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Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

(4.5/5 based on 4,000+ reviews on the web)
Admire the impressive architecture and haunting atmosphere of one of the most famous and expensive prisons in the world, Eastern State Penitentiary. Once a thriving site of discipline and order, the prison has long since closed, and now you can take a tour of the building’s unique wagon-wheel design that inspired thousands of penitentiaries worldwide. Follow your guide through the cellblock rows, solitary confinement cells, and execution chambers. Don’t miss the chance to visit the original cell of Al Capone. If you’re interested in haunting tales, ask about the prison’s long history of paranormal activity and ghost sightings. Plan your Eastern State Penitentiary visit and explore what else you can see and do in Philadelphia using our Philadelphia trip itinerary planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I visit Philly annually, but until this year I had not toured the Penitentiary. I did the audio tour and it was WELL worth my time. The tour was fascinating and I wish it would've gone on for longer. ...  more »
  • - Went to the Eastern State Penitentiary in mid September, which was very hot! I would suggest wearing layers to be more comfortable in the tour and to wear closed toed shoes. I don't remember there b...  more »
  • Really interesting history of our early prison system. The self guided tour allowed us to tour at our own pace. Definitely a Must See Stop in Philly. 
Google
  • 10-10!!! If you are not into art in a conventional way, you must visit the ESP. I can complete a museum or gallery in 15 minutes but was in here for 3 hours listening to the audio tour at will and taking in the atmosphere with lots of camera clicks. I do recommend you arrive as it opens. The less busy the more rewarding. As we were closing our visit the masses who were not giving the prison the attention it deserved were catching, chatting and overtaking us which made the isolated start seem a luxury.
  • One of my favourite locations to visit in Philadelphia. A stunning historic museum with incredibly unique architecture and stories to last you for days. I highly recommend taking the audio tour done by a celebrity you may recognize, it is very well done and is a great way to see the site.
  • They accept out-of-state student id! It's $10 student price and $14 regular price. Great place to visit. Plan to spend 2-3 hours here with the audio tour (included). The prison cells are mostly the same, but the audio brings it to life.
  • I absolutely loved exploring this place. I took the recorded guide tour. The history is stunning. It was designed to be a more ethical form of punishment and very modern. Charles Dickens visited it in the mid 1800s. Al Capone was an inmate here and his cell is crazy for a prison inmate. He definitely spent his time there in style. They're continuing to restore the site and it's very creepy seeing the dilapidated parts. It's supposed to be haunted, too. I'm hoping to go back again some day.
  • This place was fascinating! They had wonderful tours, along with self-guided tours. I hope very much to be able to make it to the Halloween presentation at some point. There is a ton of History, and getting to see and touch all of these different pieces of History was incredible. They have many displays of animals and videos about procedures that are fascinating to watch as well. There are few places that are closed off to the public, which naturally nearly killed me with curiosity, but for the most part this is all open and informational to the public. Great trip. I would definitely recommend.