define the city's skyline.
  • ● Traverse the wonders of Golden Gate Park, and experience the serene beauty of Ocean Beach, Sea Cliff, Lands’ End, and the upscale Pacific Heights.
  • ● Capture breathtaking views from Coit Tower and Twin Peaks, explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Castro and Dolores Park, and meander through the iconic winding streets of Lombard Street and Haight-Ashbury, discovering even more delights along the way.

Spectacular Finale: Conclude your adventure with a visit to the famous Alcatraz Island, exploring the notorious Alcatraz prison from 6:30 p.m. to approximately 8:30 p.m.

🚢 🚶 Act 2: Alcatraz Island Night Adventure (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.)

Preparation for Alcatraz Night Tour: After a delightful, guided tour of San Francisco, cruise to Fisherman’s Wharf. Arrive at the Alcatraz ferry landing terminal, where all details, including Alcatraz Island tickets and ferry vouchers, are meticulously handled.

Thrilling Alcatraz Night Tour Experience: Board a thrilling ferry ride from the mainland to Alcatraz Island at 6:30 p.m., cruising through the picturesque San Francisco Bay during sunset. Enjoy mesmerizing views, setting the stage for an unforgettable night adventure.

Exploration of Alcatraz : Upon disembarking, join the park ranger's orientation for a 2-hour walking tour, including uphill walking, stairs, and thrilling adventures. Experience the spooky secrets of Alcatraz, with dimly lit cells and ranger-led storytelling sessions.

Exclusive Access: Explore areas inside the prison, such as the Cell House, Solitary Confinement, and Officer's Quarters. Although some areas might be closed at night, you'll still glimpse them from outside.

Panoramic Views and Photography : Stroll through the Parade Grounds and gardens at night, capturing captivating images of Alcatraz. Limited crowds create an intimate environment for a deeper connection with Alcatraz's history.

⏰ Tip : Tour times may change based on the season and Alcatraz ticket and tour availability .

Booking early is advised, as they tend to sell out weeks and months in advance.

🚗 🚶 Note on Hotel Drop-off : Hotel drop-off is not included after the Alcatraz night tour. We recommend staying in the nearby area, such as Fisherman’s Wharf, within walking distance of Alcatraz Ferry at Pier 33. Public and private transportation options are available.

📅🔒 Booking Information : Limited availability, with 3 months’ advance booking required, especially during the summer and holidays as both destinations tend to sell out months in advance.

👕 🧥 Attire : Dress warmly in layers, including a warm jacket, comfortable walking shoes, and a hat.

🚀🚢Get ready for an adventure that blends history, excitement, and breathtaking views!

alcatraz night tour halloween

This exclusive SUV tour is entirely private, with pricing based on a per-person basis and decreases considerably as you add more people to your party. It's important to mention that we do not provide semi-private or public tours; all our excursions are exclusively private.

Book this Tour by SUV

Select date from calendar.

alcatraz night tour halloween

Select No of Guests

alcatraz night tour halloween

This exclusive van tour ensures complete privacy in a deluxe 15-seater minibus, perfect for accommodating 1 to 14 participants. The pricing, displayed per party below, caters to large families or small groups. Please note that this tour is exclusively private, unavailable for public or individual bookings. We do not offer semi-private or public tours, focusing solely on exclusive private experiences.

Book this Tour by VAN

🛒🎉 What's included? Get ready for an unforgettable adventure with our exclusive worry-free combo tour package! Enjoy a hotel meet and greet, seamless pickup in downtown San Francisco or Fisherman’s Wharf , and immerse yourself in a private custom 4-hour, fun-guided exploration of San Francisco's top attractions, culminating with the thrilling Alcatraz Night Tour. Enjoy an exhilarating experience, covering taxes, prison tour audio, park ranger-guided tour, and Alcatraz tickets. Your all-inclusive Alcatraz tickets feature the ferry, Alcatraz cellhouse audio tour, and associated fees. Immerse yourself in the entertainment of Alcatraz Night Tours and Behind the Scenes Tours. 🚗🔐🌉 Secure your spot for a night of excitement and exploration before it sells out! Don't miss out on this thrilling adventure!

❌ Excluded: Meals, optional features, and your tour guide gratuity (15%-20% recommended). Show your appreciation to your tour guide. Hotel drop-offs after the Alcatraz tour are not included to keep costs down.

⏰ Tip: Tour times may change based on the season and Alcatraz ticket and tour availability. Booking early is advised, as they tend to sell out weeks and months in advance.

🚢🌉 Embark on an extraordinary Alcatraz and San Francisco combo adventure in two thrilling acts:

🚢 🚶‍♀️ Act B (6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., approximately) : Brace yourself for an unforgettable Alcatraz Night experience on Alcatraz Island, where mystery and history converge in an adventure you won't soon forget! Seize the reins of excitement and embark on this empowering journey of discovery!

Bid farewell to worries about lines, sold-out tickets, traffic, or parking—we've got it all handled! Save your time and energy, embracing a journey free from concerns. Seize the opportunity to discover, delight, and sculpt everlasting memories beyond imagination! Don't let this unmissable, private custom worry-free adventure slip through your grasp! 🏞️

Important Notes:

  • Itineraries may change due to weather or safety reasons.
  • Certain sites may be restricted to large vehicles, such as Lombard Street, Coit Tower, Alamo Square, and Seacliff neighborhood.
  • The Alcatraz ferry operates seasonally and is subject to cancellation due to bad weather (rain, wind, or fog). In case weather conditions prevent your Alcatraz journey after your San Francisco city Tour, you will receive a partial refund for the Alcatraz tickets only; however, the San Francisco city Tour is non-refundable.
  • Smoking is prohibited in our vehicles, and they are not pet-friendly or suitable for passengers with disabilities or wheelchairs.

Additional Notes :

  • Alcatraz tickets often sell out months in advance. Secure your booking early to ensure your chance to visit this iconic island.
  • Be prepared for walking, as Alcatraz involves navigating stairs. Anticipate cool, foggy, and windy weather during your visit.
  • The itinerary may change based on factors like time constraints, weather, pickup locations, or preferences. In adverse weather, some areas may be omitted for safety or visibility reasons.
  • Alcatraz tickets and ferry are final sales and non-refundable.
  • Smoking is strictly prohibited in our vehicles.
  • Regrettably, our vehicles are not pet-friendly and are not designed for passengers with disabilities or wheelchairs. We appreciate your understanding in this matter.

Policy & Drop-off Notification:

  • Drop off is not included: Upon the conclusion of your tour, our guide will drop you off at the Alcatraz Cruise terminal. Please note that our driver won't be available to wait for your return from Alcatraz. You'll need to arrange your transportation back to your hotel. This method assists in managing tour costs, preventing overtime fees and additional charges for you. For convenience, we recommend staying in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. Consider booking a nearby hotel with convenient walking access to and from the Alcatraz ferry terminal. Additionally, downtown San Francisco is easily accessible via two nearby cable car lines.
  • Tour guides are unable to lead on Alcatraz Island due to the inclusive Alcatraz award-winning cell house audio tour. If your hotel is in Fisherman’s Wharf, walking back is convenient. Otherwise, affordable options like Uber or the Cable Car are available. San Francisco downtown and the financial district are within 12 to 20 blocks from the Alcatraz ferry terminal.

Language Options & Tour Details:

  • Our guided tours are primarily conducted in English. For tours in other languages, additional fees apply and are subject to availability.

Transportation Tips: San Francisco experiences high traffic, especially during rush hours. Opt for public transit like Muni or BART, meeting our guide at suitable locations such as train stations or nearby neighborhoods.

Disability Accommodation & Wheelchair Accessibility Policy:

Notice: Full-size wheelchairs can't be accommodated on our tours due to safety and itinerary constraints. We recommend exploring specialized paratransit options for a more comfortable experience. Please inform us in advance for any disability accommodations or special needs.

  • Safety First: Disclose any special needs or disabilities before booking for a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Advance Disclosure: We require advance disclosure of any disability or specific needs.
  • Service Decline: We reserve the right to decline service without prior information.
  • Wheelchair Constraints: Full-size wheelchairs can't be accommodated; limited space may be available for small, foldable wheelchairs.
  • Private Tours: Wheelchair transportation is not available on private tours due to insurance and safety regulations.
  • Alternate Options: Explore specialized paratransit options for suitable accommodation.
  • Safety Precaution: We may refuse undisclosed disability accommodation requests for the well-being of customers and employees.

Travel Tips & FAQs: Where to Stay, Park, and What to See in San Francisco

  • Weather Conditions: San Francisco weather—never too hot or too cold. It’s great year-round, but layers up even in summer. Summers can be cool and foggy while winter is the rainy season (late October–early April). Dress appropriately with a rain jacket (windbreaker), sneakers or hiking shoes for trails, and bring an umbrella just in case.
  • Booking Your Tour: Itinerary and pick-up times vary based on season and availability. Book in advance as Alcatraz sells weeks and months in advance. The sooner you book, the better.

Fisherman’s Wharf Highlights

  • Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco offers a family-friendly escape from the city buzz. It features numerous attractions, museums, and ocean-front dining. Enjoy renowned spots like Musée Mécanique, Madame Tussauds, and the San Francisco Dungeon for a thrilling experience. The area also hosts the Maritime National Historical Park and USS Pampanito Museum among others.

Cable Car Convenience

  • For easy exploration, the iconic cable car lines connect Fisherman’s Wharf to downtown San Francisco. It's a convenient way to experience the city's beauty and reach different attractions.

Parking Precautions

Parking in the area is limited and pricey, with common car break-ins. To avoid this, we recommend public transit or designated parking lots. Here are some nearby options:

  • SP+ Parking 33 Pier 33, San Francisco, CA 94111
  • 1282 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94511
  • Levi's Plaza Public Garage: 1426 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA 94111
  • ParcTel Public Parking: 1603 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111
  • SP+ Parking @ Big Triangle Lot -Parking lot, 2 Bay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Transportation Tips

  • San Francisco experiences high traffic, especially during rush hours. Opt for public transit like Muni or BART, meeting our guide at suitable locations such as train stations or nearby neighborhoods.

●   Pets : Pets are not allowed in our vehicles to accommodate those who have allergies.

●   Smoking : Our vehicles are non-smoking.

●   Clothing : Note that San Francisco is often foggy, especially in the summer, and it can be rainy in winter. Dress in layers and always bring a jacket, and please be prepared for all weather conditions.

Why Stay in Fisherman’s Wharf? Fisherman’s Wharf is a family-focused area away from San Francisco's hustle and bustle. It offers access to Alcatraz ferries, Bay Cruises, and Pier 39 attractions within walking distance.

Your FAQ guide for Fisherman’s Wharf: Where to Stay, Park, and Meet

Useful links and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Fisherman’s Wharf:

Where to stay and dine in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf? Find out more at https://www.fishermanswharf.org/hotels/.

Where to park near San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf? Explore options here: https://sfparkingguide.com/fishermans-wharf-parking/.

Where to meet in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf? Visitors outside San Francisco will receive details regarding a designated hotel or meeting point for pick-up. For parking, visit: https://www.fishermanswharf.org/plan-your-visit/getting-around/parking/.

What else to explore in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf? Discover more here: https://www.fishermanswharf.org/plan-your-visit/.

Where to find parking near Alcatraz Ferry Landing Area and Pier 39 in San Francisco? Kindly note, we are not associated with the public parking lots listed below. Visitors are advised to exercise discretion while selecting parking. Our listing is offered as a courtesy; we bear no responsibility for costs or incidents resulting from this information.

Getting Around San Francisco : The city experiences high traffic, especially during rush hours (7 a.m to 11 a.m and 2 p.m to 8 p.m). Consider using public transit like Muni (buses, light rail, and cable cars) or BART (train) for convenience. Meeting points include San Francisco Train Station, various BART stations, Fisherman’s Wharf, The Presidio, or nearby neighborhoods. Upon reservation, we’ll arrange a convenient meeting location via email.

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Terms, Policy, Frequently Asked Questions and Tips for Customers

Alcatraz tours inc. terms & conditions including cancellation and refund policy, refund and cancellation policy:.

  • Cancellation at least 16 business days before the scheduled date results in a 91% refund of the total amount (excluding weekends and holidays). The remaining 9% covers transaction fees (4.5% per booking and 4.5% for the refund).
  • For cancellations at least 8 business days before the scheduled tour (excluding weekends and holidays), a 50% refund of the total amount will be provided.
  • Cancellations at least 6 business days before the scheduled tour (excluding weekends and holidays) will result in a 15% refund.
  • Cancellations made 5 business days or less before the scheduled tour (excluding weekends and holidays), including no-shows, are not eligible for a refund.

Refund Fees:

  • A transaction fee of 4.5% to 7.9% is applicable to all refunds, varying based on your credit card type and the issuing country. This fee covers credit card transaction fees and merchant processing fees.

Additional Details:

  • All tours combined with Alcatraz Island and tickets are deemed final and nonrefundable.
  • Missing the ferry departure to Alcatraz precludes substitutions or alternative departures, as Alcatraz tickets are consistently sold out.
  • The fees for Muir Woods parking and reservations are included in your booking. Please note that these fees, along with Alcatraz tickets, are nonrefundable in the event of a cancellation.

Why am I not eligible for a refund? Do I Need Travel Insurance?

  • Irrespective of the reason for your cancellation, be it medical, business-related, weather-related, or personal, we adhere consistently to our cancellation and refund policy, treating all customers equally, as outlined on our website.
  • When a booking is made, we reserve tour dates exclusively for you, foregoing other reservations. Regardless of attendance, our business incurs expenses such as tour guide and office staff wages, vehicle costs, the tour itself, Alcatraz tickets and Muir woods commercial permit fees, and other services arranged on your behalf, all of which must be fully compensated. Therefore, our refund policy is applied uniformly to account for these commitments.

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Will I Receive a Refund for Personal or Medical Cancellations?

