Alcatraz is the fifth most popular attraction in San Francisco. I don’t know what that says about tourist psyche but I definitely wanted to see it. A short ferry takes you to this imposing set of buildings. Surrounded by water, sitting atop rocks but minutes from San Francisco, you can imagine how difficult a stay there must have been. It was a prison from 1934-1963, housing Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone among others.
Every visitor is given a headset and player for the audio tour which guides you through. Walking along the halls, it feels eerie despite the presences of throngs of other tourists. Oddly, Alcatraz was known for having some of the best food according to the Encyclopedia of Prisons though how they determined that is unknown. In the mess hall they have a breakfast menu which actually doesn’t sound that bad. Dinners could include roast beef, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. Conversations weren’t allowed in the dining hall. At the end of every meal, all silver ware was counted to ensure nothing was taken. This is definitely a unique tourist attraction well worth the wait though I suggest dressing warm as it gets chilly.