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Eastern State Penitentiary

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 2124 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130-2603
Phone Number:
+1 215-236-3300
10:00 - 17:00
Closed now
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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 4,457 reviews
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  • 2789
  • 1069
    Very good
  • 170
  • 39
  • 25
Two Worlds in one building

I had done the haunted house before but had never taken the historical tour during the day. I was really impressed with the wealth of knowledge of the guide as well as the... read more

Reviewed today
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4,457 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 4,092: English reviews
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed today NEW

I had done the haunted house before but had never taken the historical tour during the day. I was really impressed with the wealth of knowledge of the guide as well as the interesting tidbits that played into the haunted house at night. Everyone here does a great job at bringing this prison back to life in more ways than... More 

Thank SleepingInn321
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

We've been to the scary part during Halloween season and decided to check out the real history of the penitentiary. What exciting facts we found! Definitely a worthy tour, we spent a few hours there and learned so much about this esteemed prison.

Thank Sierra A
Level Contributor
38 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed yesterday NEW

Visited the ESP with relatives, was not enthused at all. I was quite surprised by how interesting it was in many aspects. The History was great, quite enlightening. The architecture was amazing. From a photographer's view point there were many opportunities for great pics! We were there several hours and could really have toured longer! A must see if you... More 

Thank TessNarvon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

I love this place! The history itself is very dark. Because of the design, many inmates went insane. It's an example of how NOT to build a prison. They have ghost hunting events there now, and an amazing haunted house every Halloween. The entire prison feels haunted. In addition, the special exhibits are incredible. I find myself reading every line... More 

Thank Muffinlady01
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

This place is a must visit in Philly. I live here, and love this place. It is very interesting to see the how's and why's of early prison life. Definitely check it out.

Thank john u
2 reviews
Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

Brought my two nephews here, ages 13 and 9. They aren't typically fans our museums or tourist attractions but they LOVED this. We did the audio tour and it was just fantastic and so informative. I would highly recommend as it's something different and fun.

Thank Elizabeth L
Bradenton, Florida
Level Contributor
86 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed yesterday NEW

The jail was very interesting. It was self guided and came with your own headset. Some of the stories and quite unusual. The Al Capone cell was a trip. It looked like a studio apartment. Shows you what money can do.

Thank ThaiTom13
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed yesterday NEW

Loved our trip to ESP. Interesting history. Very glad they have managed to save it and enabled people to learn about its history.

Thank Christine T
Brookfield, Connecticut
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed yesterday NEW

Make the plans and take at least a half day to visit this penitentiary. So much history and amazing stories of inmates. Excellent opportunity for you photography buffs to get some great images of prison cells & architecture. Don't miss this attraction!

Thank markprochorenko
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level Contributor
160 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed yesterday NEW

We decided to do this on a whim, based on a flier I picked up in baggage claim at the airport. SO GLAD WE DID! Parking is available, however we took SEPTA (public transportation) literally door-to-door from our hotel in Old City. The self-guided audio tour was SO informative, and the various add-on topics (such as women in the penitentiary... More 

Thank Susan K

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  • 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?