Alcatraz is located on an island in The San Francisco Bay between the Sausalito and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It is located about a mile off the coast of San Francisco, which is about a 15 minute boat ride. To get to Alcatraz, you will need to get to Pier 33 and board the Alcatraz Cruises Ferry.
Driving and Parking
Ferries leave from Fisherman’s Wharf, which is a very busy area of San Francisco, especially during tourist season. It is highly recommended that you take a taxi, Uber or public tansportation, however if you would like to drive, there are some parking options. While there are no parking spaces at Alcatraz Landing, where the ferry departs from, there are plenty of commercial parking lots around the area. You can also find street parking, if you are lucky, but it can be very difficult and every parking space has a meter.
Taxis and Ubers
Taxis and Ubers are easy to find almost anywhere in the city. Simply tell your driver that you would like to go to Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing and they can drop you off right in front of the Alcatraz Cruises Ferry dock.
If you are in the city of San Francisco, there are several MUNI lines that will get you close to Pier 33. Depending on where you are coming from, you should be able to conveniently use at least one of the options. Two of the options are bus lines, the 8 Bayshore and the 82x Levis Plaza Express. You will want to exit at North Point and Kearny Street for the 8 Bayshore and the Levi’s Plaza stop at Filbert & Sansome for the 82x Levi Plaza Express. If you want a cool experience, try out the F Line Streetcar, which runs through The Castro, Union Square, FiDi and Fisherman’s Wharf. Exit at the Bay Street Stop.
If you are coming from the East Bay: Take the AC Transit Bus to the TransBay Transit Center or use BART to get to the Embarcadero and then use Muni to get to Fisherman’s Wharf.
If you are coming from the North Bay: Use Golden Gate Transit to get to Fisherman’s Wharf
If you are coming from the South Bay: You can take the SAMTRANS buses, which will drop you off at the TransBay Transit Center, Ride BART to the Embarcadero or take CALTRAIN to the downtown CALTRAIN Terminal. Then use the Muni Buses or F Line Streetcar to get to Fisherman’s Wharf.
Probably the best option for visiting Alcatraz, the many tour options from local companies will give you an all-inclusive experience. Most tours include transportation to Alcatraz Landing along with visits to other popular attractions like Wine Country, Muir Woods, The Golden Gate Bridge and more. Booking a tour is also the easiest way to get a ticket if they are sold out online.
Walking to Fisherman’s Wharf
San Francisco is a very walkable city and relatively small in size when compared to other major cities. The dimensions are roughly 7 miles x 7 miles, so the whole area is only around 50 square miles. Los Angeles, for instance, checks in at over 500 square miles. If you want to take some time and walk through San Francisco en route to your visit to Alcatraz, it is definitely a great option. You can make it from The Ferry Building, the Embarcadero BART Station, The Marina, North Beach and Russian Hill in less than 30 minutes and if you feel up to it, getting there from Chinatown, The Castro, Union Square, SOMA and other areas is possible in less than an hour.
Alcatraz Cruises Ferry
To get to the island, you will need to take a ferry from Pier 33 in Fisherman’s Wharf. Ferry tickets will be included with your Alcatraz passes, so you just need to schedule your trip and then head to Pier 33. The trip to the island takes about 15 minutes and you can just hop on a return ferry when you are ready to leave.