June 23, 2009

After checking out Philly's new high-tech National Constitution Center (www.constitutioncenter.org) and the Liberty Bell (www.nps.gov/inde), escape to Eastern State Penitentiary (22nd St. and Fairmount Ave.; 215/236-3300; www.easternstate.org). This granite castle, a quick ride from Independence Mall, was built by Quakers in 1829 as the world's first penitentiary. In the 1990's, after lying empty for decades, it was turned into a museum—a refreshingly ragged one. Actor Steve Buscemi details the prison's history on a new audio tour that guides visitors through flaking cathedral-style foyers to Al Capone's former cell (dig his Persian rugs). This month, five contemporary-art installations appear in the decrepit cellblocks.
—Amy Farley

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