This reminder of yesteryear has been disused by the penal system in the late 20th century, becoming a prominent San Francisco tourist attraction instead. Tours of the Alcatraz complex, a former maximum-security prison, can be taken throughout the year and depart from the San Francisco mainland regularly. To visit this intriguing and slightly spooky landmark, book a stay at the Radisson Hotel, Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, where you'll also be close to the downtown area and other local attractions.
Alcatraz in Film and on Television
The island prison of Alcatraz, though only used as a federal penitentiary from the years 1933 to 1963, has captured imaginations all over the United States and the World. Clint Eastwood appeared on film in a dramatization of the island prison's only successful escape attempt in 1979, in which three inmates burrowed out of the facility and to freedom.
Action films such as The Rock, starring Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery, and X-Men: The Last Stand, based on the popular comic book series, place a great amount of action at Alcatraz. The penitentiary in the San Francisco Bay has even generated its own primetime television drama series, simply titled Alcatraz.
History of Alcatraz
The facilities at Alcatraz originally served a purpose for the military, with fortifications and a prison constructed in the mid-1800s along with a lighthouse for the harbor area. The population at the military prison grew over the years until 1933, when the US Department of Justice acquired the facility. For three decades, Alcatraz housed some of the nation's most notorious gangsters and criminals, including Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly.
The steady decay of the buildings attributed to sea saltwater led the prison to become increasingly decrepit, until Robert F. Kennedy deemed it unfit for use in 1963. At that point, Alcatraz Prison held some 250 inmates, many of whom transferred to a prison in Illinois. After its abandonment, Native Americans occupied the island in protest from 1969 to 1971.
Today, Alcatraz tours can be taken from Pier 33 at Fisherman's Wharf, just minutes away from the Radisson Hotel Fisherman's Wharf. Stay at our hotel in San Francisco to see this historical landmark with a boat trip to the island of Alcatraz.