We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Old Idaho Penitentiary

Certificate of Excellence
Improve this listing
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 2445 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, ID 83712
Phone Number: 208-334-2844
Website
Improve this listing
Description: In 1872 the Idaho Territorial Prison opened its doors to some of the most...
In 1872 the Idaho Territorial Prison opened its doors to some of the most desperate and mean criminals the West could offer. In 1973 the Idaho State Penitentiary closed to inmates. Now our doors are open for visitors to explore over 100 years of Idaho's unique prison history. Open year-round, visitors of the Old Idaho Penitentiary can walk through solitary confinement, cell blocks, and the gallows. Visit today and relive the Old Pen's exciting past of daring escapes, scandals, and executions. Call for more details about special events, educational programs and guided tours.
read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 325 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 188
    Excellent
  • 123
    Very good
  • 13
    Average
  • 1
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Be glad you weren't bad and sent here

Very good place to visit while visiting Boise. The tour guides give good information and you get a very good idea about what life in here could have been like. Death penalties... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed September 2, 2015
Mark I
,
Boise, Idaho
Add Photo Write a Review

325 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Rate and write a review
Roll over, then click to rate
  Click to rate
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
59 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2015 NEW

Very good place to visit while visiting Boise. The tour guides give good information and you get a very good idea about what life in here could have been like. Death penalties were also carried out here but I didn't see/hear any ghosts.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Haskell, New Jersey
Level Contributor
102 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2015 NEW

Made it here late in the afternoon; it was worth the trip. The informational film gives a nice background. Very scary to think that prisoners actually lived in these old buildings. Plenty to look at so figure around an hour. Excellent information on some of the prisoners who were held there. The map you get at the admissions counter is... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
19 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2015

I self-toured the prison since I forgot to ask if there were any guided tours scheduled. Even without a guide, it was easy to follow the map, look around and inside the different buildings and see all the interesting displays. It was pretty depressing to see the prison conditions, especially on the HOT day I visited. It must have been... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
76 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2015

For prison buffs this is another must-see. Very nicely restored and they are continuing to restore more. $5 per person for self-guided tour. Looks to be 3 different eras of confinement, plus solitary confinement, (Siberia) - be sure not to miss the 2nd half of this building; there is 1 portion accessible from a door on the right, but then... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2015

I've never been to a modern prison, but if what you see on TV is any indication the facilities at this historical prison would have modern prisoners screaming cruel and unusual punishment! Cell blocks from different eras on display and life was tough back then. Certainly worth a couple hours.

Was this review helpful? Yes
La Vernia
Level Contributor
58 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2015

Loved the place. I love history and this place is worth visiting. I def would not have wanted to be a resident there! We did the tour, our guide was great. Glad we stopped by.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2015

Very interesting prison, especially the woman's section. If you take the docent tour you have to tour the women's section on your own. There is an interesting short video that is worth watching. If you go in the summer time, make sure you go early as it gets hot.

Was this review helpful? Yes
King Salmon, Alaska
Level Contributor
81 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2015

Explore the historic state penitentiary that closed in 1973. Wander through the jail cells, work buildings, and yard, see the corner gate houses, and tour an impressive weapons collections. While there, visit the mining museum and the botanical garden next door.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Valatie, New York
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2015

Fun, interesting, only thing needed would be maybe mannequins for some realizations in the cells, etc. We did the self tour and it was fine.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2015

I really enjoyed it. The family did too. Lots of interesting information and cool things to see. They said it gets really hot so try to visit early like we did.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Been to Old Idaho Penitentiary? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Old Idaho Penitentiary and other visitors
2 questions
Ask a question
7 months ago
1 month ago

See all questions (2)

Questions? Get answers from Old Idaho Penitentiary staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
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?