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“Not at all what I expected!”

Eastern State Penitentiary
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Philadelphia 3-Combo Tour: Hop-on Hop-off, Eastern State Penitentiary, and...
Ranked #3 of 443 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
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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
Lewisburg, West Virginia
Level Contributor
67 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Not at all what I expected!”
Reviewed January 24, 2013

I was a little unsure about visiting a place that where so many had served their time in what I perceived to be horrific conditions. I am glad it was on the "To See" list of a friend of mine's visiting daughter. I understand now that the intent of the 1st of its kind "penitentiary" was designed as a more humane way to house people serving out their sentence that fell short of the mark. I was more intrigued by the thought process that went into designing and operating the facility than seeing Al Capone's cell. I would certainly recommend it, probably not something appreciated/enjoyed by young children.

Visited May 2012
Thank pogopony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Very interesting”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We had the guided tour and found it to be very informative and well done. They also have a self guided audio tour which looked good as well. The two tours have similar information for parts of it and extra stops that are separate for each. I will do the self guided tour next time to hear about the parts I missed from the guided tour.

Visited January 2013
Thank MarylandHoya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Scary Building”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Interessting to see the amount of people that do the tour,but it is interesting but not always ideal for people that are not secure on their feet,but worth while visiting

Visited December 2012
Thank Isolde S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
57 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Interesting view of Pennsylvania Prison System”
Reviewed January 22, 2013

The prison, albeit not in great condition, gives an interesting snapshot of early penitentiaries in the US. The self-guided tour is very interesting. The prison is not heated, so be sure to take your gloves with you in the winter!

Visited January 2013
Thank ruisenor1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Rochelle, New York
Level Contributor
53 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Never knew jail could be this good”
Reviewed January 21, 2013

The prison is quite interesting. We took the tour and learned a lot. We are not your typical "museum buffs," and this place really kept our interest. Seeing Al Capone's cell topped it off!! Definitely worth going to.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank Sandy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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