Once upon a time, Alcatraz was the last place anyone would want to find themselves. Nowadays, this former high-security prison is a tourist hotspot, visited by millions of people each year.
Located on a small island 1.2 miles off the coast of San Francisco, Alcatraz housed some of the most dangerous criminals in US history. Due to its location, these outlaws could be segregated from the rest of society with no possibility of escape. Allegedly, there were 36 cases of inmates trying to escape this rock; only 3 of these were never to be seen again, but many believe their escape was ultimately unsuccessful and that they drowned in the freezing cold waters.
Those wanting to visit should purchase tickets in advance, and although more expensive, it is worthwhile booking a night trip if you want a particularly frightening and atmospheric experience! Upon arrival, you will pick up your audio devices and begin your journey into the mindsets of the many deranged inmates who were once housed there. Alcatraz was home to a wealth of infamous people, including Robert “The Birdman” Stroud, and Al Capone, who was extremely notorious within the American Mafia scene.
As you walk into the deserted yet preserved cells, you begin to get a sense of what it was like to have been detained there. By hearing the voices of the prisoners and guards, real-life accounts are poured out to you, all from the complexity of prison politics to the more basic stories of what meal times consisted of. A visit to some of the solitary-confinement cells tops all in this harrowing experience; known as ‘the hole’ many of the inmates wasted away in complete darkness, isolated from any sign of life. Depending on what interests you, 3 hours should suffice to get the gist of this incredible federal prison. After which, you will be more than ready to return to the safe haven of the mainland to do something less intense!
Visiting Alcatraz is enough to leave anyone traumatised and creeped out. For something more light-hearted, sport fanatics may be interested in relaxing at a baseball game. According to recent MLB odds on bet365, the San Francisco Giants are +5000 at the moment to win the MLB National League. Timing your visit with one of their fixtures provides an opportunity to leave the hauntings of Alcatraz behind you. For those not interested in baseball, San Francisco has an abundance of other ways to relax. Simply stroll across the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, people-watch at Fisherman’s Wharf, or unwind with a trip down Lombard Street – the last place you would expect to do this given that it is one of the windiest streets in the world!
Alcatraz spookily preserves the stories of some of the most brutal criminals in history. It will leave you trembling, but it is fascinating at every step, and a visit is absolutely essential on any trip to San Francisco. Rest assured that although Alcatraz was notoriously difficult to escape, you will make it back to the mainland in time to enjoy the other treasures San Francisco has to offer.