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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!

Two people sitting at a picnic table outside clinking beer cans together
  • Grab a drink and relax in The Fair Chance Beer Garden. Eastern State partners with Triple Bottom Brewing Company to offer a selection of Triple Bottom beer for purchase, including the all-new Purpose Pale Ale brewed in collaboration between Eastern State and Triple Bottom.
  • Reflect on the penitentiary's history and the legacy of criminal justice reform through hands-on activities. Activities focus on art, writing, and music and prompt conversation on issues of justice today.
  • As you leave, check out a new, digital artist installation by Andrea Walls. Co-commissioned by Mural Arts Philadelphia, the piece, titled Memes of Consciousness: Where Beauty Intervenes, is projected onto the penitentiary's façade.
black, white, and orange abstract image projected onto the wall of the penitentiary

Night Tours: Summer Twilight runs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from May 7 to September 4. Tickets for Night Tours: Summer Twilight are $19 for Thursday evenings, $26 for Friday evenings, and $32 for Saturday evenings. Timed tickets must be purchased online in advance.

Eastern State members receive free admission to Night Tours: Summer Twilight, no advance reservation required! 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+. 

a small group of people standing on the second floor gallery of cellblock 7

Make a night of it! 

Just like our daytime tours, Night Tours are designed to ensure the health and safety of staff and visitors. Learn more about the changes we've made with this in mind.

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 during the evening. Tour the penitentiary as the sun sets around you. Relax on the baseball field as the changing sky illuminates the city skyline and Eastern State’s central guard tower in a golden hour glow. Then, explore more as the shadows of dusk fill the historic cellblocks.

Many of the programs available during the day are also offered at night, including "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, award-winning exhibits, and site-specific artist installations. Additionally, some new activities are available exclusively for Night Tours: Summer Twilight.

During Night Tours: Summer Twilight, the penitentiary’s historic baseball field transforms into The Fair Chance Beer Garden. Triple Bottom Brewing Company will offer a selection of their beer for sale, including Purpose Pale Ale, brewed in collaboration between Triple Bottom and Eastern State, and visitors can engage in hands-on activities like art making and letter writing. As you leave, you’ll have the chance to view a new, digital artist installation by Andrea Walls, co-commissioned by Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Click here to view a map detailing all Night Tours: Summer Twilight programming.

Health and safety is our top priority. Here are some important changes to note:

  • While inside any building, as mandated by the City of Philadelphia, all staff and visitors (ages 2+) are required to wear a face mask over their nose and mouth at all times, even if they've received a COVID-19 vaccine. Fully vaccinated visitors may remove their masks when in outdoor locations within the penitentiary complex.
  • Physical distancing is required in any queues and throughout the site. Markers will be present to help ensure that groups of visitors remain 6 feet (2 meters) apart at all times.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available, and visitors will be asked to sanitize their hands before entering the site.
  • All tours are self-guided. You'll pick up an audio guide and headphones on your way into the penitentiary.

Before you visit, please review our Health and Safety page for details on other changes.

No. Night Tours are unique and engaging, but educational. They are not startling, and they do not include any haunted house 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 like The Fair Chance Beer Garden throughout the historic prison complex.

For more information about Eastern State's haunted house fundraiser, Terror Behind the Walls, visit www.TerrorBehindTheWalls.com.

Night Tours: Summer Twilight runs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from May 7 through September 4, 2021. Timed tickets must be purchased online in advance. Entry times start at 6:00 pm. The final entry time varies by date.

Timed entry allows us to space out visitors and ensure physical distancing between groups, but that does not mean that your visit is limited to 30 minutes. It just means that you have to arrive within your 30-minute entry window.

When you arrive, you’ll follow a one-way route through the penitentiary, 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 35 minutes total. From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore additional audio stops, artist installations, exhibits, and special offerings like The Fair Chance Beer Garden.

Depending on your interest in doing this and the time you have, this could take several hours. Most visitors spend about 1.5 hours.

The penitentiary closes 90 minutes after the final entry time. Last call at The Fair Chance Beer Garden is 60 minutes after the final entry time (30 minutes before the entire site closes).

Tickets for Night Tours: Summer Twilight are $19 for Thursday evenings, $26 for Friday evenings, and $32 for Saturday evenings. Timed tickets must be purchased online in advance.

Timed tickets must be purchased online in advance. Tickets for Night Tours: Summer Twilight are $19 for Thursday evenings, $26 for Friday evenings, and $32 for Saturday evenings.

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 will be required to purchase Triple Bottom beer (ages 21+), everyone is welcome to participate in hands-on activities at 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: Summer Twilight.

To ensure the health and safety of our staff and visitors, 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 modern-day mass incarceration. From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore other one-way paths that feature additional audio stops, artist installations, exhibits, and Night Tours exclusive offerings like The Fair Chance Beer Garden. Click here to view a map detailing all Night Tours: Summer Twilight programming.

Before you visit, please review our Health and Safety page for details on other changes.

When you arrive, you’ll follow a one-way route through the penitentiary, 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 35 minutes total. From there, you can end your tour or continue to explore additional audio stops, artist installations, exhibits, and Night Tours exclusive offerings like The Fair Chance Beer Garden. Click here to view a map detailing all Night Tours: Summer Twilight programming.

Depending on your interest in doing this and the time you have, this could take several hours. Most visitors spend about 1.5 hours. 

No. The Fair Chance Beer Garden is part of the Night Tours: Summer Twilight experience, so tickets are required with one exception -- Eastern State members. Want unlimited access to The Fair Chance Beer Garden and all of Night Tours: Summer Twilight? Become 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, no advance reservations required. 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 snacks can be purchased in admissions and at our museum store, located near the baseball field.

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.

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. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the size of your group must adhere to the capacity guidelines per time slot. Groups must follow all new health and safety guidelines.

To book a group visit, please fill out this online form or email Francine Schiffman, Group Sales Manager, at [email protected].

Discounted rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the size of your group must adhere to the capacity guidelines per time slot. Groups must follow all new health and safety guidelines.

To book a group visit, please fill out this online form or email Francine Schiffman, Group Sales Manager, at [email protected].

Yes! Private event rentals are available.

Arrive early, and enjoy a happy hour, complete with drinks and snacks, before your Night Tour. Choose from two unique locations -- Soup Alley or Kitchen Courtyard. Or stay late and sip on a night cap in the Cellblock 7 Courtyard Hospitality Lounge. All spaces include a set portion of self-serve beverages and “Philadelphia Favorites” treats.

Event capacity and health & safety guidelines are subject to change, so please contact us for the latest information. The primary contact for the rental will be held responsible for distributing and adhering to all rules and regulations of ESPHS. 

Click here to learn more.

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.

Bagged snacks and soft drinks are available for purchase at The Fair Chance Beer Garden.

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.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, tripods, monopods, easels, stools, and other equipment are not permitted at this time.

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 runs 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, the line, The Fair Chance Beer Garden, and other sections of the tour are outdoors, and the penitentiary is not climate-controlled.

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