Things To Do In San Francisco: Alcatraz

Saturday the husband and I drove into San Francisco to tour Alcatraz.  We hadn’t done it the last time we visited because of all the rain and although its a bit of a touristy thing to do, after reading the history behind the prison, we just had to go see it for ourselves. Alcatraz has sort of an eerie feeling, once you are out on the island you can’t help but start imagining yourself as a prisoner.  The men had to live day in and day out in tiny cells and while they worked they could gaze at the city, watch the boats and at night, if the wind was just right hear laughter and voices drifting through the air.  It must have been torture to be so isolated.  I know the men in this prison were criminals, but the cells were so tiny, there was barely room to move and stories of the warden and officers through the years weren’t pretty.  Even though it was almost 80 on the bay, the island was around 63 degrees and after walking for four hours my hands were so cold they went numb, and then painfully numb until I seriously thought something was wrong with me and I was dying. The island is also a bird sanctuary and apparently April is mating season so several spots were closed off where birds were nesting.  My advice?  If you plan a trip, bring a warm coat and where jeans even in the summer and don’t go in April.  There was so much bird poop in some spots it was off putting. Here are some pictures before, during and after our little island tour!  Enjoy!  And p.s.  did you enter the Kiki La’Rue $50 shop credit giveaway from yesterday?!  You have two more days to do so! 


sail boat racing under the Golden Gate Bridge

pulling up to the island
the indian graffiti comes from when an Indian group occupied the island..

this shot is through an old pane of glass in a building

officers hall- it used to have a bowling alley in the bottom!

babies!  the geese hissed at me when I tried to get closer, so I settled for this shot…


creepy, right?

old church

the main prison

shower room

walking through the main prison, audio tour

exercise area

playing around with editing..

tough enough to be a prisoner???  nah.

can you imagine looking through those bars at the sun everyday?


This man was a GAURD here over 50 years ago.  He started in 1948 when he was
only 21 years old.  He was there signing books and I got a picture with him! 

nerd bombers.

…and then my husband got pooped on, in a pretty major way.  Let’s just say half of his face was all white.
There would have been pictures but it was a pretty tragic three minutes, and we had to find napkins asap.
Here is a picture of the aftermath however….

After walking the island for hours and getting chilled to the bone it was nice to pull back into San Fran where it was still pretty toasty warm outside.  We were craving some great seafood and after walking up and down the wharf we spotted a cute little place called Pompei’s Grotto.   We decided to try the bruschetta with dungeness crab to start with and oh my word was it a good choice! The tomatoes were fresh and crisp and so full of flavor and the crab was the perfect combo. Our only gripe was there was just a little too much olive oil in it and it dripped when we bit into it. Not a huge deal though, we would order it again.  The husband ordered Alfredo with bay shrimp which was great. The Alfredo sauce was a little on the buttery side but after all the walking we had done, he welcomed the extra calories.  I opted for Francesco’s Misto with a cream sauce instead of the tomato basil. The misto had clams, mussels, jumbo shrimp, calamari and squid in every single bite.  So worth the $19.95 price for the amount of seafood in the dish alone!  The cream sauce was light and rich and I devoured it, every single bite (which is saying something because my portion could have fed two , easily).  We also tried a few drinks, the husband tried a local beer (Anchor Steam bottled in SF and really loved it!)   It was a little loud outside, being right in the touristy area so if you want to eat undisturbed I would sit inside!   Overall we gave Pompei’s Grotto an 8/10 and would definitely recommend it!

Pompei's Grotto on Urbanspoon

bruschetta with dungeness crab

alfredo pasta with bay shrimp

francesco’s misto with cream sauce
Over & Out,
p.s. I still have 4 small ads and  6 medium spots open! 
I would love to have you as a partner! 
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  1. says

    My husband and I visited San Francisco in March 2010 and February 2011. We tried to go again this year but we just couldn’t fit it in :( However, I’ve been thinking it might be fun to go around Christmas time :) I’m so jealous, you have so many wonderful pictures! We’ve done a lot of traveling but unfortunately we always have the worst luck with cameras, so we have barely any decent pictures.

  2. says

    When I was in San Francisco last year, we went to Alcatraz and it was the one of the coolest experiences ever. That island definitely has a creepy, irrational feeling to it. Despite the feeling, I loved it. Looks like you had a great time!
    OH, Just Living the Dream

  3. says

    When Jurg was in California we went to alcatraz and while I thought it would be just a typical museum, it ended up completely surpassing my expectations and definitely gave me that eery feeling your talking about!

    You got some amazing photos!


  4. says

    I hope I can visit San Francisco next year when I travel to the United States! But at the moment Europe has to be enough… eventhough the weather isn’t as great as over there :/

  5. says

    That food looks delicious! And alcatraz seems like a lot of fun. It’s definitely on my list of places to visit. The picture of you by the fountain is the most awesome picture ever!

  6. says

    Just looking at the pictures, gives me chills! I couldn’t imagine being a gaurd there! Pretty neat that you were able to meet one! Love your sandals. The food look SO yummy!

  7. says

    Such great pictures! It looks like you guys had a pretty amazing day (aside from the bird poop incident). My hubby and I have never been to San Francisco, but it’s one of the first places on our list of trips we want to take. So thanks for all the great tips!

  8. says

    ive been DYING to see Alcatrez!!!! i think the eerie feeling about it is sooo cool!

    i cant imagine being there with no possible way to escape! though some did…eeeep creepy!!!

    these are awesome pics!! that prison is so creepy holy moly

    you are so tough enough to be a prisioner. esp if you wear that gangsta hoodie and shades like you did in dream team vid hahah a nerd bomber. HAHH what the heck

    poopy hubby! haha awwww poor guy!

    that food pic looks AMAZING! I wanna goto california i keep sayyying it but i NEED TO!!!


  9. says

    Alcatraz is totally one of my favorite parts of SF. I think I’ve probably been 10 times–everyone who came to visit when I was living there wanted to go–and I love it every time. SO jealous you got to meet a guard!

    Also–isn’t Pompei’s Grotto amazing? And there is nothing better than drinks and yummy food while sitting outside of a restaurant in San Francisco. So jealous!


  10. says

    I am dying to go to San Fran – I have heard such awesome things about it. I also have a slight obsession with crime so I’m also dying to go to Alcatraz. I live near the prison where they filmed Shawshank Redemption – it’s so creepy, but I love it!

  11. says

    Amazing pictures! I have a slight obsession with prisons (I love the show Lock Up) and have always wanted to visit Alcatraz. The history there is incredible.

  12. says

    I do not know the history of Alcatraz, although, I now want to go read about it. I did feel as though I was looking through photos of a more civilized concentration camp, though.

    A strange feeling.

  13. says

    OMG! Alcatraz is seriously on my list of places I want to go! The history is just amazing!

    Also – I was pooped on by a seagull when I was like 5. MORTIFYING. HAHA I feel for the hubs. :)

  14. says

    So I am looking at plane tickets right now to go to San Francisco! i need to see that prison! I am obsessed with them! and need to be there now! those pictures are amazing! and that really blows your hubs got shat on. I think I would have cried and probably gone home

    i am a wiener baby!

  15. says

    These pictures are really nice, and I’d have to say one of my favorites is that blurry one behind the dirty pane of glass, great shot!

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