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Eastern State Penitentiary

2124 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
215 236 3300
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Ranked #5 of 288 Attractions in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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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
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
11 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014 NEW

This attraction is unusual and is informative especially about prisoner treatment and how it has changed. I would recommend not taking children as it involves lots of walking, although I would imagine the Halloween event they put on would be fantastic. Staff helpful, informative and friendly. An enjoyable and different attraction

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UK
Top Contributor
204 reviews 204 reviews
34 attraction reviews
118 helpful votes 118 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014 NEW via mobile

This has so much potential if only the museum would invest money in more comprehensive renovations. At the moment there are some interesting areas and presentations and the rest of the site is just a ruin and not accessible at all. If investment was made this would be up there with Alcatraz as a really interesting reflection of prison life.... More

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Burlington, Vermont
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014 NEW via mobile

We were first time visitors to Philly and spent the better part of a day here. Great history and very well curated. Eat a big breakfast and plan to spend some time. Then have a lovely lunch on Fairmount Ave. Jack's at the Firehouse has excellent BBQ.

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Prague, Czech Republic
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014 NEW

Partially renovated ruin of once large, modern building that was admired for its architecture. The audioguide is a must, it contains many information that aren't written anywhere - history of the penitentiary, stories of prisoners and guards.

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Avalon, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014 NEW

Very pleasant self guided tour to see and learn about the penitentiary. Take your time to read the descriptions.

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Naugatuck
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2014 NEW

The place is huge so wear comfortable shoes. There are different options on how you tour this place (especially around Halloween since it is said to be haunted) but we opted for the self tour. They give you a hand held device that when you get to the check points it will tell you the significance of it. I thought... More

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Florence, Italy
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
9 attraction reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2014 NEW

it's really great, a dramatic place! there is an audio guide included with the regular ticket, that explains very well the more important stuffs of the Penitentiary!

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Maryland
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2014 NEW

Wow. I've never seen anything like the Eastern State Penitentiary. My friend and I spent 5 hours there because we didn't want to miss anything. The building is fascinating in its state of repair and disrepair. The audio tape, human guides, and information booklet really enhanced the experience.

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North Jersey
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2014 NEW

Loved the narration (audio tour) by Steve Buscemi. Fascinating self guided tour of an eerie monstrous penitentiary that seems almost untouched since the pen's closing. It was very chilly in March, so dress warmly. Very little sun gets in. I imagine this might help it stay cool in the summer, but I haven't been during summer months to know for... More

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Indianapolis, Indiana
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2014 NEW

We were there on a day when it was pouring rain. This is a somewhat creepy place to begin with, but add in cold wind and rain, and it was really creepy. We did the self guided audio tour, which was narrated by Steve Buscemi (appropriate). It was very interesting seeing how the building evolved over time, starting with the... More

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