  • In cases of cancellations due to medical or personal reasons, we sympathize with the inconvenience it may cause.
  • Our website clearly communicates our terms, refund, and cancellation policy during each booking. We recommend thorough consideration of individual circumstances before committing to a booking. Consistent with our business insurance, exceptions to these policies cannot be made.
  • We diligently inform customers about our policies through various channels, including our website, email notifications upon booking, and inclusion with the tour voucher. Despite our efforts, some customers may seek a refund without familiarizing themselves with our policies.
  • It's important to differentiate our local small business from large travel insurance companies. We do not provide travel insurance and do not consider cancellations resulting from medical situations, personal or professional matters, flight/travel interruptions. We are not qualified to offer travel insurance, as it falls under a different industry regulated by the federal government.
  • Travel insurance options are available through various companies like Allianz Global Assistance, Travel Guard by AIG, USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services, Travel Insured International, World Nomads, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, IM, AXA Assistance USA, Travelex Insurance Services, Seven Corners, etc. These recommendations are based on a Google search, and we are not affiliated with these companies. Refer to your credit card company, travel agent, bank, or local travel insurance providers for more information. The Federal Government website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html is also a valuable resource.
  • Prior to making a booking, please review our website terms, cancellation, and refund policy. These policies are consistently applied to all customers, irrespective of circumstances. Thank you for understanding our position as a small business. We appreciate your time in comprehending our policies.

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Online Reservation, Methods of Payment, and Transactions Policy

Methods of payment and accepted credit cards:.

  • We accept all major credit cards and payment options, including MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, wire transfers, Debit Cards, Euro Cards, “Cartes Bleues,” PayPal, Chinese Union Pay, and JCB.

Post-Transaction Procedures:

  • Approved transactions: Upon approval by your bank, it takes approximately 7 to 10 business days for the funds to transfer to our business merchant bank account. We honor scheduled tours even if your transaction is approved close to the tour date.
  • Voided and refunded transactions: These transactions, while removed from the authorized inquiry, may still appear as pending on your bank statement for up to 7 to 10 business days. To release the funds, direct communication with your bank is necessary.
  • Common misconceptions: Voiding a credit card transaction doesn't immediately remove the charge from your account. Patience is advised, as banks typically take 7 to 10 business days to release the funds.

Declined Transactions: Why was your reservation declined?

  • A decline may result from mismatched customer bank information, such as name, card number, expiration date, CVV, zip/postal code, or billing address. It can also occur due to insufficient funds. Your tour(s) will be confirmed upon approval of a new transaction by your bank.
  • Tip: Inform your credit card company in advance of online or out-of-town/state purchases to prevent declined payments. Check for email or text alerts regarding declined transactions.

Tour Confirmation:

  • Upon approval, an automated email from our merchant provider (via Authorize.net) will be sent. Subsequently, a confirmation tour voucher will be emailed. No reconfirmations are required. Simply show up at the chosen pickup location on time, and your tour guide will be there with a sign displaying your name.
  • We do NOT make pre-trip calls unless for emergencies or cancellations. Contact us via email or live chat on our website for queries or requests.

During Tours:

  • Tour guides do NOT take calls during tours. Contact information is available in the confirmation email. Please use email or website live chat for inquiries.

Our Hot-Air Balloon Special Cancellation and Refund Policy:

Tour details:.

  • This is an 8-hour guided tour (door-to-door when departing from San Francisco or 6 hours when departing from Napa or Sonoma Valley).
  • Your balloon ride is scheduled before sunrise, contingent on weather conditions. Safety is our top priority. In adverse Napa weather, rides may launch from alternative sites like Yolo County or Pope Valley. Balloons do not fly in rain or winds exceeding 12 mph.

Non-Refundable for No-Show or Last-Minute Changes:

  • Generally, pick-ups occur between 4 and 5 a.m. Our staff will confirm your schedule by 4 p.m. the day before your tour. Failure to respond will result in the driver arriving as scheduled. If a no-show occurs, the entire cost becomes non-refundable as per our terms and cancellation policy.

Cancellation of Balloon Ride:

  • To cancel the balloon ride portion and receive a partial refund, please notify us at least 4 business days in advance. You'll receive a $190 refund per person, credited within 7 business days back to your credit card. Viator bookings should refer to their terms. Refunds also apply if the pilot cancels on the same day due to adverse conditions.
  • If the balloon ride portion is canceled, the wine tour proceeds as scheduled, starting at 9 a.m. from San Francisco or at 10 a.m. from Sonoma or Napa Valleys.

Non-Refundable Wine Tour:

  • The wine tour is non-refundable irrespective of weather conditions, as we reserve the day exclusively for you. Business expenses and wages are incurred. Only the hot-air balloon ride portion is refundable when canceled at least four business days in advance.

Deadline for Changes:

  • Our office closes at 4 p.m., and drivers begin preparations by 2:30 a.m. Changes or modifications are not accepted after 2:30 p.m. or on the day before your hot-air balloon trip. Messages or calls received after this time will be addressed the next day.

Transparency and Agreement:

  • We are transparent about our policies on unforeseen weather conditions and cancellations. Please carefully read and understand these terms. By signing or checking the “terms & conditions” box on our website, you agree to all the above policies and the terms outlined in the tour voucher sent via email after confirmation.

General and Legal Terms, and Miscellaneous

General terms and provisions:.

  • Currency: All transactions are in United States Dollars (USD). If declined, our Merchant account won't notify us. It is your responsibility to confirm transaction approval before contacting us.
  • Tour Availability: Approved transactions do not ensure tour availability. Popular tours, like Alcatraz, require reservations at least 8 weeks in advance.

Additional Terms:

  • Guided Tours in Foreign Languages: Additional fees apply for tours in foreign languages to cover guide expenses.
  • Gratuity: A customary 15% to 20% gratuity on the total purchase amount is advised. A flat amount is common based on the situation.
  • Closures: We are not responsible for road, weather, or park closures. No refund is issued for canceled or stopped tours.
  • Laws and Regulations: Changes in laws and regulations may impact tour destinations. We strive to stay informed, but access cannot be guaranteed if public accessibility changes.
  • Disabilities and Wheelchairs: Our vehicles are not disability or wheelchair accessible.
  • Smoking: Smoking is strictly prohibited in our vehicles.
  • Pets: Pets are not allowed in our vehicles due to allergy concerns.
  • Minors: Minors can visit Alcatraz Island only with an adult. Restrictions may apply to other tour locations.
  • Clothing: Be prepared for cold weather, slippery paths, and hiking trails. Comfortable, waterproof shoes are recommended.
  • Long Day tours: may be unsuitable for children and seniors; consider overnight tour packages.
  • Special Terms: Specific tours and services may have unique terms, detailed in the tour voucher sent via email.

Alcatraz Tour Guidelines:

  • Tour Duration: Once on the Island, stay as long as you wish. Allocate at least 3 hours for a roundtrip, including sailing to the island, the Cellhouse audio-guided tour, exploring exhibits, and returning to the mainland. Photo ID is required for boarding Alcatraz ferries. Large bags, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, weapons, and oversized items are prohibited.
  • Advance Booking: Alcatraz tickets sell out well in advance. Secure your tour promptly to avoid disappointment. Booking with us doesn't guarantee immediate Alcatraz Island ticket confirmation, as availability changes. We confirm upon approval from the U.S. National Parks Service. If tickets are unavailable, a full refund is issued.
  • Minors: Minors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Supervision is required at all times on Alcatraz Island, Alcatraz Landing, and aboard Alcatraz Cruises vessels.
  • Food: No food service is available on Alcatraz, but snacks and beverages to purchase are available on the ferry to and from Alcatraz Island.
  • Accessibility: Alcatraz features steep roads and walkways. A 1/4-mile journey with a 130-foot elevation change is required to reach the Cellhouse. The Sustainable Easy Access Transport (S.E.A.T.) vehicle is available for visitors who can't make the climb.
  • Muir Woods Reservations: Advance reservations are essential for all vehicles and shuttle riders visiting Muir Woods National Monument. This is organized and included in our tours.
  • Tour Guides at Muir Woods and Alcatraz Island: Tour guides cannot lead inside Muir Woods National Monument and at Alcatraz Island to maintain the sites' tranquility and historical ambiance. However, our tour guides provide detailed information in advance. Self-guided tours, maps, and audio guides are available.
  • Combining Tours: Hotel pickup is included when combining an Alcatraz Island trip with our other tours. However, post-Alcatraz tour drop-off is not included. For those in the Fisherman’s Wharf district, transportation isn't necessary due to the proximity to ferry terminals.
  • Minimum Drinking Age: California's minimum drinking age is 21. Some places, especially wineries and distilleries, restrict entry for anyone underage. Consider this when booking your wine tour.
  • Online Calendar: Our online calendar, available in 10+ languages, governs all tours. Due to functionality, when Alcatraz tickets sell out, we can't block the calendar for those dates. Our website terms clearly outline Alcatraz tour and ticket reservation conditions.

Legal Terms and Tour Policies:

  • All tours, including Muir Woods, Alcatraz and Yosemite hotels, are subject to availability, even if the transaction is approved.
  • The right to void or refund a transaction is reserved when Alcatraz tickets are sold out.
  • Alcatraz tickets and Muir Woods permits are exclusively provided by the U.S. National Parks Service, and their availability and regulations apply equally to all clients, including tour companies.
  • These terms extend to other tours and adventures, such as Safari tours, wine tours, redwoods tours, air tours, rafting, wine train, and horseback tours. Reservations do not guarantee the tour until confirmed by email.
  • A minimum of 8 business weeks' notice is required when booking Alcatraz tours, especially during peak season holidays and weekends.
  • Peak season refers to April to the end of October, with the holiday season in late December and early January.
  • The right to offer alternative tours is reserved when Alcatraz is sold out. Declining the offer results in a full refund, processed in approximately 10 business days.
  • Customers are advised against rushing to book an Alcatraz tour directly on the website when tickets are sold out, as this does not guarantee access.
  • Golden Gate Bridge crossing is included only in full-day San Francisco city tours, wine tours, and Muir Woods/Marin County tours.
  • The itinerary may change based on time availability, road or weather conditions, pick-up location, and preference.
  • Rainy or foggy weather may lead to the omission of certain areas/sites for safety or visibility concerns.
  • Vehicles with 7 passengers or more are prohibited in specific San Francisco areas. The SUV tour option is recommended for an optimal experience.
  • Meals and wine tasting fees are not included in tours unless explicitly stated on the website.
  • Winery reservations are essential due to the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing shortages. Customers are responsible for booking wineries with their own credit cards.
  • The company does not work on commission, and customers are encouraged to book their preferred wineries, restaurants and hotels.

Responsibility and Tour Change Liability:

We, acting as a tour operator or subcontractor, and/or independent tour guide/driver or subcontractor, explicitly disclaim responsibility or liability for the following:

  • We do not assume responsibility for injuries, illnesses, or accidents suffered by customers during any trip or tour.
  • We disclaim liability for the loss or damage of personal property, especially during embarking and disembarking from our vehicles.
  • We are not liable for the inability to conduct tours or services due to vehicle breakdown, vandalism, or road/park closures.
  • We are not responsible for delays, inconvenience, itinerary changes, or cancellations due to force majeure or circumstances beyond our control, including weather, traffic, road work, hazards, or closures of park attractions/wineries/monuments.
  • We reserve the right to modify the tour guide/driver/vehicle/itinerary/rates and cancel tours without prior notice.
  • Referral to sister companies, partners, or subcontractors or tour cancellation with a deposit refund may occur if the tour is unavailable.
  • We reserve the right to remove passengers causing disturbance or posing a threat to a smooth and safe trip.
  • Refusal of service to individuals displaying disruptive behavior is within our rights.
  • Passengers must respect the tour guide and adhere to scheduled timeframes for stops, breaks, hiking, or site visits.
  • Delays caused by non-compliance may result in overtime fees. Tours are delivered as advertised on our website.
  • Meals, tour guide/driver’s gratuity, entrance fees, wine tasting fees, hotels and additional optional fees/expenses are not included unless specified on the tour voucher.
  • Some tours involve physical activities with inherent risks. Participants must acknowledge risks like elevation change and car sickness.
  • We disclaim responsibility for injuries or health issues resulting from physical activities during our tours.
  • Customers are responsible for assessing potential risks associated with physical activity on our tours.
  • Health issues should be communicated to us before making a reservation.
  • Customer-initiated modifications to arrival/departure times require review and approval by our office, partners, subcontractors, and/or sister companies.
  • Such modifications may incur additional fees or necessitate a new reservation.
  • We may use your credit card information to expedite reservations, particularly for locations like Alcatraz Island.
  • This may result in two separate transactions on your bank account for the same total amount, enhancing the likelihood of obtaining Alcatraz tickets.

Miscellaneous and Additional Terms:

  • Our tour prices exclude customers’ meals and tour guides/drivers’ gratuities, unless specified on the tour voucher or email confirmation.
  • Additional fees for wine tasting, accommodations, and entry fees to attractions are not included unless stated otherwise.
  • All vehicles are operated by Golden Horizon Travel, Inc., and may also be operated by our partners.
  • Golden Horizon Travel reserves the right to engage independent tour guides/drivers, subcontractors, and/or contractors to conduct tours, shuttle services, and travel packages based on staff shortage, high demand, last-minute bookings, or limited availability.
  • In cases of weather and/or road conditions preventing the use of our standard itinerary, we will attempt alternative routes to access locations. No refunds will be issued for unforeseen conditions beyond our control.
  • Photos or videos taken by our staff during tours may be used on our website. Customers agree to this usage by booking, and disputes are not entertained unless a written request is submitted before the tour.
  • No substitution or refunds are provided for any unused part of the tour(s). All sales are final, and reservations are non-transferable.
  • Refunds and/or voided transactions paid via credit/debit cards or PayPal may take up to 2 weeks to reflect in your account.
  • Provide your main email address and cell phone number when booking for confirmation, communication of changes, or emergencies during your trip.
  • Rafting, air-tours, and horseback riding necessitate providing exact weight for safety considerations.
  • Seaplane, Air-tours and hot-air balloon rides are subject to Bay Area weather conditions. Partial refunds and alternative tour options may be offered, detailed in the email confirmation and tour voucher.
  • Hot-air balloon rides may depart and arrive beyond Napa Valley based on weather conditions within an 80-mile radius.
  • We reserve the right to refuse service to individuals or businesses not complying with safety instructions, tour itinerary, or posing threats.
  • Unacceptable behavior, including yelling or insulting, may result in tour termination without refund. Discrimination is strictly prohibited.
  • We and our affiliated entities reserve the right to change terms and conditions, website content, and privacy policy without prior notice.
  • Only regular business-bringing travel agents qualify for commission, and the commission rate may vary.
  • Travel agents are responsible for unpaid charges, tips, and overtime for their customers.
  • Private tours are non-commissionable unless otherwise stated.
  • Travel agents must communicate our terms and policies to their customers.
  • Providing client names, contact information, and briefing on terms and policies is mandatory.
  • Assistance in addressing customer difficulties during or after the tour is required.
  • Quotes are not provided unless the desired tour is unavailable on the website.
  • Detailed information on inclusions and pricing is available on the website. Instant quotes can be obtained during the booking process.
  • Private tours cost more due to the focus on quality, personalization, and exclusivity.
  • Higher expenses and minimal profit margins are explained by the small group sizes and luxury service provided.
  • Access to sites restricted to large buses is a unique feature. Despite these factors, we strive to offer cost-effective experiences while maintaining quality.

Bay Cruise Tour Information:

  • he Bay Cruise Tour is a 1-hour public ferry tour that does not include docking at Alcatraz Island. To book any Alcatraz tours, kindly refer to our website.
  • Ferry tours typically depart hourly, and the schedules may vary depending on the season and weather conditions. The daily schedules are posted on-site by ferry staff. However, transportation back to the hotel after the ferry tour is not included to keep the cost down. You can arrange that independently. If you are staying in the Fisherman's Wharf area, it's a short walking distance from the Alcatraz ferry, the Bay Cruise ferry line, and Pier 39.
  • Your San Francisco Tour and Bay Cruise Trip require no prior planning. Your guide will handle all arrangements and provide explanations during the tour.
  • Ferry tours typically depart hourly, and the schedules may vary depending on the season and weather conditions. The daily schedules are posted on-site by ferry staff. However, transportation back to the hotel is not included and must be organized independently. If you are staying in the Fisherman's Wharf area, it's a short walking distance from the Alcatraz ferry, the Bay Cruise ferry line, and Pier 39.
  • The decision to exclude drop-off services is a cost-saving measure, preventing additional expenses and overtime charges. Staying in the Fisherman’s Wharf area is recommended due to its proximity to key terminals and attractions.
  • The Bay Cruise operates seasonally, and cancellations may occur due to adverse weather conditions such as rain, wind, or fog. If your cruise is canceled after your City Tour or Muir Woods Tour due to weather, you will receive a partial refund. Third-party operators manage the Bay Cruise tours, determining schedules and cancellations. Some services, like audio tours, may be unavailable due to the pandemic.

Note: Please check our website for the most up-to-date information on tour availability, schedules, and any pandemic-related service adjustments .

Useful Travel Tips, Recommendations, and Information

Why Stay in Fisherman’s Wharf? Fisherman’s Wharf offers a family-focused experience away from the hustle of San Francisco's downtown. This area provides all the essentials for a classic San Francisco stay, including Alcatraz ferries, Bay Cruises, and Pier 39 attractions. Numerous accommodation options within walking distance make it an ideal choice.

In the heart of San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf stands out as a well-known hub with ocean-front seafood restaurants, fun attractions, intriguing museums, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The area boasts a variety of attractions, such as the Musée Mécanique with its antique arcade games, Madame Tussauds, and the virtual escape-room experience, Alcatraz: The Breakout Escape Room.

Explore the Maritime National Historical Park, USS Pampanito Museum and Memorial, SS Jeremiah O'Brien, Museum of 3D Illusions, Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze, Aquarium of the Bay, Sea Lion Viewing Area at Pier 39, Hyde St. Pier Historic Ships, and Ghirardelli Square—home to a Chocolate factory and diverse stores.

Cap off your visit with a ride on the famous cable car, offering a scenic tour of downtown San Francisco and nearby neighborhoods. Fisherman’s Wharf hosts two cable car lines, providing convenient transportation options.

FAQs: Where to Park, Eat, and Stay in Fisherman’s Wharf

Where to Stay and Eat in San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf? https://www.fishermanswharf.org/hotels/

Where to Park in or Near San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf? https://sfparkingguide.com/fishermans-wharf-parking/

Where to Meet in San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf? For visitors from outside San Francisco, we will specify a hotel or meeting point for pickup. Explore parking options; https://www.fishermanswharf.org/plan-your-visit/getting-around/parking/

What Else to See and Do in San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf? https://www.fishermanswharf.org/plan-your-visit/

Where to Park Near Alcatraz Ferry Landing Area and Pier 39 in San Francisco? Explore parking options here:

Important Information on Parking: Public parking in San Francisco, especially in downtown and Fisherman’s Wharf, may cost $25–$80 per day. Be cautious of car break-ins; avoid leaving valuables in your vehicle during the tour.

Getting Around San Francisco: San Francisco experiences heavy traffic, especially during rush hours (7 a.m to 11 a.m and 2 p.m to 8 p.m). Utilize public transit like Muni (buses, light rail, and cable cars) or BART (train) to meet our tour guide at convenient locations.

Wheelchair Accommodation Policy: Our vehicles do not accommodate full-size wheelchairs due to safety concerns and the nature of our action-packed tour. We encourage wheelchair users to explore specialized paratransit options available through SFMTA and Accessibility All.

-Small, light, and foldable wheelchairs may be accommodated, but please consider the tour's nature when deciding.

Modifications to Terms and Conditions: Alcatraz Tours reserves the right to modify these terms and conditions without prior notice. For any assistance or inquiries, please contact us . We appreciate your support.

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Privacy Policy

Introduction.

Welcome to Alcatraz Tours Inc.'s Privacy Policy. This policy outlines how we collect, use, disclose, and safeguard your personal information. By accessing or using our services, you agree to the terms outlined in this privacy policy.

Information We Collect

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Changes to This Privacy Policy

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Trip Reviews

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Geweldige baancruise rond Alcatraz Island

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La Isla de Alcatraz es excepcional, pero reserva tus boletos con antelación

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Definitely A 5-Star: Alcatraz & Redwoods Experience

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Interesante Tour Combinado de Muir Woods y Alcatraz

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Valentine's Day Adventure in San Francisco and Alcatraz!

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Unforgettable Adventures: Alcatraz, Muir Woods, and Beyond!

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San Francisco's Rainy-Day Adventure: Parks and Alcatraz Unveiled!

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Unveiling Alcatraz Mystery

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Wonderful night tour experience like a “fairy tale”

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Alcatraz Exceeded Expectations!

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Our Night Tour Experience of the Rock “Alcatraz”

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Alcatraz Tour with Our Kids - Excellent & Worth Every Penny

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“Amazing Alcatraz Island experience”

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Unforgettable Alcatraz Adventure!

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Muir Woods Magic & Alcatraz fun

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Best San Francisco Alcatraz combo Tour!

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A Great Way to Visit Two Iconic Places in One Day Trip

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Alcatraz and Muir Woods: A Day of Unforgettable Adventures

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Exploring Muir Woods Park and Alcatraz Island—A Mind-Blowing Adventure!

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Nighttime Alcatraz Adventure and City Fun

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Absolutely Delightful Experience at the Jelly Belly Factory & Alcatraz

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Charged Up: Unveiling the City Buzz and Alcatraz Adventure!

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Alcatraz Tales & Our Guide Were Very Enthusiastic and Accommodating

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"Unforgettable Alcatraz Adventure & San Francisco Delight"

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Oops! We goofed up and missed our ferry to Alcatraz Island at 2:45 pm

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"San Francisco’s Essential: A Wild Alcatraz Combo Adventure!"

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Thrilling Alcatraz Island & San Francisco Expedition

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Immersive Adventures: A Memorable Day at Alcatraz and Beyond

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Alcatraz Day Tour with Muir Woods—An Unforgettable San Francisco Adventure

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A Lovely Family Trip to Alcatraz from San Francisco

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"Alcatraz: ¡Aventura y Reflexiones Históricas!"

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Una Experiencia de 5 Estrellas en San Francisco, Muir Woods y Alcatraz Tour

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"Discovering Alcatraz's Intriguing Tale: Native American Legacy and the Great Escape"

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"Beyond Bars: Alcatraz & SF Escapades"?

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Exploring Alcatraz : San Francisco's Riveting Historical Journey

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I Highly Recommend This Combination Alcatraz & City Tour

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San Francisco Et Alcatraz - Un Forfait Touristique Sans Souci

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Redwoods, Houseboats & Alcatraz: Mary's Marvelous Adventure!

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Alcatraz prison tour was an unexpectedly fascinating experience!

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"Vintage Vibes and Prison Surprises: A Californian Adventure!"

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"Unwinding in Sonoma's Vines & Unlocking Alcatraz's Mysteries"

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Alcatraz Adventure, Muir Woods & Sausalito Stroll: A Day of Discovery

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We made it to Alcatraz and escaped from the rock!

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Alcatraz Prison Night Tour is Awesome

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"Get Your Alcatraz Tickets Early!"

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"Behind Alcatraz Jail Bars: My Review of Alcatraz Prison Combo Tour"

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"The Thrilling Audio Tour: Alcatraz Unveiled!"

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“Thrilling Journey Through Alcatraz: A Top-Notch Experience!"

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Big Redwoods & Horseback Adventure on The Beach !

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I highly recommend this tour company when Alcatraz tickets are sold out

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"Alcatraz Night Tour - Nope, no creepiness at all!"

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Great, humbling Alcatraz Experience

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Alcatraz : Pack those layers, folks! Fun, Fog and wind await

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Alcatraz Tickets: Book Ahead for a Fantastic Experience in San Francisco

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Alcatraz: A Must-See Gem Beyond Expectations

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San Francisco Alcatraz Duo Adventure

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"Alcatraz After Dark: Unveiling Nighttime Mysteries!"

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Great way to see Alcatraz & San Francisco !!

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Muir Woods: Ein Muss für einen Tagesausflug von San Francisco

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Excursión Tecnológica: Apple, Google en Silicon Valley y Alcatraz

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Fun day outing in Muir Woods, Sausalito, and San Francisco

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“Mob of the Dead in real life at Alcatraz”

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Vintage Vibes and Island Adventures: A Dreamy Napa-Alcatraz Expedition!

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Alcatraz and San Francisco: The Ultimate Stress-Free Adventure

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アルカトラズツアー:歴史と魅力の探求

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"Experiencia increíble en tour combinado con Alcatraz"

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Visite privée 5 étoiles de la ville avec Alcatraz.

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Alcatraz tip: Získejte lístky včas!

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Alcatraz is overrated but the City Tour was a Blast!

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Alcatraz Tour: Unveiling Fascinating History!

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Alcatraz & SF Combo: A Fun Experience!

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Alcatraz Island Day trip with our 4-year-old son

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Alcatraz and San Francisco - the best part of our vacation in California

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Anochecer en Alcatraz: ¿ espectacular o simplemente oooh, muy espeluznante?

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Muir Woods: A Must-Visit Day Trip from San Francisco

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息をのむ景色と素晴らしいセコイアの木

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Un'Avventura nei Redwood Indimenticabile - Una Gita in Famiglia da Ricordare

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Nature's Sanctuary: Communing with the Timeless Giants

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Urban escape: a hassle-free, worthwhile adventure.

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很棒的穆尔森林公园半日游

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Une excellente expérience ! Un excellent choix

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Increíble Experiencia en la Excursión de Medio Día a Muir Woods con Buddy

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Erstaunliche Halbtages-Muir-Woods-Tour-Erfahrung mit Mary

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Disfrutando de la Naturaleza y de la Historia: Un Viaje a dos famosas Atracciones en San Francisco

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거대한 나무와 작은 레드우드 솔잎!

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Is Alcatraz Day or Night Tour Worth the Trip? How to Decide

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Unforgettable Journey: Muir Woods and Alcatraz Day Trip Delight!

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Thrilling Combo : Alcatraz and SF Unleashed!

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Talk about a day packed with adventure- UC Berkeley and Alcatraz!

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Emocionante aventura al centro de la Tecnología y Alcatraz: ¡ muy divertido para toda la Familia!

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Alcatraz and Napa Day Out—What a Cool Adventure!

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Maravillosa Aventura: Muir Woods y Alcatraz, ¡Increíbles!

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Riding Waves on Horseback and Unveiling Alcatraz: A Day to Remember

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Sweet Jelly Beans & Island Scenes: San Fran's Double Trouble Tour!

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"An Epic San Francisco Adventure to Remember!"

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Embarking on Alcatraz: A Dive into History's Depths

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We Would Have Missed Out if we Hadn’t Gone

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A Great Alcatraz Experience, Much Better Than I Expected

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But oh, Alcatraz night tour—totally spine-tingling!

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Histórias na Trilha: Aventura em Alcatraz e Muir Woods

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Alcatraz Day Trip to Alcatraz is Really Fun and Worth the Effort!

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Sonoma Valley Wine Country and Alcatraz—An Incredible Experience!

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Sunrise of Hot Air Balloons and Redwood Adventure

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Best insider guided tech tour of Silicon Valley in Spanish

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A Fun Safari and Jelly Belly Factory Day Trip

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Monterey And Carmel, Charming Seaside Gems

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Excelente paquete de viaje familiar privado de 5 días a Lake Tahoe y Yosemite

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Forfait sans souci avec les visites de Muir Woods et Alcatraz

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Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea & 17-Mile Drive—Pure Coastal Delight!

