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“Underrated Attraction”

Eastern State Penitentiary
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$32.00*
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Philadelphia Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour
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Day Trip from New Haven CT to Philadelphia by Rail
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 February 3, 2014

I don't believe in ghosts, but even without the sense of being haunted, I found this place wonderfully intriguing. It all started with gargoyle statues outside of the Prison, that looked rather creepy. There's an audio walking tour that I only did for the first 10-15 minutes, because I was on a time crunch, although the parts that I did listen to, were quite interesting and informative. It's amazing to think that the prison was still open for awhile in the second half of the 20th century. You can view hundreds and hundreds of cells, there are many informative signs describing the historical significance of various cells and items, and included the notable inmates who stayed there. Most spectacular, was Al Capone's cell, but I won't say anything more about that, as you should see it for yourself! Also, the guard towers outside, and the medical/dental facilities were cool. Make sure to stop by here for...I'd say about two solid hours!

1  Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,393 - 3,397 of 4,998 reviews

Reviewed February 3, 2014

Visited on a cold day in December, which added to the already eerie atmosphere of the penetentiary. The visit was fascinating and the audio tour (narrated by Steve Buscemi) was great! Though there's a lot of the prison you can't walk around due to it's delapidated state, that's part of the charm. I loved hearing the parts of the audio tour with interviews from ex-prisoners and guards.

Thank Victoria M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2014

While a visit to an old prison might not be for everyone, out tour was a really interesting look at the history of Philadelphia and the evolving concept of reform in the US.

Thank Mark A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2014

I just missed the Halloween events at this prison which is a national historical site. It is a spooky place and you will get great pics there with any camera or even your iPhone. This is the first prison in the US of its kind. Hard to believe this place only closed 30 or so yrs ago. If you have seen the movie the Green mile or Escape from Alcatraz you will get the feel for this very old place. Is it really haunted? I didn't see anything, but I am always looking

Thank robertw4771
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2014

Loved it you need a good two hours to check it out big grounds alot of history. Great value for money

Thank PUGSLY79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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