Entry ticket

Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

Activity provider: Eastern State Penitentiary

From US$ 19 per person

Explore the cellblocks of Eastern State Penitentiary, once the most famous and expensive prison in the world. Learn about the history of this facility and its relevance today through interactive exhibits, history displays, and art installations.

About this ticket

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Valid 365 days
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Host or greeter
English
Audio guide included
Spanish, English
Wheelchair accessible

Experience

Highlights
  • Explore America's most historic prison
  • Peek into Al Capone's lavish cell
  • Tour the long-abandoned Hospital Block
Full description
Discover the historic building of the Eastern State Penitentiary which stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Learn about how when Eastern State opened more than 180 years ago, it changed the world of prisons and was copied throughout the world. 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 prisoners. Discover how the building itself was an architectural wonder; it had running water and central heat before the White House. Marvel at the vaulted, sky-lit cells which once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone. As you explore the building, listen to 'The Voices of Eastern State' audio tour which is included in your admission price. Narrated by actor Steve Buscemi (known for Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, Armageddon, and Ghost World), this rich, stereo soundscape mixes dozens of voices. Hear the stories of 3 former wardens and 25 guards and inmates which create an atmospheric tour as you stroll through Eastern State's cellblocks and yards. When you arrive, receive an MP3 player and headset that will guide you through the penitentiary complex and explain the prison's history. This audio guide contains a main audio route, plus additional stops for subjects like escapes, riots, sports, sexuality, and more. You are free to tour at your own pace and to listen to (or skip) stops based on your interests. Also discover interactive experiences, history exhibits, and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.
Includes
  • The Voices of Eastern State Audio tour
  • Interactive experiences
  • History exhibits
  • Artist installations
  • Guide-led tours (subject to availability)
  • Evening entry and tour
Not suitable for
  • Children under 7 years

Select participants and date

Participants

Date

Meeting point

Enter through the main entrance on Fairmount Avenue.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Weather-appropriate clothing

Not allowed

  • Unaccompanied minors

Know before you go

  • Not recommended for children under the age of 7 as the building is in a state of semi-ruin and can pose safety hazards to unattended children
  • This tour operates rain or shine; the building does not have climate control so please dress for the weather
  • Be sure to wear appropriate footwear
  • Eastern State Penitentiary offers a wide range of accessibility services
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.7 /5

based on 143 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
    4.6/5
  • Value for money
    4.6/5

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Very interesting. Not restored, authentic. The self guided tour is well done. Worth a few hours of your day to learn about the history of prisons in the US and how conditions were back then. This facility was built 200 years ago! Thank you Philadelphia for not ripping it down and for preserving this remarkable touchstone to your past.

June 6, 2022

The prison is very impressive and really worth a visit. You can move around freely and you also get an audio guide. However, you cannot choose the language here. If necessary, you can get the information in printed form to read in German. Warm clothing is definitely an advantage here. It's pretty cold there. But there are also heat lamps in the middle area to warm up.

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April 21, 2022

Upon a recommendation from a member in my book club I got tickets for myself and friends to "hop off" at the Eastern State Penitentiary. The outside dilapidated walls set us up for a hauntingly poignant step back in time to an unsuccessful attempt to solicit penitence. The audio and visual aids send you on an insightful journey through our penal system. I would strongly encourage anyone visiting Philadelphia to experience this incredible piece of history. I will have these images forever.

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November 2, 2019

Product ID: 110998