5 Things You Didn't Know About Alcatraz

April 20, 2018

Located on a small island surrounded by choppy waters, just off the coast of San Fran, lies a prison that has held the country’s most dangerous criminals...

Alcatraz -- like something out of a comic book, it’s no wonder it’s the most notorious incarceration facility in the country. Home to likes of Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, and Arthur “Doc” Barker, the high security federal building operated from 1934 to 1963, containing the murderous gangsters of the 1920s and 30s. In its 29 years of operation, the prison managed to rack up quite a colorful -- and sometimes violent -- history.

Here’s a quick look at some intriguing Alcatraz facts you may not know. If you don't get your fix here, read on to check out the activities we offer that will take you there to see it for yourself!

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    Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Tour

    On our Muir Woods and Sausalito tour, you’ll wander through the ancient groves of coastal redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument and walk along the quaint sidewalks of Downtown Sausalito. Muir Woods is an example of an old-growth redwood forest located only about 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco. You will have an hour and a half to roam through this ‘living museum’ where you can get a glimpse of the towering trees that used to dominate the west coast from Santa Barbara to Washington. After exploring Muir Woods you will get a 15-20 minute narrated tour through the beautiful seaside Mediterranean-style town of Sausalito and a chance to explore (approx 45 minutes total) before returning to the city across the Golden Gate Bridge. To complete your San Francisco Bay experience, perhaps you’d like to hop off the vehicle in this lovely town and add on a picturesque ferry ride (must be booked in advance) back to San Francisco!
    Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Tour

    2095 Jerrold Ave., San Francisco

    • Golden Gate Bridge Viewpoints
    • Experience the Muir Woods Giant Redwoods
    • See the beautiful bay views from Sausalito
    • Add an optional ferry ride across the bay!
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    Telegraph Hill and the Old Waterfront Tour

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    Wild parrots. Do you really need to read any further? Fine. Roam Local presents the "Telegraph Hill & Old Waterfront" walking tour, a four mile leisurely trek around the old waterfront area of San Francisco. You'll have the opportunity to explore Yerba Buena Cove, the Barbary Cove, and the infamous Telegraph Hill (that's where the parrots are!). You'll discover hidden parks, gardens and alleys, plus experience stunning views of the bay, including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. You'll find out where television and blue jeans were born, all while experiencing a true urban adventure. And did we mention WILD PARROTS???
    Telegraph Hill and the Old Waterfront Tour

    1751 Market St, San Francisco

    • Explore historic old waterfront on Yerba Buena Cove, the Barbary Coast, and Telegraph Hill
    • Discover secret spots and hidden delights that only the locals know about
    • Obtain insights into the history of this hotbed of American culture
    • Enjoy a relaxing, informative walk that will put you in touch with San Francisco's hidden gems.
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    1 positive reviews
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    Four Peaks Tour

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    The Four Peaks area of San Francisco isn't just colorful -- It's a virtual rainbow. Considered one of the preeminent centers of global gay culture and LGBT activism in the world, this area is now among the most vibrant, hip places in the city. Over the sixties and seventies, multitudes of gay men and women started to move into the neighborhood and fix up homes that had fallen into disrepair in the area, eventually claiming the neighborhood as their own. Discover hidden alleys, staircases, and gardens on a 3.5 mile walk. Learn about the important history of the area, and find out why Four Peaks is lovingly known as "Eureka Valley" by the locals. While leisurely, tour involves many steps, which can be challenging. Exact meeting location is given upon confirmation of booking.
    Four Peaks Tour

    1751 Market St, San Francisco

    • Take a walking tour of the Four Peaks area of San Francisco, the LGBT hub of the United States
    • Discover hidden staircases, gardens, and paths that only an insider would know about
    • Gain knowledge about history of this hotbed of American culture
    • Embrace one of the most culturally relevant areas of San Francisco
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    1 positive reviews
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    Chinatown, Russian Hill & North Beach Tour

    (1)
    In Roam Local's "Chinatown, Russian Hill & North Beach" walking-tour, you'll explore the hidden streets and sites of three of San Francisco's most famous and picturesque neighborhoods. Beginning and ending at the Friendship Gate of Chinatown, you'll travel through the colorful back alleys of the oldest and largest Chinatown in the world. Here you'll find the first Chinese temple ever built in the United States. From there, you'll ascend Russian Hill, famous for its writers' salons and eclectic vibe, and explore Barbary Lane, the hidden street that famously inspired Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City novel series. Next up, you'll descend into North Beach, epicenter of the Beat Generation, the Bohemian artists and nonconformists behind the great San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s. If you're looking for an insider's view of SF, this is a tour you'll not want to miss!
    Chinatown, Russian Hill & North Beach Tour

