Alcatraz Island is the site of the very first lighthouse in the Western United States and served as a high-profile prison from 1934 through 1963, and is now one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist attractions. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was designed to house convicts who couldn’t stay out of trouble at other prisons in the country. Some of its most infamous inmates included Al “Scarface” Capone, “Birdman” Robert Stroud, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and many more.
The name Alcatraz Island dates back to the late 1700s when Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala mapped the island and named it La Isla de los Alcatraces, meaning Island of the Pelicans due to the large population of sea birds and other wildlife on the site. It later served as a military fortress and it was during this time that the lighthouse was installed and put to use.
The annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon event sees hundreds of athletes swim from the island to land, proving it is possible to survive the escape from the former prison in the cold, rough waters of San Francisco Bay. While Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was a functioning prison, there were 14-recorded attempts at escape from the island, which resulted in 23, captured escapees, 6 shot and killed during their attempt, 2 drowning, and 5 missing.
Our Alcatraz Island & Segway Tour Combo gives you the best overview of the City by the Bay and includes a ferry ride and entrance to Alcatraz Island, which can be used at your leisure after your tour has concluded. Don’t miss out on the most coveted ticket in town!
San Francisco Tours