Hotels Near Alcatraz Island
Known as “The Rock,” Alcatraz Island is an iconic attraction in San Francisco. It’s been the subject of many movies and one of the most baffling unsolved prison escapes. Look for hotels near Alcatraz Island to be within easy reach of the ferries that travel to this former prison.
Visitors to the Alcatraz Island immerse themselves in its long history beginning before 1769, when tribes of Native peoples used the area as a camping and hunting spot. Spaniard Juan Manuel de Ayala arrived in 1775 and, seeing the hundreds of nesting birds like the albatross and the pelican, he named it “La Isla de los Alcatraces.” This is where Alcatraz Island gets its distinctive name.
In 1850, California entered the United States as its 13th state and along with it came the outlying islands, including Alcatraz. The Gold Rush saw the wreck of many ships and so a lighthouse was built on Alcatraz, guiding ships safely into the shores of San Francisco Bay. That lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast. Recognizing the vulnerability of the area, a military fortress was built on the island. Its isolated location in the icy current waters lent it in service as an ammunition arsenal and detention barracks for Civil War prisoners.
From 1868 on, it served as an official military detention center. Renovations in the early 1900s built up the island into a penitentiary and in 1933 the Fort was officially deactivated and turned into a federal maximum security prison. “The Rock” served as home to some of history’s most famous criminals, including Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (The Birdman of Alcatraz), and James “Whitey” Bulger. Robert Kennedy closed the prison in 1963 due to costs, erosion, and environmental issues. In 1969, Alcatraz Island saw the return of its original visitors, the Native Americans, who occupied and claimed the land as their own. The movement was enacted to give light to the plight of the Native Americans and establish a cultural center on the Island. While the movement failed in 1971, most saw the Occupation of Alcatraz as a reawakening of the Native American traditions and identity.
This distinct landmark is so rich with history that everyone deserves to see it. Hotels near Alcatraz Island are a great way to get yourself close to a real chapter of America’s past.
Things To Do and Getting Here
Visitors to Alcatraz Island enjoy a beautiful ferry ride on the Alcatraz Ferry, departing and arriving to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Even the ride is enjoyable on the unique eco-friendly ferry, with hybrid designs and solar panels. Once on “The Rock,” visitors can explore the historic island, including the dock and the cell house. Take pleasure in the beauty of the Alcatraz Gardens, once cultivated by the residents of the island, including the guard families and trusted prisoners. These gardens are now being preserved by The Garden Conservatory in partnership with The Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory.
Popular Hotels Near Alcatraz Island
While there are no hotels on Alcatraz Island, guests can enjoy a large selection of hotels near Alcatraz Island, many located just 1.5 miles away in San Francisco and within walking distance of the Fisherman’s Wharf. The Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf offers close to 600 spacious rooms as well as on-site restaurants. The Wharf Inn is a pet-friendly hotel offering free parking to its guests. The Argonaut Hotel, a Noble House Hotel, is situated in the beautiful historic Haslett Warehouse while offering the best modern amenities. Take advantage of the concierge services at the Best Western Plus The Tuscan Hotel to assist you in planning the best San Francisco experience both on and off of Alcatraz Island.