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Group Tour FAQs

Below you'll find answers to frequently asked questions about daytime group tours. Don't see what you're looking for? Contact us at [email protected].

For answers to FAQs about our virtual group tours, please visit our Virtual Group Tours page.

Ready to book? Book your group tour today!

We are currently accepting reservations for guide-led group tours, self-guided audio tours, and virtual group tours.

Visit our Group Tours page for more information.

Self-guided audio tours are available Wednesday through Monday from 10:15 am to 3:45 pm. Guide-led group tours are available Wednesday through Monday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. The penitentiary is closed to visitors on Tuesdays. 

Virtual group tours are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Early mornings and evenings available for an additional fee.

Availability for all group tour types is subject to change.

Yes. While our daytime group offerings are only available Wednesday through Monday between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm (hours dependent on tour type & availability), Eastern State Penitentiary offers discounted group tickets for the following evening events:

Night Tours: Summer Twilight runs select evenings during the summer months. Schedule, pricing, and details for 2024 to be announced soon. Experience the historic cellblocks with a self-guided audio tour as the sun goes down and engage in hands-on activities like trivia, postcard writing, poetry, and art. Discounts are available for groups of 15+.

Interested in a more theatrical evening? Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary runs select nights from September 20 - November 9, 2024. Explore haunted houses, historic tours, themed bars and lounges, live performances, and more! Discounts are available for groups of 20+.

For our standard hour-long tours, we recommend that groups plan on being at Eastern State for an hour and a half. If the site is open to the public, and operating with no restrictions, the group is welcome to stay longer to explore the site on their own, visit our artist installations, and enjoy our history exhibits. If a group has limited time, we can also provide shorter tours.

Yes! Group visits must be scheduled at least four weeks in advance. For private, guide-led tours, time slots fill up very quickly, especially during the school year, so we recommend scheduling your tour as soon as you chose the date and time you would like to visit.

We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and checks (made out to “Eastern State Penitentiary”).

Eastern State Penitentiary requires FULL payment at least 10 days prior to your visit. This means that either a form with your valid credit card information or a check made out to "Eastern State Penitentiary" for the full amount due must be received by the group sales team 10 days in advance of your scheduled visit.

Please note that while we will happily sign purchase orders if requested, purchase orders do not constitute proof of payment. A check made out for the full amount due must still be received at least 10 days in advance of your scheduled visit.

If your group size changes after payment is remitted, a refund will only be issued if the overage amounts to $100 or more. If your group size falls below 15 people or the total amount due falls below $180, guide-led group tours will be charged a flat rate of $180 and self-guided audio tour admission will be charged at standard, non-group rates.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc.’s taxpayer identification number is 31-1627155. A copy of our Form W-9 is also available for download.

No. You know your group best. Please plan on bringing an appropriate number of responsible chaperones. Chaperones must be 18 years of age or older and stay with their assigned group throughout the visit. We provide one complimentary admission per fifteen paying visitors for daytime tours.

Eastern State Penitentiary provides one complimentary admission per fifteen paying visitors (every 16th visitor is free) for daytime group tours. You may use this free admission pass for any member of your party.

The maximum number of people we can accommodate at one time is 150 (the larger group will be broken up into several smaller groups). For groups with more than 150 people, we recommend that half of the group tour the penitentiary while the other half of the group visit a nearby attraction. The two groups can then switch locations.

Maximum tour group size is subject to change.

Directions and public transportation options are available on our Directions & Parking page.

There is only one entrance to the Eastern State Penitentiary. The entrance is located on Fairmount Avenue between 21st and 22nd Street. One of our educators will meet the group here. If a member of our team is not waiting at the entrance when you arrive, please send one person to the ticket office (located in the entrance to your right) to announce your group’s arrival.

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.

Visit our Directions and Parking page for information about alternate transportation options.

Eastern State Penitentiary has no designated bus parking on site and the parking lot at 22nd Street & Fairmount Avenue does not permit bus parking. Bus parking is not permitted on the streets surrounding the Penitentiary.

Callowhill Bus Center

As part of the City of Philadelphia's continuing efforts to improve Center City traffic and parking, all buses, motor coaches and tour buses are prohibited from parking on city streets, including the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority has identified the Callowhill Bus Center (CBC) at 2nd & Callowhill Streets as the designated bus parking location for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway attractions.

The CBC has accommodations for bus drivers including a lounge, television, vending and other amenities. The facility is also secured and monitored 24 hours a day. There is a fee of $20.00 per bus that covers parking all day with unlimited re-entry. For more information call (215) 829-3330.

Bus drivers in need of short term parking may consider Sedgely Avenue as an alternative to the CBC. Although this is not an official bus parking location, as long as the driver remains with the vehicle, buses parking along Sedgely Avenue for a short amount of time usually have no problems. Sedgely Avenue is located about 5 blocks from Eastern State Penitentiary just off of Kelly Drive behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Please see our bus parking map for more information.

Several wonderful Fairmount restaurants, only steps from Eastern State Penitentiary, can accommodate groups. Here is a list of select restaurants within walking distance of the penitentiary. We recommend calling ahead to make reservations for large groups.

Please note that groups are not permitted to eat lunch on site at this time.

At this time, groups are not permitted to eat lunch on site.

Yes. The museum store carries a unique array of items, including a wide variety of books, clothing, mugs, magnets, posters and postcards. You are sure to find the perfect gift or a keepsake to remind you of your trip to Eastern State. Or you can shop online for a bigger selection. We accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

Groups may also pre-order exclusive merchandise packages that come in $4, $7 and $12 options. All pre-orders must be received at least one week prior to your visit.

Absolutely! Eastern State may be the most photogenic place you see in years! We ask that you honor our photography policies while visiting.

No, waivers are no longer required for daytime tours. However, keep in mind that Eastern State Penitentiary remains in a state of semi-ruin. Visitors should exercise caution, and stay within the clearly marked public areas.

No. Alcohol and weapons of any kind are not permitted in the penitentiary complex; however, there are no special security requirements at this time. ID is not required for entry. Backpacks are permitted, but you must keep them with you at all times.

Yes. Many visitors in wheelchairs visit Eastern State Penitentiary every year. That said, the Penitentiary complex is not fully ADA compliant. The building is over 180 years old, and is a National Historic Landmark. Sections of it may never be fully accessible.

The majority of our tour route is equipped with ADA compliant ramps and meets most ADA guidelines.

Service animals and service animals in training are welcome at Eastern State. Emotional support animals, pets, or any other animals are not permitted.

The digital equipment used for "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour includes special features for those with sight, hearing and mobility impairments. 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 also available free of charge.

For more information, please visit our Accessibility page.

Please complete and submit this online form or contact Francine Schiffman, Senior Manager, Group Sales and Events at [email protected].

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner