Exploring Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA - Whether you are a history buff or simply interested in Philadelphia's past, you'll enjoy exploring Eastern State Penitentiary, also known as the ESP. Located on 2027 Fairmount Avenue between Corinthian Avenue and North 22nd Street, this penitentiary operated from 1829 until 1971. The ESP was one of the oldest correctional institutions in the country. Plus is said to be one of Philadelphia's Most Haunted Places.

The penitentiary has been home to inmates for over 150 years, but now it is one of Philadelphia's top tourist destinations. It has even been the subject of a Hollywood movie. Star Steve Buscemi visited the prison for a film shoot and provided his voice for an audio tour. Whether you want to learn more about the history of the Philadelphia prison or just get a sense of dread at the thought of being locked up for years, you'll enjoy visiting this haunted prison.

When you visit the penitentiary, be sure to buy the audio tour "The Voices of Eastern State," which features narration by Steve Buscemi, the actor behind the Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, Armageddon, Ghost World, and Psych. It takes about 35 minutes and features the voices of the former wardens and guards. You'll also have the opportunity to engage with the audio tour's various interactive stops, including riots and escapes.

In addition to a tour of the historic prison, you can visit the grounds of Eastern State Penitentiary. The penitentiary's greenhouse is a popular place to glimpse what life was like inside the prison.

Family & Kids

 2nd St Festival Northern Liberties

2nd St Festival Northern Liberties

  • Elwin Flatley
  • Sep 16
Candytopia Philadelphia Halloween Sweets and Treats
  • Where Philly Staff
  • Sep 05
Philadelphia Zoo's Friday Nights Dinos and Bites
  • Where Philly Staff
  • May 20
Philadelphia Zoo Big Time Dinosaurs
  • Haylie Carter
  • May 10