A Local Girl’s First Visit to Alcatraz

Alcatraz

I have lived in San Francisco all my life and had never been to Alcatraz. My friends from college came to visit me last weekend and the one thing they wanted to do was visit “The Rock” and I was more than happy to explore the island with them for the first time.

If you go to Alcatraz, go early. We bought tickets for the 10:30 am ferry to the island a week in advance, which  I also recommend doing because tickets can sell out fast especially on the weekend. It was less crowded in the morning so I could take pictures on the ride over without crowds in the way and when you are walking around the island itself you won’t be marching around in a big group but can roam freely.

san francisco

alcatraz

You are free to do as you please on the island. You don’t have to walk around in a tour. My friends briefly looked at the museum at the base of the island and walked up the hills to the prison cells. Here you can get an audio guide that is included in the price of your ticket. This was my favorite part of the experience because former inmates themselves spoke on the audio about their time on the island and infamous events were replayed as you walked in the spots where they all happened.

alcatraz

alcatraz

alcatraz

alcatraz

Obviously, the cells are dark, cold, and depressing. The day I visited Alcatraz was an exceptionally sunny and beautiful day that was even more apparent when you stepped outside after you had been walking into and around prison cells. I can’t imagine what the cells must be like on a darker day and after spending just a couple minutes in one cell my self, I can’t image what it must feel like to spend even one night in a cell.

alcatraz

alcatraz

alcatraz

I got to see a view of San Francisco I had never seen before. At the top of the hill, behind the prison cells, is a lookout point of the city that was gorgeous. With the Bay Bridge to my left and the Golden Gate to my right, I loved seeing the perfect rows of hills smack dab in the middle. It was the most perfect view of the city.

san francisco

golden gate bridge

san francisco

It’s a common thing to live in a city your entire life and not once experience it’s main attraction. I’m glad I took the time to finally visit Alcatraz. If you long to travel somewhere far away, remember that there might be something out your front door that is just as worthy of exploring.

 

6 thoughts on “A Local Girl’s First Visit to Alcatraz”

  1. This is so true, about not visiting the attractions and famous landmarks right in your own backyard. Why are we like that? I think this sets up a good argument for moving away from your first home, so you can go back and see what all the fuss is about as a tourist. 🙂
    .-= Gray´s last blog ..Shiny Travel Objects: May 2, 2010 =-.

    1. I think we just get into a routine and because of that only think about getting out of town instead of taking trips around the city. Before I started traveling, I would appreciate home so much more when I came back from college in L.A. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

  2. That looks like a very cool thing. I wasn’t aware it’s not still a functioning prison. It’s great that you finally got to go.

    1. Hi Sabina, It stopped functioning in the 60s and I was glad that my friends wanted to go. I was all for it!

  3. I visited Alcatraz when I went to SF. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, the prisoners here must be tortured every day just by looking out the window.” From the island, every window had an incredible view of the water & the SF sky line.

    1. Hi Monica, the view was incredible especially on that day because it was clear and sunny which is rare here. Fog is always around so we were really lucky.

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