    1751 Market St, San Francisco

    • Embark on a four mile walking tour through Chinatown, Russian Hill, and North Beach
    • Discover colorful hidden spots within the largest Chinatown in the world and the trendy epicenter of the Beat Generation
    • Obtain insights into the history of this hotbed of American culture
    • Stretch your legs while immersing yourself in a true cultural experience
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    1 positive reviews
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    Castro Mission Tour

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    You haven't truly experienced San Francisco until you've visited Castro Mission Loop. Known for its Victorian architecture and vibrant murals, you'll learn all about its history during your intimate walking tour directed by a local that knows about all of the hidden spots you won't find in a guide book. During this leisurely 3.5 mile walk you'll be introduced to San Francisco's oldest building, an alley of murals, a buried lagoon, and numerous other interesting points and oddities that make Castro a must see spot. Plus, you'll get acquainted with one of the city's most popular gay epicenters and gain exposure to the unique culture that makes San Francisco one of America's favorite cities.
    Castro Mission Tour

    1751 Market St, San Francisco

    • Explore Castro Mission Loop, one of the San Francisco's oldest areas, for an informative walking tour
    • See Liberty Hill, the oldest building in the city, murals, Victorian architecture, and a buried lagoon
    • Gain knowledge about the history of this hotbed of American culture
    • Take a relaxing, scenic 3.5 mile walk through one of the most famous neighborhoods in San Francisco
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    1 positive reviews
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    Lousy Yerba Buena Tour

    The Lousy Tour is an entertaining walking tour that incorporates points of interest for history, architecture, flora & fauna and culture in a fun and humorous way. Nothing is taken too seriously and SK, your hilarious guide, often makes guests his playful victims. Yerba Buena (Good Herb) was the aptly prophetic name for the original village that became San Francisco. This tour will start with a quick history recap in Portsmouth Square, where you'll travel back in time through the Gold Rush era, visiting sites like Empire Park, the Wells Fargo History Museum, and a graveyard of sunken ships. See remnants of the Barbary Coast like the Old Ship Saloon and Jackson Square, as well as the few historic buildings, like those at Hotaling Place that remained standing after the 1906 Earthquake and fire. You'll even visit sites for recent history like the Trans America Pyramid and Sidney G. Walton Park. Bring your sense of humor, this tour is a unique and bitingly sassy take on SF history you don't want to miss out on!
    Lousy Yerba Buena Tour

    Portsmouth Square, San Francisco

    • Experience a unique and humorous twist on your typical historical walking tour
    • See the only historic buildings of the Barbary Coast that survived the 1906 Earthquake and fire
    • Enjoy points of interest for history, architecture, flora & fauna and culture like never before
    • Become a playful victim of your guide, SK Morton, as he plays pranks on you and other guests
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    Alcatraz Sunset Segway Tour

    Explore Alcatraz and take a city Segway tour to see top San Francisco attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, Fisherman's Wharf and the Transamerica Building on this fascinating and fun combo tour. Relax on your scenic ferry ride along San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island and learn the history of the notorious former prison during a comprehensive audio tour. The following day, venture onto the streets of San Francisco on a small-group Sunset Segway tour for an intimate sightseeing experience. On your first day, board a ferry at Pier 33 for the 10-minute ride across placid San Francisco Bay toward Alcatraz Island. When you arrive, watch an informative movie about Alcatraz, which once housed some of the nation's most heinous criminals, including Al Capone and James 'Whitey' Bulger. A number of inmates tried to escape the massively fortified island, but no one is known to have succeeded. Take an audio tour of the cellblocks and historic buildings that are a gloomy contrast to the spellbinding views of San Francisco's skyline in the distance.

    Your Segway tour isn't until the next day, so there's no need to hurry. Explore the compound at your own pace and head back to the mainland when you wish; ferries depart roughly every half hour. The day after your expedition to Alcatraz, meet at Pier 45 for your 3-hour Segway tour -- an intimate, leisurely way to see more of San Francisco than you would on a walking tour or bus tour. Receive a safety orientation to get comfortable on your Segway, and then set off to explore the city with your small group and knowledgeable guide.

    Listen to your guide talk about the city's rich history as you glide past its most distinctive landmarks, stopping for incredible photo opportunities.

