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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    Castro Mission Tour

    (1)
    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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    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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    The Whole Shebang Tour

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    See just how diverse San Francisco really is as you wind your way through three distinctly different neighborhoods. The tour starts in swanky Nob Hill and moves down to the fancy shopping district Union Square, where you'll learn about San Francisco's early days. You'll head to the back alleys of America's largest Chinatown neighborhood, where you'll visit a fortune cookie factory. And then it's just steps to North Beach, the heart of the Italian Community and home of the Beatniks. Along the way, you'll see the sites of the Great Earthquake and the Fire of 1906, some Painted Ladies, and tons of classic cable cars and historic bars. 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. Get the full scope of everything San Francisco has to offer on this one-of-a-kind, whirlwind romp through the city.
    The Whole Shebang Tour

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Experience San Francisco's amazing diversity on an entertaining walking tour
    • Explore Union Square, Chinatown, and North Beach, stopping at iconic sites along the way
    • See locations like Maiden Lane and a fortune cookie factory
    • Play fun games and answer trivia questions as you go
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    9 positive reviews
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    Helicopter Tour and Dinner Cruise

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    Views from above, views from the water! Savor the breathtaking aerial views of San Francisco on a helicopter tour. Take in well-known landmarks from above, such as Alcatraz Island and the spectacular Golden Gate and Bay Bridges spanning the bay. After your flight, end your day in style aboard a dinner cruise on San Francisco Bay as the sun sets.

    Enjoy the sights of San Francisco on the way to the heliport. Once onboard your quiet and smooth reliable helicopter seating 4 to 6 passengers, the exhilarating adventure begins. Musical background accompanies spontaneous narration by your professionally trained pilot. During your 20-minute flight, see the famous hills of San Francisco and the striking cityscape. Admire aerial views of Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Bridge and more. Upon landing, the shuttle drops guests for boarding on the yacht where delightful views of San Francisco from the water await. On your 2.5 hour cruise, savor an elegant 4-course dinner, enjoy live music entertainment and stroll the outer decks for incomparable views of the glittering San Francisco skyline. Your evening concludes at Pier 3.

    Helicopter Tour and Dinner Cruise

    333 O'Farrell St, San Francisco

    • Admire the beauty of the skyline and the bay as you go for a 20 minute helicopter ride and dinner cruise
    • Soar over San Francisco and capture breathtaking views from the vantage point of a helicopter
    • Savor a 4-course dinner aboard a yacht passing landmarks like Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge
    • Enjoy live music and stroll the outer decks for incomparable views of the glittering skyline
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    1 positive reviews
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    Earn Your Wings (SF)

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    Have you always wanted to feel the thrill of free falling without having to... well, jump out of an airplane?! What if you could feel the adrenaline rush of skydiving MINUS your totally understandable fear of heights? Well, here's your chance! iFLY is an indoor skydiving facility that creates true free fall conditions. You'll float inside iFLY's 1,000 hp vertical wind tunnel -- with absolutely NOTHING attaching you to planet earth. And with the Earn Your Wings package, you'll get the ultimate beginner-level package for a great introduction to indoor skydiving: 2 unforgettable one-minute flights, plus hands-on assistance and a comprehensive training session from your personal flight instructor. You'll even get to take home a personalized flight certificate to show off to your friends. This is one indoor aerial experience you don't want to miss! Note: The total duration of the activity is 2 hours, which includes 1 hour of training. Includes use of all the flight gear. If you have had a prior shoulder dislocation, back, or neck problems or if you are pregnant, you should not fly. Those less than 6 feet tall must weigh less than 230 pounds, and those over 6 feet must weigh less than 250 pounds. Flyers can be as young as 3 years of age; there is no upper age limit. Participants under 18 years must have parent or legal guardian present to sign Release of Liability.
    Earn Your Wings (SF)

    31310 Alvarado-Niles Rd, Union City

    • Experience the adrenaline rush of skydiving without having to jump out of an airplane
    • Benefit from the ultimate beginner's package, with everything you need to have a great first flight
    • Feel safe and prepared with hands-on assistance from your personal flight instructor
    • Channel your inner super hero as you float in iFLY San Francisco's 1,000 hp vertical wind tunnel
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    8 positive reviews
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    Summer of Love, Winter of Discontent in Haight-Ashbury Tour

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    Wander the streets of Haight-Ashbury, the hippie hotbed that birthed the cultural revolution of the 1960's. You'll learn about the neighborhood's meteoric rise to greatness in 1964 and why the trip turned bad by 1968. Visit Janis Joplin's crash pad, jam out at the Grateful Dead House, say "Yes" to a Love-In at the Panhandle, and bask in the debauchery of Buena Vista Park. And if the Flower Power years aren't enough for you, Haight-Ashbury is one of the few neighborhoods to have avoided the Fire of 1906, so it still features beautiful, authentic Victorian homes. 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. Get ready to see the psychedelic music, hear the psychedelic artwork, and taste the history of this truly groovy part of town.
    Summer of Love, Winter of Discontent in Haight-Ashbury Tour

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Explore Haight-Ashbury, the home of the hippie revolution, on an entertaining walking tour
    • Visit iconic sites like the homes of Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead, the Panhandle, and Buena Vista Park
    • Play fun games and answer trivia questions as you go
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    9 positive reviews
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    Total Yosemite Experience from San Jose

    Explore more! The Yosemite National Park tour from San Jose is an experience that will leave a memorable impression for people of all ages. Join vasty knowledgeable Expedition Leaders on a day-long trip through the Yosemite Valley, where you will be learn about the geology, history, and wildlife that make this National Park one of North America’s most awesome sights to behold. You will even get to touch a living fossil! The Giant Sequoias of Tuolumne Grove have inhabited the park for millions of years, along with many other colossal granite cliffs. This day tour will leave from the Fairmont Hotel San Jose and depart east through California’s lush Central Valley, into the precipitous Sierra Nevada mountain range. Grab your camera and hop on board for this unforgettable Yosemite experience! During your tour, you will also be able to enjoy free wifi available on your bus or van!
    Total Yosemite Experience from San Jose

    928 Harrison Street , San Francisco

    • Explore the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite National Park
    • Experience the serenity of Tuolumne Grove’s giant sequoias
    • Join Expedition Leaders as they inform you of the rich geology, history, and wildlife that make Yosemite unique
    • Embark on a memorable and exciting journey for people of all ages!
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    Teas, Temples, and Beatniks

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    Experience San Francisco's diversity firsthand as you explore two very different but equally exciting neighborhoods. You'll experience a true fusion of East and West, where one of the largest and oldest Chinese communities outside of Asia butts right up against the birthplace of the beret-loving Beat Generation. Starting in Chinatown, you will learn about the Chinese community's role in the Gold Rush and train building boom, and stop for a bite of traditional mooncake pastries. From there, it's off to the oldest Chinese temple in America, where you can have your fortune read, and then on to a sampling of fresh fortune cookies and an in-depth tea tasting. Just a few steps north, you'll enter North Beach, home of Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg's favorite hangouts. You will check out the City Lights Bookstore, which still publishes San Francisco's great local poets. You'll wander through picturesque side streets as you explore Little Italy, past adorable shops and cafes. Embrace a deliciously fascinating transcontinental experience, without ever leaving the city.
    Teas, Temples, and Beatniks

    Grant Ave & Bush St, San Francisco

    • Explore the adjacent but wildly different neighborhoods of Chinatown and North Beach
    • Learn the history of SF's Chinese community as you visit the country's oldest temple, and see the areas Kerouac and Ginsberg once roamed
    • Savor traditional Chinese pastries and teas
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    3 positive reviews

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