5 Things You Didn't Know About Alcatraz

April 20, 2016

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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    Mirror Maze

    "Dude. Duuuuuuuuuuude. Those colors are just...whoooooooa." Want to get to that point without the health and legal risks? Come to Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze for an experience like no other! During this crazy attraction, you'll wind your way through a labyrinth of mirrors, set aglow by black lights. You'll completely lose track of where you are and where you're trying to go -- but that's the fun part! This psychedelic experience is completely mindblowing, so just let go and enjoy the ride. Or should we say trip?
    Mirror Maze

    Pier 39, San Francisco

    • Make your way through an intricate labyrinth of mirrors and try your best not to get lost!
    • See black lights, glowing mirrors, and crazy effects
    • Stay and trip out for as long as you want
    • Have the most psychedelic experience one can legally reach in San Francisco!
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    Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure (San Francisco)

    Price is for a group of 2-5 people Looking for a way to turn San Francisco into a giant game board? Urban Adventure Quest has created an interactive scavenger hunt that combines the fun of the amazing race with a three-hour sightseeing tour of SF highlights! Guided from any smartphone, you’ll make your way among well-known and overlooked gems of the city, solving clues and completing challenges while learning local history. Answer questions to uncover the next, secret location. Your adventure takes you through the Union Square area, which houses some of the city’s finest designer shopping and cafes, through the bustling Chinatown and other historical neighborhoods as you make your way down through the famous Wharf District. Traverse its contoured landscape both on foot and by Cable Car, as you gain an entirely new perspective ol San Francisco and learn to see the city by the Bay in a whole new way!
    Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure (San Francisco)

    Yerba Buena Park, San Francisco

    • Embark on a tour that allows you to experience San Francisco as if it were a scavenger hunt
    • Answer fun trivia questions to uncover the next secret location and advance in your journey
    • Explore the most iconic SF neighborhoods, such as Union Square, Chinatown, and the Wharf District
    • Snap breathtaking photos of the city from above as you ride through the sky in a cable car
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    Premium Sake Museum Tour and Tasting

    You love sake, but you can’t travel all the way to Japan for a nice cup, and you only want the highest quality. How lucky, then, that Takara Sake has a place right here in California, with a premium tour and tasting! On this delightful tour, you’ll get a fascinating tour of the Sake museum, featuring sake artifacts and implements, plus the history of sake-making in America. Then, enjoy a tasting of a variety of premium sake, including Sho Chiku Bai Sake and more! And there’s no better place to get the full, authentic sake experience than at Takara’s The Tasting Room, measuring over 2,200 square feet and inspired by Japanese rice paddies. You’ll be satisfying your sake cravings in no time!
    Premium Sake Museum Tour and Tasting

    708 Addison St, Berkeley

    • Taste a variety of premium sakes in an authentic setting
    • Learn about sake production and see sake artifacts and implements collected by Takara
    • Feel like you’re on an exotic and unforgettable journey to Japan
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    Nob Hill Walking Tour

    For more than a century, San Francisco’s Nob Hill has been associated with the upper crust, the ‘beau monde.’ Take a guided walking tour to admire the neighborhood's most distinctive landmarks including the exclusive Fairmont Hotel and Mark Hopkins Hotel, majestic Grace Cathedral and serene Huntington Park, as well as posh mansions, the famous cable cars and sweeping views of San Francisco Bay. As you explore one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods, your expert guide will entertain you with historical anecdotes about the area’s rise to fortune and fame. Your expert guide will narrate the history of this distinctive neighborhood, one of San Francisco's famous "Seven Hills", while taking you to the area’s most iconic and historical landmarks. Learn about this affluent neighborhood’s rise to fortune, staring in the mid-1800s with gold, silver and the Central Pacific Railroad. You’ll discover the interesting little-known fact that the name ‘Nob’ comes from the area's earliest settlers, deriving from a Hindi word for a very wealthy or powerful person. After the infamous 1906 earthquake and fire, nearly every mansion in Nob Hill was destroyed. The hill rose from complete devastation to showcase the most exclusive and posh hotels in the city. Near the famous intersection of California Street and Powell Street, you’ll stand in awe of the Fairmont Hotel, the Mark Hopkins Hotel, the Stanford Court and the Huntington Hotel. Admire majestic Grace Cathedral, one of the city’s largest places of worship. Pass Masonic Temple, the glamorous Ritz Carlton, the stately Brockleback Apartments, serene Huntington Park and the Pacific Union Club, the former James Clair Flood Mansion. Along the way, you’ll be entertained by stories of San Francisco’s pioneers, aristocrats and tycoons, as well as the events that helped shape this iconic neighborhood, all while enjoying lovely views of the surrounding San Francisco Bay.
    Nob Hill Walking Tour

