We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Really great experience”

Eastern State Penitentiary
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Philadelphia 3-Combo Tour: Hop-on Hop-off, Eastern State Penitentiary, and...
Ranked #3 of 437 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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
Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
23 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Really great experience”
Reviewed October 27, 2012 via mobile

Great historical place with architectural details and great photo opportunities. It takes about an hour and a half to go through, and don't miss Pep the dog and Al Capone's cell.

Thank Ashley L
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Write a Review

4,454 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Favorite part of our visit to Philadelphia!”
Reviewed October 27, 2012 via mobile

Great history. Cool photo opportunities. Really enjoyed the visit. I would loved to have done the haunted house but our schedule did not permit.

Thank Leffew2many
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
171 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“"Terror Behind the Walls"”
Reviewed October 27, 2012

We went to the Eastern State Penitentiary Haunted House called Terror Behind the walls. First off I should disclose I'm not a huge haunted house fan, I went with friends for their birthday. As you near the enterance, you are met with a cadre of zombies and gouls to help you get in line...The freaky gargoyle was the best! The tour starts off a little slow, with a "maze" as you enter the prison, not horrifying but a good start for haunted house lightweights like me. As you continue, there are def. some creepy and "jump out of your skin" moments. Thankfully it is a "no touch" attraction, you can't touch the monsters and they can't touch you....something I really apprecitated.

It takes about 45 minutes to go through. I would recommend you purchase the parking that they offer and take the bus to the attraction.
You certainly won't be scarred for life, but it was a really fun way to spend a fall evening with friends. It made me want to return to visit the prison in the daylight!

Visited October 2012
Thank DrNo8909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beaufort, NC
Level Contributor
91 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“fascinating trip back in time”
Reviewed October 25, 2012

The penitentiary does a great job with its self-guided audio tour, which lets you explore it at your own pace after giving you the essentials in the first 45 minutes. Very well done, with interesting explanations about the several theories of prison management and objectives in the 1800's, and other input into inmate routines, etc. and an eye-opening look at how Al Capone was given rather cushy treatment during his year in residence.

Visited October 2012
Thank bobhardync
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
702 reviews
136 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
“Nothing else like it”
Reviewed October 24, 2012

This very unusual "museum" is a must see while in Philly. Don't miss Al Capone's cell with its amazing decor.

Visited October 2012
Thank Cystokid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Eastern State Penitentiary also viewed


Been to Eastern State Penitentiary? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing