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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
Cleveland, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014 NEW

Our family took the self-guided audio tour one day in July. There is so much history here, and much to be learned! We really enjoyed the fact that we could wander and linger where we wanted. There was plenty of staff available walking around to ask questions. It was a really cool place to visit and we were all happy... More

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Etters, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014 NEW

For the thrill seekers and history buffs, this is a must not miss. I absolutely loved the tour of the penitentiary.

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Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
12 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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