Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The penitentiary is currently open Friday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Tickets must be purchased online in advance. Visitors will select a 30-minute timed entry window, subject to availability. Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; our award winning exhibits on mass incarceration, The Big Graph and Prisons Today; history exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.
Below you'll find answers to frequently asked questions. Don't see what you're looking for? Contact us at [email protected].
Health and safety are our top priority. Here are some important changes to note:
- Staff and visitors (ages 2+) are required to wear a face mask over their nose and mouth at all times.
- Hand sanitizer is available, and visitors will be asked to sanitize their hands before entering the site.
- Physical distancing of at least 6 feet (2 meters) is required.
Before you visit, please review our Reopening Information page for details on other changes.
All programming (“The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, artist installations, and exhibits) is included in one admission price. During our initial phase of reopening, visitors must follow a one-way route. When you arrive, you'll get an mp3 player and disposable earbuds that will guide you through the site.
First, you’ll learn about the penitentiary’s history with “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. Our main audio tour ends at The Big Graph and its climate-controlled companion exhibit Prisons Today where you’ll learn more about modern-day mass incarceration.
From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore other one-way paths that feature additional audio stops, artist installations, and exhibits. Visit Al Capone’s Cell and Death Row. Hear more about daily life, architecture, and notable prisoners. Watch the 20 animated short films that were created by incarcerated artists for our 2019 project Hidden Lives Illuminated.
Eastern State Penitentiary is currently open Friday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, with final entry at 4 pm. Timed tickets must be purchased online in advance.
The historic site is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Tickets must be purchased online in advance. Visitors will select a 30-minute timed entry window, subject to availability.
Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $11 for students and children ages 7-12. (Not recommended for children under the age of seven.)
Yes! Discounted rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Due to current COVID-19 precautions, we are only scheduling self-guided audio tours for groups who wish to tour the site at this time. We are booking guide-led group tours of the site for spring 2021 and beyond. In addition, Eastern State Penitentiary’s award-winning tour program is now available to virtual groups everywhere at a flat rate! Visit our Group Tours page for more information.
Yes! In addition to our student, children, senior, and group rates, we offer a variety of special discounts.
Discounted admission is available by request for Museums for All, ACCESS Card, and SEPTA Key Reduced Fare cardholders. Due to COVID-19, we have temporarily waived all costs! Card holders will be granted free admission (usually $2) for up to four guests for daytime historic tours. Visiting guests must present their valid ID upon arrival.
We have also temporarily waived fees for people with disabilities. Upon request, visitors with a disability will receive free admission (usually $2) for daytime historic tours. Personal Care Assistants are always provided complimentary admission when accompanying a disabled visitor to the museum.
Because these offers must be redeemed on site, timed reservations are not required.
If you’ll be visiting several different Philadelphia attractions you can save 40% or more on admission to 3, 4 or 5 top attractions with Philadelphia CityPASS.
Please note that timed reservations are not required for visitors who purchase through CityPASS.
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Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. is a charitable nonprofit organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Proceeds benefit preservation efforts at this National Historic Landmark. Thank you for your support!
Eastern State Penitentiary is located at 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130. You can access customized driving directions on Google Maps.
The penitentiary is accessible to Philadelphia Trolley Works, Big Bus, The Phlash, Philadelphia Bike Tours, and several SEPTA bus routes. Visit our Directions and Parking page for more information.
While we do not have our own parking lot, there is a parking lot neighboring us that is reasonably priced. 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 (267) 765-3665.
Additionally, you can find parallel parking bordering the penitentiary. Eastern State is so large that it occupies one full city block. Bordering Eastern State on the west (to the left if you are facing the entrance) is 22nd Street. On the Eastern State side of 22nd Street, parallel parking is free and unlimited. The same is true of Brown Street, which borders our back wall. Again, parking is free and unlimited only on the Eastern State side of the street. If you choose to park anywhere else in the neighborhood, just exercise caution and read all signs.
Eastern State Penitentiary is also accessible to Philadelphia Trolley Works, Big Bus, The Phlash, Philadelphia Bike Tours, and several SEPTA bus routes. Visit our Directions and Parking page for information about alternate transportation options.
Eastern State Penitentiary is located in beautiful, historic Fairmount, a neighborhood of Victorian homes and some of the best restaurants in the region. We are located in the Parkway Museums District, just five blocks away from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
We are fortunate that Fairmount is quite safe. You should, of course, take all the safety precautions that you would normally take. Lock your car, and don’t leave valuables in clear view inside the vehicle.
When you purchase your ticket, you will be asked to select a 30-minute, timed entry window. Please arrive any time during the 30-minute slot you choose.
For daytime tours, timed reservations are not required for Eastern State members; visitors with free ticket vouchers; visitors utilizing our accessible, discounted admission programs (e.g. ACCESS Card); Library Pass holders; or visitors who have purchased tickets through a third party such as CityPASS. Visitors who fit these criteria may arrive any time between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
When you arrive, you’ll follow a one-way route through the site, which begins with our main audio tour. The main audio tour, which provides a general overview of the penitentiary’s history, includes ten audio stops and lasts about 35 minutes total.
