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Night Tours: Winter Holidays

Experience Eastern State's historic cellblocks at dusk!

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(Eastern State members get free admission! Learn more.)

Night Tours: Winter Holidays includes everything we offer by day ("The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; history exhibits like Al Capone's Cell; award-winning exhibits about prisons today) and more!

people taking an audio tour in a cellblock at night

  • Grab a drink and a bite to eat in The Fair Chance Beer Garden featuring Triple Bottom Brewing, Down North Pizza, and The Monkey & The Elephant.
  • Compose holiday cards for people who are incarcerated and reflect on the challenges facing families separated by incarceration during the holidays.
  • Roast s'mores while viewing historic holiday photos and watching films about contemporary holiday celebrations in American prisons.
  • View Eastern State artifacts at a limited-time Pop-Up Museum.
     

pop-up museum

Plus, bring a new, unwrapped toy or children's book to donate to our Holiday Toy Drive, which runs through December 22!
calendar with dates and prices

Night Tours: Winter Holidays runs select evenings November 26 through December 30. Tickets start at $19 and are available online and at the door; however, we strongly recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance.
 

Eastern State members receive free admission to Night Tours: Winter Holidays, no advance reservation required! Members may bring as many individuals as their membership level allows, with a cap of four people, by presenting their member card for entry. Additional tickets can be purchased for 20% off at the door, subject to availability. Member must be present.

Discounted rates are available for groups of 15+.
 

person in a mask pouring a can of beer into a glass
Make a night of it! Fairmount is a vibrant dining destination; we've compiled a list of spots within walking distance.

Want to receive emails with the latest Night Tours news and offers? Sign up for updates here!

 

Night Tours include everything we offer by day, plus more!

Night Tours: Winter Holidays offers the unique opportunity to visit Eastern State at dusk. Explore the penitentiary's dark, picturesque cellblocks as the searchlight shines out from the central guard tower. Then, step outside onto the historic baseball field for incredible views of the city skyline as the moon shines above.

Many of the programs available during the day are also offered at night, including "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, award-winning exhibits, and site-specific artist installations. Additionally, some new activities are available exclusively for Night Tours: Winter Holidays.

During Night Tours: Winter Holidays, you'll learn more about winter holiday celebrations throughout the penitentiary's history and in prisons today. Grab a beer and some snacks in The Fair Chance Beer Garden, located indoors for the winter season. Reflect on the challenges facing families separated by incarceration during the holidays with hands-on activities like holiday card writing stations and an exclusive multimedia presentation created by people who are currently incarcerated. Get a closer look at artifacts from our collection at a limited-time Pop-Up Museum. And don't forget to bring a new, unwrapped toy or children's book to donate to our Holiday Toy Drive, which runs through December 22.

Health and safety is our top priority.

In accordance with guidelines issued by the City of Philadelphia and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, all staff and visitors (ages 2+) are required to wear a mask in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

While many other COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, you may still notice some additional small changes to your visit. Please review our Health and Safety page for details.

No. Night Tours are unique and engaging, but educational. They are not startling, and they do not include any haunted house or theatrical effects.

Night Tours offer the chance to tour the prison during the evening and learn about its history and relevance today. It's a self-guided experience featuring an audio tour, exhibits, and other exclusive offerings throughout the penitentiary complex.

For more information about Eastern State's Halloween fundraiser, Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary, visit www.HalloweenNights.org.

Night Tours: Winter Holidays runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from November 26 through December 23 and every evening from December 26 through December 30. Timed entry slots vary by evening, but begin at 6:00 pm. We strongly recommend purchasing your ticket online in advance to guarantee entry.

Timed entry allows us to space out visitors, but that does not mean that your visit is limited to 30 minutes. It just means that you have to arrive within your 30-minute entry window.

When you arrive, you’ll follow a one-way, linear route as you listen to our main audio tour. The main audio tour, which provides a general overview of the penitentiary’s history, includes ten stops and lasts about 35 minutes total. From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore additional audio stops, artist installations, exhibits, and special Night Tours: Winter Holidays offerings.

Depending on your interest in doing this and the time you have, this could take several hours. Most visitors spend about 1.5 hours. The penitentiary closes 90 minutes after the final entry time. Last call at The Fair Chance Beer Garden is 60 minutes after the final entry time (30 minutes before the entire site closes).

Tickets for Night Tours: Winter Holidays start at $19 and vary by date. 

Tickets are available online and at the door; however, capacity is limited, so we strongly recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance to ensure entry.

Tickets are available online and at the door; however, capacity is limited, so we strongly recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance to ensure entry.

Tickets for Night Tours: Winter Holidays start at $19 and vary by date.

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. In addition, while valid ID will be required to purchase alcoholic beverages (ages 21+), everyone is welcome to enter. and enjoy The Fair Chance Beer Garden.

