Tour Tips & Information
Helpful Tips While Visiting Alcatraz Island
Helpful Tips For Before And During Your Trip
Best Practices For Maximizing Your Experiences
Please read this important information regarding an event in San Francisco that may affect your travel time to Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing, the departure point for your Alcatraz tour.
The San Francisco Pride Parade is scheduled for Sunday, June 24, 2018. There will be street and lane closures throughout San Francisco that will cause detours and traffic congestion on the streets leading to Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing.
Please plan ahead and review the parade route to see the affected streets. We strongly recommend that you take public transportation and arrive one hour prior to your scheduled departure or add an extra hour to your driving time.
Due to the day’s activities, parking around Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing, Fisherman’s Wharf and throughout the waterfront will be extremely limited. Parking can be expensive, with many lots charging up to $50 per day. If at all possible, we strongly suggest taking public transportation. Please visit www.511.org for more information on traffic and public transit.
We are unable to refund or reschedule missed tours due to this event. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions regarding your tour, please do not hesitate to call our Reservations Center at 415.981.ROCK (7625).
During this time of year (August – October), Kelp/Cormorant Flies are found in large numbers on Alcatraz Island, on Alcatraz Cruises boats, and occasionally at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. Please be aware that while these flies may become a significant annoyance, they are a normal part of the ecosystem and do not bite or pose a health risk to visitors. Efforts to decrease the number of flies are currently underway by the National Park Service, yet visitors should still expect to encounter them.
Buy In Advance
Advance purchase is highly recommended because of the limited number of visitors allowed on the Island each day. Alcatraz Island tour tickets can sell out several weeks in advance and some tours, such as the Night Tour and the Behind the Scenes Tour, have very limited availability each week. Plan ahead and choose the day and time convenient for you!
You can stay on Alcatraz Island as long as you like, but allow at least 3 hours for cruising to the Island, taking the Cellhouse audio tour, exploring the rest of the Island and its historic exhibits, and returning via ferry to Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. It is recommended that you line up one half hour prior to your departure time. Departure and return schedules. Our boats leave on time and your departure time is shown on your ticket.
Photo ID Requirements
A government issued photo ID is required for every person who books tickets to Alcatraz Island. Government issued photo ID’s are required when purchasing and picking up tickets at the Alcatraz Cruises Ticketbooth, and may again be required in the boarding area. Customers purchasing and printing Alcatraz tickets online should arrive at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing with their government issued photo ID. Photo ID’s are not necessary for every person in the party, but are required for the person who purchased the tickets. Photocopies of passports are accepted as valid identification. Please leave your actual passport in a safe place back at your hotel.
Food & Beverage
Picnicking and consuming food on Alcatraz Island is allowed at the dock area from the picnic tables to the restrooms only. Bottled water is allowed on all areas of the Island. Food and beverages are available for purchase at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing, and on board all Alcatraz Cruises vessels. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase only on boats departing Alcatraz Island for Pier 33. Alcoholic beverages are not offered for sale on Alcatraz Cruises vessels bound for Alcatraz Island.
Walking Alcatraz Island
The roads and walkways on Alcatraz are steep. The distance from the dock to the Cellhouse is approximately 1/4 mile (.4km) and the elevation change is 130 feet (40 meters), the equivalent of walking up a 13-story building. The roads and walkways are wide with several places to stop along the way to rest and take in the breathtaking views. Comfortable athletic or walking shoes are strongly recommended. If you have mobility concerns, please see the S.E.A.T. Tram information below.
Map Your Visit
For those that wish to get started mapping your route on Alcatraz Island, please visit the National Park Service website page. There is a directional map of the Island including where your audio tour begins, the restrooms, and buildings including the Cellhouse. For those who wish a more detailed and historical account of the Island and its resources, please visit the National Park Service website page.
Minors Visiting Alcatraz
Minors under the age of 18 are not allowed to visit Alcatraz Island unless accompanied by an adult, 21 years of age or older. Minors must be supervised at all times while visiting Alcatraz Island, Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing and while onboard Alcatraz Cruises vessels. Children under age 12 are not accommodated on the Behind The Scenes Tour. No refunds will be given if Adult or Senior tickets are purchased for children under age 12.
Bicycles, Skateboards, Roller Blades, Skates, “Wheelie” Shoes, Weapons
Bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, skates, “wheelie” shoes and weapons are not allowed on Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing, Alcatraz Cruises vessels, or on Alcatraz Island. Limited bicycle parking can be found at Pier 33 on a first come, first served basis. Bicycles must be walked to the bike racks upon arrival at Pier 33. Alcatraz Cruises assumes no responsibility for bicycles parked on premise.
Luggage & Backpacks
There is no storage space for luggage or oversized bags at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing or on Alcatraz Island. Standard backpacks, measuring 16” x 20” maximum, are allowed on Alcatraz Cruises vessels and while visiting Alcatraz Island.
We regret that we are unable to accommodate suitcases, ice chests, large backpacks or oversized duffel bags at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing or on Alcatraz Island. Additionally, there are no lockers, and luggage or oversized packages and bags cannot be boarded on vessels or stored at Pier 33.
Bags larger than a standard backpack, 16” x 20”, are not allowed on Alcatraz Island. Visitors with luggage or oversized packages and bags will be unable to board Alcatraz Cruises vessels or visit Alcatraz Island and will receive refunds. There are no exceptions to this regulation. The closest luggage storage facility is at the California Welcome Center, located at PIER 39, approximately ¼ mile north of Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. Please call the California Welcome Center at PIER 39 at 415.981.1280 for hours and pricing for storage.
NOTE: Backpacks, handbags, parcels and packages are subject to search at any time for security purposes.
Sustainable Easy Access Transport (S.E.A.T.)
Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing is fully accessible. Many areas on Alcatraz Island are also accessible with the use of the S.E.A.T. Tram.
Visitors with limited mobility and unable to make the climb up Alcatraz Island’s steep roads can take advantage of the S.E.A.T. Tram, the accessible shuttle that runs approximately twice an hour from the Alcatraz Island dock to the Cellhouse and approximately twice an hour from the Cellhouse back to the Alcatraz Island dock.
Boarding S.E.A.T is on a first come, first served basis. Anyone with a health condition or physical disability which limits mobility qualifies for a ride on S.E.A.T. The use of S.E.A.T. is limited to those with the physical need only. Family and friends, who are physically able to make the walk, are advised to walk to the designated arrival area to meet S.E.A.T. passengers. One personal attendant is permitted for those who physically cannot board/disembark the tram under their own power or cannot be safely left alone. Common examples of those needing an attendant are visitors who are in wheelchairs and the visually impaired. Children of any age, on foot or in strollers, can only ride if they meet the above qualifications, or if no other friends or family members can walk up the hill with them. Please speak to the driver for further information, or to see if you qualify. See additional information and a schedule for the S.E.A.T. Tram. We are sorry, but due to space limitations, children in strollers are not able to ride S.E.A.T.
Further information regarding accessibility on Alcatraz Island, including tour information in American Sign Language, and use of Assisted Listening Devices can be found in the Accessibility Section.