Alcatraz is famous for being a maximum security prison between 1934 through 1963. It is located 1.2 miles off the coast of San Francisco and is completely surrounded by ocean water. It once held some of the most ruthless criminals in America including Al Capone. There have been a number of escape attempts from Alcatraz, the most notable was the "Battle of Alcatraz" which lasted two days and is recorded as the most violent escape attempt from Alcatraz. The incident brought Alcatraz's security into question and, under the pressure of mounting maintenance costs, the prison closed in 1963. 

Art on Alcatraz

In early 2015, Alcatraz hosted its first art exhibition by activist/artist Ai Weiwei, a vast collection of sculptures, video installations and murals. Some of Ai's most compelling pieces take the shape of handcrafted porcelain flowers spilling from the sinks and toilets that reside in what was formerly the psychiatric ward.


San Francisco Take any inbound Muni or BART trains to Embarcadero and transfer to the F trolley car towards Fisherman's Wharf. Get off on Embarcadero and Bay Street and board the ferry on Pier 33. 


Parking is extremely difficult in this neighborhood, however handicapped parking is available within Pier 33.