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Night Tours: Summer Twilight

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Experience Eastern State's historic cellblocks as the sun goes down. Admission to Night Tours: Summer Twilight includes everything we offer by day and more!

shadows of people standing in Cellblock 7

Grab a Triple Bottom Brewing Company beer, soft drink, or snack and relax outdoors in The Fair Chance Beer Garden.

Reflect on Eastern State’s history and the legacy of criminal justice reform through hands-on activities like trivia, letter-writing, poetry, and art. With the support of community partners, explore a new theme and take part in new events, tours, and activities every month.

Two people holding cans of beer and smiling while sitting at a picnic table

Night Tours: Summer Twilight runs Thursday through Sunday evenings from May 6 to September 4. Tickets are available online and at the door. Ticket prices vary by evening, but it is always cheaper to purchase your tickets online in advance.

  • Thursdays & Sundays – $19 online / $20 at the door
  • Fridays – $24 online / $25 at the door
  • Saturdays – $29 online / $30 at the door


Eastern State members receive free admission to Night Tours: Summer Twilight! Members may bring as many individuals as their membership level allows for free, with a cap of four people, by presenting their member card for entry. Visiting with a larger group? Members also receive 20% off additional tickets at the door, subject to availability. No reservations required. Click here for additional information on special member perks.

Discounted rates are available for groups of 15+.

Two people standing outside of Al Capone's Cell

Make a night of it! 

  • Reserve space for a private happy hour before your Night Tour! Event rentals are available for up to 200 people. Learn more.
  • Fairmount is a vibrant dining destination; we've compiled a list of restaurants within walking distance of the penitentiary.


Want to receive emails with the latest Night Tours news and offers? Sign up for updates here!

 

Night Tours include everything we offer by day, plus more!

Night Tours: Summer Twilight offers the unique opportunity to visit Eastern State at dusk. Enjoy the golden hour glow outside on the historic baseball field with incredible views of the city skyline. Explore the penitentiary's picturesque cellblocks as the sun sets. Look up at the dark, night sky as the searchlight shines out from the central guard tower.

All programs available during the day are also offered at night, including "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, Hands-On History experiences, award-winning exhibits, and site-specific artist installations.

Additionally, other activities are available exclusively during Night Tours. Grab a Triple Bottom Brewing Company beer, soft drink, or snack and relax outdoors in The Fair Chance Beer Garden. Reflect on Eastern State’s history and the legacy of criminal justice reform through hands-on activities like trivia, letter-writing, poetry, and art. 

Some activities are available all summer long.

  • Test your knowledge with Eastern State trivia.
  • Write a Purpose Postcard to someone currently incarcerated in Pennsylvania.
  • Tune in to Inside Wire: Colorado Prison Radio, the first statewide prison radio station in U.S. history featuring programs created by incarcerated media producers for incarcerated listeners.
     

In addition, we're pairing up with community partners to bring you different events, tours, and activities every month around a new theme. August's theme is "Creativity." Engage in these special offerings through September 4:

  • Celebrate musical creativity with live performances throughout the month, included with admission:
  • Take special 10-15 minute Hands-On History tour “Music Behind Prison Walls” to learn more about music at Eastern State and in prisons today. Explore how people incarcerated at Eastern State expressed themselves through music and get a closer look at artist installation DLP Mirror, inspired by a musical composition written by a man named David Lee Powell while he was incarcerated on death row in Texas.
  • Add to our collaborative community playlist. We encourage songs that are by formerly or currently incarcerated artists or that discuss incarceration or the criminal justice system.


For the latest updates, be sure to sign up for our Night Tours eNewsletter below and follow Eastern State on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

The health and safety of our staff and visitors remains our top priority, and we will always meet or exceed all guidelines issued by the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All policies are subject to change as we continue to monitor trends.

Visitors are not required to provide proof of vaccination at this time. All Eastern State staff have been fully vaccinated. 

Per state and city guidelines, masks are not required at this time; however, all visitors and staff who choose to wear a mask are welcome to do so.

Please review our Health and Safety page for additional information.

No. Night Tours are unique and engaging, but educational. They are not startling, and they do not include any haunted houses or theatrical effects.

Night Tours offer the chance to tour the prison during the evening and learn about its history and relevance today. It's a self-guided experience featuring an audio tour, exhibits, and other exclusive offerings throughout the penitentiary complex.

For more information about Eastern State's Halloween fundraiser, Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary, visit www.HalloweenNights.org.

