Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State Penitentiary
4.5
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
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.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • Jack
    Old Bethpage, New York3,113 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Historical and architecturally impressive!
    I loved it! Our tour guide, Yara, was great. She explained the history phenomenally and took us through the best parts of the abandoned prison. It is so interesting to see the abandoned cells (which you can go inside!), and the learn about the new idea of solitary confinement, when the prison was first opened. Also, it is not haunted at all. I highly recommend coming here!
    Visited July 2023
    Written 19 July 2023
  • Jonathan R
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Surprising synagogue capped history lesson
    The audio guide by actor Steve Buscemi is terrific. It may not sound like a fun tour, but it's just fascinating to see where we experimented with well-meaning but utterly terrible ideas of early rehabilitative incarceration. Being Jewish, I was very surprised and intrigued to see the restored inmate synagogue. And the "Graph" sculpture showing how US prison populations grow and compare to other countries provokes a lot of thoughts.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 26 July 2023
  • EastCoastCanada
    234 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great learning experience
    The visit was excellent! The great audio guide helped to interpret and understand what you were seeing and what life was like at the time. Because of the audio tour, the visit exceeded my expectations. It was a side to history we usually don’t talk about and a great learning experience.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 14 August 2023
  • thewolf180
    Peterborough & the Kawarthas, Canada33 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth the visit.
    We bought our tickets in advance prior to going to Philly. We used the Hop on Hop off bus from stop #1 and it took us to the stop in front of the Pen. The tour was well worth it. We have seen Kingston Pen in Ontario and the Eastern PA pen is similar but worse conditions. It’s great to be self toured as you can take as long as you want in any area you are in. They give you headsets and you press numbers as you arrive at that numbered station to hear audio explanations about that area. Theres no food or drinks available on this tour so be aware. There is no heat or A/C so also be aware the climate is as outside. We were in August /23 and it was 34 celcius. This tour is well worth the admission. We came out and walked to the corner where we waited 15 minutes and another Hop on Hop off picked us up.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 18 August 2023
  • TDNY
    Canandaigua, New York241 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the visit!
    This is a lot easier to get to then expected, it's walkable from the art museum. And definitely worth the visit! The audio tour takes some time but is thorough and interesting. And the "controlled decay" of the prison makes it very interesting to see what it was like/what it is like now when nature takes over.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 19 August 2023
  • Kdlwall
    133 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth a visit
    This is no Alcatraz, but it is still really interesting and has a lot of historic significance. The self guided tour was really insightful. We parked on a side street near on the same block as the penitentiary and had no issues. Would love to go back for the Halloween event.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 26 August 2023
  • Bobbie W
    Sterling Heights, Michigan160 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Evening tour was WONDERFUL!
    We got lucky to discover this gem on the last night of evening tours! The walking tour in combination with the audio was outstanding. Although a bit creepy in the dark - I am very happy we took the time to learn about this historical site.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 5 September 2023
  • Simon W
    Moseley, Virginia122 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Powerful insight to how we locked up people and isolated them
    The history set against how we are still getting it so wrong. 200 years ago we locked up too many people and it’s become even worse. Excellent insight to life behind bars without glorifying
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 7 September 2023
  • Smantha
    Cornwall, United Kingdom243 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting location and tour
    Really enjoyed visiting here from the UK. The tour was really good as you were given mini electronic device and headphones. You could take as long as you like when exploring. All you had to do is type in the corresponding number on the walls and you then get to hear the information. There was plenty to see and some parts felt really eerie. Once you have finished the tour you could then go and explore other areas (again typing in numbers to hear the different information) I really enjoyed it. The small shop was great for picking up souvenirs.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 14 September 2023
  • Nancy M
    Oak Park, Illinois102 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must see!
    This was a great stop. Historical, educational, great audio tour, and wonderful for photography! Highly recommend! On the self-guided tour, you can take your time walking all over and there are plenty of audio tour pints to stop and listen.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 September 2023
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4.5
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CharlieV2011
Chicago, IL2,181 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2024 • Couples
This jail is huge with so much history! I visited on a week day morning and there were not too many other visitors. Going through the jail, visitors learn about various offenses committed by the prisoners, rehabilitation, life in the prisons, and history of the building. There are also restrooms and a small gift shop. Overall, I enjoyed my experience here!
Written 10 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Christopher A
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2024 • Family
It was a great tour. Sammy who works there took time with our young kids and answered all of the crazy questions about how people might have escaped lol. They hit him with every question a 7 and 8 year old mind could come up with and he just answered the best he could without shooting them down. It’s a great place to visit.
Written 9 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Catherine M
9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2024 • Friends
We had the option of doing a self-care tour or guided tour and went with the guide. It was a great decision. Not only gave us a historic impact of this penitentiary, the social impact as well. He was able to answer any questions thrown at him and gave us a well-rounded tour.
Written 9 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alex G
7 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2024 • Family
The overall all architectural of the building was really interesting. The tour starts out rough with unclear directions. Once you get on the right path, the audio tour is really good. However, once the audio tour is done and your allowed to free roam to the exhibits, the directions are really bad. Also, there is very few areas were they attempted to restore the prison to the "original" condition to give a better since of life there. It was a bit over priced, but they let my 8 year old in free although we should have paid for him. He got bored of it real quick. But for someone who enjoys history and works in criminal justice, it was a good trip. Wife thought it was depressing though.
Written 9 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Borenfamx5
Trussville, AL320 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2024 • Couples
We visited on a Friday night with there summer night promotion. It was around $25 per person. Such a neat place. So much information and so much to see. They did not have audio as an option at night. We would have liked to be able to hear the audio. A must do if in the area. The building is pretty amazing.
Written 8 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

James & Beth
Hockley, TX241 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2024 • Couples
This place reminds all of us of how far we’ve come with humanity and how much more we need to go. The audio was well done, paced well, and informative. Took around an hour. Easy to walk. Couldn’t get over a building with no ac. Wow.
Written 5 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Everywhere is on the list…
Amsterdam, The Netherlands852 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2024 • Couples
The penitentiary is an imposing building with lots of history and interesting factoids. The audio tour is easy to follow and gives good detail as to what you’re viewing. Flat comfortable shoes are a must! Many of the cells and parts of the building have not been restored so you get a real flavour for what it was like back in the day. They also have a a small exhibition highlighting the challenges of todays jails and legal system which posed some hard hitting questions which made you think and reflect. Super friendly and helpful staff and a small gift shop to buy souvenirs. The info provided on Al Capone could have been a bit deeper but other than that, a very interesting and eye opening 2 hours
Written 2 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

fnaturtles
Fairbank, IA59 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2024 • Family
I enjoyed this more than my family. I enjoy the history of places like these. My kids and husband thought it was interesting but not worth waiting to get in. We purchased Friday - Summer nights tickets, and had to kill an hour before going there. We were going to go to Rocky statue and steps but could not find parking. The Penitentiary has a lot of history and is interesting to see.
Written 2 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

N J
Woodstock, Canada159 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2024 • Solo
I have visited every abandoned prison, lunatic asylum, hotel, warehouse... etc. Many of them were not open to the public so I had to sneak in.
They have done an absolutely wonderful job with this location. Its beautiful, informative, scary, sad, and actually in quite amazingly good shape for being nearly 200 years old. The staff are helpful and friendly. Its extremely educational and very well laid out. I was there for nearly 3 hours. Loved every minute of it. Fascinating. Many thanks to the people who brought this building back from the dead.
Written 1 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CVTravelers
Castro Valley, CA260 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2024 • Couples
My wife and I spend about two hours touring the penitentiary and enjoyed our visit. Certain parts are only open for guided tours which are free and the time of these tours is posted once you arrive. We did two short guided tours - the chaplain’s office (beautiful murals painted on the walls and definitely worth a visit) and the hospital (operating room is a highlight with its giant ceiling light). There were more exhibits and audio tour stops than we did but after a couple of hours, we decided to visit other sites in the Philadelphia area. We walked from the penitentiary to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Rocky statue and found the walk to be quite pleasant and the park around the Museum of Art to be worth a stop. We would recommend spending some time visiting the penitentiary as it portrays an interesting window into history as well as some eye opening facts about our current society.
Written 17 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Eastern State Penitentiary - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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