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Our picks for the 10 best Alcatraz Tours in San Francisco, so you can enjoy the most popular sight in the city and spend less time planning. [Updated October 2019]

Alcatraz is arguably one of the most famous landmarks in or around San Francisco. Getting to the infamous former prison can be tricky. There’s only one company allowed to bring travelers to the island — Alcatraz Cruises.

During the height of busy tour season, from around April through October, tickets to Alcatraz sell out. Fast. We’re talking *months* in advance.

The good news is that even though there’s only one company bringing people to Alcatraz Island — tour companies around San Francisco have official partnerships with Alcatraz Cruises. Which means, even if Alcatraz Cruises has sold out tickets to Alcatraz, there are San Francisco tours that bundle Alcatraz tickets!  

We want to share with you our picks for the 10 best Alcatraz Tours and the San Francisco tour companies that offer official Alcatraz tickets with their Muir Woods tours and San Francisco tours. AKA the best way to get sold out Alcatraz tickets!

*Know before you book

It is important to note that Alcatraz Cruises requires San Francisco tour companies to provide the names of all travelers over 18 four days before the tour. Unfortunately this means that day-of tickets or next-day tickets to Alcatraz will not be available.

There are also no private Alcatraz tours available because Alcatraz hours are limited to the official ferry times with Alcatraz Cruises. 

alcatraz guide


#1 A Day In The Bay Tour – Dylan’s Tours

  • Tickets: $159 for anyone 12 and older, $109 for children 11 and younger
  • Duration of the tour: 10 hours (this includes the trip to Alcatraz)
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 5 stars 

This is Dylan’s signature tour for travelers who want to see San Francisco in one day. Traveling with Dylan’s Tours on A Day in the Bay means exploring with a company with the most 5 star reviews on Google, TripAdvisor and Yelp.

We are reliable, honest and guarantee to have your Alcatraz tickets (even when official Alcatraz tickets sold out already) — as well as over an hour in Muir Woods and lunch along Sausalito’s waterfront. 

We might be a bit biased, but we think this is a pretty ideal option for the best San Franciscto bus tour company to go with that’s affiliated with Alcatraz Cruises. We also offer San Francisco Private Tours – which allow you to set a custom route in the entire bay area!

Book the #1 Alcatraz Tour here


#2 San Francisco City Tour + Alcatraz Tour and Alcatraz + 3-Hour San Francisco City Tour by SF Excursions

best alcatraz tours - alcatraz combo tickets

The best Alcatraz tours are the ones that provide Alcatraz combo tickets that include a city tour and/or a trip to Muir Woods as a packaged deal.

  • Tickets for the San Francisco City Tour + Alcatraz Tour$129 per adult, $119 per child.
  • Tickets for the Alcatraz + 3-hour San Francisco City Tour: $139 per adult, $124 per child
  • Duration of the San Francisco City Tour + Alcatraz: 5 hours (this includes the trip to Alcatraz)
  • Duration of the Alcatraz + 3-hour San Francisco City Tour: 8 hours in total (this includes the trip to Alcatraz)
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 5 stars

Ever heard of a sister company? Well SF Excursions is Dylan’s Tours brother company. As in, it’s Dylan’s brother Brendan who runs SF Excursions!

Just like the founder of Dylan’s Tours, Brendan is a San Francisco native showing off his hometown and Alcatraz all in one Ultimate Day with their Alcatraz combo tickets. They also offer a tour which is combined with Muir Woods, this tour does not include Alcatraz so we won’t discuss it in this blog, but you can definitely check it out on the website!

Both of the tours include a trip to Alcatraz, with the San Francisco City Tour + Alcatraz Tour you will start your day with the Official Alcatraz Island Tour. After the tour SF Excursions picks you up outside the Alcatraz ferry terminal to take you on a 90-minute tour of San Francisco. The tour includes a photo stop and a local guide!

This Alcatraz + 3-hour San Francisco City Tour starts with a tour through the city. This includes 11 different locations and photo stops. It features all of SF Excursions’ favorite neighborhoods! After the city tour they will drop you off at the location where you will board the early afternoon ferry to join the Official Alcatraz Island Tour.


#3 Early access to Alcatraz and exclusive cable car sightseeing tour by Hornblower Classic Cable Cars

  • Tickets: $192,50 for anyone 12 and older, $152,50 for children 5 through 11
  • Duration of the tour: 7 hours (this includes the trip to Alcatraz) 
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 4,5 stars

Did you know you can explore San Francisco on trolley tours made from modified cable cars? Back in the 1950s, cable cars from the California line were being auctioned off when a local San Franciscan purchased one of them. That cable car was converted into a motorized vehicle. This created the first cable car tour ever!

