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4,850 votes

Eastern State Penitentiary

2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130 USA

Open Now
Tue 10a-5p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
  • Wheelchair
  • Public
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Our Take

Admission to the historic Eastern State Penitentiary includes an excellent audio tour narrated by Steve Buscemi and visitors are free to explore the grounds on their own or join one of many guided tours. Some areas are still off-limits to visitors, but the newly-reopened hospital wing—full of peeling paint and creepy old medical equipment—is a must-see.

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“hauntingly fun”

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. works to preserve and restore the architecture of Eastern State Penitentiary; to make the Penitentiary accessible to the public; to explain and interpret its complex history; to place current issues of corrections and justice in an historical framework; and to provide a public forum where these issues are discussed. While the interpretive program advocates no specific position on the state of the American justice system, the program is built on the belief that the problems facing Eastern State Penitentiary’s architects have not yet been solved, and that the issues these early prison reformers addressed remain of central importance to our nation.

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Reviewed by
Greg Newkirk

  • Expert
  • 314 Reviews
  • 363 Helpful
September 17, 2013

One of the greatest ghost tours in the Northeast. Self-guided, and after you sign the waiver, you just go off on your own. Amazing building, and some fun installations. Keep an eye out for the red pipes that mark successful escapes from the prison!

6 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Dana Newkirk

  • Road Warrior
  • 298 Reviews
  • 364 Helpful
September 16, 2014
Rated 4.0

Go! Absolutely go. If you love visiting abandoned places, or you love history, or you love a good ghost story ESP is like the motherland of all three. Take the all the tours and then when you've finished go do the self-guided tour. The building is beautiful and the history is fascinating. And like Greg said, red pipes equal successful escapes, and that equals awesome photo ops!

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Jenn Coffill

  • 19 Reviews
  • 13 Helpful
April 26, 2015
Rated 5.0

The best stop on our Philly road trip! Check hotels and rest stops for a $2 off coupon or show a student ID for a steeper discount. We did the main audio tour first and then wandered the rest of the grounds for another hour or two. Such a neat and historical place with lots of fantastic photo ops. The artist installations were really neat and thought provoking. If you have children, be careful of a few of the off the main tour exhibits ;)

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 74 Reviews
  • 56 Helpful
September 10, 2014
Rated 4.0

First prison in America is one of those rare places that rates highly on both the fun and learning scales. Touring the halls is fascinating and exciting, but also a great lesson in our approach to criminal justice over two centuries and leaves you with a lot to think about. Definitely do the audio tour.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 4 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
July 14, 2014

Very interesting historic site that describes innovations in humane treatment of prisoners and changing philosophies regarding punishment and penitence. Tour guides, audio tours, and hands on exhibits make this a must see for children as well as adults. It was not scary at all.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 6 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
May 05, 2018
Rated 5.0

Great place to visit and learn. Thought 2 hours would be enough time for street parking. Our car got ticketed. There was a lot down the street, should have parked there. The tour guide was great telling the history of the parts of the prison she showed us. Hard to believe what prisoners went through here. We spent around 3 hours here and didn’t see it all.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • Photographer
  • 21 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
November 14, 2014

i visited during the night time. we went on the haunted tour called LIghts Out. It was amazing! All we had for lighting was a glow stick. If you wear one around your neck, the scare actors can touch you. DO IT! It is a great experience not to miss! Well done I think it was better than my visit to Howl O scream at Busch Gardens. The atmosphere of the defunct prision makes it creepier. Will have to visit during the day

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 4 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
August 23, 2014

We really enjoyed this place. The audio tour provided so much information.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 35 Reviews
  • 28 Helpful
April 08, 2014

Terror behind the walls is the annual Halloween event. Even better is going to take the regular audio tour. Still a little eerie but very interesting.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 11 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
December 19, 2020
Rated 5.0

A self-guided tour that is WONDERFUL. We could have spent a whole day hear reading, learning, and exploring. You are able to see so much and learn about the history of the Penitentiary system as well as the current system. It's historical and haunting all at the same time. Wear a jacket because it's colder inside than outside due to the materials the building is made of. Can't say enough good things about this experience!

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Eastern State Penitentiary

2027 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
19130 USA


Open now until 5:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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