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Old Idaho Penitentiary

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 2445 E Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712-8254
Phone Number:
+1 208-334-2844

In 1872 the Idaho Territorial Prison opened its doors to some of the most...

In 1872 the Idaho Territorial Prison opened its doors to some of the most desperate and mean criminals the West could offer. In 1973 the Idaho State Penitentiary closed to inmates. Now our doors are open for visitors to explore over 100 years of Idaho's unique prison history. Open year-round, visitors of the Old Idaho Penitentiary can walk through solitary confinement, cell blocks, and the gallows. Visit today and relive the Old Pen's exciting past of daring escapes, scandals, and executions. Call for more details about special events, educational programs and guided tours.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 538 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 299
  • 201
    Very good
  • 27
  • 3
  • 0
If you like old buildings

I took the opportunity to photograph the Penitentiary on a photographers night. I was there day and night and it is cool. There are some restored buildings and some in decay. You... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 weeks ago
Colorado Springs
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538 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 530: English reviews
Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
29 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I took the opportunity to photograph the Penitentiary on a photographers night. I was there day and night and it is cool. There are some restored buildings and some in decay. You can go through nearly all of the building including death row, which does have a vibe, I heard others mention it to. They have lots of historical pictures... More 

Thank wchambosse
Lakeland, Florida
Level Contributor
89 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We found it really interesting. It took about an hour and a half to look at everything. We rushed...it was so cold. We were glad we went.

Thank Erin T
Midwest CIty, OK
Level Contributor
32 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

My husband and I were 2/4 visitors to come out the day we went because of the snow. It was cold but an amazing experience. Location has a lot of history and abandoned beauty. Was worth it for sure! Plus the cold meant we got to stop for coffee after.

Thank Okla_IC_nurse
Chantilly, United States
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2016

We went there in December (so it was freezing) and we may not have spend as much time if it was warmer...but we did still get a feel for the space, the prisoners stories, and what life may have been like there. It's a cool yet creepy peek into history and if you're a Ghost Adventures fan (a must see... More 

Thank Edelina R
Nampa, Idaho
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 December 2016

We took a tour of the penitentiary in July. They are offered for free or you can do a self guided tour. The tour guide was very informative and gave great insight as to how the prison was when it was open and housing inmates. We saw the gallows and the death row cells. My husband and I both worked... More 

Thank kristinahensley559
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 December 2016

We visited this in the winter and it gave another dimension to the conditions the prisoners had to endure during the cold and especially in solitary confinement which is called Siberia. You can climb into a cell and the tour guides are knowledgeable and entertaining. Great for local residents as well as out of towners. 2 thumbs up!

1 Thank Gary F
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
92 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 November 2016

Outside of Alcatraz (which I know can get a little ridiculous) this was the best prison tour I've done. It's self guided, but you can go in some of the cells (including solitary confinement), and the signage does really give you a great idea of what life was like for many of these prisoners. The history really does come alive.... More 

Thank trimess
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 November 2016

I attended a winter guided tour of the penitentiary. It was cold, and that cold was exactly how it would have felt to the inmates who were doing time. You need to be ready to go up and down stairs, and walk outside as well as in. Well worth the time. Plan on a couple of hours to see everything.... More 

Thank David H
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
142 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 November 2016

One of the reasons we stopped in Boise on our cross-country trip was to see this penitentiary. Very friendly and informative lady at the counter. Felt like we had the prison to ourselves. You're able to walk through the Women's Ward, the general population and ruins from the prison fires resulting from riots. You really understand what solitary confinement means... More 

Thank Healey2012
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 November 2016 via mobile

Did a night tour with family. Found our tour guide competent and knowledgeable. Some of the stories and pictures will forever be burned into my memory. But it was worth the tour. I would take friends there again.

Thank Salicia D

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  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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