With Hornblower Classic Cable Cars (one of the best hop on hop off tours in San Francisco) you can get an Alcatraz combo tour with one of their trolley tours for a unique San Francisco tour.

You start your day touring Alcatraz before all of the heavy crowds arrive on the island. You will have two hours to explore and tour the island. After lunch on pier 33 you will board the Hornblower trolley to start the city tour. The tour includes a professional guide and three stops with phot opportunities. Around 3:15 pm they will bring you back to the location where you started your tour.


#4 “Fogcutter” Tour with Alcatraz by SF Adventure Tours

  • Tickets: $178,90 for adults, $132,90 for kids and $67 for tots
  • Duration of the tour: 4 hours (this does not include the trip to Alcatraz) 
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 5 stars

We’ve previously ranked SF Adventure Tours as one of the best tours in San Francisco because this one is led from a modified safari style pick-up truck!

You can now combine their open-air tour with Alcatraz Island tours. You will start your day with a four-hour tour through San Francisco. Continue the adventure with a visit to the Alcatraz island.

It’s not just us who think SF Adventures has one of the best tours in town, just check out their Alcatraz tours TripAdvisor reviews and you’ll see that it’s highly rated as one of the best Alcatraz tour combo packages!


#5 San Francisco City and Alcatraz Combo by Vantigo

  • Tickets: $129 for adults, $75 for kids 5 to 11
  • Duration of the tour: 7 hours (this includes the trip to Alcatraz)
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 5 stars

What happens when someone with a passion for tinkering on vintage VW combines that with a passion for meeting new people? Vantigo is what happens!

These beautifully restored VWs can go where bigger tour buses cannot — Coit Tower, the Painted Ladies at Alamo Square, Golden Gate Park and the Sutro Bath Ruins. On the way they will share the tales that shaped the San Francisco we know today.

They’re a great option to go with if Alcatraz sold out already on the official website and you want a 60s-themed (aka very San Francisco) tour of the city.

NOTE: this tour is updated 2 to 3 months in advance based on Alcatraz Cruises releasing Tickets at that pace.


#6 Alcatraz and Touch of Gold Combo by Bay Voyager

  • Tickets: $155 per person
  • Duration of the tour: 90 minutes (this does not include the trip to Alcatraz)
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 5 stars

TripAdvisor’s #1 Bay Tour in San Francisco! Explore the San Francisco Bay up close and personal in the water on a 28-footer RIB (rigid inflatable boat) with Bay Voyager.

Seriously, this is such a unique experience — and it looks like it could be a part of a ride at Great America! This just might be one of the most unique Alcatraz combo tours out there, and one of the best Alcatraz tours for those who want more of an adventure.

You’ll start with a 90-minute Bay Voyager excursion where you will explore The Ferry Building, Presidio, and past The Golden Gate Bridge and Pier 39. After this part of the tour you will head over for a separate guided Alcatraz tour. 

NOTE: for reservations, a minimum of 4 days advance notice is required.


#7 Alcatraz and Wine Country Tours by Green Dream Tours

  • Tickets: $179 for those 21+, $159 for 20 and under
  • Duration of the tour: 10 hours (this includes the trip to Alcatraz)
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 4,5 stars

Green Dream Tours is kind of like if Dylan’s Tours did Wine Country tours. They have local guides leading tours on minibuses. You’ll discover two wineries in Sonoma and enjoy lunch in Fisherman’s Wharf before being dropped off for your Alcatraz ferry.

If you’re looking for Alcatraz combination tours that get you exploring outside of the city as well as Alcatraz, this is the perfect option.

NOTE: this tour is only available from May to October


#8 Alcatraz and Wine or Alcatraz and beer by Gears and Grapes Getaways

Best Way to Get Alcatraz Tickets - Do an Alcatraz combo package with a local tour company

  • Tickets Alcatraz and Wine: $202 for adults 21+
  • Tickets Alcatraz and Beer: $112 for adults 21+
  • Duration of the wine tour: 9 hours (this does not include the trip to Alcatraz)
  • Duration of the beer tour: 3 hours (this does not include the trip to Alcatraz)
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 4,5 stars

Ever wanted to ride bike through Wine Country? How about a biking brewery tour of San Francisco? Well, with Gears and Grapes you can combine either their wine or beer bike tours with official Alcatraz tickets! It’s truly a win-win for one of the best Alcatraz tour experiences.

For the wine tour you can choose to go to Sonoma or Napa. A shuttle will take you to the wine country. Once there, your guide will lead you to the wineries. There will also be a stop for a delicious picnic lunch in the vineyards. If you would rather be driven, a shuttle will follow the group.

For the beer tour, a tour guide will take you 3 stops of San Francisco’s finest beer drinking and brewing establishments.

NOTE: the tours do not take you to Alcatraz. The Alcatraz ticket is included in the price but is a separate tour.


