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Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

4.7
Must see · History Museum · Museum
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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 to visit Eastern State Penitentiary during your Philadelphia vacation using our convenient Philadelphia itinerary maker.
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Eastern State Penitentiary reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
6,412 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • I love that you receive audio devices. This allows you to wonder around at your leisure in the order you want to. The recordings are very well done. The wall information signs are very... 
    I love that you receive audio devices. This allows you to wonder around at your leisure in the order you want to. The recordings are very well done. The wall information signs are very...  more »
  • We enjoyed our visit. We have toured several prison museums across the country and this is one worth seeing. Interesting concepts about crime and punishment through the years. The prison is... 
    We enjoyed our visit. We have toured several prison museums across the country and this is one worth seeing. Interesting concepts about crime and punishment through the years. The prison is...  more »
  • Unless you're with a tour group, we recommend starting with the 10-stop audio tour but don't leave after that. Wander down the different cell blocks and check out Al Capone's cell, the art... 
    Unless you're with a tour group, we recommend starting with the 10-stop audio tour but don't leave after that. Wander down the different cell blocks and check out Al Capone's cell, the art...  more »
Google
  • Came for a history lesson and educational tour while visiting Philadelphia. Arrived right at opening during the week and there was not any line at all. Purchased the Daytime Self-Guided tour as you receive a audio headset that gives you prerecorded info for each area. As you go from one area to another, you'll see signs which tell you the audio clip to play on the headset. This allowed you to tour the facilities at whatever pace you wanted in whatever order you preferred. It also had many extra audio clips that weren't part of the main tour, but you could listen to you if you wanted. The paper map also gives the locations of the various areas the audio clips reference. There was no time limit, so you could stay as long or as short as you wanted. I'd say the main tour lasted about 45 minutes. As far as the tour overall, this was very interesting, educational, and somber all in one. They did a great job of preserving the penitentiary just as it was until the closing in 1971. There were also many interactive stops along the way and several artists exhibits throughout the facilities. It wasn't just about the penitentiary itself, but also the role the penitentiary system played in the 1800's - 1900's and even to current days. It also looks at different perspectives from punitive, restorative, or reformative justice. This was a nice tour full of interesting and educational facts.
  • Great experience! Lots of history. Some of the cells have been preserved and used for Art Installations. Hand sanitizing stations throughout walk. Didn't understand why some areas were closed off but are open at certain times of the year (cell block 12 for example) still had a really nice time reading and listening to the Steve Buscemi narration of audio guide. Would love to return for a night time visit!
  • I've done so much reading up on this venue and finally had the opportunity to tour this place. I took my kids with me and they really enjoyed the experience to tour such an old facility. The audio tour was phenomenal and added to the experience. I really want to do the haunted tour they do in the fall. I'll be back again soon in the future to tour this great facility again. It's amazing that most of our prisons are structured off of the design of Eastern State Penitentiary.
  • Coming here is like an interactive museum, and it’s guided with an audio tour which is cool. Despite it being very fascinating and full of history, it felt solemn walking in an area where many were deprived of basic human needs, and seeing the different facts of this prison and the injustices that occurred. There are exhibits all around besides the actual prison which are very interesting and informative, and don’t forget Al Capone’s cell is here too! A must see exhibit is the Prison Today, which is interactive and based on the modern day US prison system. Overall, I really enjoyed coming here because it’s not only a great history lesson, but much needed eye opener.
  • Amazing history of the penitentiary system in Philadelphia. An audio tour guides you around and tells you about the history of the penitentiary. The cells have been presented to show the conditions of the jail. It's amazing to see and learn about how fascinating a penitentiary can be. Would recommend for most ages and you can easily spend a few hours of your afternoon here!

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