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Eastern State Penitentiary

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Eastern State Penitentiary: Our most recommended tours and activities

Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

1. Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

Discover the historic building of the Eastern State Penitentiary which stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Learn about how when Eastern State opened more than 180 years ago, it changed the world of prisons and was copied throughout the world. 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. Discover how the building itself was an architectural wonder; it had running water and central heat before the White House. Marvel at the vaulted, sky-lit cells which once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone. As you explore the building, listen to 'The Voices of Eastern State' audio tour which is included in your admission price. Narrated by actor Steve Buscemi (known for Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, Armageddon, and Ghost World), this rich, stereo soundscape mixes dozens of voices. Hear the stories of 3 former wardens and 25 guards and inmates which create an atmospheric tour as you stroll through Eastern State's cellblocks and yards. When you arrive, receive an MP3 player and headset that will guide you through the penitentiary complex and explain the prison's history. This audio guide contains a main audio route, plus additional stops for subjects like escapes, riots, sports, sexuality, and more. You are free to tour at your own pace and to listen to (or skip) stops based on your interests. Also discover interactive experiences, history exhibits, and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

Philadelphia: Double-Decker Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

2. Philadelphia: Double-Decker Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

Explore the origins of America on a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Philadelphia. Discover the city where America’s Founding Fathers first declared independence, and ratified the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Along the way, enjoy stunning views of historic landmarks including the Christ Church Burial Grounds, Elfreth’s Alley, the Betsy Ross House, and Independence Hall.   Begin your tour at the Bourse Building, across from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Listen to the multilingual audio commentary as you enjoy the views from the open-top deck. See the Friendship Gate in Chinatown and be amazed by the architecture of Philadelphia’s City Hall.   Hop off to explore the various museums along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including the world's largest collection of post-impressionist art at the Barnes Foundation. Marvel at Philadelphia’s skyline and stop to enjoy a bird’s-eye view from the One Liberty Observation Deck. Pass through the charming neighborhood of Society Hill and end your tour with a drive along the banks of the Delaware River. Stops:  • The Bourse Building  • Betsy Ross House  • National Constitution Center  • Chinatown  • Reading Terminal Market  • Love Park  • Cathedral Basilica  • Logan Circle  • Rodin Museum  • Eastern State Penitentiary  • Special Events - The Perelman Building  • The Rocky Steps and Statue  • West Entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Boat House Row  • Civil War Memorial  • Please Touch Museum  • Philadelphia Zoo  • Franklin Institute  • Mutter Museum  • One Liberty Observation Deck  • Avenue of the Arts  • Society Hill, Antique Row  • Mother Bethel A.M.E Church  • Headhouse Square  • Vietnam & Korean War Memorials  • Penns Landing  • Museum of the American Revolution  • Christ Church  • The Liberty Bell

Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Night Tour

3. Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Night Tour

Discover the historic building of the Eastern State Penitentiary, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Learn about the penitentiary's fascinating history on an audio tour at night. After, head to the Fair Chance Beer Garden for a drink (at your own expense). Upon arrival, receive an MP3 player and headset that will guide you through the penitentiary complex and explain the prison's history. “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour is narrated by actor Steve Buscemi and features the voices of former prisoners and correctional staff. On the tour, learn how the Eastern State Penitentiary changed the world when it opened more than 180 years ago, though it stands in ruin today. Hear how the prison's strict discipline made it the world's first true "penitentiary" — a prison designed to inspire penitence or real regret. Find out how the building itself was an architectural wonder: it had running water and central heating before the White House. Marvel at the vaulted, sky-lit cells that once held many of America's most notorious lawbreakers, including "Scarface" Al Capone and bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton. See Al Capone’s cell, Death Row, and the award-winning exhibit Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Take the tour at your own pace and make stops based on your interests. Discover interactive experiences, history exhibits, and a critically acclaimed series of art installations. Enjoy the exclusive offerings of a night tour, such as the Fair Chance Beer Garden, which creates meaningful, living-wage jobs for people who may otherwise be excluded from the mainstream economy, including people who have experienced homelessness or incarceration. Presented by Eastern State Penitentiary and Triple Bottom Brewing Company, two organizations committed to fair chance hiring and social justice storytelling, the beer garden is located outdoors on the penitentiary’s baseball field and offers a selection of Triple Bottom beer for purchase. As well as grabbing a drink, take part in hands-on activities as you reflect on the Eastern State’s history and legacy of criminal justice reform. Activities focus on art, writing, and music, and prompt conversation on issues of justice today.

