When you’re growing up and first learn about the history of the penal system in the United States, one of the best examples of what to do (and a little of what not to do) is the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Located less than 2 miles from the world famous Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz held some of the worst of the worst criminals for more than 100 years. Now, it has become one of the most visited National Parks in the country.
TripAdvisor recently revealed the winners of its 2016 Travelers’ Choice Awards for Landmarks in the United States, for which Alcatraz was named number 3.
According to TripAdvisor’s description of Alcatraz Island, “For almost 150 years, Alcatraz has given chills to the innocent and cold sweats to the guilty. Having once been a forbidding maximum-security penitentiary, Alcatraz is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area [one of America’s 407 National Park sites] and is this year’s #3 Travelers’ Choice Landmark. The roster of former Alcatraz inmates includes A-list criminals such as crime boss Al Capone and kidnapper George Kelly. Though it was considered escape-proof, in 1962 the Anglin brothers and Frank Morris infamously floated away on a makeshift raft and were never seen again.”
The Top Ten Landmarks in the United States, according to TripAdvisor’s 2016 awards are as follows:
4. USS Arizona Memorial
5. Grand Central Terminal
6. Statue of Liberty
7. Empire State Building
8. Biltmore Estates
9. Brooklyn Bridge
The island features both natural and manmade wonders, and can explored at your own pace by taking ranger guided tours, a recorded tour of the cellblock, or simply by wandering the prison grounds on your own. In our experience, the best way is to combine all three.
Visit www.alcatrazcruises.com for more information about Alcatraz tours and to purchase tickets, up to ninety days in advance