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“Don't go in the off-season.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary
2124 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
215 236 3300
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$72*
and up
Philadelphia CityPass
Ranked #4 of 555 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
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 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.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Bladensburg, Maryland
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Don't go in the off-season.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

I took this tour in early Dec -- not the "high" season for tourism. The prison was open, but only 1-2 guided tours were scheduled since I wasn't with a school group. As I'd have had to wait more than an hour for the next tour, I went through the prison alone. There were explanatory signs posted and several tv videos playing, but no one to answer questions, etc. Only 2 wings of the prison were available to unguided tourists. My unguided tour of the site was interesting, but not worth the time it took to get to the site or the admission fee.

Visited December 2012
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South Brunswick, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“So interesting and cool”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

This place is awesome! I have been here a few times, and I love it. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see something cool in Philadelphia. The audio tour is narrated by Steve Buscemi which is a really neat touch. The audio tour is definitely a must, as there is so much history to discover. The price of admission is reasonable and there is no time limit other than open and close. You can stay as long as you would like and tour at your own pace. Everything about Eastern State is creepy and awesome.

Visited October 2012
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King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
“Love the Halloween Event”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

The history of this place makes the halloween show more spooky. It feels haunted, even during the day.

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Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Best Attraction in Philadelphia”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

This was the best thing we did in the city, the tour is fascinating. The jail has been perserved partially as a ruin and partially restored. The audio tour is really interesting and the employees are a wealth of additional informaiton.

Visited November 2012
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philadelphia, pa
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Majestic and historical”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

I love touring Eastern State Penitentiary and I see something new just about every time I do so. It's eerie and and fascinating to hear of the lives and crimes of prisoners who frequented those hallways. I hope that, with fundraising, they can restore more of it before it's too late! This is one of my favorite places in Philadelphia.

I will say, if you have allergies, you may want to go on a sunny day, rather than a damp rainy day. There is a lot of dust from the deterioration.

Visited September 2012
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