Philadelphia: Go City All-Inclusive Pass w/ 30+ Attractions

4. Philadelphia: Go City All-Inclusive Pass w/ 30+ Attractions

Enjoy an all-inclusive city pass that gets you into 30 Philadelphia attractions and tours. Just select the number of days you want to sightsee for (1, 2, 3 or 5 days), then enjoy admission to as many included attractions as you want to. Simply show your Go City pass at included attractions or tour for admission and pay nothing at the gate. Activate the pass by visiting your first attraction, then, use it on consecutive calendar days. The attractions include: • Hop-on, Hop-off Big Bus Philadelphia Tour • Eastern State Penitentiary • Franklin Institute Science Museum • Philadelphia Museum of Art • National Constitution Center • Betsy Ross House • Adventure Aquarium • Philadelphia Zoo • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia • Barnes Foundation • Academy of Natural Science • Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial • Ghost Tour of Philadelphia • Independence Seaport Museum • Christ Church Burial Ground Tour • City Hall Tower and Observation Deck • National Museum of American Jewish History • Dark Philly Adult Night Tour • National Liberty Museum/We the People • Longwood Gardens • African American Museum • Rodin Museum • Revolution and Founding Father's Tour • Penn Museum • RiverLink Ferry • Brandywine River Museum of Art • The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum • Independence Walking Tour • Murder by Gaslight - A Walking Tour Mystery Attractions and tours are subject to change. Check your included digital guide for an up-to-date attraction line-up including opening times and instructions on how to access each attraction with your pass before you go.

Philadelphia: Go City Explorer Pass with 3 to 7 Attractions

5. Philadelphia: Go City Explorer Pass with 3 to 7 Attractions

The Explorer Pass by Go City is a multi-attraction city pass that includes admission to 3, 4, 5, or 7 Philadelphia attractions of your choice. There are 30 attractions and tours to choose from and you can save up to 40% off compared to buying separate attraction tickets. Simply purchase a pass for the number of attractions you want to visit. There's no need to decide which attractions you want to visit before your trip. Just choose as you go from the options included. Visiting your first attraction activates your pass. Then, you’ll have 60 days to use it. Show your pass at designated ticketing areas at included attractions for admission and pay nothing at the gate. You'll also get a digital guide with detailed attraction descriptions and hours of operation to help plan your itinerary. Choose from the following attractions: • Hop-on hop-off Big Bus Philadelphia Tour • Eastern State Penitentiary • Franklin Institute Science Museum • Adventure Aquarium • Philadelphia Zoo • Philadelphia Museum of Art • National Constitution Center • Betsy Ross House • Barnes Foundation • Academy of Natural Science • Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial • Ghost Tour of Philadelphia • Independence Seaport Museum • Christ Church Burial Ground Tour • City Hall Tower & Observation Deck • National Museum of American Jewish History • Dark Philly Adult Night Tour • National Liberty Museum/We the People • Longwood Gardens • African American Museum • Rodin Museum • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia • Penn Museum • Independence Walking Tour • Brandywine River Museum of Art • Murder by Gaslight - A Walking Tour Mystery • The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum • RiverLink Ferry • Revolution and Founding Father's Tour Please note attractions and tours are subject to change. Check your included digital guide for an up-to-date attraction line-up including opening times and instructions on how to access each attraction with your pass before you go.