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.) That said, although we do not offer programming for children under the age of seven, they are still welcome at Eastern State during both daytime hours and Night Tours: Winter Holidays.

During Night Tours: Winter Holidays, all tours are self-guided. You'll pick up an audio guide and headphones on your way into the penitentiary.

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 the impact of modern-day mass incarceration. From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore additional audio stops, artist installations, exhibits, and Night Tours: Winter Holidays exclusive offerings.

When you arrive, you’ll follow a one-way, linear route as you listen to our main audio tour. The main audio tour, which provides a general overview of the penitentiary’s history, includes ten stops and lasts about 35 minutes total. From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore additional audio stops, artist installations, exhibits, and special Night Tours: Winter Holidays offerings.

Depending on your interest in doing this and the time you have, this could take several hours. Most visitors spend about 1.5 hours. The penitentiary closes 90 minutes after the final entry time.

No. The Fair Chance Beer Garden is part of the Night Tours: Winter Holidays experience, so tickets are required with one exception -- Eastern State members. Want unlimited access to The Fair Chance Beer Garden and all of Night Tours: Winter HolidaysBecome a Member today!

In addition to other benefits, Eastern State members get free admission! Members can visit Eastern State anytime during daytime hours or any evening of Night Tours: Winter Holidays, no advance reservations required. After presenting their member card at a special express admissions line, members are welcome explore all open areas of the penitentiary, including The Fair Chance Beer Garden, freely.

Purchase a membership online or apply the price of your admission to a membership when you visit. Questions? Email [email protected] or call 215-236-5111 x224.

Outside food or drinks of any kind, including alcoholic beverages, are not permitted. Soft drinks, water, Triple Bottom beer, Down North Pizza, and some seasonal treats are sold at The Fair Chance Beer Garden. In addition, soft drinks, water, and bagged snacks can be purchased in admissions and at our museum store, located near the baseball field.

For a more substantial meal, we encourage you to check out one of the many wonderful restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood. We've compiled a list of spots within walking distance of the penitentiary to help you explore what's available. No matter what type of experience or cuisine you like, there's something for everyone in Fairmount! We strongly recommend calling ahead to make reservations for large groups.

Night Tours: Winter Holidays is a family-friendly event with a relaxed, but educational atmosphere. We reserve the right to refuse entry or service to anyone who is visibly intoxicated.

This is a special event, available only for a limited time and limited capacity. Discounts, coupons, and complimentary or BOGO passes for daytime prison tours are not valid for Night Tours.

We do, however, offer special rates for groups of 15 or more. To book a group visit, please fill out this online form or email Francine Schiffman, Group Sales Manager, at [email protected].

Night Tours: Winter Holidays is a special event, available only for a limited time and limited capacity. As such, we cannot offer ticket refunds or exchanges.

Discounted rates are available for groups of 15 or more. To book a group visit, please fill out this online form or email Francine Schiffman, Group Sales Manager, at [email protected].

While we do not have our own parking lot, there is a parking lot neighboring us at 22nd St & Fairmount Ave. Parking costs vary. 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 by public transit.

For more information, visit our Directions & Parking page.

Soft drinks, water, Triple Bottom beer, Down North Pizza, and some seasonal treats are sold at The Fair Chance Beer Garden. In addition, soft drinks, water, and bagged snacks can be purchased in admissions and at our museum store, located near the baseball field.

For a more substantial meal, we encourage you to check out one of the many wonderful restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood. We've compiled a list of spots within walking distance of the penitentiary to help you explore what's available. No matter what type of experience or cuisine you like, there's something for everyone in Fairmount! 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 take photos when visiting Night Tours--and tag us on social media!--but we ask that you honor the following policies when photographing here.

In addition to the general admission fee, non-members must purchase a daily "photography equipment pass” if they wish to use a tripod, monopod, or easel while on site. Equipment passes are $10 per person and are valid only on the day they are purchased. While we recommend you purchase your tickets online in advance, photography equipment passes can only be purchased at the admissions window on site. Want free admission and free photography equipment passes all year long? Become a Member today!

Drone photography, or use of drones for any purpose, is not permitted during public hours.

No portrait photography is permitted. 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.

Paranormal investigations (including the use of EVP recorders or other pieces of paranormal investigation equipment) are not permitted at Eastern State Penitentiary. Thank you for your understanding!

Night Tours: Winter Holidays runs in all weather. Please dress for the weather, and be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Sandals, flip-flops, open-toed shoes, and high heels are not recommended. Some portions of the tour route are inside; however, other sections of the tour are outdoors, and most of the penitentiary is not climate-controlled.

This is a special event, available only for a limited time and limited capacity. As such, we cannot offer ticket refunds or exchanges for any reason including weather.

For questions related to tickets, please email [email protected]. For all other questions, email [email protected] or call 215-236-3300.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner