Free time to explore the Eastern State Penitentiary
Self-guided audio tour
The chance to see Al Capone’s cell
Step into this historic prison and see the comfortably-furnished cell where Chicago gangster Al Capone was held for eight months. In addition to being the penitentiary famous for housing several high-profile criminals, this place also played an important part in modernizing the American judicial system and moving away from capital punishment.
You'll take a self-guided tour around the architectural wonder, which had running water and central heating before the White House in its day, and learn all about its infamous residents. Marvel at the beautiful vaulted ceilings and castle-like walls which stand in stark contrast to the dim cellblocks and death row.
Your Eastern State Penitentiary ticket includes access to all regular exhibits and art installations. And, if space is available, you can reserve a spot at the admissions desk for the daily guided tour and discussion.
Al Capone’s Cell – you’ll get to see the very cell where the infamous Chicago-area gangster served eight months of his one-year sentence at Eastern State Penitentiary. His cell includes many comforts not typically allowed to inmates, including furniture, rugs, artwork, and more.
Hands-On History – staff-led interactive exhibits and demonstrations throughout the ESP that explore areas of the prison typically off-limits to the public.
Artist Installations – art installations, chosen for their ability to address the primary themes of Eastern State, approach topics such as the American criminal justice system and the penitentiary’s past through thought-provoking displays.
Did you know
The first female prisoner was received in 1831.
The first prison escape was in 1832. The escapee was captured but managed to do it again in 1837.
The controversial practice of solitary confinement was officially abandoned at Eastern State Penitentiary in 1913.
Leo Callahan, an escapee in 1923, remains the only Eastern State prisoner to never be recaptured.
Inmate number C-2559 was Pep, “The Cat-Murdering Dog,” who served a life sentence.
In January 1970, the Eastern State Penitentiary closed and first limited group tours of the building began in 1988.
In 1994, visitors were required to wear hard hats and sign liability waivers. In 2003 and 2008, visitors were no longer required to wear hard hats and sign liability waivers, respectively.
There are several ongoing Paranormal Investigations that take place within the penitentiary walls.