From New York: Philadelphia Day Trip

6. From New York: Philadelphia Day Trip

Discover the highlights of Philadelphia on a guided tour from New York. Explore one of the oldest cities in America and learn about its historical importance. Your experience starts with pickup from selected hotels in New York. After a 2-hour transfer, arrive in Philadelphia city and visit the Liberty Bell. Enter the Independence Hall to see where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were created. Pass by Congress Hall and the Christ Church cemetery, where the tomb of Benjamin Franklin is located. See the house of Betsy Ross, who designed the first US flag. Wander along Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest street in the country, lined by 32 Georgian houses. Visit Parque del Amor in the city center, and enter the City Hall. Pass the State Penitentiary where famous prisoners such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton were held. Stop at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the stairs where Rocky was filmed, before returning to New York.

Philadelphia: Sightseeing Day Pass for 35+ Attractions

7. Philadelphia: Sightseeing Day Pass for 35+ Attractions

Use The Philadelphia Pass directly from your mobile phone to allow you cash-free entry to over 35 destinations, museums, and tours, including some of the most popular attractions in The City of Brotherly love. Delve into the history of the city as you explore landmark museums and monuments, or take a spooky after-hours walking tour to discover haunted Philly. Train like Rocky on the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or eat like a local at either the historic Reading Terminal Market, or the 9th Street Italian Market. With your pass, you'll enjoy discounts at many local restaurants and bars. Attractions included: • Eastern State Penitentiary • Adventure Aquarium • Betsy Ross House • Franklin’s Grave at Christ Church Burial Grounds • City Hall Tower Tour • Fort Mifflin • QVC Studio Tour • Escape Game King of Prussia Museums included: • Philadelphia Museum of Art • National Constitution Center • Museum of the American Revolution • Academy of Natural Sciences • African American Museum • Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial • National Liberty Museum • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts • Philadelphia History Museum • Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum • The Mutter Museum • The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology • Wharton Esherick Museum • Penn Museum Tours included: • Philadelphia Sightseeing Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour • 76 Carriage Company - Franklin Footsteps Walking Tour • Ghost Tour of Philadelphia Candlelight Walking Tour • Grim Philly Twilight Tours • Independence Tour - Walking Tour • Philly Tour Hub • Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour • Philadelphia Sightseeing Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour • 76 Carriage Company - Franklin Footsteps Walking Tour • Ghost Tour of Philadelphia Candlelight Walking Tour • Grim Philly Twilight Tours • Independence Tour - Walking Tour • Philly Tour Hub • The Constitutional Walking Tour • RiverLink Ferry (operates seasonally) • Big Red Pedal Pub Crawl Tours • Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

Philadelphia Private Driving Tour - Half or Full-Day

8. Philadelphia Private Driving Tour - Half or Full-Day

Explore the city of Philadelphia on a private driving tour, customized to suit your preferences, and available as either a half-day or full-day option. The former capital of the Pennsylvania Colony, Philadelphia is intimately connected to the history of Amercia. You will see all the highlights, including Elfreth’s Alley and the Liberty Bell. Go to Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was first debated. Pass Christ Church to see the birthplace of the American Episcopal Church, and Penn's Landing, where William Penn docked in 1682. Drive down the Avenue of the Arts and see Love Park (JFK Plaza), dominated by Robert Indiana's “Love” sculpture. Continue the arts theme at the Rodin Museum or Philadelphia Museum of Art, complete with Rocky’s statue and the steps used in the blockbuster movie. See where Al Capone was incarcerated at the Eastern State Penitentiary, admire the boat houses on the Schuylkill River, and visit Memorial Hall in Centennial Park. You’ll almost certainly get out to Belmont Plateau for a great view before coming back through Rittenhouse Square. There will be time to get out and take pictures or enjoy a short walk, perhaps down Elfreth’s Alley, or to the gazebo next to the boat houses on the Schuylkill. It’s your tour and your choice, but your guide will give some great suggestions. Take detours into Society Hill and out to the 9th Street Italian Market, home of the great Philly Cheese Steak. The full-day tour can be customized to include nearby neighborhoods or the beautifully situated Laurel Hill Cemetery and Historic Rittenhouse Town. Suggestions will also be given for lunch, whether you fancy a snack or full-blown meal.