    On the morning or afternoon Segway tour, cruise past bustling Fisherman's Wharf and take in vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge's regal red towers and Alcatraz's imposing outline. See the shops and restaurants of Ghirardelli Square and historic marine vessels at Hyde Street Pier and Aquatic Park. Admire a famous San Francisco cable car, and end your adventure with a close-up view of the towering Transamerica Pyramid in the Financial District before returning to Pier 45.

    The sunset Segway tour also includes amazing views of Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Transamerica Building before traveling along the waterfront Embarcadero with its numerous piers. Finish your tour with views of San Francisco's best-known towers - the Ferry Building and sleek Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill - before heading back to Pier 45.
    Alcatraz Sunset Segway Tour

    Pier 33, San Francisco

    • Explore the rich history of San Francisco on this two-day land and sea tour
    • Relax on your ferry ride to Alcatraz as you prepare yourself to explore the infamous former prison
    • The following day, venture onto the streets of San Francisco on a small-group Segway tour
    • Listen to informative commentary from your guide as you visit Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Gold Gate Park
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    Chasing the Dragon: History & Mystery of Chinatown

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    On this entertaining walking tour, learn about why the Chinese settled in San Francisco, their role in building the Transcontinental Railroad, and how the neighborhood rebuilt after the Great Earthquake and the Fire of 1906. History will come alive as you visit the city's oldest street, Portsmouth Square, beautiful and seedy back alleys, a fortune cookie factory, and Old St. Mary's, California's first cathedral and a survivor of the Great Earthquake and Fire. As you go, you'll wander amongst authentic dim sum restaurants, herbal shops, temples, and open air markets. This isn't one of those tours where you follow along, eyes glazing over as you try to absorb dry facts and figures. Interactive fun is at the heart of the tour. You will answer questions, play games, and laugh along the way. This is a one-of-a-kind way to get an inside look at San Francisco's fun and fascinating history. Discover how a literally burnt out ghetto became one of San Francisco's most popular destinations and the role it has played in San Francisco's fascinating history.
    Chasing the Dragon: History & Mystery of Chinatown

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Discover the history of America's biggest Chinatown on an entertaining walking tour
    • Visit the oldest street in San Francisco, the birthplace of Chinatown, a fortune cookie factory, and California's oldest church
    • Play fun games and answer trivia questions as you go
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    9 positive reviews
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    Daring Divas of the Past Tour

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    From social activists to actresses to literary legends, San Francisco has been home to world-changing women. You'll walk in the footsteps of 10 ladies who left their legacy on the landscape, like Isadora Duncan, Maya Angelou, and Lillie Coit. Starting with the brave pioneer women who worked just as hard as the men, but in corsets, you'll meet the Madonna of the 1800's, learn the difference between SF's working girls and working women, and visit the street where three major divas' lives intersected. On this tour, you'll span both centuries and neighborhoods. Then, work your way through the theater district, Maiden Lane, Chinatown, and North Beach. This isn't one of those tours where you follow along, eyes glazing over as you try to absorb dry facts and figures. Interactive fun is at the heart of the tour. You'll answer questions, play games, and laugh along the way. Learn about San Francisco's amazing history and the tough, talented woman who made it that way.
    Daring Divas of the Past Tour

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Follow in the footsteps of 10 of San Francisco's most influential women on this entertaining walking tour
    • Discover the amazing histories of local and national legends, like Phyllis Diller, Lillie Coit, and Maya Angelou
    • Tour through four different neighborhoods and play fun games and answer trivia questions
    • An exciting, extensive lesson in San Francisco's past and present
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    9 positive reviews
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    6 Hour Napa Valley Wine Tour in Private Limousine

    Think Napa Valley is only about wine? Think again! Tag along during this 6-hour tour of beautiful Napa Valley and you'll discover that there's a lot more to the land than vineyards. With the convenience and comfort of a luxury limousine, you'll immerse yourself in the rolling hills and beautiful mountains. The gorgeous landscapes will completely intoxicate you! Oh, and then there's Napa Valley's world renowned vineyards. Enjoy a taste of famous, world class wines. Plus, many of the wineries contain fantastic art collections for public viewing. Nature, wine, a luxury limousine, and art? Not bad for six hours of R&R.
    6 Hour Napa Valley Wine Tour in Private Limousine

    San Francisco/Napa Valley, Napa

    • Enjoy the views of beautiful Napa Valley from the convenience of a private limousine
    • Surround yourself with gorgeous mountains and rolling hills as you taste wine
    • Try a sampling of the wines that make Napa Valley world-renowned
    • Find out that there's much more to Napa Valley than its vineyards
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