Best time to be in prison?
June 24, 2010 10:51 AM   Subscribe

San Francisco Mefites: What is the best day of the week and time of day to visit Alcatraz? And the best way to do it?

We'll be there from Tuesday to the following Thursday, third week in July. We are planning to purchase tickets now online. We can go any day, any time. I know you folks are experts, can you give me a few hints? Thanks!
posted by raisingsand to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (7 answers total)
Mid-week, probably around noon so that it's after the fog burns off (if possible) and before the afternoon fog starts back in. Unless you really really really like cold damp windy ferry rides. It'll probably be that way anyway but you can minimize it by going mid-day. Dress warm, in any case.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:02 AM on June 24, 2010

I went in the early evening, and then watched the sunset over San Francisco from the island at the end of the tour. Awesome.

(P.S. The tour provides headsets with which you can listen to a history of the island narrated by former inmates. Definitely worth listening to.)
posted by girlpublisher at 11:31 AM on June 24, 2010

Do the night tour!

I've done both day and night tours and the night tour was definitely the way to go (that said, its cool either way). You get to see a few extra things at night, the atmosphere is much neater, and the views of the city are lovely.

Either way, have fun! While it is touristy as hell, it is an awesome attraction and always one of my favorite things to do in SF.
posted by alaijmw at 11:32 AM on June 24, 2010

If you go late, they open up an extra ward for you to explore. I haven't seen it myself, as I didn't hear about it until after I had gone already.
And by late, I mean the last sailing... maybe. I don't really know the details.
posted by cheemee at 11:39 AM on June 24, 2010

I hear the night tour's cool, but it was sold out by the time we decided to book the tickets. You don't have to worry about a cold ferry ride, there is an indoor section and it's a quick ride anyway. It was really windy on the island though (early afternoon in may). I would also advise waiting a bit to do the audio tour--most people headed there right from the boat so I imagine there was a long line to pick up the headphones. But do go before the next boat arrives! And definitely explore the island before or after the tour.
posted by wsquared at 12:57 PM on June 24, 2010

Memail primalux, the mefite who works on Alcatraz. Or maybe she'll comment in this thread.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:25 PM on June 24, 2010

Made contact with primalux, we're all set. She said during the day, first part of the week. Thanks MeFites!
posted by raisingsand at 9:13 AM on June 27, 2010

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