    1201 Mason St, San Francisco

    • Take a guided walking tour to explore Nob Hill, one of San Francisco’s most affluent neighborhoods
    • Admire distinctive landmarks including Fairmont Hotel, Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park
    • Be entertained with historical anecdotes about the area’s rise to fortune and fame
    • Enjoy the beautiful sights of Nob Hill and see everything it has to offer
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    Tiburon Food and Wine Tour

    Start your 3-hour tour by meeting your guide at Pier 41 at San Francisco's Embarcadero. Hop on a ferry or water taxi for the 20-minute boat ride across San Francisco Bay. The afternoon excursion passes by Angel Island State Park before landing at the waterfront in Tiburon, a former railroad town turned upscale enclave. On arrival, walk with your guide to a number of popular eateries and learn a bit of history along the way. Pair white wine with Asian cuisine at Lily Kai and comfort food at the Tiburon Tavern. Set out for Sam’s Anchor Cafe featuring seafood and rosé. Sip a red varietal with Italian dishes at Luna Blu, and sample dessert with coffee at Cafe Renzo on historic Ark Row, where storefronts and eateries are actually restored boats. Conclude your food-and-wine tour of Tiburon with the return boat ride to the city.
    Tiburon Food and Wine Tour

    Pier 41, San Francisco

    • Enjoy a selection of seafood, Sicilian cuisine, and dessert during a memorable afternoon.
    • Get inside tips from a local guide while exploring the city’s streets
    • Perfect introduction for first-time visitors or couples
    • Cross San Francisco Bay by round-trip ferry, passing Angel Island en route to Marin
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    Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias Trip

    Take time out for a day trip into the wild beauty of Yosemite National Park from San Francisco. Enjoy the beautiful countryside and discover the raw beauty of California's most famous national park. Your journey begins with a drive through San Joaquin Valley and into the Sierra Nevada range. In the morning, you will be driven to a giant sequoia grove (snow depth permitting), stopping along the way for a bird's-eye view of the whole valley. You can relax in the picnic area and have lunch (not included) among the giant sequoia trees.

    After lunch, you will have the opportunity to go on a short one-hour hike to the falls or grab a snack at the Yosemite Lodge. You will have three to four hours to spend at Yosemite National Park, with a range of activities to suit everyone, which may include some of the following:
    • Hike to one of Yosemite's waterfalls
    • Watch the climbers on El Capitan
    • Rent bikes for a relaxing cycle on the flat bike paths throughout the valley
    • Cool off in lovely river pools in summer
    • Spot a black bear
    • Relax at the visitors center, with museums, restaurants and the Ansel Adams Gallery to inspire every amateur photographer
    When it's time to head back to San Francisco, you will drive down the Sierra Nevada stopping along the way for a short break.

    Please note: The weather in Yosemite is highly variable and includes rain and snow in winter and high temperatures in summer. The itinerary may be adapted to make the most of Yosemite during different seasons and times of the year.
    Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias Trip

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Embark on a trip to the peaceful countryside and discover the raw beauty of Yosemite National Park
    • Drive through San Joaquin Valley and into the Sierra Nevada range
    • Enjoy three to four hours of free time at Yosemite National Park, with a range of activities to suit everyone
    • Relax in the picnic area and have lunch among the giant sequoia trees
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    California Academy of Sciences

    The California Academy of Sciences is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens! Just one ticket allows you to explore an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, rainforest, 40,000 live animals, and more — all under one living roof! No matter your interest, CAS has something for everyone. If you love exploration and the amazing biodiversity of Earth, you should check out the lush, four-story rainforest that’s teeming with life from the world’s richest tropical regions. Or maybe you’re more into the mysteries and awesome size of our universe, in which case you should definitely visit the Morrison Planetarium. With a completely digital dome that measures 90 feet in diameter, plus a 75-foot screen, you’ll feel like you’re up among the stars. The point is, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the CAS.
    California Academy of Sciences

    55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco

    • Take a trip to one of the largest museums of natural history in the world
    • Explore an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and much more with just one ticket
    • Gaze up at the stars in the Morrison Planetarium, fully equipped with a 75 foot digital screen
    • Learn a little bit more about the beautiful planet we call home
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    Chinatown Food Tour

    Come explore San Francisco’s Chinatown, the largest one in the US! It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the city or a seasoned local -- this tour will show you some of the best places to grab a bite to eat! You’ll enjoy five different mouthwatering delights, three of them inside seated restaurants and two from smaller establishments. Leave room in your belly for delicious dim sum, scrumptious Cantonese barbecue pork buns, savory Beijing peking duck, and the iconic Chinese sweet treat: egg tarts. Not to mention you’ll get to try Chef Han’s world-renowned authentic Szechuan cuisine! Make sure you’ve got water on hand for that kind of spice. Between food tastings your friendly guide will tell stories of the development of SF’s Chinatown, focusing on stories of Chinese immigrants. You’ll also learn about the hidden alleys, the Tong Wars, and the pagoda-style Buddhist temples in the area. Learn about San Francisco’s Chinatown through its food, culture, and people!
    Chinatown Food Tour

    1066 Grant Ave, San Francisco

    • Take a walking tour of Chinatown and discover amazing places to eat
    • Learn about the area’s history and culture from a knowledgeable and friendly guide
    • Enjoy 5 different food tastings, from Cantonese pork buns to Beijing peking duck
    • Discover the delicious and diverse flavors of authentic Chinese cuisine
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    Japantown Tour with Saine Sain

    Looking for tour with a little more Zen? This tour of San Francisco’s Japantown ought to do the trick, as you’ll be exploring a hidden world that favors harmony over usual clamor of urban life. Your guide will offer you an intimate introduction neighborhood’s history and culture, as you check out some its most popular landmarks and shops. You’ll also take the time to enjoy a traditional lunch featuring exotic fare, and explore many boutique shops featuring imported Japanese items. This tour isn’t about rushing from site to site, but enjoying the walk and taking the time to study and learn about your surroundings. If you appreciate history and variety, this is a tour you’ll want to check out. It’s also a great chance to add to your kimono collection.
    Japantown Tour with Saine Sain

    Japantown, San Francisco

    • Learn about the culture of San Francisco’s Japantown during a guided exploration of its streets
    • Relieve tension by treating yourself to an Anma and Shiatsu massage at Saine Sain
    • Fill up on nutritious, exotic fare at a one of the area’s many excellent Japanese restaurants
    • Spend some time shopping in a few of the neighborhood’s import boutiques and specialty shops
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    Beers and Bikes Tour

    Bikes and beers were born to go together, like peanut butter and jelly, or handlebar mustaches and irony. Explore some of San Francisco’s newest and hippest neighborhoods as you pedal to and from three of the area’s best craft breweries and beer gardens, where you can cool off with frosty pints of local brews. Past tours have included stops like 21st Amendment Brewery, Magnolia Brew Pub, Barrel Head Brewhouse, and Triple Voo Doo Brewery. Besides, no need to feel guilty about spending the day drinking -- you’ll just work it off on your way to the next spot.
    Beers and Bikes Tour

    49 Lusk St, San Francisco

    • Tour San Francisco by bike as you visit the area’s best breweries and beer gardens
    • Stop at off the beaten path locations and enjoy delicious local brews
    • Embrace a perfect combination of exercise and recreation
    • Participate in a cool and unique way to explore the city
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