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Eastern State Penitentary
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Spring Garden
Philadelphia, Pa 19130
Cross Street: 22nd Street
Hours of Operation
Hours: 10 am to 5 pm (last entry 4 pm) Every day, twelve months a year. Adults: $12 Seniors: $10 Students & Kids: $8 Members: FREE CityPASS Adults: $59 CityPASS Child: $39 Not recommended for children under the age of 7. No reservations necessary for historic tours March 15 - November.

Opened in 1829 as part of a controversial movement to change the behavior of inmates through "confinement in solitude with labor," Eastern State Penitentiary quickly became one of the most expensive and most copied buildings in the young United States. It is estimated that more than 300 prisons worldwide are based on the Penitentiary's wagon-wheel, or "radial" floor plan.

Some of America's most notorious criminals were held in the Penitentiary's vaulted, sky-lit cells, including bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone. After 142 years of consecutive use, Eastern State Penitentiary was completely abandoned in 1971, and now stands, a lost world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers.

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 convicts.

Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone. Purchase Daytime Tickets


  • Groups: A field trip to Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is an experience that allows your students to learn history and become engaged in historic inquiry. Through an interactive tour, students will use Eastern State Penitentiary’s 142-year history as a lens to examine the larger story of American History. Complementary lesson plans are also available.

    Class tours are tailored to the grade level or college year of your group. When you are booking your tour, please let us know what your students are currently studying, their education level, and if you have specific interests, such as religious influence, architecture, criminal justice or escapes. Our school tours are designed to address a variety of academic standards for elementary through high school students (available for download here).

    Although private group tours are available throughout the year at Eastern State Penitentiary, cold weather can make winter and early spring tours a very chilling experience. We recommend group tours between April 1 and November 30.

    Recommended for students 10 years of age and older. Tours are not recommended for children under the age of seven (7). Led by a member of our guide staff. Limited to groups of 15 to 125. 1 hour.

    Taking Photograpgs: Eastern State Penitentiary may be the most picturesque place you’ve seen in years. We encourage you to bring a camera when visiting the historic site, but we ask that you honor these policies when photographing here

    Photographers at ESP

    Do not block any pathways or exhibits, or leave backpacks or tripods in these areas.

    • Refrain from loud conversations and avoid gathering along the audio tour route (See map, below).
    • No smoking is permitted anywhere within the penitentiary complex.
    • Please do not touch or move any objects or artifacts.
    • No models or props are permitted during public hours.
    • Eastern State Penitentiary charges a $10.00 fee, per person with a tripod, monopod, or easel, to all non-members. This pass is valid for the entire season. There is no fee for handheld cameras. No equipment, other than a single tripod, monopod or easel, is permitted during public hours.
    • Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site requires the location credit "Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA" in all uses of penitentiary photos in print, on the web, in broadcast, and in any other public medium.
    • Eastern State Penitentiary assumes no responsibility for loss, theft, or damage to equipment.
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