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Eastern State Penitentiary

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 2124 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone Number:
+1 215-236-3300
10:00 - 17:00
Open now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site was once the most famous and...

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts. Tours today include the cellblocks, solitary punishment cells, Al Capone’s Cell, and Death Row.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 4,135 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 2560
  • 1009
    Very good
  • 161
  • 38
  • 25
Interesting Way to spend an afternoon.

Thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Eastern Penitentiary. Not exactly "museum quality", but that adds to the eerie atmosphere. Truly a learning experience.

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Pittsburgh, United States
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4,135 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 3,793: English reviews
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
64 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Al Copone once was housed in here. It's spartin. Parts of it are showing it's age. It housed all types of people from gangsters to ordinary crooks to people who couldn't pay their bills. It's old but the history is interesting. At Halloween they turn it into a haunted prison.

Thank Joe K
Pittsburgh, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Eastern Penitentiary. Not exactly "museum quality", but that adds to the eerie atmosphere. Truly a learning experience.

Thank paulalM3915HL
Naperville, Illinois
Level Contributor
29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

We visited this past weekend and did the self-guided tour. Our tour was scheduled for 2pm but we arrived about 1:45pm and were able to get started right away. I must say, I loved this place! So much history and even has a kind of eerie feel to it. My daughter, who is extremely sensitive, cried. She felt sorry for... More 

Thank RGM2
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

I wasn't sure what to expect on my trip there but it was very cool experience seeing all of the cells and hearing history of the penitentiary. It is mostly outdoors and indoors isn't heated...so bundle up!

Thank Julianabug
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

What a great experience. Allow yourself at least 2 hours to walk through. Head phone guided tour. A lot of information. Can't believe people actually lived here. They also do a haunted Halloween tour. Looks really scary and knowing what it looked like inside makes it even more scary.

Thank pooh703
Takoma Park, MD
Level Contributor
76 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

There is no heat here, it is open to the outdoors, but it is fascinating to visit and see the penitentiary. They give you an audio thingy with earphones and you do a self guided tour. There are also a few staff around that can answer questions, and a separate free tour of the medical area, but this is only... More 

Thank deathblosom
Malmesbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
212 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Wow - this is a must see attraction. We spent 3 hours wandering the cells and blocks, listening to the commentary. It was fascinating. Our young boys (aged 7 and 10) were wrapped. They were given a scavenger hunt on arrival which kept them engaged throughout. It was really well done. A small souvenir shop. No cafe but a coffee... More 

Thank Helena L
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
67 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Even if you were not interested in prisons this place would still interest you. There is a lot of history surrounding Eastern state. When you enter, you get an audio device with headphones. When you walk to an area you just press the number and you get a pre recorded message about the history of where you are at. The... More 

Thank Tucker509
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This is a massive former penal institution in the heart of the city, the first penitentiary in existence. It is a great balance of somewhat restored sections and visible, but cordoned off, unrestored areas to give you a sense of the raw earthiness of the place. There is a 10 stops audio-guided self-tour, with optional places and audio commentary to... More 

Thank BradleyFL
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

You could easily spend half a day here. The place is huge & full of lots of information. Thought it was great

Thank angem83

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?