#9 Combined Alcatraz tickets by Alcatraz Bikes and Tours

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  • Tickets: between $109 and $225 (18+)
  • Duration of the tour: Alcatraz Tour is 2-3 hours
    • option 1: 24-hour bike rental
    • option 2: 60 minutes tour
    • option 3: 24-hour ticket
    • option 4: 9-hour tour
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 4 stars

Can’t choose what kind of tour you want to combine with your Alcatraz ticket? No worries, Alcatraz Bikes and Tours has enough options for you! This tour company offers combined Alcatraz tours, but you can choose your own combination.

They offer the following combo’s;

  • If you are a fan of biking pick the option with Bike Rental, you can use the bike for 24 hours to explore the city on your own!
  • For the people who love sailing, they offer the option Bay Cruise, you will sail under and around the Golden Gate Bridge with great views of the skyline of San Francisco.
  • Can’t choose which part of the city you want to explore? The 1Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour combines two diverse tours on one ticket. You will have unlimited hop-on hop-off use for 24 hours so you won’t have to choose!
  • Ready for an escape from the city? Choose the Napa Valley Wine Tour option. You will visit three favored wineries where you will spend approximately 1-hour for a tour and tasting.

The price of the ticket depends on which combination tour you choose. You can find the prices below:

  • Alcatraz tickets and Full-Day bike rental; $109 18+
  • Alcatraz tickets and Bay Cruise; $119 18+
  • Alcatraz tickets and 1Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour; $144 18+
  • Alcatraz tickets and Napa Valley Tour; $225 18+

NOTE: the date you select on the calendar on the website of Alcatraz Bikes and Tours is for you Alcatraz ticket only. You have to contact the company for the additional attraction of your choice. 


#10 Grand City Tour and Alcatraz Island by Gray Line San Francisco

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  • Tickets: $115 for adults, $90 for kids 5 to 11
  • Duration of the tour: 6,5 hours (this includes the trip to Alcatraz)
  • TripAdvisor reviews: 4 stars

Packaged with the Grand City Tour, this combo-tour will take you to the o so famous, chilling Alcatraz prison. First of you will start the 4 hour guided city tour in Union Square, Along the way there are photo stops at key locations, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Twin Peaks. 

After you have been from the Bay to the Ocean, you will take the ferry from Pier 33 to Alcatraz Island, which features an award-wining, cellular audio tour and round-trip boat ride to ‘The Rock’.

Always wanted to do a bay cruise or visit the Aquarium? Gray Line San Francisco gives you the opportunity to update your ticket!

NOTE: This tour requires 5 days in advance reservations.

alcatraz guide

Tips on getting last minute Alcatraz tickets

We’re convinced that going through an official Alcatraz partner is the best way of getting sold out tickets to Alcatraz. We can’t, in good conscious, suggest going through a scalper. The National Park Service takes illegally reselling Alcatraz tickets very seriously.

Rest assured though, all Alcatraz tickets combined with San Francisco tours with the companies we’ve listed above are all official and legitimate tickets to Alcatraz. That being said — even these San Francisco tours will sell out. The best way to get Alcatraz tickets is to get them as soon as you can!

Canceled Tickets

When Alcatraz tickets combined with San Francisco tours are also sold out, you can check for canceled tickets. People used to be able to get same-day tickets by waiting in line in the early mornings but that has changed. Cancelled tickets are added back to the online ticket sales on alcatrazcruises.com. These tickets get updated several times a day, so keep checking for the days you want.

Night Tickets

Another way of getting last-minute tickets are the Night Tour standby tickets. During the high season there are two evening sailings running out to the island. There will be tickets for the same evening’s tour for sale at the ticket office at Pier 33. They have about 20 standbys for sale in the summer and around 10 during the winter season. But be aware: it’s based on a first come, first served basis. Standbys are allowed to board after the passengers of that sailing are on board and if there is room (no-shows or cancellations). If you are not allowed on board, you will get a refund on your ticket.

Off season

The only time it is relatively easy to get tickets is in the winter season (except for the holidays), especially November. In winter you may score same-day tickets, depending on how early you start trying. If that doesn’t work, you usually can get tickets for the day tours the next day. The Night Tours tend to sell out quicker in the winter season. You should book at least 6 weeks ahead if you want to be sure you can get tickets. Later in March all the tours start to get booked up again, especially around Easter Break. 

If you’re still trying to figure out how to get sold out Alcatraz tickets, without also taking a tour, take a peek at our article on “What to do if Alcatraz tickets are sold out” for some ideas.

Book the #1 Alcatraz Tour here

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A Few Other Alcatraz Resources

Should You Buy an Alcatraz Ticket or an Alcatraz Tour?

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Night Tour vs Alcatraz Day Tour