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“Really fun and interesting afternoon - who'd've thunk it?”

Eastern State Penitentiary
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$63.00*
and up
Philadelphia 3-Combo Tour: Hop-on Hop-off, Eastern State Penitentiary, and...
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$32.00*
and up
Philadelphia Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour
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$56.00*
and up
Hop-on Hop-off and Philly By Night Tour Combo
Ranked #3 of 462 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
Reviewed December 22, 2013

Seriously - not many people would think to go to an abandoned prison on their one day of sightseeing in Philly, but I'm sure glad we did! We had been to Philadelphia before, and seen many of the "important' sights, so this time we looked for something "different". The Eastern State Penitentiary was a great find. I took my 15-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old friend. They both loved it! We did a guided tour (which got us into some areas that we wouldn't otherwise have seen). That took about an hour. I wouldn't have thought that learning about how the penal system evolved would be interesting, but it was - even to the girls! The whole atmosphere helped you to understand what the prisoners felt. There were some cells you could even go into. The guide was very good, and we were glad to have done the tour.

Then we explored on our own for another hour and a half. The place is kind of eerily beautiful. My daughter is a budding photographer, and she brought her camera and took probably a couple hundred pictures. Everywhere you looked was something worth photographing! Since the prison had been abandoned for 20 years, there were trees growing in some of the cells, ceilings falling in, paint peeling everywhere....

I guess it's hard to really explain the appeal - you just have to go and experience it for yourself. Kids and adults alike - you won't be disappointed.

1  Thank WhitePineLane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,409 - 3,413 of 4,977 reviews

Reviewed December 15, 2013

My Daughter and I really enjoyed our Visit to the Penitentiary.

So interesting and filled with History. Nice Gift Shop too and Friendly People that work there are happy to answer any questions you may have.

It you have time when in Philly, don't miss this.

1  Thank Janet H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2013

A fascinating place with an atmosphere you can find only in prison...
has a bit of everything - celebrity (Al Capone), action (riots), sophistication (escape attempts), even religion. Wait - I forgot art, and pets... Just go :)

Thank Shay T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2013

This place was really really cool. Located in the middle of the city, it looks like a castle. The audio tour was awesome, did not take too long to finish. I would not rush through this place as there is a lot to see and very photogenic. If you are into photography and history this is the place to see in Philly.

If you are going in the winter...its going to be cold. There is minimum heating inside this place, so bring a jacket and warm clothes. Overall was a great experience, especially if you are a history buff.

Thank Navid W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2013

This place was so interesting, running water, central heating, even before the White House and Al Capone's cell, luxury!!

Thank dtjax5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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