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Lake Tahoe's 2-Day Private Adventure: Nature-Packed Bliss!

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A Memorable 2-Day Custom Tour to Yosemite—the Best Way to Go

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Watch our latest fun and educational videos to learn more about this unique adventure.

Select date from the calendar, have a question, have a question , call : (415) 429-4947.

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Outdoor Adventures And Family Tours

Things to do in San Francisco and Marin Count attractions

The Ultimate 2-Day family getaway worry-Free tour package with Alcatraz

group bus charter tours to  muir woods redwoods

Monterey & Carmel Custom 1-Day Trip

Day trips to California giant redwoods, Muir Woods and sequoias

City sightseeing tours of San Francisco attractions & activities

Alcatraz & Redwoods Custom Tour

Top San Francisco city sightseeing custom tours, Alcatraz & Muir Woods

Horseback rides on the beach combined with Alcatraz Island prison tickets

Horseback rides on the beach combined with Alcatraz Island prison tickets

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Monterey & Carmel 2-Day Tour Package

Day trips to Alcatraz Island with prison tickets and ferry ride included

Guided tours of Silicon Valley tech firms  attractions and sights

Discover the World-Famous Silicon Valley

Tech Tour of Silicon Valley top attractions combined with Alcatraz Island

Drive-Thru sequoias redwoods tree in redwood national park tours

Napa Valley Private Wine Tour

The Only 1-day trip to Avenue of the Giants Redwoods from San Francisco

fly on  Hot Air Balloon Ride in Napa Valley Sonoma &   Bay Area

Outdoor Adventures: Air tours, horseback rides, ziplining, Safari & more

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Customers Testimonials

Authentic Alcatraz and San Francisco Tour Reviews

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

"Awesome bay cruise around Alcatraz Island"

This is great alternative tour experience when Alcatraz tickets are sold out. We were happy with this trip, it combined our city private tour, and the ferry cruise around Alcatraz island, that was perfect as it was our last day in California.The cruise ship trip was over an hour, a ferry trip that took us around SF bay, around Alcatraz Island, and under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

The Beautiful Island of Alcatraz and criminology

From the city tour to Alcatraz Island, we and our kids had an amazing adventure, a bit cold in San Francisco Bay in summer ironically, but were very interested in the criminology and forensics stories of Alcatraz and San Quintin prison like Charles Manson, the Zodiac, Fong “Little Pete” Ching, Zebra killers, Felix Mitchell, the Unabomber, Scott Peterson, and Clarence and John Anglin and Frank Morris and their famous ‘Escape from Alcatraz’. Wow! the feeling visitors get when you are stepping onto Alcatraz island.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

Muir Woods & Alcatraz combo tour

Our Muir Woods & Alcatraz combo tour was exactly what we needed as we only had one day in SF. The tour is Well Worth the money that you spend. The big redwoods in muirwoods forest are impressive but the forest was crowded, and Alcatraz tour must be on everyone’s bucket-list, these sights and attractions in SF are amazing places to visit and see when you visit san fran.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

"Why everybody is so crazy about Alcatraz?"

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Why everybody is so crazy about Alcatraz? Alcatraz Island is dim, cold, morbid, and crowded. We felt nothing, seen nothing, heard nothing that made it so appealing, a bit overrated in our opinion. Why criminals have become victims? They deserved to incarcerated in Alcatraz prison! Some visitors were even asking for autographs from a former inmate of Alcatraz, this makes no sense to me.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island is Outstanding, book your tickets very early

This is an incredible tourist attraction of San Francisco bay area, if you plan on visiting San Francisco you got to add Alcatraz to your bucket-list, more than Muir Woods or Napa. Alcatraz Island history itself is a very interesting story, before it even was used as a federal prison. How anyone could even escape from this remote Island? The audio headphone guided tour is informative and the stories and sounds of prison officers makes the guided tour so real. I am taking back amazing pictures to show my friends in Japan.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz-SF: Worry-free vacation package

Worry-free vacation package, we were lucky to find and book this all-inclusive SF Alcatraz tour package, it was a worry-free reservation all included, the perfect way to indulge in San Francisco if you have no time. It was convenient, affordable, and fulfilling combo trip of SF city attractions and Alcatraz tour, a must-do when visiting the city by the bay, and worth every penny you spent.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

Fascinating combo tour of SF & Alcatraz

Reserve Alcatraz tickets in advance, the tour was So much better than I was expecting. You get a ferry ride from San Francisco pier to the Alcatraz island. It was rainy, and foggy that day, but still well worth the trip. The trip was very well run, we were welcomed in the dock by a ranger who let us know some key information and rules before visiting the prison.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz worth a visit & above expectation

Alcatraz prison is just as portrayed as in the Hollywood films about Frank Morris (with Clint Eastwood) in this maximum-security prison Alcatraz, the cell still preserved as seen in the Clint Eastwood’s movie “Escape from Alcatraz”. No trip to San Francisco is complete without visiting Alcatraz Island. It took me 2 tours in Alcatraz before I felt the strong atmosphere and energy you get after stepping off Alcatraz cruises ferry and onto the dock. This city private tour and Alcatraz is an exceptional combo trip I recommend for all visitors (worry- free).

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island tour is outstanding and a stunning sight and my favorite attractions in California, but you got to book your Alcatraz tickets very early. We booked our Alcatraz tickets 2 months in advance as a tour combined with the city tour, but the next day, Alcatraz park service got sold out. The energy and the impression you get when vising Alcatraz is something you need to experience for yourself. We loved our city tour as well with Jonathan, the tour guide was amazing and fun.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

San Francisco Alcatraz combo tour

Book your Alcatraz tickets immediately when you plan your trip to san fran, we had initially planned to book Alcatraz Island night tour but it’s 100% impossible to get. The day tour was not bad at all apart from the fascinating story of Alcatraz, the trip to the island is phenomenal, and the city tour completed the package trip and appeal to all ages. That’s was a good company to work with.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

Reserve Alcatraz tickets in advance when visiting SF

Book your Alcatraz tickets months in advance before you travel to San Francisco, this is a must-see attraction when visiting San Francisco and Northern part of California. A police officer from South Africa who traveled with us on the ferry had a stop over in SFO, just to visit Alcatraz. Dress in layers, ironically summer is not warm, weather is cool and gets foggy in the SF Bay. The views of Alcatraz from San Francisco are better than the views of SF from the island, but this combo tour is a must do and saved us time and money.

Bay Cruise around Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz & SF-Best part of our trip to California

This is an incredible tourist attraction. We did the tour with our kids, and they loved it too. The audio tour was well done, we took tons of pictures, hanged out and enjoyed the views of the city from Alcatraz Island. The views are spectacular from Alcatraz, go to the officers’ gardens’ side that overlooks the golden gate bridge, but watch out for the steps, they are very steep. Army officers and their wives who stationed on the Island in the early 1900s, planted all kind of vegetables there (The beauty on the beast).

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  • Ghost Tours

8 Ghost Tours in San Francisco: Learn More About SF's Dark History

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler   •

Updated: June 8, 2023

San Francisco has a long, dark history with murders, mysteries, and mayhem. All of these events fuel our fun and interesting ghost tours.

You can walk through Chinatown to learn about its mysterious past, walk through the Haight to hear its ghost stories, and even head out to Alcatraz at night to visit one of the ghostliest spots in the city.

Most of these tours are informational and not meant to scare you too much (although the stories are dark and chilling)!

All will help you understand more about the people and places that make this city one of the most haunted in the US!

Pictures from the nightly walking tour of Alcatraz

Disclaimer : I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

1. The Haunt - Ghost Hunting Walking Tour

This popular haunted tour of San Francisco takes you through the historic Gold Rush-era neighborhoods on foot, after dark, equipped with EMF (electromagnetic field) meters and other ghost hunting tools.

As you make your way through Chinatown and North Beach, your guide will tell you about the city's largest massacre at the Golden Dragon, a mysterious death at an old theater, and the forgotten graves and ships buried beneath your feet.

While learning about SF's dark past of true crimes and tragedies, you may notice paranormal activity on your meter, and your guide may invite you to investigate further using dowsing rods and a Spirit Box. 

This 90-minute tour takes you to the dark side and is only recommended for adults (children are welcome at your discretion, but it is not suitable for age 13 and under). It runs most days after dark through Union Square.

>> Find ticket availability for upcoming dates

2. Nob Hill Vampire Tour

Walk through one of SF's first and most famous districts, Nob Hill. On this walking tour, you will learn more about the dark events that occurred over time in places such as the Fairmont Hotel, the Pacific Union Club, Grace Cathedral, and the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel.

This two-hour tour that starts at 8 pm and ends at around 9:30 pm.

>> Find tickets for upcoming dates on Viator

3. Alcatraz Night Tour

Let's start with one of my favorites, Alcatraz. This former federal prison housed some of the most notorious criminals in the U.S. including Al Capone, Robert Stroud (the Birdman), and George "Machine Gun" Kelly.

Before it was a federal prison, it was a U.S. Military Prison. During both periods, many prisoners died on the island and now there are reports of mysterious noises and occurrences. This isn't technically a ghost tour in San Francisco but heading over at night is the best way to experience this haunted attraction.

>> Learn more about this fun Alcatraz tour

4. SF Ghost Tour

The SF Ghost Tour offers you a chance to learn more about the mysterious past of San Francisco's Nob Hill and Union Square Districts. Hear stories about our haunted hotels, locations, and office buildings. 

Top stops include the Westin St. Francis and Fairmont Hotel. You'll also hear stories from SF's Gold Rush Days of 1849 and what happened when the 1906 Earthquake hit.

This tour runs for one hour (or you can add on 30 minutes for an extended tour) and usually runs a couple of times each night.

>> Find tickets for all dates on GetYourGuide

5. Haunted Haight Walking Tour

The Haunted Haight Walking Tour teaches you all about supernatural occurrences and mysterious events reported in SF's Haight Ashbury District.

As you tour the neighborhood, you will also walk past the locations where some of SF's most infamous murderers and cult leaders used to live.

The tour starts at 7 pm and runs mostly on Saturdays. Click the link below for exact dates and information on how to register.

>> Visit the Official Haunted Haight Walking Tour Website

6. Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl

If you want to taste the dark history of the city’s early days, take this guided tour through San Francisco’s historic district, where the eight haunted sites you’ll visit include four bars.

Your “boo”zy pub crawl starts off with sipping aged bourbon at High Horse, where you’ll learn how the famed Barbary Coast got its name. With a nice buzz, you’ll visit a shipwreck saloon and wander down Gold Street where miners were often attacked and robbed.

The tour lasts about two hours, and you’ll want to bring your ID to toast to the ghosts of San Francisco’s past.

>> Find out more about this fun tour

7. SF - Ghosts and Hauntings Audio App Walking Tour

For a cheaper, go-at-your-own-pace option, consider taking this self-guided audio walking tour, complete with the perfect music to set the mood for your ghostly encounters.

This is a fun option because you’ll hear lots of stories as it takes you through a variety of San Francisco’s haunted neighborhoods, including Union Square, Nob Hill, Chinatown, and the Barbary Coast.

From the Gold Rush to the 1906 earthquake to the Jazz Age and beyond, this 70-minute tour-in-an-app is thoroughly entertaining and full of history, tragedy, and mayhem.

>> More about this self-guided option

8. Walk with Spirits - A Haunted Pub Crawl in San Francisco

This 2.5-hour evening tour gives you another option for a thrilling pub crawl during which you’ll learn about the city’s dark history of crime and unsettled souls.

As your guide takes your small group through the San Francisco neighborhoods that date back to the Gold Rush and withstood the 1906 earthquake, you’ll have the chance to sip on spirits while meeting others.

The tour starts at Jackson Square highlights five spots: The Old Ship Saloon, a part of North Beach known as “The Devil’s Acre,” the haunted streets of Chinatown, and finally the Lion’s Den Lounge and Bar.

>> Find out more about this fun pub crawl

10 of The Most Haunted SF Locations

Would you prefer to venture out on your own? If so, then check out my list of the 10 most haunted places in San Francisco that are open to the public. They range from the woman that roams around Stow Lake in the evenings to the ghosts of City Hall.

Learn More: Discover 10 Haunted SF Locations

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

I would love for you to join me in my private Facebook group ! 

It's a great place to interact with me and others who know the area well.

You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It's a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!

Come join the fun here !

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A Terrifying Tour Of This Haunted Prison in San Francisco Is Not For The Faint of Heart

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Julian Garr

San Francisco-based freelance writer doing ESL. I love traveling, exploring, and coffee.

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Alcatraz Island offers a close-up look at the infamous federal penitentiary, which was long off-limits to the public. Although Alcatraz is now a popular tourist attraction, hearing the tales and stories behind the prison and seeing its inner workings is definitely not for the faint of heart. Gangster Al “Scarface” Capone and murderer Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud are among those who served time at the maximum-security facility. Because of its isolation from the outside by the cold, strong, hazardous currents of San Francisco Bay waters, Alcatraz was used as early as 1861 to imprison prisoners of war. No inmate ever successfully escaped The Rock.

Alcatraz Island is located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco. Hop on a ferry to take a truly terrifying Alcatraz ghost tour of this infamous prison! And if you’re really brave, book a night tour…

alcatraz night tour halloween

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alcatraz night tour halloween

If you’re interested in an Alcatraz ghost tour by day or at night then check out Alcatraz Island Information and Tours . Also, check out these 10 incredible places in San Francisco that will bring out the explorer in you. And don’t forget to check out these unique places to stay in San Francisco !

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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More to Explore

Alcatraz ghost tour.

What are some other haunted places in Northern California?

