Opened as a prison in 1934, Alcatraz was home to some of the era's most notorious criminals. Tours of the island and main building are available year-round, and prices start at $26 per person as of 2009. Add to your Alcatraz experience by exploring cells of criminals and following their lives with an audio tour. Tours begin daily at 9 a.m. and leave from Pier 33. Night tours, as well as additional trips to nearby Angel Island, are also available. Bring photo identification for all travelers and prepare for variable weather. Dress in layers and bring a jacket or heavy sweater.
The largest and oldest Chinatown in North America, San Francisco's famous district is located at the corner of Bush and Grant streets. Inside, you'll find restaurants, herbal shops and markets resembling those of eastern countries. Visit the Sing Chong Building, one of the first places rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake. Year round, Chinatown has street fairs, markets or other celebration to join in on. Museums, including the Chinese Historical Society of America and the Chinese Cultural Center are just two of the stops visitors can see while visiting this unique spot in San Francisco.
Classic sights of San Francisco, the cable cars are a cornerstone of this city's life. The tracks operate seven days a week along their century-old paths. Use the cars to get anywhere in the city easily and efficiently. For tourists, take advantage of the California Street line. This line runs from the Financial District to Chinatown and across Nob Hill. It will give you the highlights of the city in a short amount of time. Two tracks, the Powell-Mason and the Powell Hyde, both end in Fisherman's Wharf, but at different sections. Tickets can be purchased at turnarounds or from a conductor. Tickets are available as a single-, one-day, three-day or week-long pass. A month-long FastPass is available for locals or long-term visitors.
Article Written By Sara John
Sara John is a professional writer and copy editor living in Des Moines, IA. She has worked professionally for seven years, and written articles for the Long Beach Press-Telegram, as well as other local publications. She is a graduate of Grand View University and holds a B.A. in journalism.