Exploring the Eerie Eastern State Penitentiary - Atlas Obscura
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Exploring the Eerie Eastern State Penitentiary

Spend Obscura Day behind bars at one of America's most notorious prisons.

For nearly 200 years, the Eastern State Penitentiary has hosted history’s most infamous criminals, dozens of paranormal investigations, movie shoots, and one of the creepiest haunted houses in the world. And now, Eastern State will play host to the Philadelphia Obscura Society.

Built in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary was unique in its attempt to reform criminals, rather than punish, serving as a model that inspired over 300 penitentiaries worldwide. By the time it was shut down in 1971, it had left behind a checkered legacy, with claims that the institution produced more madness than reformed citizens.

On Obscura Day, our intrepid society will congregate at the main entrance for an exclusive access experience of this haunting Gothic Revival gem. We will be granted a tour of areas of Eastern State ordinarily off limits to the public.


  • Meet at the main entrance of the Eastern State Penitentiary promptly at 11:30 am.
  • Ample street parking is available.
  • Heating at Eastern State Penitentiary can be variable, please dress for the weather.


Email Ryan at ryan@atlasobscura.com.

Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.

Check out our full lineup of amazing adventures taking place all around the world on Obscura Day, our annual celebration of discovery!

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