With only a few days in San Fran I wanted to try to pack in as much as I could and hit all the "must see" spots. Alcatraz was on top of my list and was the first thing I experienced while visiting SF. I left my hotel in the morning and strolled through the different neighborhoods in SF making my way towards Pier33 where Alcatraz Cruises is located. I was scheduled for the 11:30 am tour and was shocked at how crowded it was. The tour was booked solid and still is for the next few weeks (so if you are planning a visit, plan ahead). I boarded the Ferry and took the 15 minute ride over to the Island soaking in all the sites of the Bay Bridge and the Golden bridge in the backdrop snapping tons of shots along the way. Once we arrived I picked up the guided audio tour (a MUST) and headed on my way.
The audio tour is narrated by former inmates as well as guards for the island and is rich with detail of the experience on the island and in the jail. The island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison in 1868 and then served as a federal prison from 1934 to 1963.
To read more on the history click here and I highly suggest making a trip out to SF and experiencing it first hand.