Philadelphia: Sightseeing Flex Pass

9. Philadelphia: Sightseeing Flex Pass

Save over 50% on admission prices to Philadelphia's top attractions with a flexible sightseeing pass directly from your phone allowing convenient entry to your choice · of attraction or tour option. Select from 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 attractions and choose your own itinerary. Take advantage of the pass’ flexible start date and go at your own pace over a 30-day period. This pass is perfect for visitors who have limited time to sightsee, and for those who want to visit the must-see attractions. Experience 4 centuries of Philadelphia history. Explore the birthplace of American independence with visits to Fort Mifflin and the Betsy Ross House. Visit Benjamin Franklin’s grave at the Christ Church Burial Grounds, or see the past come to life on one of the spooky nighttime walking tours. Follow in the footsteps of Rocky, training like "the Pride of Philly" on the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Then take in the cinematic sights of Center City, Midtown Village, and South Street via the hop-on, hop-off bus service.  You will also receive discounts at local restaurants and bars, as well as retailers and entertainment venues. Eat like a local at the historic Reading Terminal Market or the 9th Street Italian Market. Or drink in the sights and the history of Philly over a cold one while you pub crawl your way through the City of Brotherly Love. Attractions: Eastern State Penitentiary Adventure Aquarium Betsy Ross House Franklin’s Grave at Christ Church Burial Grounds City Hall Tower Tour Fort Mifflin QVC Studio Tour Escape Game King of Prussia Scavenger Hunts Museums: Philadelphia Museum of Art National Constitution Center Museum of the American Revolution Academy of Natural Sciences African American Museum Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial National Liberty Museum Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum The Mütter Museum The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology Wharton Esherick Museum Penn Museum Bus Tours: Philadelphia Sightseeing Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour Walking Tours: 76 Carriage Company — Franklin's Footsteps Walking Tour Candlelight Ghost Tour of Philadelphia Grim Philly Twilight Tours Independence Tour Philly Tour Hub Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour The Constitutional Walking Tour Sightseeing Cruise: RiverLink Ferry (operates seasonally) Bike Tours: Big Red Pedal Tours Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

Philadelphia: Haunted City Exploration Game

10. Philadelphia: Haunted City Exploration Game

Explore the dark side of Philadelphia while you play a fun and exciting city discovery game. See the highlights of the city in groups of any size. The city game starts at the Edgar Allan Poe House. It will take you between 1.5 to 2 hours to complete and you can also explore at your own pace: pause the game and resume anytime from the location where you paused it. You will finish at Eastern State Penitentiary. As you solve challenges, the story unfolds and exact directions on your phone will guide you to the next location. After your booking, you will receive an email with instructions on how to download and play the game on your phone. You can play on your own, in a large group or in several smaller groups that compete against each other and meet at the final stop of the game. We recommend that each user purchases a ticket for an optimal experience, although several people can share a phone.

Other Sightseeing Options in Eastern State Penitentiary

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What people are saying about Eastern State Penitentiary

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 485 reviews

Best deal out there. I stumbled on Go City and could not be happier. We saw so many attractions for what it would have cost to see two or three. It was super easy, I just showed the QR code on my phone at each attraction. Super easy, great value!

Our guide Adam was just great! The four-hour sightseeing tour of Philadelphia was very entertaining and very interesting. Because of his master's degree in American history, he wasn't at a loss for an answer. We really enjoyed the tour.

My family really enjoyed hearing the history of this place. We could all go our separate ways and listen to whatever we had a desire to learn about because of the easy use of the headphones.

Eastern state pin is a must see you when you go to Philadelphia. The grounds are huge with sprawling hallways and plenty to see. The audio tour is excellent. We enjoyed our time very much

Very nice evening visit! A penitentiary steeped in history…