Is the Chicago CityPASS worth it? 2016 Chicago CityPASS review

Welcome to the ‘Windy City’, a tourist hub and one of the most visited cities in the United States. Here you’ll find attraction and activity, one after another, each showcasing a different side of Chicago. But with so many different choices, each costing a pretty penny, it can be hard to decide where to spend not only your time, but your money as well.

That’s where the Chicago CityPASS comes in. Designed to save both money and time, this particular pass is supposed to help visitors during their trip. But does it really? We’ll find that out and more below.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a CityPass using one of the links below, this site will receive a small commission.

Chicago CityPASS prices for 2016

There are two different Chicago CityPASS prices, one for adults and the other for youths. Adult prices cover those 12 and older while youth prices are for ages 3 through 11. The Chicago CityPASS does not cover ages 2 and under as those ages are free at all participating attractions.

  • Adult $96
  • Youth $79

Prices listed above are the standard prices for this year, as they change slightly year to year, though the change is usually very small.

>>>Buy the Chicago CityPASS at the lowest available price

Top sights and attractions

Shedd Aquarium -$41.95

An aquarium beaming with life, the Shedd Aquarium is a great stop for those who love learning new and exciting things about their favorite sea creature. With 80 different habitats, you’ll find creatures from around the world to view and learn about, making this a great attraction for all ages. You’ll also find a kids play area, dining options and a shop.

Skydeck Chicago – $45.00

With jaw dropping views of Chicago, the Skydeck Chicago offers an expansive view of Chicago as well as views of Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin on fair weathered days. If you’ve got a fear of heights, you may want to take this one slow as you’ll find yourself standing on a glass floor that’s only 1.5 inches thick and 1600 feet above the ground. The best time to visit is just before the sunset, where you’ll find impressive photo opportunities. You’ll also find dining and shop options in the tower.

The Field Museum – $31.00

Home to more than 26 million artifacts, The Field Museum is provides a detailed look into the planet’s history. Some of the exciting things you’ll see here are Sue, the world’s largest T. rex, an exhibit titled Living Planet and much, much more. There’s even a 3D film to watch if you’d like, making it so that you can easily spend a few hours here. This attraction is suitable for all ages and includes two restaurants and a few shopping choices.

Museum Of Science and Industry – $33.00

A great way to learn about science while still having fun, the Museum of Science and Industry provides a few hours of learning with numerous themed rooms to stroll though. Some of the inside attractions include a walk though a United 727, the Empire State Express and a motion simulator ride. This is a fantastic attraction for both kids and adults, though it might be better suited for kids aged 7 and up.

Is the Chicago CityPASS a good deal

In order to answer this question as accurately as possible, we need to first take a look at what the pass entails and includes. Each Chicago CityPASS is actually a book of tickets (or a voucher in select cases) that grants each visitor admission to 5 different tourist attractions and activities. You’ll also receive, in conjunction with your pass, detailed information about each available attraction, a map locating where each attraction is based and coupons that can be used around Chicago during your stay.

Now it’s time to break down the numbers and see if the Chicago CityPASS really is a money saving tool. In order to do so, we’re going to take a look at the general entrance fees for 5 select attractions at the adult rate. Then we’re going to add up the total and compare the end number to the cost of a pass.

  • Shedd Aquarium $41.95
  • Skydeck Chicago $45.00
  • The Field Museum $31.00
  • 360 Chicago $37.00
  • Art Institute of Chicago $40.00

The collective price of the above attractions comes out to be $194.95, which is about double the cost of the pass itself. This means that you’ll be paying $98.95 less to visit the listed attractions. With these savings, you could go shopping, buy a few nice dinners or put the money toward a nicer hotel room. If purchasing a youth pass, you’ll find that the savings are even better.

You’ll also find the pass to be a great time saver. With the pass, visitors are allowed to bypass long lines and walk straight to the front. Depending on the time of year and day of week, this can save a massive amount of time, allowing you to enjoy more during your day.

Are all of the attractions covered with the Chicago CityPASS worth a visit

Due to the uniqueness and high popularity rate of each attraction included in the pass, the answer is an easy yes. But, you won’t get a chance to visit everyone. The pass grants guests admission to 5 attractions, but there are actually 7 to choose from. Those activities are the Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, The Field Museum, 360 Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, Alder Planetarium and the Art Institute of Chicago. When choosing your attractions, it’s good to keep in mind that some cost less than others and you’ll want to factor that into your decision in order to make sure you save the greatest amount of money possible.

How not to use the Chicago CityPASS

If used correctly, the Chicago CityPASS can be a great tool to save money during your trip. First, you want to keep in mind that the pass is good for 9 consecutive days that start with the first day of use. Because of this, you don’t want to only visit a few attractions and then forget about the pass. If you do so, you may end up missing out on the last remaining available activities and thus not getting your money’s worth. Also, on the other hand, because you do have 9 days, there is no need to rush each day to see as many as possible. Relax, take your time and enjoy what each has to offer.

If when you purchase your pass you receive a booklet of tickets, it’s important to under no circumstance, tear out a ticket yourself to give to the attendant. If you do so, your ticket will be considered void and you’ll end up losing that ticket. Instead, just hand the entire booklet to the attendant and they’ll tear it out for you before handing the booklet back.

The bottom line

The Chicago CityPASS is a great money saving tool that will allow you to visit your chosen attractions stress free, as you’ll be saving money on each and everyone. With the pass, you end up saving a total of $98.95, which is pretty unheard of anywhere else. You’ll also find that you’ll climb your way to the front of the line quicker than you thought possible, making the pass not only a money saver, but time saver as well.

Where do you purchase your Chicago CityPASS

>>>Buy the Chicago CityPASS at the lowest available price

When purchasing your pass, you’ll find that there are two different ways – online or at one of the featured attractions. When purchasing online, you’ll find that there are then two different options to receive your pass, either by email or through postal mail. If you choose postal mail, you’ll end up receiving a booklet of tickets, which is your pass in a different form. If you choose email, you’ll get a voucher to print out and take with you.

Photos from Flickr users Bari D, Justin Kern, Ashamar, Lex Mckee and JR P.




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