Eastern State Penitentiary: Visiting The World’s Oldest Penitentiary
The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is one of the oldest and most historic prisons in the world and also one of Philadelphia’s most popular attractions. Weird? A little, yes!
But despite being somewhat unusual, visiting the prison is actually an exciting experience.
In this post, you will read all about visiting the Eastern State Penitentiary.
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The History of Eastern State Penitentiary
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The discussion about the need for innovation in the US penitentiary system began in 1782 when Philadelphia was the political capital of the United States.
At the time, the creation of Eastern State Penitentiary revolutionized US architecture – each cell had heating, sewerage, and water when not even the White House had these characteristics.
It was also the first prison in the world to have solitary confinement – prisoners there often developed mental illnesses because they used to eat, sleep and even exercise in isolation.
Eastern State was finally decommissioned in 1971, after 142 years of function.
How to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary
The disabled prison is open for visitation every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at 2027 Fairmount Ave. For $12, you get an audio guide and take the tour for as long as you feel like it.
One fun thing about the Eastern Penitentiary audio tour is that you can choose to hear extra information about the prison (such as ghost stories, gangs, and prisoner reports).
I thought the visit to Eastern State Penitentiary is a very unique and interesting thing to do if you have some spare time in Philadelphia, especially if you are interested in American history.
It is, though, a place where a lot of suffering took place, so it is important to be respectful.
Walking around, you can feel that the walls are loaded with the energy of everything that had happened there when the prison was still in function.
It took me about two hours to finish my audio tour, and I learned so much from it.
Where to stay in Philadelphia
If you haven’t booked a place to stay yet, no worries! Here are some of my favorite hotels in Philadelphia:
- Club Quarters Hotel in Philadelphia
- Hampton Inn Philadelphia Center City-Convention Center
- Wyndham Philadelphia-Historic District
- Apple Hostels of Philadelphia
- Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Rittenhouse Square
Popular tours to take in Philly
Apart from visiting Eastern State Penitentiary, there are many more amazing things to do in Philadelphia.
Here are some of the most popular tours to take in the city:
Philadelphia Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour
Explore the best that Philadelphia has to offer on this hop-on hop-off tour of the city. Visit Philadelphia’s top attractions—like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall—on a full loop.
Select from a 1-, 2-, or 3-day pass. Board at any of the stops and get to know the city in custom fashion, with live commentary. A route map and courtesy shuttle from Center City hotels are included.
Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia
Experience the United States history on this guided small-group walking tour around Philadelphia, the birthplace of freedom in America. See Independence Hall, where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence (this tour does not enter Independence Hall).
Learn about Pennsylvania’s founder, William Penn, and see where George Washington, the first President of the United States, lived. Then check out the galleries and eateries in Old City Philadelphia, America’s most historic square mile, followed by a cold beverage at a local establishment.
Old City Historic Walking Tour in Philadelphia
Walk in the footsteps of America’s founding fathers on this walking tour of Philadelphia’s Old City. Visit important landmarks such as Christ Church, the Ben Franklin Post Office, Carpenters’ Hall, and Independence Hall as your guide narrates local history.
Wrap-up: Visiting Eastern Estate Penitentiary
That’s a wrap! I really hope this post about how to visit Eastern State Penitentiary was useful to you. See you soon! For more travel tips, make sure to follow me on Instagram and like my page on Facebook.