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“Just Go!! Who knows what you will experience . . . . .” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary
2124 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
215 236 3300
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Ranked #4 of 281 attractions in Philadelphia
Type: Historic Sites, Museums
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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
Dover, Delaware
Top Contributor
328 reviews 328 reviews
136 attraction reviews
Reviews in 89 cities Reviews in 89 cities
2,262 helpful votes 2,262 helpful votes
“Just Go!! Who knows what you will experience . . . . .”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

We just returned from a fabulous trip to the Eastern State Penitentiary. It was amazing. Find a $2.00 off coupon and save some money on your visit. As others have said, as part of your admission price you get an audio guide, which you can play at will, and can learn much more detail about the facility than by simply walking around.

Although the facility does not look all that large from the outside, don't be deceived. We spent all day here, and still really did not get to see everything. One of the best things about visiting the Penitentiary is that at various times during the day, and as part of your admission price, there are all sorts of special tours to parts of the prison that are normally not open to the public. All you have to do is show up on time and off you go. We got to see one of the original operating rooms, where Al Capone had his tonsils removed, in fact. We also went on a "behind the scenes" tour where we got to see the kitchen and dining halls. And that is where the fun started. While the rest of the tour group and guide were standing on the other side of the court yard, in the second dining hall, I wandered off alone to the dining hall on the other side. Very interesting. There was definitely "activity" there in the left corner at the back of the dining hall. I called over my friend, who was still standing in the center courtyard. She is also sensitive. I said nothing, just called her in. She took one look around and said she felt unwell, there was a strong, unfriendly presence. I then called my husband over, who, in his own words, is completely oblivious to anything from "beyond". He said he felt a very cold wind blow past his left arm. Not his right arm. Not his head, simply his left arm. BTW, it was close to 90 degrees the day we were there, only wishing for a breeze of any kind.

The restored Synagogue was a surprise, and very poignant. There was even a dog who was a prisoner, poor Pep. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore, and corridor 12 I believe is supposed to be the one with the most activity, if you are into that sort of thing, but I think you find it where you find it. The only other thing I personally experienced was when I got to walk down a cell block alone, and right beside me I heard a very loud thump that sounded like a rock being thrown. Loud enough that I jumped. Of course, the building is decaying in a controlled way, so who knows. Several of us smelled food at various times (no food is sold on premises, but Fairmount Avenue does have several nearby restaurants). More base smells were present and then gone on a few occasions.

Of course, you get to see Al Capone's cell, and the beginnings of the escape tunnel dug by Slick Willy Sutton. Bring a camera, there is much beauty amongst the decay.

We will return again. There is much more to see and experience here. Be aware that this facility is not handicapped friendly in any way. If you have trouble walking you won't do well here either. It is up stairs, down stairs, down long corridors, and walking on uneven terrain. Also be aware that there are only port-o-potties outside, no indoor plumbing for visitors.

Visited October 2013
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Yardley, Pennsylvania, United States
1 review
“Life's lessons are never really understood until you see what these prisoners had to go through. Time is valuble!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

Today, my boyfriend and I visited Eastern State Penitentiary. The guides there are very professional, and between the self guided tour and the tour guides tours, you definatley get your moneys worth. Once you pay the entry fee of 14 dollars for the day tour, you can stay as long as you like and see everything. I have to say I learned alot more then just about the prison by being there. We take for granit the freedom we have for sure. We know this, but sometime's it's never really understood until you see what these prisoners really had to go through. For a crime they committed, they did time. Time they could've spent with their family, outside, at work, doing something. I never realized how valuble time was until today. It's definatley a life changing expierience going to Eastern State Penitentiary. One word of caution though. They have no where to wash your hands. So bring hand sanitizer. Other then that, I love Philly and everything it has to offer. I will be back!!! And I won't forget the sanitizer.

Visited September 2013
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Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
88 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Interesting history n trivia, I wanna be here for Halloween!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

I hear Halloween at this place is awesome. In summer, it's hot n sticky with some air conditioning indoors. I like the history in terms of what locals thought they were building, the dog prisoner Pip and other interesting stories. It's unique and interesting attraction. A good one time visit.

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“Educational & Creepy”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

I had heard a lot about the spook factor of this place, but did not find it spooky as much as it was sad and creepy. We did a self tour with the headphones and learned so much about why and how this penitentiary was run. It's a sad piece of history to learn about what methods were used to try and "heal" the criminals.

They have a schedule posted there about when a guide will be doing a presentation in different areas of the penitentiary. We sat in on a few of those and it was interesting. You cannot visit all the wings because of deteriorating conditions and safety, but you see enough to get the idea.

We found it to be an enjoyable, educational way to spend a few hours. Worth visiting.

Visited September 2013
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Valdosta, Georgia
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 attraction reviews
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5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Pretty darn cool!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2013

Very cool place! The audio tour was very informative and it was nice to walk around at your own pace. The staff around was very nice. I enjoyed it very much.

Visited September 2013
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