Eastern State Penitentiary – The Best Ways to Travel There

Eastern State Penitentiary landmark sign


View of Pennsylvania Historic Marker Sign, at Eastern State Penitentiary, 21st Street and Fairmount Avenue.



NEW - Added, September 23, 2010 - Parking at Eastern State Penitentiary

Here are some more details on parking, in and around Eastern State Penitentiary:

Given that SEPTA service there is satisfactory, but not great, means that driving to Eastern State Penitentiary is more of a recommended option, than for most other major Philadelphia tourist attractions, located downtown.

There Is A Large Commercial Parking Lot Directly Across From Eastern State Penitentiary, At the Intersection of 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue

Your best bet is the commercial parking lot, which is located next door to it, on Fairmount Avenue (just west of Eastern State Penitentiary). It has a tall, vertical, blue sign with white letters, reading "PARK", so you can't miss it. It also has a wrought-iron fence and a security checkpoint, both plusses.

Metered Parking On the Street

However, you can also park on the street.

Corinthian Avenue runs perpendicular to Fairmount Avenue. (In other words, Corinthian Avenue runs north and south, parallel to the numbered streets, 20th, 21st, and 22nd Streets, which also run north and south.) It is the street lined by Eastern State Penitentiary's eastern wall.

You can park on the street on Corinthian Avenue, with the meter sign reading "2 Hour Parking - 8 AM to 8 PM, except Sunday".

You can also park on the street, directly in front of Eastern State Penitentiary, although that would also require some good fortune and timing, particularly during Terror Behind the Walls. The meter policy on Fairmount Avenue, at the gates of Eastern State Penitentiary, between Corinthian Avenue and 22nd Street, is "3 Hour Parking - 10 AM - 10 PM, except Sunday".

Make sure to bring your quarters, and good luck!


Regrettably, Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the few major Philadelphia attractions, which is not easily accessible by SEPTA, SEPTA Regional Rail, or the Phlash Trolley. But here's how you get there...



You can consult the outstanding official web site of Eastern State Penitentiary. In addition, here are our own recommendations, for getting to the ruined fortress...


By SEPTA, when the Phlash is in season from May 1 to October 31, and when the Phlash is running, only from approximately 10 AM to 6 PM

Take your R_ train to Suburban Station. From Suburban, you have several options.

When the Phlash is in season - i.e., from May 1 through Halloween - you can board the purple trolley, right outside Suburban, at 16th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

However, make sure that the Phlash is going in the correct direction - ask the driver, if he/she is going to 22nd and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This is important, because if the Phlash is going the opposite way, you're going to be on it for a very long time. So, ask!

Disembark from the Phlash, at Stop #13, which is at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Fairmount Avenues. You will see a large white building - the Perelman Building, an annex of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (It is the next stop after the Rodin Museum, located at 22nd and the Ben Franklin Parkway.) You won't be on the Phlash for long, as it's only about six or seven blocks from Suburban. This will place you about four blocks away from Eastern State Penitentiary, along Fairmount Avenue.

The map below shows where you will be, relative to the prison.



View Rodin Museum to Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia in a larger map


The purple teardrops indicates the Phlash stops. Stop #13 - the closest one to Eastern State Penitentiary, is at Pennsylvania and Fairmount Avenues, at the Perelman Building. Stop #12 is the Rodin Museum, at 22nd and the Ben Franklin Parkway. The red teardrop is Eastern State Penitentiary.


Another Way To Get There - Directions on Foot From the Rodin Museum at 22nd and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

If you're combining a trip to Eastern State Penitentiary, with one to the Rodin Museum, at 22nd and the Parkway... here are the directions by foot, from the Rodin Museum to the gigantic ruined fortress. This walk is 0.5 miles, and will take about 10 minutes.

Make a right onto 22nd Street, going north. You'll cross the following major streets - Spring Garden, Green, and Wallace. You will then reach the intersection of 22nd and Fairmount Avenues, and you'll see the gigantic fortress. The exact address is at 2124 Fairmount Avenue - in other words, on Fairmount between 22nd and 21st Streets.

But what about taking SEPTA, when the Phlash is not in season, from November 1 to April 30?

Likewise, take your R_ train to Suburban Station. You can connect with SEPTA bus Route 33, just outside Suburban.

We would strongly recommend, that you pick up a copy of the 33 schedule when you are at Suburban, as service varies depending on time of day and whether it is a weekday or weekend, plus there will be a map of the route in the schedule. When you're at Suburban, ask a SEPTA employee for one. (And this is particularly important if you are from out of town.)

The 33 will eventually head northbound up 20th Street, which is one-way. You want to get off the 33 at 20th and Fairmount Avenue, and then walk westbound on Fairmount, crossing 21st Street, to enter Eastern State Penitentiary.

Important tip for heading back - the 33 runs southbound down 19th Street, also one-way. So after you're done at Eastern State, you have to walk an additional block, back to 19th and Fairmount, in order to pick up the 33 and ride back to Center City.



View Suburban Station to Eastern State Penitentiary in a larger map


These icons indicate Suburban Station (the train), the Route 33 stops (the buses), and the prison (the red teardrop)







If you would like to leave How to Travel to the Fortress, and return to the main page for the prison, please click here.


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