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Eastern State Penitentiary

2124 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
215 236 3300
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Ranked #6 of 276 attractions in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence 2013
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Type: Historic Sites, Museums
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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... more » Owner description: 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. « less
Useful Information: Activities for older children
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English first
Falling Waters, West Virginia
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
18 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2014 NEW

This was the last place my husband and I stopped on our short weekend of Philly. Our time was not wasted. We were there the moment it opened, I actually got to open the huge iron gate. That was when the history really began. When we purchased our tickets to ESP, we were given the option of taking a self-guided... More

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Plainview, New York
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
12 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2014 NEW

Been there many times during their "Terror Behind the Walls" Halloween production. In order to appreciate it in it's entirety, you have to do the day tour as well as the haunted prison scarefest! One can visit the penitentiary and do the day tour and feel at awe with the energy it encapsulates! Young children might feel uncomfortable but they'll... More

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Newcastle, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2014 NEW

My friend and I are not usually 'history buffs' but we found this place fascinating! It was only $14 per person and upon entry we received an electronic set of headphones. You followed a route around at your leisure and tuned your headphones in at each checkpoint. The information was very informative and the prison building itself is fascinating. A... More

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2014 NEW

I lived in Philadelphia for many years. I've always heard stories about Eastern State Penitentiary from family members. I decided to visit before relocating to a new city last year. It was the most educating and scariest place I've visited in Philadelphia. I suggest everyone visit Eastern once. If you're in the area during the month of October, the penitentiary... More

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Seattle, Washington
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18 reviews 18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2014 NEW

This place was really interesting! The audio tour is narrated by Steve Buscemi for some reason, but was really good nonetheless. There are a lot of "extras" in the audio tour, so if you have time, make sure to do them! Also attend the special, docent-led viewings of things like solitary confinement, the kitchen, and the operating room. They have... More

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Madison, WI
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014 NEW

Visited Eastern State in June 2013. Very interesting and fascinating. Take the time to go to the sessions that meet at various parts of the estate. We went to 1 about the kitchen and surgery area and another about an escape. We also visited Alcatraz in San Francisco in Sept. I would say this is more interesting - not as... More

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High Wycombe, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
23 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014 NEW

The Eastern State Penitentiary is a great place to visit - it is different, unlike anything I have seen before. This is a great place to find out how many prisons were run over a long period of time. The penitentiary is derelict, but has all the atmosphere a place like this should. It is being conserved rather than preserved... More

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Cold Spring Harbor, New York
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4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014 NEW

If your a photographer this is an excellent place. Bring your tripod for those long exposures or hdr shots. Definitely will be back.

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San Diego, California
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4 reviews 4 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014 NEW via mobile

You will be surprised by the penitentiary. It is a fascinating place to visit. From its architectural design to its original philosophy of what to do with criminals, you will find it interesting and thought provoking. The tour staff are well trained, knowledgeable, and really add to the visit. The audio tour has two components; a standard self-guided tour, and... More

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Baltimore, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2014 NEW

This was the highlight of the day. Had children of various ages, including a teen, and all were kept interested. Very unique, interesting stop and full of history. There is a lot of access to the different areas with certain times where restricted areas are opened to small groups. We were able to get into the hospital area and operating... More

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