Nicknamed the 'Ellis Island of the West,' Angel Island's early-20th-century US Immigration Station is a 1.5-mile walk or bike ride from the ferry dock. This facility was primarily a screening and detention center for Chinese immigrants, who at that time were restricted from entering the US under the Chinese Exclusion Act. The waterfront site is now a museum with interpretive exhibits and a not-to-miss guided tour.
Many detainees were held here for long periods before ultimately being returned home; one of the most compelling sights on the island is the sad, wistful Chinese poetry etched into the barrack walls. Tours can be reserved ahead (but only for groups of five or more) or try your luck buying first-come, first-served tickets upon arrival.
The site will soon expand, with the adjacent Immigration Station Hospital scheduled to open in 2020.