Author: Ben Szweda
Date of Trip: August 2013
Our next day in town began with a trip to Alcatraz from Pier 33. I was really impressed with the entire Alcatraz experience and strongly recommend it to everyone. Plan to spend more time there than you think you will. I was assuming we’d be done after 2 hours, but we were there from 8:45am (the early bird departure) to around 2pm.
While San Francisco may be expensive for locals who have to pay rent, it’s really a budget friendly city for tourists. There are so many free things to do in town; if you manage to exhaust that list there are many reasonably priced things as well. The Alcatraz experience (cruise to the island + admission to the island with audio guide) costs a mere $30!
I have been on sightseeing cruises alone that cost more than $30! The Alcatraz cruise totally could have because the boat ride over was perfect! You got great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the San Francisco skyline. Upon arrival on the island follow the signs to the free audio guide pick-up. Also, be sure to stay after your tour for one of the free lectures of the day. When we visited the lecture of the day was on Al Capone by an author who had spent considerable time researching his life.
On our final day in town we snuck in two really great attractions. City Hall offers free tours on the architecture and history of the building and the time in which it was built. We had an absolutely amazing tour guide. The F Line, in the opposite direction of Fisherman’s Wharf, takes you right to the area where City Hall, the library, and several museums are located.
The second attraction was Coit Tower. Do note that they only accept cash for tickets ($7). The view from the top, on a clear day, is worth it however. You have a 360-degree views of the surrounding area, clear down to the piers and out to Alcatraz.
San Francisco is a wonderful city to visit. No matter what your interests are you are sure to find a museum, restaurant, or neighbourhood to entertain you.