From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore other one-way paths that feature additional audio stops, artist installations, and exhibits. Depending on your interest in doing this and the time you have, this could take several hours.
Eastern State Penitentiary is open rain or shine, and the building does not have climate control. Summers can be quite hot, and winters can be quite chilly. Please dress for the weather, and be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Sandals, flip-flops, open-toed shoes, and high heels are not recommended.
While there are no dining facilities within the penitentiary complex, there are several wonderful restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood. We strongly recommend calling ahead to make reservations for large groups.
Yes! 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 the following policies when photographing here. During our initial phase of reopening, tripods, monopods, easels, stools, and other equipment in not permitted during public tour hours.
No portrait photography is permitted during public hours. Eastern State Penitentiary defines portraiture as any posed photography of an individual or group taken by a professional, amateur or student photographer. This includes, but is not limited to, wedding photography, engagement photography, headshots, band photos, and family portraits.
Any photographer (professional, amateur, or student), ad agency, or other commercial entity wishing to photograph models (professional or amateur); wear costumes or use props; photograph the building without visitors; photograph in non-public spaces; or conduct shoots that require equipment must make reservations in advance.
Visit our Photography and Filmmaking page for more information about setting up a private photo shoot.
If you have to ask, it’s best that you leave it in the car or, better yet, at home. We are dedicated to providing a safe, fun, and educational experience for every visitor. Therefore, weapons of any kind, pepper spray, pocketknives, lighters, flashlights, alcoholic beverages, and any other potentially dangerous objects are not permitted inside the penitentiary.
We have a strict "no guns" policy, which means that even persons licensed to carry a firearm, including off-duty law enforcement officers, will not be permitted to bring their weapon into the penitentiary complex (and we can't hold them for you, either).
Eastern State Penitentiary is a wonderful place to bring kids ages seven and up. Our Eastern State Challenge booklet, free with admission for kids, provides an engaging scavenger hunt throughout the prison complex.
Eastern State is not recommended for children under the age of seven. The building is in a state of semi-ruin and can pose safety hazards to unattended children. There are also some audio tour stops that contain adult content. (These stops are appropriately marked.) Although we do not offer programming for children under the age of seven, they are welcome to visit and their admission is complimentary.
Thousands of visitors tour Eastern State Penitentiary every week without incident.
That said, Eastern State Penitentiary was abandoned for more than 20 years and remains in a state of semi-ruin. Visitors should exercise caution and stay within the clearly marked public areas. Ground surfaces can be uneven, and stone edges can be sharp. Please watch children carefully, as the building can pose safety hazards to unattended children. For visitors’ safety, the penitentiary complex is monitored by a closed circuit surveillance system.
Download our public statement regarding lead-based paint hazard.
Our daytime tour programming is not meant to provide a scary experience. Most visitors find the sun-lit cellblocks to be surprisingly beautiful.
The tour content can be disturbing at times, but our goal is to explain and interpret the penitentiary’s 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.
If you’re interested in a scary, theatrical experience, Eastern State Penitentiary houses a massive haunted attraction each fall to raise funds for historic preservation. Terror Behind the Walls does not affect operation of the daytime historic site.
Please note: Terror Behind the Walls has been suspended for 2020 due to COVID-19. But don’t cancel your fall visit to Eastern State Penitentiary yet! We’ve got something special in store. Experience our dark, abandoned cellblocks in a new, intimate way this fall with small-scale Night Tours.
Many people believe that Eastern State Penitentiary is haunted. As early as the 1940s, officers and prisoners reported mysterious visions and eerie experiences in the ancient prison.
The penitentiary has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Most Haunted Live, Ghost Adventures, and Paranormal Challenge; Fox Television’s World’s Scariest Places; TLC’s America’s Ghost Hunters; and MTV’s FEAR. Footage captured on the second tier of Cellblock 12 by paranormal investigators during filming of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters may be the most controversial ghost sighting in history.
During the filming of Paranormal Challenge, host Zak Bagans called Eastern State Penitentiary “one of the most haunted places in the world.” Jack Osbourne, host of the Travel Channel’s Portals to Hell, agreed. After filming the series, he noted, “Eastern State Penitentiary really freaked me out… The place is terrifying… Easily one of the most haunted places I’ve ever been.”
Paranormal investigations (including the use of EVP recorders or other pieces of paranormal investigation equipment) are not permitted at Eastern State Penitentiary. While we know this is an area of interest for many, our mission drives our work. At this time, we are focusing our resources on maintaining and expanding programs that explore the penitentiary's history and connections to contemporary criminal justice reform. Thank you for your understanding!
Eastern State Penitentiary offers a wide range of services for our patrons. For information on ADA accessibility, service animals, captioning, and other accommodations, please visit our Accessibility page.
Our staff is available to assist all guests to the best of their ability.
If you have additional concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact our administrative offices at [email protected] or (215) 236-3300.