Some haunted places in Northern California include:

  • Fort Humboldt Historic State Park
  • Battery Point Lighthouse
  • Humboldt Brews
  • Crescent City
  • Chinese Camp
  • MacCallum House
  • Bodie (one of the coolest ghost towns in California )
  • Placerville

After you've completed a haunted tour of Alcatraz, it's time to tour some of NorCal's most legendary haunted places. If you're into creepy cemeteries, Cherokee Cemetery is thought to be the most haunted cemetery in NorCal; there are two different legends surrounding how Cherokee Cemetery earned its reputation as a haunted burial ground.  The first is that back in the early 1800s, a woman or young girl (the stories vary on this as well) was brutally murdered. The townsfolk, outraged at such a heinous act, imposed a death sentence by burning at the stake. The spirit of the accused was said to have been so strong, that even from the other side of the veil he lurked around the grounds at night making blood-curdling sounds meant to scare the daylights out of everyone. The other involves the story of the young child who unfortunately lost his father, and is now believed to haunt the grounds, albeit, a bit more benevolently.

Are there any abandoned places in NorCal I can explore?

Some of the most notoriously haunted abandoned places in Northern California include Point Reyes Shipwreck, Chemung Mine, Fannette Island, Marshall Gold Discovery State Park Jailhouse, and Falk.

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Featured Addresses

The San Francisco Standard

Ghost Tours, a Mayhem Mansion and Other Halloween Things To Do in San Francisco

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alcatraz night tour halloween

There are so many ways—perhaps too many ways—to celebrate Halloween these days: crafting costumes , picking pumpkins , trick-or-treating . 

Yet San Francisco has some truly unique Halloween-themed events, enough to make a separate foray for some unusual fun. Where else can you go ghost-hunting everywhere from Victorian manses to a historic mint?

Read on for The Standard’s curated guide to the best local Halloween events, starting from the end of September and going throughout October.

New Farm’s Haunted Halloween Kickoff

The New Farm, a San Francisco community space in Bavview-Hunters Point, is worth a visit any time of year with its demonstration garden, 25 heirloom chickens and roosters and free environmental education. But its Haunted Halloween Kickoff gives you even more reasons to visit, with bands including the Cramp-ons (a Cramps tribute band) and the Jean Genies (a David Bowie tribute band). Yes, please!

🗓️ Sept. 30 | 2-7 p.m. 📍 10 Cargo Way 🔗 Visit website

San Francisco Ghost Hunt 

The San Francisco Ghost Haunt is a guided, lantern-lit stroll through Pacific Heights, now in its 25th year. Expect a walking tour full of magic and humor—and lots of spooky lore. If you love local history, this is the Halloween event for you.

🗓️ Oct. 1-31 🔗 Visit website

Sundown Cinema: 'Ghostbusters' 

Grown-ups and kids alike can enjoy the Halloween installment of Sundown Cinema, a free outdoor screening of Ghostbusters in McClaren Park. Pack your blankets, lawn chairs and picnics to head over to the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater on Oct. 20 for the one-night-only event. 

🗓️ Oct. 20 📍 Jerry Garcia Amphitheater , McLaren Park 🔗 Visit website  

alcatraz night tour halloween

Mayhem Mansion 

Add a side dish of history to your Halloween fun at Mayhem Mansion. This haunted tour takes place in the historic Haas-Lilienthal House, where a guide will inform you about the home’s storied past—alongside numerous ghosts, of course. You can calm your nerves in the manse’s “spookeasy” saloon ballroom, where alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are served alongside cauldrons of candy. Tickets go on sale for the event Oct. 1 on Eventbrite, and they always sell out. 

🗓️ Oct. 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 | 7-11 p.m. 📍 Haas-Lilienthal House, 2007 Franklin St. 🔗 Visit website  

Japantown Halloween Carnival 

The one-night Japantown Halloween Carnival includes plenty of family fun: Halloween crafts, community performances, bounce house, haunted hallway and costume parade. This is an ideal spot to take tikes in tow for a night of wholesome entertainment.

🗓️ Oct. 27 📍 1840 Sutter St. 🔗 Visit website  

alcatraz night tour halloween

Alcatraz Night Tour

Maybe you’ve been to San Francisco’s most famous prison before, but seeing it at night is a completely different experience. You can almost feel the ghosts swirling around “the Rock” when you take the ferry to the island in the darkness, especially in what used to be the medical ward—where hospital instruments are backlit with an eerie effect.

🗓️ Various dates 📍 Pier 33 , Alcatraz Landing 🔗 Visit website

'The Initiation' at the San Francisco Mint 

A fully theatrical, immersive haunted house, Terror Vault productions at the San Francisco Mint Building allow you to become part of the spooking—and on deck for this year is an interactive experience called "The Initiation." The empty vaults, narrow stairways and historic past of this place allow for a truly terrifying fright. If you need to take the edge off, check out Fang Bang, a vampire-themed new wave/Goth bar that offers Halloween-themed cocktails.

🗓️ Various dates  📍 88 Fifth St. 🔗 Visit website

Julie Zigoris can be reached at [email protected]

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alcatraz night tour halloween

GoCar Tours | Sightseeing & Story Telling Car

Top Halloween Activities in San Francisco

Step into the SPOOKY San Francisco history this October by going on one or all of these top Halloween activities in San Francisco Whether you’re looking to scare yourself silly or find a family-friendly event, there is something for everyone. So get into the Fall spirit, enjoy the colorful fall foliage, and explore San Francisco’s spooky-themed streets, ghost tours, pumpkin patches, festivals, and more! 

GoCar Tours – Follow your GPS at your own pace, see the Spooky Sights!

A great Halloween activity in San Francisco is hunting for ghosts in a GoCar! One of the best ways to take in the crisp fall air is riding in one of our open-air Go Car Tours, but did you know that several specters have been spotted on our routes?  

Along the GoCar tour, there are several spooky spots worth mentioning.  The Sutro Baths, included in the Golden Gate Park Tou r , is a large swimming pool complex open to the public at the edge of the peninsula along the Pacific Ocean. The baths burned down in the 1960s and were closed for good, but a remaining tunnel to the baths is said to be the site of sacrifices, and maybe haunted visitors at night have reported that if you light a candle, a ghostly image will take it away and throw it in the water.

Golden Gate Park itself can be a real spooky place during fall when coastal fog rests along with the pines into mid-morning and then creeps back in the early afternoon.  Driving through the fog is a great activity to get you in the mood for Halloween in San Francisco.  Try GoCar’s Early Bird Tours for the best chance of experiencing this spooky phenomenon.  While in the park, be sure to check out Stow Lake. This man-made lake is a popular place to hang out, hike, and rent paddle boats.  Keep an eye out for an unusual woman with long hair and a glowing white dress often spotted at the edge of the lake.  Some believe that this woman is the ghost of a mother walking the park who lost control of her stroller, which rolled into the lake with her baby inside. She then entered the lake to desperately save her child, but neither was recovered.  

Another ghost to look out for in Golden Gate Park is a phantom police officer who pulls over unsuspecting traffic violators.  When people go to pay their fine, they find the officer listed on the ticket has been dead for years.  The officer’s ghost is said to be confined to the park itself, so if you head out, he will disappear the minute you leave.  Keep in mind – you are responsible for any tickets you get while driving one of our vehicles – whether the officer is living or dead!

Keep in mind, on a GoCar Tour in San Francisco , the trip can be as long or as short as you wish – we give you different options along the tour to return to the shop – so you can craft the perfect experience tailored to your needs.  And if the air is too crisp or a little rainy – check out our Arcimoto vehicles, which come with a roof and heated seats!  

Ghost Tours of San Francisco

One of the most cherished Halloween events in San Francisco is the Ghost Tours of San Francisco .  The tours originated in the ’80s, and have been running rain or shine during the month of October in the decades since.  Centered around Pacific Heights, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in San Francisco, the tour includes many old mansions that escaped the damage of the 1902 earthquake and fire.   

The monied class that lived in Pacific Heights at the turn of the last century hid strange secrets, and many met gruesome ends in their homes. One of the creepiest homes on the tour is the mansion built by high society San Franciscans,  the Chambers. Matriarch Eudora Chambers was known to have attempted suicide multiple times, most famously throwing herself in front of a train on Valencia Street.  Although she survived minor injuries, her resting place is unknown.  Years later, one of her adopted nieces was reportedly found in the mansion sawed almost completely in two.  Inexplicably, the death was attributed to a “farm machine” accident.  

This is just one of the many stories included on the walking tour, running every day except Mondays in the month of October, rain or shine.  The tours cost $30 per person, last between 90 minutes and 2 hours, and are hosted by an award-winning magician, storyteller, Bay Area native, and original co-creator of the tour, Christian Cagigal.   Get spooked on a walking tour of Pacific Heights to get in the mood for Halloween in San Francisco 2021.  And keep in mind, Pacific Heights is not accessible on a GoCar tour, so this is a perfect tour to do once night falls after driving one of our vehicles.

alcatraz night tour halloween

Alcatraz Night Tour 

No visit is complete without a San Francisco City Tour to “The Rock”, Alcatraz.  But thrill-seekers looking for an extra special scare might be surprised to know about the Alcatraz night Tour – one of the most unique Halloween activities in San Francisco.  

Located on a lonely island in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was once the home of a maximum-security prison that housed some of the most notorious criminals in American history, including Al Capone.  The cold, and (rumored) shark-infested waters surrounding the prison make the island a popular movie subject and capture the imagination of all who visit it.    

Alcatraz night tours offer an especially spooky version of the popular day tour.  Departing Thursdays thru Mondays at 6 pm, the ferry to Alcatraz makes the 15 minutes ride out to the island as the sun is setting over the Golden Gate and the buildings of Downtown.  The tour includes a personally narrated trip around the island, with guided tours from the dock to the main prison building.

In addition to the award-winning audio tour available on headsets provided on the island or as a free download to your phone,  several presentations are offered only at night, including demonstrations of the nighttime lockdown procedure and different stories about escape attempts from the prison. Visitors may choose to attend one or two during the course of their evening, before the ferry departs at 8:40 back to the wharf, with the Bay Lights art installation by Leo Villareal twinkling in the background.  This unique award-winning experience is a cherished Halloween event in San Francisco every year.

Halloween Hoopla at the Yerba Buena Gardens  

If you’re looking for something less spooky, the Halloween Hoopla hosted in Yerba Buena Gardens on October 30th this year is one of the top Halloween activities in San Francisco 2021. A celebratory multi-cultural festival for kids under 10 and their adults, the hoopla features clown performances by Unique Derique the clown, the hip hop group the Alphabet Rockers, opportunities to create crafts at tables sponsored by the Mexican Museum and the Museum of the African Diaspora, and a pumpkin patch.

In its 21st year at Yerba Buena Gardens, the Halloween Hoopla is a cherished Halloween event in San Francisco.  Admission to the hoopla is free and includes entry to many of the attractions at the gardens.  Take a ride on the LeRoy King Carousel between 11:30am and 2:30pm, or visit the Ice Skating and Bowling Center for the Skating Competition and Performance Party starting at 2.  Guests who don’t know how to skate can even get coupons for ice skating discounts.

The grand finale of the hoopla is the annual Halloween Costume Parade, where all kids are welcome to show off their Halloween costumes.  

alcatraz night tour halloween

Clancy’s Pumpkin Patch 

With two locations in San Francisco, visiting Clancy’s Pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin is a cherished Halloween activity in San Francisco.  Clancy’s was San Francisco’s first pumpkin patch, opening in 1979. The patch is home to a variety of  pumpkins of all sizes for carving or baking, as well as many traditional harvest treats, like gourds and corn stalks 

During October, both the Sloat Street and 7th street locations are open from 9 am-8 pm daily, and feature ghosts hidden in the trees, the scarecrows, and a fort made out of hay. For those who miss traditional Halloween activities in San Francisco, you might be surprised to know that Clancy’s even features a hayride!

If you are looking for something spooky, or just want to get in the spirit, these are some of our favorite Halloween Events in San Francisco for 2021.

We offer private tours of San Francisco year-round, so be sure to check out our website and let us know how we can make your trip to San Francisco an enjoyable one!

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Alcatraz City Cruises Announces Restart Of Alcatraz Island Night Tour Program

Alcatraz at Night

Beginning September 9, Alcatraz City Cruises will offer after-hours visits of the famed San Francisco landmark for the first time in more than a year

San Francisco, CA (August 24, 2021) – Alcatraz City Cruises announced today the restart of the Alcatraz Night Tour program on Alcatraz Island.  Beginning on Thursday, September 9, 2021 , the Island will be open to the public for evening visits for the first time in more than a year.  Alcatraz Tours are available now!

Alcatraz Night Tours will be offered Thursdays through Mondays from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing on a 6 p.m. departure schedule.  This unique experience is limited to just a few hundred visitors per evening and includes special programs, tours and activities not offered throughout the day, allowing guests to enjoy the many moods of the iconic San Francisco landmark during extended hours.

“Experiencing Alcatraz Island at night offers both locals and tourists alike a unique perspective of our city’s iconic landmark and we are thrilled to resume our extended schedule once again,” said Antonette Sespene, assistant general manager of Alcatraz City Cruises.

The Alcatraz Night Tour includes a round-trip ferry ride to the Island aboard Alcatraz City Cruises with an on-board narration, an award-winning Cellhouse Audio Tour and optional programs and exhibits with docent guided tours and talks.  Enjoy the beauty of a sunset silhouetting the Golden Gate Bridge, experience a cell door demonstration, and hear compelling stories about the Island’s history and residents.  Evening talks by Island expert historians are offered on a variety of topics and change every night.

Tour options will also include the official Cellhouse Audio Tour.  Visitors will be able to walk through the historic structure and experience the windswept Island, learning about its layered history through outdoor interpretive signs, a free Discovery Guide and digital Apps with historical information, stories, and more.  Rangers will be stationed around the Island to assist visitors and answer questions.

Alctraz City Cruises departs from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing, a quarter mile from Fisherman’s Wharf.  Tours are booked through Alcatraz City Cruises, the official concessioner to the National Park Service and the only operator that goes onto the island.  It is recommended that you arrive at least one half hour prior to your departure time.  For more information, visit alcatrazcitycruises.com .

For Media Photos and Broll for Alcatraz Tours:

About Alcatraz City Cruises

Alcatraz City Cruises is the National Park Service concessioner of ferry service to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.  Alcatraz Cruises hosts over 1.7 million visitors annually.  Alcatraz Cruises designed, built and operates the first hybrid ferry in the United States.  The Hornblower Hybrid’s revolutionary design has reduced fuel consumption by 75% and has already begun to be implemented in other parts of the country.  For more information visit alcatrazcitycruises.com .

About City Experiences

City Experiences represents Hornblower Group’s expansive portfolio of water- and land-based experience companies and includes two sub-brands: City Cruises and City Ferry. City Cruises companies operate dining, sightseeing and private events across 22 destinations in the U.S., Canada and the UK.  City Cruises companies also operate cruises on behalf of the National Park Service and the Niagara Parks Commission and currently hold service contracts to provide ferry service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, Alcatraz Island and Niagara Falls.  City Ferry companies offer specialized knowledge and expertise required to transport passengers, vehicles and other cargo safely across inland and coastal waterways, serving as operator of NYC Ferry and Puerto Rico ferry system, among others.  City Experiences’ portfolio of companies also offers a range of water- and land-based experiences including shore excursions, partner-offered experiences, multi-port packages, with companies including Cruising Excursions, ShoreTrips, Niagara Jet Adventures and Walks products.  For more information visit cityexperiences.com .

Press Contacts:

Melissa Gunderson / City Experiences / [email protected] Michael DeiCas / City Experiences / [email protected]

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Alcatraz Night Tour Tickets

alcatraz night tour halloween

This post focuses on the night tour tickets for Alcatraz Prison, including last-minute and canceled tickets and tour reviews.

Let's get started!

  • Night vs Day Tours
  • Behind the Scenes Tour
  • Tour Reviews
  • Last Minute Tickets
  • Daytime Tours

NIGHT TOUR TICKET INFORMATION

There are two types of tour tickets that permit you to be on Alcatraz Island after the sun sets, which are the Night Tour and the Behind the Scenes Tour.

These tickets are only offered to a few hundred people per night, which makes it one of the most limited excursions in San Francisco, and demand is very high.

The hospital is only open for night tour participants.

alcatraz night tour halloween

If tickets for the night tour are sold out for the day that you wish, you can also obtain standby or last-minute tickets .

  • Availability: Tuesdays-Saturday at 5:55 pm and 6:30 pm
  • Duration: 2-3 hours on average
  • The trip requires a lot of uphill walking.
  • Prepare for cold weather.

Ticket Prices

  • Adult (18-61) - $52.70
  • Junior (12-17) - $51.55 (must be supervised by an adult)
  • Senior (62+) - $49
  • Child (5-11) - $31 (must be supervised by an adult)
  • Toddlers (4 and under) - Free

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets .

Considering that some visitors have to book the daily tour months in advance, anyone interested in the night tour will want to sign up well ahead of time.

Although you don't have to stay all night, the last boat back to Fisherman's Wharf leaves at 9:30 pm.

For more information about this tour company, check out our post on Alcatraz tours .

NIGHT VS. DAY VS. BEHIND THE SCENE TOURS

So what's the difference between a tour of Alcatraz during the day and a trip to the island at night?

Well, according to several TripAdvisor reviews, there are some notable variations.

Quite a few guests have indicated that visiting the prison after dark is pretty creepy and eerie.

There was at least one notable escape attempt during the night, so it's definitely interesting to see what those prisoners might have experienced after the sun went down.

Alcatraz Night Tours

Other visitors noted that views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco were phenomenal during the sunset, going so far as to say that the scenery was at least as enjoyable as the trip to Alcatraz.

During the Alcatraz night tour, live guides provide a special presentation that focuses on the loud steel doors of the prison as they all close at the same time.

The sound of these doors is apparently very disturbing, adding to the already spooky atmosphere of this prison after dark.

Certain services (such as the audio tour and cruise around the island) are offered during every Alcatraz tour.

That being said, several people indicated that the atmosphere of this historic prison changes after dark, making even the regular activities a little spookier.

If you're interested, we recommend booking several weeks in advance to avoid sold out tickets.

There is also a Behind the Scenes tour which lasts longer and includes every service offered during the night tour.

This trip features special programs that you won't experience on other Alcatraz tours.

Free San Francisco Walking Tours

During these activities, a park ranger will introduce you to hidden tunnels, underground jails, and secret gardens.

If you can't get tickets for the night tour, this is an excellent option, but it's important to keep in mind that this tour is not available for children.

Both the behind the scenes and night tours are more expensive than daily excursions.

The higher price tag is likely the result of limited availability and access to special programs.

BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR 

In addition to their day and night tours, Alcatraz Cruises also provides a Behind-the-Scenes outing. This guided tour includes a visit to several areas that are otherwise off-limits.

During these programs, a park ranger will reveal locations such as an underground jail and a special garden.

The activities tied to this tour are limited to groups of 30 or less, so you'll definitely want to take advantage of them.

This excursion also extends into the evening hours and includes access to all of the same attractions offered during the night tour.

Clocking in at 5 hours in length, it will be important to prepare for a lot of walking around the island.

  • Availability: Thursday – Monday at 4:20 pm and 4:50 pm
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Adult (18-61) - $97.70
  • Junior (12-17) - $93.55 (must be supervised by an adult)
  • Senior (62+) - $91
  • Children (under 12) -  not applicable. This tour has a minimum age of 12 due to its lengthy duration.

Click here for more information .

The Behind-the-Scenes tour is much longer and consists of several different activities that aren't available during the night tour.

Due to the length of this trip, children are not accommodated.

If you want to see and learn more about the island in addition to experiencing Alcatraz after dark, this may be your best bet.

Tickets might be more expensive, but quite a few customers have left positive reviews indicating that this tour is worth the price of admission.

LAST-MINUTE TICKETS

Tickets for Alcatraz Cruises often sell out weeks in advance. As a result, it can be difficult to obtain same-day tickets for these tours.

Thankfully, even if you haven't booked in advance, there are still a few options to consider.

Alcatraz Island Night Tour Tickets

Canceled Tickets

Although these tours often sell out well in advance, there are times when pre-booked tickets are canceled at the last minute.

Alcatraz Cruises usually does a good job of putting these tickets back on the market before it's too late, but you can always call and check to see if any seats have recently become available.

Keep an eye on their website for canceled tickets and feel free to contact them just to make sure.

Same-Day Tickets

Alcatraz Cruises actually sets aside a certain number of tickets every day.

If you want to take advantage of this option, you'll have to visit their box office at Pier 33 ( map ) when they open up at 7:30 AM.

The earlier you arrive, the more likely it is that you'll receive same-day tickets.

Unfortunately, they only sell one same-day ticket per person, so families and couples will have to line up together.

Tickets are available on StubHub , but you will pay more for these.

NOTE: Purchasing tickets on StubHub is apparently against the no re-selling rules, but considering that there seem to be no complaints online, it doesn't appear to be enforced.

StubHub also guarantees refunds for tickets.

People also sell Alcatraz tickets on Craigslist, but we do not recommend this option as the chances for a scam are high.

REVIEWS OF THE ALCATRAZ NIGHT TOURS 

Alcatraz Cruises currently enjoys a 4 ½ out of 5 stars  rating on TripAdvisor. Customers who took the Alcatraz Night Tour typically left very positive reviews.

Out of everything that visitors enjoyed about this experience, the following opportunities were particularly popular.

Increased Accessibility

Reviewers appreciated the fact that this night tour includes access to locations that are typically off-limits during the day.

According to some visitors, this tour company only provides entry to the hospital area during evening hours.

Seeing the hospital at night is apparently very creepy, contributing to the overall eerie atmosphere of Alcatraz after dark.

Smaller Group Sizes

Thanks to the limited availability of this tour, group sizes for the excursion are usually much smaller than you'll find during the day.

This makes the boat ride to and from the island a lot more comfortable, and it allows visitors to experience the prison without being crowded.

Some guests report that if you stay late enough, you might even get to experience entire cell blocks by yourself!

City Lights at Night

In addition to wonderful views of the Golden Gate Bridge during sunset, guests also note that this tour provides an excellent look at the San Francisco skyline after dark.

View of San Francisco at night from Alcatraz

The last boat from the island leaves at 9:30 PM, giving visitors the opportunity to see the city as it lights up after dark.

From this point of view, you can capture several wonderful pictures of San Francisco on your trip back to Fisherman's Wharf.

Self-Guided Audio Tour

In addition to the special programs, there is also a self-guided audio tour of Alcatraz.

Self-Guided Audio Tour

This audio tour features the voices of former guards and prisoners, making it easier to put yourself in the shoes of people who worked and lived on the island several years ago.

Guests report that you can experience this at your leisure, walking away to partake in other activities whenever you wish.

Keep in mind that this audio tour is available on all Alcatraz tours.

Cruise Around the Island

Before docking, your cruise will make a trip around the entirety of Alcatraz Island, giving you an excellent look from every possible perspective.

Some visitors really appreciated this boat ride, noting that a park ranger takes this opportunity to explain the history of the prison.

Reviewers indicate that this serves as an excellent introduction to the tour, providing cursory information before you dig a little deeper after docking on the island.

RELATED POSTS

  • How to Get Regular Alcatraz Tickets
  • Things to Do in San Francisco
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  • Alcatraz Night Tour

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By  Karen

Updated December 27, 2023.

The Alcatraz Night Tour

The night tour has been voted the best tour of Alcatraz, and it books up even faster than the day tour.

So, how much better is the night tour, and should you make an effort to get night tour tickets? 

The Night Tour vs. the Day Tour. What's the difference?

In many ways, the night tour is pretty similar to the day tour. But as the sun starts to go down, and the crowds thin out, it takes on a magical quality not present during the daytime.

I'd been out to the Rock many times, but seeing it at night had a very different feel; the prison was eerier and the island more charming somehow.

Plus, it was cool getting to see areas not open during the day and hearing stories about the prison and its inmates from the park rangers.

Night tour on Alcatraz, view of old fort and bay lights.

Included in the night tour:

  • Transportation out to Alcatraz on the ferry.
  • A narrated tour as the ferry circles the island.
  • A guided tour up to the cell block.
  • Audio self-guided tour inside the prison.
  • Extra programs like guided tours of areas not accessible to the day tours. 

Visitors are also able to explore areas outside the prison, including the Civil War buildings, gardens and the area around the lighthouse and ruins of the warden's house.

Night tour on Alcatraz, sunset view of city skyline.

There is an interesting film about the history of Alcatraz, shown in the theater on the dock, which you can watch before or after the tours.

How the Night Tour works:

Getting to alcatraz....

The night tour ferries leave from Alcatraz Landing on Pier 33. In summer , there are two sailings out to the Rock (Tuesday through Saturday) at 5:55 and 6:30 pm, and in winter (starting Nov), only one sailing (Tuesday through Saturday) at 3:50 pm (two over the Christmas holidays).

Normally, the ride out to the island takes about 15 minutes, but on the night tour, the captain sails around Alcatraz before docking on the island. 

On the trip out, there's a live narration about the history of Alcatraz and what's available on the island, but I have to say it was pretty hard to hear it over the noise of the engines.

It's fun seeing all sides of Alcatraz, which you don't see on the day tour. 

Alcatraz island building, new Indian sign

On the island...

When the boat arrives on Alcatraz, the passengers are divided into three groups so that the entrance to the cell block is staggered.  The first group is assigned a guide, who gives a brief intro talk, then leads them up the hill. 

On the way up, the guide gives a presentation about the island and what to expect on the evening's tour. Then the first group enters the cell block and gets their audio gadget and headset to do the self-guided exploration of the prison.

Same process for the second and third groups, so they don't all arrive at prison at the same time.

The tram is also available on the night tours for visitors with difficulty walking up the steep hill. They run about every 30 minutes, and meet the ferries at the dock.

The Audio Tour of the Prison

When you enter the cell block at the top of the hill, you'll find yourself in the prisoners' shower room, where the audio tour gadgets and headsets are handed out.

You can choose from English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Mandarin and Korean.

When you get your audio device, you are directed to a sign near the entrance to the cell block which says Tour Starts Here  and told to turn on the recording.

The whole audio tour lasts 45 minutes.

The gadget is delightfully simple: red and green buttons. It's either going or not going. Beautiful!

You can pause it any time, and rewind or fast forward. You don't have to put in a number for a location like in many museums.

The audio narration tells you where to go and plays recordings of actual prisoners and guards from Alcatraz telling their stories. 

You'll hear the sound effects of the shoot-outs, clanging doors, etc. Very well done.

Tips for avoiding the crowds...

One  advantage of the night tour is that only two boats go out to the island during the evening (and only one in winter), whereas 15 (!) boats go out during the day, and numbers can build up as the day goes on, since visitors can take any boat back.

But all the day tour folks have to leave the island before the night tours start going out.

Even so, I found the crowds pretty intense, because the corridors are not that wide, and everyone in the group is trying to see the same cell at the same time.

Crowds in Alcatraz cell block corridor, night tour

One solution: (which I didn't think of until later)... be one of the last ones off the boat to be in the third group.

Then once you get into the cell block for the audio tour, hang back and let the group start ahead of you.  Start your audio tour after most of the group has moved on.

Otherwise, you may find yourself waiting for a turn to see each place on the tour and trying to peer over people's heads.

Another idea : head outside when you first get to the cell block, explore the island, then come back inside after 7:30 pm (summer schedule) when the visitors on both boats will have finished their audio tours.

Here's what the corridors look like later in the evening (after 7:30 or so) when most people are outside.

Alcatraz night tour, tiers of cells

It's really cool to wander through the prison when there's hardly anyone around. You can go into the open cells and explore on your own; it's a bit haunting and you can get a better feel of the prison atmosphere.

alcatraz night tour, inside cell

Special programs

The night tour gives you a choice of extra guided tours to areas not normally available during the day.

