Frequently Asked Questions
- How do we get to Alcatraz?
- How do we get to Fisherman's Wharf?
- How do we use Muni (cable cars, buses, metro)?
- Is there a discount transit pass?
- What information is available on accessibility?
- We will be in San Francisco for only one day. What should we do?
- How do we get to Yosemite and information on accommodations?
- Who should we call regarding hotel reservations?
- How can we obtain information on guided tours?
To reach Alcatraz Island, you travel by ferry from Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33. The ferry ride will take you approximately 20 to 25 minutes. For transit information, call 311 or visit www.sfmta.org.
Once you arrive at Alcatraz Island, you must walk up a steep hill. A free shuttle service is available for visitors with mobility or health concerns. The shuttle runs once an hour from the dock to the prison building, and once an hour from the front of the prison back to the dock. Boarding is available on a first come, first served basis.
Once on the island, there is a self-guided audio tour of the island or you may tour the island on your own. An elevator is available to provide accessibility to each level of the cell house that is on the audio tour.
To reserve your tickets, book online at www.alcatrazcruises.com, call 415-981-ROCK (415-981-7625) or visit the ticket booth at Pier 33.
Try to book your reservations as far ahead as possible, up to 30 days. Alcatraz Island is one of San Francisco's most popular attractions and tours frequently sell out a week or more in advance. Tickets are rarely available for same-day sailings.
To get to Fisherman's Wharf from Union Square you can travel either by cable car or bus. For additional information on routes from other locations, click here.
You may take either the Powell-Hyde or the Powell-Mason lines to reach Fisherman's Wharf. TRIP TIME: 20-25 minutes.
If you do not wish to wait in line for a cable car, you may wish to consider taking a Muni bus. You may board line 30-Stockton at the corner of Kearny and Market Streets. Line 30 travels through Chinatown and North Beach, two of San Francisco's most colorful neighborhoods. Line 30 operates on North Point Street from Columbus Avenue west to Van Ness Avenue and serves Anchorage Square, The Cannery and Ghirardelli Square. Or board the "F" line streetcar at Market and Fifth Streets. TRIP TIME: 25-30 minutes.
The Citywide public transportation agency is the San Francisco Municipal Railway, better known as Muni. It operates the world-famous cable cars, buses, trolley buses, a metro system, and historic streetcars (trams).
There are three cable car routes in San Francisco. Two of these routes, the Powell-Hyde and the Powell-Mason, begin at the corner of Powell and Market Streets, upstairs from the Visitor Information Center, and run north-south to and from Nob Hill and Fisherman's Wharf. At Fisherman's Wharf, you can board the Powell-Hyde line at Hyde and Beach Streets and the Powell-Mason line at Bay and Taylor Streets. The third line is the California line running east-west on California Street between Market Street and Van Ness Avenue, serving the Financial District, Chinatown and Nob Hill. This line tends to be the least crowded. The transfer point for all three lines is at Powell and California Streets. Cable cars can be boarded at any designated stop along the route. However, during the busy summer months, it is a good idea to join the queue at the terminus, as the cable cars usually fill up at the beginning of the line. Please be aware that you may experience a 45- to 60-minute wait during the summer.
Muni's buses and trolley buses run all over The City in frequent intervals (usually every five to 20 minutes). Each route has a number and a name, i.e. 5-Fulton, 24-Divisadero, 42-Downtown Loop, which are prominently displayed on the front and side of the bus, along with the route's destination. Some routes, such as 38L-Geary Limited or 14L-Mission Limited, make only limited stops along their routes. Others, such as 9X-San Bruno Express or 31AX-Balboa "A" Express, operate nonstop from downtown to the outer regions of The City. For more clarity on Muni service, we recommend purchasing a Muni map for $3.26 (includes tax) at the San Francisco Travel Association's Visitor information Center or at various stores throughout The City.
Historic Streetcars (Trams):
You can travel back in time on our distinctive worldwide collection of historic streetcars which have been gracing The City with regular service since 1995. Each car is painted in its original livery, be it from Boston, Chicago or Milan. You can find these beautiful streetcars running along the center of Market Street between the Castro District and Fisherman's Wharf. They are collectively known as line F-Market.
Beginning downtown, the Muni Metro's six underground streetcar lines (J-Church, K-Ingleside, L-Taraval, M-Ocean View, N-Judah, and T-Third) take you under Market Street to various points of interest in the western and southern regions of the City. The T runs from Sunnydale to Castro. The N runs from the Caltrain station to Ocean Beach. The J and N lines branch off after Van Ness station and operate on the surface, and the K, L and M continue underground to West Portal Station before splitting into their own separate surface lines. In the subway section of the system, J and N cars are often coupled together, as are K, L and M cars.
Single Fares: Cable Car $6, Metro $2.75 for youth, senior, and handicap.
Please have the exact fare ready when you board; Metro faregates do not accept any dollar bills.
A two-part transfer slip is provided when you pay your fare on buses, streetcars and Metro lines. This transfer allows you to transfer two more times to any bus, streetcar or Metro line within a 90-minute timeframe. No transfers are given or accepted on cable cars; single fares must be paid each time you board.
Limited owl night service is also offered on some lines; click here for details.
For information on all Muni lines, click here.
Muni offers three discount transit passes, subject to availability. All can be purchased at the Visitor Information Center at 900 Market Street, downstairs from the Powell/Market cable car terminal. Just walk to Powell and Market. The banners hanging above the cable car terminal will point you to the Center.
The Muni Passports include the cable cars, Muni buses, Muni Metro and the F-Market streetcars. You can travel anywhere within San Francisco with the Passport. In addition, you will receive savings on your entrance fees at most city museums and many of our city's attractions when you show your Muni Passport.
- One-day Passport - $14
- Three-day Passport - $22
- Seven-day Passport - $26
For detailed information on accessibility needs, please visit the following web sites:
If you can, stay longer. In any case, call the The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau's Visitor Information Center at 415-391-2000 for an information packet to be sent to you, or click here to order a Visitor Kit online. The VIC is located on the lower level of Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market Street at Powell Street. The hours of operation are:
May through October
Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm
Saturday-Sunday & Holidays 9 am-3 pm
November through April
Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm
Saturday 9 am-3 pm
Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day
By car: From San Francisco, take the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge heading east to Interstate 580. Continue east on Interstate 580 to Highway 205 east, which will take you to Highway 120 east. Highway 120 enters Yosemite.
By train: Call AMTRAK at 800-872-7245 for information.
Reservations are required during summer; please call Yosemite Concession Services Reservations at 559-252-4848.
Campground information line: 800-436-7275.
Winter road condition information: 800-427-7623.
For car rental, tours, and attractions reservations - call San Francisco Travel's Leisure Reservation Service - 1-888-782-9673 (1-888-STAY-N-SF).
For hotel reservations – book directly at sanfrancisco.travel/hotels. For assistance on an existing reservation call 888- 850-3958.
Call the San Francisco Travel's Visitor Information Center at 415-391-2000 for an information packet complete with listings of sightseeing companies.
Use our Business Directory to find information on a variety of sightseeing options.