The Rock: Visiting San Fran’s Alcatraz

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I’ve lived in California for 30 years and visited San Francisco countless times, but hadn’t toured Alcatraz until this year. What a trip! We took the walking tour (equivalent of 13 flights of stairs) and the 45-minute audio tour called “Doing Time: The Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour.” Real correctional officers and prisoners actually give this tour, and we got to see inmate cells, including Machine Gun Kelly’s. We could enter regular cells and solitary confinement cells, which were interesting—the most severe criminals actually got larger cells, which made no sense to us. The Agave Trail happened to be open during our trip (it’s only open from late September to Feb. 1), so we walked right along the island’s edge, and got a gorgeous, unobscured view of San Fran. Tickets sell out quick for ferry rides out, so it’s smart to book in advance! (The photo at left is a view of Alcatraz.)