Eastern State Penitentiary

Teens at Eastern State Penitentiary listening with headphones to the audio tour.

STAMP Hours

Daily, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

About

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

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 open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; Hands-On History interactive experiences; history exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

Location

2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Getting There

Bus service to Eastern State Penitentiary is convenient to SEPTA bus routes 48, 43, 33, 32, and 7.

Accessibility

Many visitors with special needs visit Eastern State Penitentiary every year. That said, the Penitentiary complex is not fully ADA compliant. The building is nearly 200 years old, and is a National Historic Landmark. Sections of it may never be fully accessible.

There is a small exhibit and gift shop which is only accessible by a set of 3 steps. This section of the Penitentiary can easily be bypassed. The rest of the tour route is equipped with ADA compliant ramps and meets most ADA guidelines.

Guide dogs, service animals, or service animals in training are welcome. All other animals are prohibited.

The digital equipment used for “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour includes special features for those with sight, hearing and mobility impairments. These special features include raised dots that indicate the number five on the keypad, color-coded and shaped control buttons, compatibility with hearing aid T-switch, lightweight design with comfortable carrying strap and telephone-style keypads with backlit buttons.

Large print scripts of “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour are available free of charge in Admissions. Audio Tour scripts are also available in French and Spanish (audio is English only).

The tour staff is available to assist all guests.

Snack/Shop

There is a museum store featuring Eastern State clothing, postcards, mugs and more. There is no cafe on the property, but there are several wonderful restaurants and coffee shops in the surrounding neighborhood.

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