San Francisco

How long is Alcatraz tour – duration of day and night tours

Alcatraz tour length

Alcatraz receives more than one million tourists every year.

People from all over the World line up to see this attraction, which was once the World’s most dreaded prison.

At Alcatraz, a visitor can opt for different types of tours. The two most popular being the Alcatraz day tour and the Alcatraz night tour.

Whichever tour the visitor opts for, one question is sure to pop-up, “How long is Alcatraz tour?”

Here is the short answer –

To have a nice, satisfactory Alcatraz tour, you need 2.5 to 3 hours. However, if you are the kind that likes to take a lot of photographs and get into the details, you can very easily spend an additional hour exploring Alcatraz.

For a more detailed answer, continue reading –

Why do visitors want to know Alcatraz tour length?

Tourists want to know if their visit to the once-high-security prison Alcatraz will take two hours, or half a day or a full day, for multiple reasons.

Here are the two most important reasons –

1. Once they know the duration of the Alcatraz tour they can plan their day’s itinerary better. After all, there are so many attractions in San Francisco.

2. Being aware of the time they will end up spending at Alcatraz helps them plan lunch breaks and/or dinner before or after the visit.

*Most of the tourists returning from the night tour of Alcatraz, prefer the nearby Chinatown for dinner. The area has plenty of reasonably-priced restaurants which are open till late.

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How long is Alcatraz tour?

Like it happens with most tourist attractions, the length of your Alcatraz tour depends on numerous factors.

Three factors which impact the duration of Alcatraz tours most are –

1. The steep 400 meters (1312 feet) climb from the Dock to the Cell House can be tiring. The elevation change is 40 meters (130 feet). Some visitors prefer to rest in between, while others manage this distance faster.

2. While some stop for catching their breath, many others stop for the breathtaking view during this climb. The sights are so alluring, that many tourists decide to take it easy and spend extra time.

3. The Cell House audio tour at Alcatraz is 45 minutes long. However, if you explore the dreaded jail at your own pace your tour will take that much longer.

How long is Alcatraz day tour

The Alcatraz prison day tour includes the ferry ride to the attraction, the Cell House audio tour, the optional exhibits and the ferry ride back. The ferry rides are managed by Alcatraz Cruises.

From the time you step onto the ferry at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing, to your return it will take you approximately 3 hours.

The ferry rides take 12-15 minutes each way. Allowing for two and half hours on the island.

How long is Alcatraz night tour

Since the Alcatraz night tour is a limited-edition tour, a limited number of Alcatraz cruises ferry the tourists to the island.

Length of Alcatraz night tour in Summer

During Summer months, the night tour Alcatraz cruises depart at 5.55 pm and 6.30 pm.

The return trips start at the Alcatraz island at 8.40 pm and 9.25 pm.

If you start from the earliest cruise which departs (at 5.55 pm) and return by the last cruise (at 9.25) your Alcatraz tour will be over in three and half hours.

And if you depart by the second available cruise (at 6.30 pm), the maximum duration of your Alcatraz night tour can be 2 hours and 55 minutes.

Duration of Alcatraz night tour in Winter

During winter, only one cruise makes the trip to the Alcatraz island taking tourists on their night tour.

It departs at 3.50 pm from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing and reaches the island at 4.05 pm.

The same cruise then returns from Alcatraz island at 6.40 pm.

This means, if you book a night tour of Alcatraz in winter, you can spend only two and a half hours on the island.

Occasionally, there may be a second cruise, depending on demand.

Buy Tickets1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off + Alcatraz visit

This is one of the most popular Alcatraz tours and costs USD 110.

Buy Tickets90 minute cruise around Alcatraz Island

At USD 39, this Alcatraz tour is the most budget-friendly option.

Buy Tickets72-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Tour + Alcatraz visit

If you are on a long holiday in San Francisco, we recommend this tour ticket. This 3-day fun costs USD 129.99 per person.

Buy TicketsSan Francisco VIP Segway Tour + Alcatraz visit

Before the tour, experts train you on how to use the self-balancing vehicles. The 7-hour tour costs USD 150.

Buy TicketsAlcatraz Ticket + 3-Hour Bicycle Tour of SFO

Check out the famed San Francisco sunset in this USD 95.75 tour. Very popular.

Buy TicketsSeaplane Flight over SFO Bay + Alcatraz visit

If you can afford it, this tour is one of the best ways to explore SFO and Alcatraz. It costs USD 227.


Recommended Reading
1. Alcatraz night tours
2. Last minute Alcatraz tickets
3. Best Alcatraz combo tours
4. Hop on hop off San Francisco bus tours

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