Night Tours: Summer Twilight runs Thursday through Sunday evenings from May 6 to September 4. Timed entry windows begin at 6:00 pm every evening and end at 9:00 pm. Please plan to arrive during the 30-minute window listed on your ticket. Once you enter, you are welcome to explore as long as you'd like. The penitentiary closes at 10:00 pm.

Tickets are available online and at the door; however, we strongly recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance to ensure entry. 

Tickets are available online and at the door. Ticket prices vary by evening, but it's always cheaper to purchase your tickets online in advance:

  • Thursdays & Sundays – $19 online / $20 at the door
  • Fridays – $24 online / $25 at the door
  • Saturdays – $29 online / $30 at the door

Eastern State members receive free admission to Night Tours: Summer Twilight! Members may bring as many individuals as their membership level allows, with a cap of four people, by presenting their member card for entry. Click here for additional information on special member perks.

Discounted rates are available for groups of 15+.

Tickets are available online and at the door. Ticket prices vary by evening, but it's always cheaper to purchase your tickets online in advance:

Discounted rates are available for groups of 15+.

Night Tours is a special event, available only for a limited time and limited capacity. As such, we cannot offer ticket refunds or exchanges.

This is a special event, available only for a limited time and limited capacity. Discounts, coupons, and complimentary or BOGO passes for daytime prison tours are not valid for Night Tours

We do, however, offer special rates for groups of 15 or more. To book a group visit, please fill out this online form or email Francine Schiffman (Senior Manager, Sales and Guest Support) at [email protected].

In addition, discounted admission is available by request for Museums for AllACCESS Card, and SEPTA Key Reduced Fare card holders. Card holders will be granted $2 admission for up to four guests. Visiting guests must present their valid ID upon arrival. Visitors with a disability may also request $2 admission. Personal Care Assistants are always provided complimentary admission when accompanying a visitor with a disability.

Discounted rates are available for groups of 15 or more. To book a group visit, please fill out this online form or email Francine Schiffman (Senior Manager, Sales and Guest Support) at [email protected].

Yes! 

Select locations inside the 11-acre penitentiary complex are available for private rentals. Enjoy a happy hour, complete with drinks and snacks, before your Night Tour for up to 200 people.

Locations include the Kitchen Courtyard, Soup Alley, and the Officers' Mess. All spaces include a set portion of self-serve beverages and “Philadelphia Favorites” treats for groups under 50 people. For groups over 50, arrangements for catering may be made separately and a list of preferred caterers will be provided.

Learn more.

Eastern State Penitentiary is a wonderful place to bring kids ages seven and up. Our Eastern State Challenge booklet, free with admission for kids, provides an engaging scavenger hunt throughout the prison complex. In addition, while valid ID is required to purchase alcoholic beverages (ages 21+), everyone is welcome to enter and enjoy hands-on activities in The Fair Chance Beer Garden.

Eastern State is not recommended for children under the age of seven. The building is in a state of semi-ruin and can pose safety hazards to unattended children. There are also some audio tour stops that contain adult content. (These stops are appropriately marked.) That said, although we do not offer programming for children under the age of seven, they are still welcome at Eastern State during both daytime hours and Night Tours.

During Night Tours, all tours are self-guided. You'll pick up an audio guide and headphones on your way into the penitentiary.

First, you’ll learn about the penitentiary’s history with “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. Our main audio tour ends at The Big Graph and its climate-controlled companion exhibit Prisons Today where you’ll learn more about the impact of modern-day mass incarceration. From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore additional audio stops, artist installations, exhibits, and Night Tours exclusive offerings.

When you arrive, you’ll follow a one-way route through the site, which begins with our main audio tour. The main audio tour, which provides a general overview of the penitentiary’s history, includes ten audio stops and lasts about 40 minutes total.

From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore additional audio stops, artist installations, exhibits, and special Night Tours offerings. Depending on your interest in doing this and the time you have, this could take several hours. Most visitors spend about 1.5 to 2 hours. The penitentiary closes at 10:00 pm every evening.

While we do not have our own parking lot, there is a parking lot neighboring us at 22nd St & Fairmount Ave. Parking costs vary. For exact pricing, please call Parkway Corporation at (267) 765-3665.

