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Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary 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 prisoners. 

Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone. Admission includes "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; Hands-On History interactive experiences; history exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

 

  • "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour

    Included with admission. This soundscape mixes dozens of voices – including three former wardens and 25 former guards and inmates – creating an intimate walking tour of Eastern State’s cellblocks and yards. The main route includes 10 audio stops and lasts about 35 minutes. Additional stops provide visitors with more than two hours of content, including Death Row, the solitary exercise yards, the restored synagogue, and Al Capone’s Cell.  Narrated by actor Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, Armageddon).

  • Al Capone's Cell

    Included with admission. Al Capone got his first taste of prison life at Eastern State Penitentiary. Visitors today can see his recreated cell with fine furniture, oriental rugs, and a cabinet radio.

  • Hands-On History

    Included with admission. These short demonstrations take place throughout the penitentiary complex, each lasting about five minutes. An expert Eastern State tour guide leads each activity, although visitors do the bulk of the physical activities themselves. Stops include How to Open a Cell, Opening the Massive Front Gate, Exploring the Underground Punishment Cells, and more. 

  • Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration

    The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, by far, with 2.2 million citizens in prison or jail. This phenomenon has generally been driven by changes in laws, policing, and sentencing, not by changes in behavior. This interactive exhibit sheds light on these issues. It elicits personal connections, encourages reflection, supports dialogue, and suggests steps that visitors can take to help shape the evolution of the American criminal justice system moving forward.

  • Art Installations

    A critically-acclaimed series of artist installations is free with admission.

  • Terror Behind the Walls

    Select nights, September through November. Tickets starting at $19. Terror Behind the Walls, America’s largest haunted house, is called “perfect for Halloween” by The New York Times, named #1 in the nation by Forbes, and featured on NBC’s TODAY Show. Terror Behind the Walls takes place inside the massive, castle-like walls of Eastern State Penitentiary and is consistently ranked among the top haunted attractions in America.

  • Special Events

    Including the Alumni Reunion, Prison Food Weekend, Family Weekend: Pets in Prison, and The Searchlight Series, a monthly event addressing issues in contemporary corrections.

Admission

Adults $14 online; $16 at door
Senior Citizens $12 online; $14 at door
Students and kids (7-12) $10 online; $12 at door
   

Not recommended for children under the age of seven.

Tours

General Admission: General admission tickets include “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; Hands-On History interactive experiences; history exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

Guide-led Tour and Discussion:  Guide-led tour and discussion tickets guarantee a spot on the guided tour, which takes place every day at 2 pm. These tickets are date specific and are only valid on the date selected. These tickets also include all of the programs included with the general admission ticket.

Group Tours: 
Discounted tickets are available for groups of 15 or more.

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