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Eastern State Penitentiary
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Philadelphia 3-Combo Tour: Hop-on Hop-off, Eastern State Penitentiary, and...
Ranked #3 of 438 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
Brookline, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
405 reviews
122 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 179 helpful votes
Reviewed November 11, 2013 via mobile

This place was interesting. The self guided audio tour was good. I caught a few live tours too. If I had wanted to, they had a schedule to try to catch more tours. It was about the same temperature inside as out, so if it's a cold day, bundle up. I found the restored synagogue to be particularly unusual and interesting.

Thank waterangel21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,468 reviews from our community

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Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 10, 2013

We had seen a bit of this place going to their annual Terror Behind The Walls haunted attraction. We thought that wasn't great, but what an awesome place the prison is. We finally made it back to check it out, and were not disappointed. It was vacant from 1971 to 1994, and was literally falling apart. Trees started growing through floors and walls, peeling paint, plaster falling etc. It is loaded with history. Self guided tour with an mp3 player narrated by Steve Buscemi. Along the way, there are short guided tours that take you into spaces otherwise locked for no additional cost. Good and creepy!

Visited November 2013
Thank prunella24_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bel Air
Level Contributor
37 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Terror Behind the Walls”
Reviewed November 10, 2013

Visited the seasonal haunt attraction at Eastern State Penitentiary and was extremely pleased with the experience. Well done by organizers, safe, well staffed and fun. The pure history you are enjoying while taking in the added haunt attraction is amazing. The setting alone is creepy and interesting, hope to return for a daytime history tour complete with audio guide. A must see if you enjoy the seasonal haunt scares and if you are a history buff.

Visited November 2013
Thank Bethney D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
41 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“A must-do!”
Reviewed November 9, 2013

This self-guided daytime tour was fascinating beyond measure. I really didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did. The history, the stories, the visuals - wow. We spent more than 2 hours and every bit was interesting. I highly recommend it, though not for children under teenage age or those with disabilities.

Visited November 2013
Thank JerseyGirl444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“worth the trip!”
Reviewed November 8, 2013

We did this as part of the city pass program. It turned out to be the best part. The tour is done by individual tape players and you go at your own pace. You can see as much or as little as you choose. It is fascinating.
Not recommended for children and not for people with disabilities. We went on a rainy day thinking we would be indoors, and some of it was, but there is no heating and it was chilly.

Visited November 2013
Thank Karen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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