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.
Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone.
Tours today include the cellblocks, solitary punishment cells, Al Capone’s Cell, and Death Row.
April through November – admission includes the “Voices of Eastern State” audio tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. A critically-acclaimed series of artists’ installations is free with admission.
September through November; Select evenings at 7 pm, separate admission rates apply. Ranked the #1 haunted house in America by AOL City Guide (2008)
Include Bastille Day, Alumni Reunion, and Family Weekend: Pets in Prison. See our Events page for details.
The newly restored Alfred W. Fleisher Memorial Synagogue and the companion exhibit on Jewish life at Eastern State Penitentiary are open to the public during all public hours.
A critically-acclaimed series of artist installations is free with admission.
Not recommended for children under the age of seven.
Hands-On History: Eastern State Penitentiary literally hands visitors the keys to the cellblocks with Hands-On History interactive experiences. These short demonstrations take place throughout the penitentiary complex, each lasting five to ten minutes. An expert Eastern State tour guide leads each activity, although visitors do the bulk of the physical activities themselves. Activities include Opening the Massive Front Gate, Exploring the Underground Punishment Cells, The Operating Room, and more.
Winter Adventure Tours: December through March. Guided one-hour tours. Weekdays: 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. Saturdays and Sundays: Every half hour from 10 am to 4 pm.
Group Tours: Private group tours are available during daylight hours for groups of 15 or more year-round.
Visit the Penitentiary Store or shop on-line: Very unique clothing items, books, mugs, magnets, and more.
Volunteer opportunities available. Please visit our website for more information.
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2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130oun
On-Street Parking: There is ample on-street parking surrounding the Penitentiary. While the parking is unmetered, some streets do have a two or three hour limit.
Parking Lot: There is a public parking lot right next door. Parking costs generally range from $3.00 to $10.00 depending on the length of your stay. For exact pricing, please call Parkway Corporation at (215) 569-8400 x4037.
Many visitors in wheelchairs visit Eastern State Penitentiary every year. That said, the Penitentiary complex is not fully ADA compliant. The building is 173 years old, and is a National Historic Landmark. Sections of it may never be fully accessible. There is a small museum and gift shop which is only accessible by a set of 3 steps. This section of the Penitentiary can easily be bypassed. The rest of the tour route is equipped with ADA compliant ramps and meets most ADA guidelines. Visit our website for more information on accessibility.
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