Additionally, you can find parallel parking bordering the penitentiary. Eastern State is so large that it occupies one full city block. Bordering Eastern State on the west (to the left if you are facing the entrance) is 22nd Street. On the Eastern State side of 22nd Street, parallel parking is free and unlimited. The same is true of Brown Street, which borders our back wall. Again, parking is free and unlimited only on the Eastern State side of the street. If you choose to park anywhere else in the neighborhood, just exercise caution and read all signs.

Eastern State Penitentiary is also accessible by public transit.

For more information, visit our Directions & Parking page.

No. The Fair Chance Beer Garden is part of the Night Tours experience, so tickets are required with one exception -- Eastern State members. Want unlimited access to The Fair Chance Beer Garden and all of Night ToursBecome a Member today!

In addition to other benefits, Eastern State members get free admission! Members can visit Eastern State anytime during daytime hours or any evening of Night Tours: Summer Twilight. After presenting their member card at a special express admissions line, members are welcome explore all open areas of the penitentiary, including The Fair Chance Beer Garden, freely.

Purchase a membership online or apply the price of your admission to a membership when you visit. Questions? Email [email protected] or call 215-236-5111 x224.

Outside food or drinks of any kind, including alcoholic beverages, are not permitted. Soft drinks, water, Triple Bottom beer, and snacks are sold at The Fair Chance Beer Garden. In addition, soft drinks, water, and bagged snacks can be purchased in admissions and at our museum store, located in the courtyard outside Cellblock 7.

For a more substantial meal, we encourage you to check out one of the many wonderful restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood. We've compiled a list of spots within walking distance of the penitentiary to help you explore what's available. No matter what type of experience or cuisine you like, there's something for everyone in Fairmount! We strongly recommend calling ahead to make reservations for large groups.

Night Tours: Summer Twilight is a family-friendly event with a relaxed, but educational atmosphere. We reserve the right to refuse entry or service to anyone who is visibly intoxicated.

Soft drinks, water, Triple Bottom beer, and snacks are sold at The Fair Chance Beer Garden. In addition, soft drinks, water, and bagged snacks can be purchased in admissions and at our museum store, located in the courtyard outside Cellblock 7.

For a more substantial meal, we encourage you to check out one of the many wonderful restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood. We've compiled a list of spots within walking distance of the penitentiary to help you explore what's available. No matter what type of experience or cuisine you like, there's something for everyone in Fairmount! We strongly recommend calling ahead to make reservations for large groups.

Yes! Eastern State Penitentiary may be the most picturesque place you’ve seen in years. We encourage you to take photos when visiting Night Tours--and tag us on social media!--but we ask that you honor the following policies when photographing here.

In addition to the general admission fee, non-members must purchase a daily "photography equipment pass” if they wish to use a tripod, monopod, or easel while on site. Equipment passes are $10 per person and are valid only on the day they are purchased. While we recommend you purchase your tickets online in advance, photography equipment passes can only be purchased at the admissions window on site. Want free admission and free photography equipment passes all year long? Become a Member today!


Drone photography, or use of drones for any purpose, is not permitted during public hours.

No portrait photography is permitted. Eastern State Penitentiary defines portraiture as any posed photography of an individual or group taken by a professional, amateur or student photographer. This includes, but is not limited to, wedding photography, engagement photography, headshots, band photos, and family portraits.

Any photographer (professional, amateur, or student), ad agency, or other commercial entity wishing to photograph models (professional or amateur); wear costumes or use props; photograph the building without visitors; photograph in non-public spaces; or conduct shoots that require equipment must make reservations in advance.

Visit our Photography and Filmmaking page for more information about setting up a private photo shoot.

Paranormal investigations (including the use of EVP recorders or other pieces of paranormal investigation equipment) are not permitted at Eastern State Penitentiary. Thank you for your understanding!

Night Tours run rain or shine. Please dress for the weather, and be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Sandals, flip-flops, open-toed shoes, and high heels are not recommended. Some portions of the tour route are inside; however, other sections of the tour are outdoors, and most of the penitentiary is not climate-controlled.

This is a special event, available only for a limited time and limited capacity. As such, we cannot offer ticket refunds or exchanges for any reason including weather.

Eastern State Penitentiary offers a wide range of services for our patrons. For information on ADA accessibility, service animals, captioning, ASL interpretation, and other accommodations, please visit our Accessibility page

Our staff is available to assist all guests to the best of their ability.

If you have additional concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact our administrative offices at [email protected] or (215) 236-3300.

For questions related to tickets, please email [email protected]. For all other questions, email [email protected] or call 215-236-3300.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner