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San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island – Don’t Miss It!

Alcatraz Island is home to the world-famous abandoned prison, as well as historic military fortifications, and the site of the oldest functional lighthouse on the U.S West Coast. It is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles offshore of the city, with a total area of 22 acres.

Alcatraz operated as a prison going as far back as 1868, when it was a military prison; more recently it was a federal prison from 1934 unitl 1963. It was designated a national recreation area in 1972 and then recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Today it is overseen by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area and is open to visitors. Visitors come to Alcatraz by ferry boat from Pier 33 near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It’s a quick and easy ride, and an essential part of any San Francisco itinerary.

The prison at Alcatraz is famous for having held some of America’s most well-known criminals, including Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Though there were several attempts, no prisoner ever successfuly escaped from the penitentiary. Alcatraz has been featured in movies and television shows over the years, and is fixed in the minds of popular culture.

Besides touring the prison sites on Alcatraz Island, where one can view the claustorphobic 9 ft x 5 ft cells, visitors will be pleased to discover other surprises such as art installations, and a host of natural wonders such as nesting seabirds, rare plants and flowers, and teh chance to spot marine animals. Even getting to and from the island is a delight, as the ferry boat cruises in beautiful San Francisco Bay, offering lovely views of the city, Golden Gate Bridge and surrounding area. Alcatraz Island is consistenyl one of the top-rated attractions in San Francisco, and a must-do for any San Francisco incentive or conference group!

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