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“Interesting Tour with Lots of History”

Eastern State Penitentiary
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Day Trip from New Haven CT to Philadelphia by Rail
Ranked #3 of 463 things to do in Philadelphia
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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
Reviewed October 27, 2013

Suggest doing the actual guided tour (led by a guide) rather than a self-tour or the headset tour. The guides have much more to offer. The history behind this prison was very interesting, as well as the cast of characters that once inhabited this place.

Thank luvthepalms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,532 - 3,536 of 5,048 reviews

Reviewed October 27, 2013

I love to photograph old and abandoned places, so Eastern State Penitentiary fit the bill. We really enjoyed the audio tour and walking through the prison. It was very informative, interesting and ended up spending several hours there. If you can make it to some of the special tour times, be sure to do so.

Thank Worldtravelers07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2013

I am sooo glad we went to the guide led tour of the prison during the day. It is a fascinating piece of history. The guide was excellent as were the "5 minutes hands on history" presentations. It really makes you think about our "corrections" system - what it was supposed to be and where we are now.

At night, we went to Terror Behind the Walls. Very professional, really well done. 45 minutes long. While it wasn't very "scary" it was more about being startled. Don't be *afraid* to go. It's really well done - very professional.

One tip: skip the "ghost bus" parking. Park on the street.

We parked in the lot next to the prison and left the car. Did the 2 pm prison tour, went for a long (great) dinner at La Calaca Feliz, then went back for Terror Behind the Walls. When we left, that lot was JAMMED full. The street seems very safe - and free.

1  Thank JaxNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2013

As a novice photographer, we originally went just so I could do some picture taking. Once we turned our headsets on, we were learned so much about the history of the prison (thanks to our famous narrator!). It was quite informative, and you can pause and start your headsets at any time. We spent way more than the suggested hour in the prison and we didn't mind when our parking meter ran and we were ticketed - it was worth it!

A little disappointed in the gift shop, though...

Thank Indreams07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2013

Gives a great look into early prison life, and how it changed over the years. There are a lot of great stories on the audio tour, and you are welcome to walk around and explore as much as you want. My girlfriend is studying to be a prison psychologist who wrote a paper on the penitentiary, needless to say we were there for several hours. Definetly worth a look.

Thank jordant22780
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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