Waiting In Line For Prison: The Ultimate Alcatraz Experience

A visit at the Alcatraz should be on everyone’s bucket list to a San Francisco trip!! (Here is the complete To Do List: SF)

Unfortunately tickets sell out like crazy far in advance, espacially during summer, and you really need to plan ahead a few months in order to get your ticket online.
Now I know, a lot of you might travel very spontaneously which makes planing ahead a big nightmare. Been there, done that, still loving to do it!

On the bright side: There is ONE option to get a ticket when already in SF.
They don’t mention this on their website but they set aside a bunch of so called walk up tickets that are sold daily on a first come, first served basis when the ticket office opens at 7:30 a.m. at Pier 33.
The amount of walk up tickets is different every day and largely depends on the tickets they already sold online.

The problem is: Just because the ticket office only opens at 7.30 a.m. doesn’t mean you will be the first one in line when you get there punctual.
When I was in San Francisco, my friend and I got there at 4.30 a.m. and there were already about 20 other insane people in front of us.
At 6 a.m. I counted over 150 people in line and I cannot quite remember how many of them got a ticket that day because we were very busy celebrating our victory 😀

Us being both excited and relived we got our tickets!!
Us being both excited and relived we got our tickets!!

One last tip which I wish I thought of that morning:
Buy a few cheap blankets at walgreens a day in advance so you’re not cold in the early morning right by the sea. You can give them away after you got your ticket which I’m sure will be much appreciated by a homeless!

Now a few photos to inspire you that it’s actually worth it visiting..

Single cell


Dining room
View of San Francisco from Alcatraz Island
View from the boat leaving Alcatraz


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