Eastern State Penitentiary
Please note that the Eastern State Penitentiary is closed until further notice.
- Enjoy the excellent art installations
- Visit the first synagogue built inside a prison in the US
- Walk the corridors of a genuine 19th-century prison
- See "Scarface" Al Capone’s cell at this historic site in Philadelphia
- “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour
- “Hands-On History” Interactive Experiences
- History exhibits and art installations
Eastern State Penitentiary is a truly unique place to visit. This enormous prison was built at the start of the 19th century and, at the time, was the most expensive building in the entire United States. Prisoners were kept in solitary confinement and, originally, each had their own individual exercise area to prevent conversation with other inmates.
Not all was bad though as, incredibly, the penitentiary had running water and central heating before the White House did. The cells even had flush toilets, though they were flushed remotely just twice a week! The penitentiary was designed to rehabilitate as well as punish, hence the fact that it is considered to be perhaps the first modern prison.
Probably its most famous resident, Al Capone had his own furniture in his cell, as well as a radio and paintings. He apparently enjoyed listening to waltzes in the comfort of his cell. It can’t have been that nice though as he tried to escape three times during the mere 8 months that he was held here!
Today, the penitentiary is a fascinating and spookily atmospheric place to visit, giving a unique insight into life into one of the world’s most famous prisons.
Before you Go
Opening times (*subject to change):
Daily, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Last entry: 4:00 p.m.
Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day
Visit duration: approximately 2 hours
All sales are final: tickets cannot be exchanged or money refunded by City Sightseeing.