It used to include the hospital, but they're doing repairs on it at the moment, so you'll see other areas like the second floor cells and A Block which is usually closed off.

On one of our night tours, there was a guided tour of areas associated with Machine Gun Kelly. 

There are also extra lectures on various topics. For our first night tour, there was a talk on the lives of the guards and families, and another one on a notorious kidnapper sent to Alcatraz.

Tidbit: kidnappers of rich tycoons were looking at $250,000 in ransom money, quite a haul in the 1930's. 

On our second night tour, a ranger gave a talk on the 1930's gangsters' method of robbing banks vs. the modern pattern (the gangsters were more organized, and more violent, and a number of them ended up in Alcatraz), and another ranger gave a talk on escape attempts.

The guide announces the times for these tours during the trip up to the cell block, and they are also posted in the building, near the prison entrance and in the bookstore/gift shop in the prison building.

Board with special programs schedule, Alcatraz night tour.

Exploring outside the prison.

When you finish the audio tour inside the cell block, you can head outside to the area where the Alcatraz lighthouse sits.

From there, you can see the ruins of the warden's house and can follow the paths down to other areas of the island.

Alcatraz after dark, couple on walkway

Other things to see: buildings from the Civil War era, gardens, and nesting areas for birds.

If it's a clear night, the views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge are spectacular as the sun goes down. 

Alcatraz night tour, Golden Gate Bridge view at sunset

Note:   There's been a fair amount of construction going on at Alcatraz for the past couple of years to repair the damage done by decades of salty air, but it's winding down now. 

Consequently, certain areas may not be accessible on the night tour, depending where repairs are being done at the time. But most of the areas normally open on the tour are available now, including the prisoners' exercise yard. 

The Birds on Alcatraz

Alcatraz is a major nesting site for large numbers of sea gulls, snowy egrets, cormorants and other sea birds. It's not so obvious during the day, but as the sun goes down, the resident birds come in for the night and the numbers are impressive.

The squawking of the gulls and flapping of all the wings makes you realize just how many are living on the island.

The birds are building nests and laying eggs in April and May, and the chicks are born in June. There's a good map that shows their nesting areas on this  Park Service publication .

Very few birds lived on Alcatraz while it was a prison (the Bird Man didn't keep any birds while he was here; that happened in Leavenworth).

The cormorants spend their whole lives out on the open ocean and only come to land during the spring to nest and raise their chicks.

Cormorants nesting, April on Alcatraz, night tour

The Bird Man of Alcatraz didn't raise his birds on Alcatraz. He did that at another prison prior to his time on Alcatraz.

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Tickets for the night tour

Alcatraz night tour tickets can be purchased 3 ways:

  • Online from City Experiences, the official company that has the tour concession from the Park Service, at cityexperiences.com
  • By phone at 415 981-7625.
  • At the ticket booth on Pier 33, Alcatraz Landing (9 am-6:30 pm).

Current night tour prices:

  • Adults: $56.30
  • Ages 12-17: $55.10
  • Kids (5-11): 33.00
  • Seniors (62+): $52.25
  • Under 5: free

Night tour departure times:

As the length of daylight changes during the year, the departure times change as well. The night tours run 5 evenings a week , year-round.

Most of the year,  t he night tour runs Tuesday through Saturday, with two sailings each night; departures are at 5:55 and 6:30 pm.

In winter , the tours leave once a day at 3:50 pm (with two sailings over the Christmas and New Years holidays).

The return times  also vary with the seasons; they're posted at Pier 33 and on the dock on Alcatraz. You can return on any of the boats. But check the notices for the current departure times.

Holiday schedule. There are two sailings a night from Dec 16-Jan 7. 3:50 and 4:45 pm, last boat returning at 7:40 pm.

Getting night tour tickets

It can be a challenge. Alcatraz night tour tickets are the toughest to get because there are a lot fewer of them.

By mid May, they are usually sold out two months in advance, often almost three months, and aren't included in most of the combination tours. But now there are a few packages that include the night tour! See night tour combos below for a list.

Winter is easier; you can probably snag some night tour tickets just a few days away (as of late December 2023, they are available one week out).

Insider tip: the night tour is included in the Behind the Scenes tour, so if the night tour tickets are sold out, check for Behind the Scenes tickets. They tend to be scarce as well, but you might get lucky. 

More info on the Behind the Scenes tour.

Night tour tickets sold out?

orange push pin

There are ways to get  night tour tickets even if they're sold out for the day you want.  

Here are three ways to score tickets for sold out days:

  • Check for canceled tickets  on sold-out days on the official website, cityexperiences.com. And keep checking. You might get lucky!
  • Check the combination tours (see below) for tickets. Now there are combo tours that include the night tour.
  • Night Tour standby tickets . You can still get same-day tickets for the night tour and there's  a good chance of getting on the boat.  See standby tickets  for more details.

Night Combo Tours

Another option:  do the night tour together with another activity, in a combination package.

This is one of the ways of getting those hard-to-get night tour tickets when they're sold out.

Until 2018, it wasn't possible to find a combination deal that included the Alcatraz night tour, but now there are a smallish number of them.

They disappeared during Covid, and are just starting to return.

Two night tour combos are now available (December 2023):  

Alcatraz Night Tour combos:

Alcatraz Night Tour & SF Bay Cruise.

  Go on the Alcatraz Night Tour and do a boat tour of the bay.

Sail around San Francisco Bay, out under the Golden Gate Bridge, and along the waterfront, with a great view of the city skyline.

See Alcatraz Night Tour & SF Bay Cruise  for info and booking.

Alcatraz Night Tour & HOHO City Bus Tour.

Alcatraz by night, plus a ticket to ride the Hop On Hop Off bus to a long list of San Francisco attractions. 

See  Alcatraz Night Tour & HOHO Bus Tour  for info and booking.

Otherwise, you can book a Day Tour by itself or a Day Tour combined with other San Francisco attractions, like the popular Alcatraz/Muir Woods/Sausalito Tour , or the Alcatraz/Bay Cruise Tour .

See Alcatraz day tour combos for a list.

Spooky scene of Alcatraz cellblock at night

Is Alcatraz haunted?  There aren't any ghost tours on Alcatraz, but there are plenty of ghost stories about it!

Check out the  spooky encounters  some visitors and staff have reported.

Heading home

There are currently two return boat to get back to the city after the night tour, but don't miss the last one!

Return times vary by season. In summer, the return boats leave at 8:40  and 9:25 pm, but the winter departure is at 6:40 pm, so be sure to check the signs for the current times.

They blow a warning horn and do a search of the island each night before the last boat leaves to make sure there aren't any overnight visitors!

We went out in summer on the 5:55 pm ferry and found 2.5 hours was plenty to see and do everything, so we took the 8:40 pm boat back.

It was pretty dark by that time, but Alcatraz is well lit at night, so finding our way back down to the dock was easy.

In mid-summer, you'll have to take the last boat back to see the city lights.

Alcatraz night tour, walkway under bridge

It was so pretty out on the island with the lights of the city sparkling in the distance.

Alcatraz seemed more intimate and magical after dark; not at all scary, but very welcoming and friendly. Almost like being on a private island. Highly recommended!

For information on the other  Alcatraz tours available, see Alcatraz prison tours .

For more tips for visiting the island,   including where to catch the ferry, transportation and parking, see  visiting Alcatraz .

Is Alcatraz sold out , for both the day and night tours?

See my suggestions on getting the tickets .

The Dinner Cruise

SF dinner cruise, city and bridge lights.

If you want to experience the city lights at night from the bay, City Experiences has a fun dinner/dance cruise .

We had a great time on it. See my dinner cruise page for info and photos for my experience

Check rates and availability to book it.

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  • Alcatraz Night Tour

The Alcatraz Night Tour is a unique program limited to just a few hundred visitors per evening. It includes special programs, tours, and activities not offered during the day. Roundtrip ferry transportation, a live boat narration, a guided tour from Dock to Cellhouse, the Cellhouse Audio Tour, a keepsake souvenir brochure, recreation use fee, and a variety of special programs and presentations offered only at night. *Face coverings are required at all times in boarding areas, onboard vessels and in all indoor spaces on Alcatraz Island.  Please bring your face mask with you or you may purchase one at the ticket booth.

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  • Alcatraz Behind the Scenes Tour

Get tickets to Alcatraz Island and cruise on the San Francisco Bay. Tour Alcatraz, the infamous and notorious former federal prison, which is home to the likes of Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelley, and Robert "The Birdman" Stroud. *Face coverings are required at all times in boarding areas, onboard vessels and in all indoor spaces on Alcatraz Island.  Please bring your face mask with you or you may purchase one at the ticket booth.

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BEST OPTION WHEN ALCATRAZ TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT - This tour goes inside Alcatraz! The Alcatraz & Angel Island Combination Tour showcases two of San Francisco Bay's most famous and historically rich islands. Take this tour and you will not only see two amazing sites, but you will travel on the first hybrid ferry in the United States. This vessel is a working demonstration of alternative energy in operation, utilizing wind, solar, electricity and diesel. *Face coverings are required at all times in boarding areas, onboard vessels and in all indoor spaces on Alcatraz Island.  Please bring your face mask with you or you may purchase one at the ticket booth.

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Alcatraz Night Tour: Our Visit to The Rock with Alcatraz Cruises

Last updated: May 19, 2019 - Written by Jessica Norah 32 Comments

After over 3 years of living in the San Francisco Bay area, we finally made it to Alcatraz Island last week and did the Alcatraz Night Tour and explored the famous prison. While primarily known and visited because of the 29 years it served as the home for the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, the tiny island has a rich and varied history.

Long ignored by native people, the island would in turn serve as a strategic place for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, a federal maximum-security prison, the site of a 19-month occupation of Native American protesters, and finally a national recreation area and top tourist destination in San Francisco.

Ironically, while for many years people would have done almost anything to get off and escape from Alcatraz, Hollywood celebrities now come here to shoot films and paying tourists line up in droves to come over and take photos in empty penitentiary cells. We were two of those travelers and were very excited to come finally have the opportunity to visit the former prison and explore Alcatraz Island.

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

Table of Contents:

Basic Information on Visiting Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island is located 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco. It is accessible by boat from Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33 in San Francisco. Pier 33 is at the foot of Bay Street on the Embarcadero. The boating area is a short 6-minute walk from the popular Pier 39 or a 10-minute walk from The Exploratorium at Pier 15.

Getting there?

Public transit : Taking public transportation is the best way to get here. The closest line is the MUNI F Line streetcars that stop right across from Pier 33. You can also take public transportation to Pier 39 and then take a short walk to Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33. Click here for more information on San Francisco public transportation options.

By Car : There are several paid parking garages available within walking distance. The nearest parking garage is 1 block away at 80 Francisco Street. There is limited accessible parking at Pier 33, available on a first-come, first-served basis for individuals with disability placards.

Tour times?

Tours run daily (except major holidays) throughout the year several times a day. Day and evening tours to Alcatraz are approximately 2.5 hours in length. Please check the Alcatraz Cruises  official website for the latest schedule as the tour times change seasonally.

The regular day tours are currently (as of May 2019) $39.90 for adults and youth (age 12 – 61), $24.40 for children (age 5-11), $37.65 for seniors (age 62+), and free for children age 4 or younger.

Night tours are $47.30 for adults, $46.25 for youth (age 12-17), $28.00 for children (5-11), $44.00 for seniors (62+), and free for children age 4 or younger.

The seasonal Alcatraz Island and Angel Island combination tour is 5.5 hours long and costs $78.65 for adults and youth (age 12 – 61), $52.40 for children (age 5-11), $76.40 for seniors, and free for children age 4 and younger.

Special family tickets for 2 adults and 2 children are also available, but need to be purchased in advance by phone.

The Alcatraz Day Island Tour can be included as a combo pass with the San Francisco City Pass or the 3 or 5-day Go San Francisco Card . But you have to follow specific directions at purchase to be able to use it for Alcatraz. The combo passes can be purchased at the Alcatraz Cruises Ticketbooth, located at Pier 33 in San Francisco, or by phone at (415) 981-7625.

Booking Reservations?

If you plan to visit Alcatraz Island during your visit to San Francisco, you should make reservations in advance as tickets can sell out several weeks in advance. While you may get lucky with same day or next day reservations in the less crowded winter months (January through March), it is always good to book in advance.

**Please use caution when purchasing tickets as Alcatraz Cruises is the only commercial boat service authorized by the National Park Service to carry passengers to and from the island. Several other companies in San Francisco offer narrated cruises around Alcatraz Island; however, only Alcatraz Cruises has permission to actually land on the island.**

On-line: The easiest and quickest way is to book directly through the Alcatraz Cruises website. Purchased tickets can be conveniently printed at home or picked up in-person.

In-Person: You can purchase tickets in person by visiting Alcatraz Landing ticket office at Pier 33, The Embarcadero.

By Telephone: Phone reservations can be made by calling the Alcatraz Cruises ticketing center at 415-981-7625.

San Francisco CityPass: If you plan to purchase the  San Francisco CityPASS  you will have the option to book a Alcatraz Island day tour (subject to reservations and availability). However, you must purchase and reserve the tour in a specific way. See the instructions here .

San Francisco Go Card:  If you plan to purchase a 3 or 5 day Go San Francisco Card directly from Alcatraz Cruises, you may visit Alcatraz Island (subject to reservations and availability). The Go San Francisco Card including an Alcatraz Tour may ONLY be purchased through Alcatraz Cruises directly. The Alcatraz Tour is only available on 3-day and 5-day cards.

Can I eat on the Island?

There is no food service available on the island and only water is available. Eating, drinking, and smoking is only allowed at the dock level. Public bathrooms are available.

Can I stay overnight at Alcatraz?

Generally no. There is an evening tour of Alcatraz, but you are not permitted to stay overnight. However, each year several hundred people are allowed to stay overnight at Alcatraz after having applied for a permit and been granted one.

Given the high demand and limited resources, currently only non-profit organization groups are eligible to apply for permits. You can find out more information here .

Day tour versus Alcatraz night tour?

There are pros and cons of taking a Alcatraz Night Tour over a Day Tour. Some pros for taking a night tour are there are fewer people, you get great views as the sun is setting, you get a free brochure, and there is extra programming available in the evening that is not available during the day. It is also perhaps easier to appreciate the isolated and eerie nature of the prison in the dark than during the day.

While the night tour has a lot of benefits over the day tour, I do wish we had had more time to explore other parts of the island. We would have liked to see more of the museum displays, seen more of the buildings, and hiked some of the short trails to see more of the plants and gardens on the island. Part of the issue is a lack of time as coming over for the evening tour you must leave when the last boat leaves, but the other issue is that some areas are closed during the evening that are open during the day.

The other factor to take into consideration when deciding is that the night tour is more expensive than the day tour.

Where can I find out more information?

You can visit the National Park Service  official website on Alcatraz Island for tons of information regarding planning your visit, accessibility, history of the island, educational materials, how to request permits for events or overnights, and other information.

As noted earlier, to check the boat schedule, make reservations, or book tickets you can visit Alcatraz Cruises . While the island is maintained by the National Park Service, Alcatraz Cruises is the official and only boat service authorized to carry passengers back and forth to Alcatraz Island.

 Our Experience doing the Alcatraz Night Tour

Ethan and I had been wanting to visit Alcatraz since we first moved to San Francisco over 3 years ago. We came very close to going in October while my family was in town for a visit. We had all purchased a San Francisco CityPass and scheduled an Alcatraz day tour with Alcatraz Cruises.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government decided to shut down during their stay so we had to settle for a Bay cruise instead. While lovely, we were all disappointed by not being able to visit this infamous prison, especially since my father actually works for a federal prison. We were however given complimentary photos at the end of our Bay cruise despite not having visited Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

Several months later, however, Alcatraz Cruises provided us complimentary tickets as travel writers to finally do this tour. We chose the night tour as we went with a large group of Ethan’s friends and co-workers. We took public transportation, taking the MUNI F Line street car to the stop (Embarcadero &  Bay Street stop) across from Pier 33.

The Alcatraz Landing area is well marked and hard to miss. We collected our tickets and met up with our group before getting into the line. They begin allowing people onto the boat about 10 minutes prior to departure and the line moves somewhat slowly as they take pictures of each person or group before they board (photos are available for purchase after the tour).

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

Once aboard, we chose to go to one of the upper decks and sit to check out the views. After safety instructions, a narrated history of Alcatraz Island is provided as the boat cruises around the island. It was a great time for some pictures of the island and a good way to get oriented to the island’s layout prior to our visit.

It was a pleasant 15-20 minute ride and there are snacks and drinks available for purchase in the bottom part of the boat.

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

Once docked, we all got off and stood near the dock to listen to one of the park rangers give some instructions and go over the evening’s programming options. We were also given souvenir brochures that provide some information on the Island and a helpful map (normally $1.00 on day tour), which are particularly useful if you plan to explore parts of the island outside the dock area and Cellhouse.

We then slowly made our way up the winding path of the hill with a few short stops as the ranger provided us with information about the buildings along the way.  The path is paved but is 1/4 mile long and uphill, so it may be particularly difficult for those with mobility issues or small children. A free electric shuttle helps escort anyone who is not able to make the climb.

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

As we passed the ruins of the old social hall and Officers’ Club, one of the more interesting pieces of information to us was about the guards and their families that lived on the island. A number of the officers’ families lived here with children taking a ferry to San Francisco each day to attend school. Many of the children report this as having been an idyllic place to grow up and few families even bothered to lock their doors, having almost no contact with any of the prisoners.

After making our way up the hill, we were finally standing in front of one of the entrances to the prison. You stand in line as people make there way inside and are each given an audioguide which contains the Cellhouse Audio tour “Doing Time”, which is available in a number of languages.

The tour was not guided by any rangers, but the audioguide makes for a very clear and structured tour and helps point out things as you walk along. It is also nice that you can pause the narration at any point. The audioguide contains the voices and stories of several prison guards and several former inmates at Alcatraz which adds richness to the narration.

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

The cell blocks are interesting to see up close and a few are open so you can walk inside. They are very small with nowhere to sit except on the cot or these little metal seats/shelves bolted to the wall. Most prisoners spent the vast majority of their time in their cells and you can get a brief sense of what it must have been like to sit in these tiny little cells for such long periods of time.

As you walk around you’ll hear the history of the prison, tales about the most famous inmates, the daily routine of prison life, attempted escapes, and the 1946 bloody Battle of Alcatraz. We both learned a lot of interesting information about the prison and discovered that some of the information we knew from films was inaccurate (e.g., famous inmate Robert Stroud known as the “Birdman of Alcatraz” was never allowed to keep any birds at Alcatraz).

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

After vising the solitary confinement cells, library, guards’ rooms, and warden’s office, you’ll walk outside. This is a great place to pause the narration and take some pictures of San Francisco and the Bay. We were lucky to have a particularly clear day with minimal fog.

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

After coming back indoors, you’ll return to the Cellblock for some more information and eventually end the tour in the Dining Room. The Dining Room is a dangerous place in a prison given the number of prisoners and potential weapons available (dishes, silverware, trays, etc.). After the narration ends, you can then return your audioguide and head to other parts of the island for further exploration. There are staff and a program guide here that can tell you what other tours and videos are available.

During our visit, the hospital (stairway is located near the entrance to the dining room) was open so we headed upstairs before leaving the Cellhouse. Everyone in our group was a health care worker of some type so this was particularly interesting. You can see the operating room, X-ray room, room for hydrotherapy, and cells for those prisoners housed in the hospital. Many of the items are not original but are from the same period. All medical care for prisoners was provided here, from surgery to dental care, so that prisoners would never need to leave the island.

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

After returning our audioguides, we had a few options regarding what to do next which included Cellhouse cell demonstrations (this is where you can actually experience getting locked in a cell), a talk titled something like  “Murder and Obsessions”, and a talk related to the Native American occupation.

We chose to do the talk on “Murder and Obsessions” where a guide related the tale about the relationship between two prisoners that led to one murdering the other. It was interesting but definitely not appropriate for children with themes of murder, violence, and sexuality. Finally, we finished our tour with watching a short 17-minute video “Alcatraz: Stories from the Rock” before it was time to board the boat back to the dock for our pleasant 15 minute cruise back to Pier 33.

Whether you choose to do a day tour of night tour of Alcatraz, here are our top 5 reasons you should consider including Alcatraz in your San Francisco trip itinerary:

  • Learn the history of the island
  • Experience the infamous prison up close and personal
  • Capture some great views of the Bay and San Francisco
  • Appreciate the flora and fauna of the island
  • Enjoy the short Bay cruise and the fact you have the privilege to escape from this isolated island.

Alcatraz Night Tour Alcatraz Cruises tour of Alcatraz prison

Have you done the Alcatraz Night Tour or a day tour to Alcatraz? As always, we’d love to hear any questions, thoughts, or tips you may have.

**Disclaimer: As travel writers, we were provided free tickets from Alcatraz Cruises to review the cruise and tour; however, this article contains only our own honest thoughts and opinions. We did not receive any financial compensation for the writing of this post, do not work for Alcatraz Cruises, and receive no commission for any sales of these tours.**

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Hannah Renton Post author

October 8, 2015 at 3:19 am

This looks like so much fun! If I ever get round to visiting San Francisco, I will definitely try and get tickets for Alcatraz! Great Post!

travelcats Post author

October 12, 2015 at 3:01 am

Hi Hannah, yes Alcatraz is one of my favorite tourist attractions to recommend to visitors in San Francisco. The audioguide is really good and having to take a boat ride over makes it a fuller experience I think. Tickets can sell out, especially in the summer months, so do plan ahead if you are in SF.

Postcards from Rachel Post author

March 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm

We did a tour during the day but I’d love to go back at night. I bet it’s so creepy!

Great photos!

March 12, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Thanks Rachel, I think the day and evening tours are both totally worth it! I think Alcatraz is one of those places you could definitely re-visit.

Meredith Post author

March 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Sounds like this tour is definitely worth going on the “must-do” list for San Fran! I always found it kind of amusing that they managed to turn one of the most notoriously difficult prisons to escape into a tourist destination. That said, I’m totally on board for checking it out – hopefully sooner than later! It’s great to know some of the pros and cons to day versus evening – always helpful when trying to plan out an itinerary 🙂

March 12, 2014 at 3:16 am

Yes, I definitely think it is a great place to add to your SF itinerary!

Karen Peterson Post author

March 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm

I’ve been to San Francisco so many times and I have never once been to Alcatraz. Looks like such an amazing place to see!

March 12, 2014 at 3:12 am

It is amazing to me how many people living in the Bay area have not been to Alcatraz (or really lots of famous sites). I think when you live close to a place or visit often you take things for granted until you leave. I know I was like that in OH and NM.

Ashlee Post author

March 10, 2014 at 11:30 am

Holy crap! This is on my bucket list. And that picture of San Francisco from the island is INCREDIBLE. My number one goal in life is to travel so I’m definitely subscribing to your blog! : )

March 11, 2014 at 11:51 am

Yes, the views of San Francisco are fantastic from the island on a clear day. You can also get some good ones of the Golden Gate Bridge from the boat if you have a good zoom on your camera. We’d love to have you as a new reader, you can subscribe to the blog by email for post updates on the sidebar!

Nicki Lewis Post author

March 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

Great pictures. I have always wanted to go see Alcatraz. Maybe will have to make the trip. Will keep your tips in mind

I am having a link up on Thursday, and would love you to stop by to join in

March 11, 2014 at 11:48 am

Thanks, and sure I’ll try to stop by on Thursday!

Meghan Post author

March 10, 2014 at 9:08 am

I’ve only ever been one one of those boats that goes around the island, but never ashore. What a chilling experience, especially at night! Will definitely have to do the tour.

It was really fun to actually be able to walk around the island go inside the old prison. I would definitely recommend it!

AwesomelyOZ Post author

March 10, 2014 at 7:17 am

That’s so cool – regardless, they had quite a view from that island! That “hospital’ looks trippy and I’m not sure on the quality of care those inmates probably received. Either way what a great experience to have visited that spot! 😀 Have a great one Jessica! -Iva

March 11, 2014 at 11:47 am

Thanks Iva for stopping by. Supposedly the medical care (and food) was pretty good for the time, but who really knows!

Michelle Post author

June 28, 2019 at 5:36 am

Hi we are visiting this September and really want to do the night tour but my mum has limited mobility. Do you know if the SEAT bus runs for the night tours? Thank you

Jessica & Laurence Norah Post author

June 29, 2019 at 11:39 am

Hi Michelle,

I believe that the SEAT tram should be running for the evening tours to Alcatraz. I had another reader ask this and it was running for her evening tour. I would of course double check to make sure it is scheduled to be running on the date you want to visit (I’d give them a call or send them an email), but we have heard from a reader a couple months ago that it was running for the night tours. You can find out more here: https://www.alcatrazcruises.com/accessibility/seat-transportation/

Enjoy your visit to Alcatraz!

Best, Jessica

Seana Turner Post author

March 10, 2014 at 6:43 am

I really enjoyed my tour when we went. I thought it was well organized, and very interesting. The whole idea of Alcatraz just stirs the imagination. I frankly didn’t even know there was a night tour, but I imagine being out there when it is dark would really help you identify with the anxiety of being incarcerated there. I always recommend people go when visiting SF.

March 11, 2014 at 11:29 am

Yes, the night tours are really interesting and have a bit of extra programming, but don’t have the advantages of being able to see as much of the nature on the island as the day tours. I definitely agree that this is a great must-see place for visitors who are spending more than a few days in SF.

Sammy Dorn Post author

March 10, 2014 at 6:02 am

This is a place I would be really interested to visit. You wrote a really great review. I find old prisons such great places to see. There is one in Australia called the ‘Old Dubbo Jail’ and I have memories of walking into the complete darkness of an isolation cell as a kid and running straight back out to my mum!

March 11, 2014 at 11:28 am

Hi Sammy, that prison sounds like a great place to check out whenever we get to Australia! That is a fun childhood memory:)

Erica Post author

March 10, 2014 at 3:06 am

Looks so interesting… and kind of creepy or eerie too!

March 11, 2014 at 11:27 am

It was a very interesting tour, and I think it has that appeal for some people of being a bit morbid and creepy:)

Kaelene @Unlocking Kiki Post author

March 10, 2014 at 2:36 am

When we visited San Fran last summer we tried to go to Alcatraz. Of course I hadn’t even thought of booking tickets early, big mistake they were sold out until the next spring!

March 11, 2014 at 11:25 am

Oh wow, yes, the Winter (Jan. – March) is the best time to try to get last minute reservations, but the tours (especially night tours) sell out weeks in advance normally. Hopefully you will get to visit on your next visit to SF!

Anja Post author

March 10, 2014 at 2:10 am

What a great article! I visited Alcatraz 8 years ago during the day and really enjoyed it for all the reasons you mention in your post. Hats of for the detailed, informative and structured way you give information about this site!

March 11, 2014 at 11:24 am

Thanks Anja and I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Alcatraz as well.

Johlet Post author

March 10, 2014 at 2:07 am

Woah I got some freaky goosebumps while watching your photos! I loved the Alcatraz series, too bad it only lasted for 1 Season. 🙁 I would love to one day visit Alcatraz!

March 11, 2014 at 11:23 am

Some people find it really creepy at night. I would actually love to do an overnight here:)

Louisa Post author

March 9, 2014 at 11:46 pm

I would find this tour fascinating! Great review Jessica. You covered what I wanted to know.

March 10, 2014 at 12:41 am

Thanks Louisa, yes the tour is really interesting and informative! A few people in our group had already been a few times before so I think it is one of those places you can revisit every few years and learn something new.

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