Is the Boston CityPass worth it? 2020 Boston CityPass review
Certainly one of America's finest cities for tourists seeking a short or long vacation, Boston is somewhat unusual in that it has almost no famous “checklist attractions” that everyone flocks to on a first visit. Instead, the city is more about the architecture and neighborhoods rather than standing in lines to see specific things and entertain particular interests. In fact, you'll find Boston offers a very large amount of picture opportunities around the entire city, perfect for travelers who enjoy photographing every part of their trip.
Still, Boston has many great museums and other interesting attractions, and if you are in the mood to visit more than a couple of them then you should strongly consider purchasing the Boston CityPass for each member of your group. You'll see below that it's a pretty good deal for pretty much anyone wanting to visit at least 3 different attractions, and it's a great deal for anyone wanting to visit 4 or 5 of the included attractions. If you're only interested in seeing one thing during your trip, you might want to skip this pass.
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.
Boston CityPASS prices for 2020
Designed for both adults and children, the Boston CityPASS offers price categories for both. Adult passes are for those aged 12 and up while kids aged 3 to 11 can use the child pass. When looking at the prices below, you'll see that adult prices are slightly higher than children prices.
- Adult CityPASS $59.00
- Child CityPASS $47.00
There is no need to buy a pass for children 2 and under as they should be able to get in free. However this can change making it necessary to check with each individual attraction first to make sure that is still the case.
Is the Boston CityPASS a good deal
In order to answer this question as accurately as possible, we first need to look at what is included in the purchase of each and every single pass. Within each booklet, which is the CityPASS itself, you'll not only find 4 tickets that allow for access into 4 out of 5 possible attractions, but also a nicely made map and coupons that can be used for various items within the city. The map provided gives you an idea of where each attraction is compared to the next which can help save you travel time as well as help familiarize yourself with the city layout.
Now that you have an idea of what is included within your purchase, let's take a look at what the possible savings are with a sample itinerary. The itinerary below showcases the gate prices of 4 different attractions at the adult rate.
- New England Aquarium- $27.95
- Museum of Science- $28.00
- Harvard Museum of Natural History- $15.00
- Skywalk Observatory- $20.00
When all of the above entrance rates are totaled together, the end collective price comes out to $90.95. If the Boston CityPASS were used with this itinerary the final price would come out to $59.00. That's a total of 31.95 saved with the pass. This savings can then be used on a nice meal out, hotel upgrade or simply kept in your bank account. Helping to sweeten the deal is how the pass saves time in attraction lines as well. In fact, you'll get to skip them all together!
Sights and attractions included in pass
New England Aquarium – $27.95
At the New England Aquarium, you'll find different tanks featuring various marine life and coral structures from around the world. You'll also get a chance to see Myrtle, a 550 pound green sea turtle that has lived at the aquarium for over 40 years. If you love birds, make sure to visit the on-site penguin colony where you'll find 3 different species of penguins living together. This attraction is great for all ages and young children are welcome.
Museum of Science – $28.00
A noted museum, the Museum of Science is a great attraction for those who love learning about a variety of different things. In fact, in this museum you'll find over 700 different exhibits to explore. Some of these exciting and educational exhibits include a look at Cliff the Triceratops, the human body and live animal shows. Because there is such a large variety of things to see and enjoy here, pretty much every person in your group should find something interesting. This attraction can easily take a few hours of your time and is suitable to all ages.
Skywalk Observatory – $20.00
Open daily and suitable for all ages, the Skywalk Observatory is an interesting way to see Boston in all her glory. In fact, views from the top offer a 360 degree view of the city in its entirety. You'll also find exhibits that showcase the city's culture and neighborhoods as well as its past with an included multimedia tour and a venture through the Dreams of Freedom Museum.
Harvard Museum of Natural History – $15.00
Not only will you gain access to the permanent exhibits that the museum houses, but the special exhibits that are showcased throughout the year. One of the more popular collections is the Glass Flowers collection with over 3000 flowers on display. With this rate, you'll also gain admission into the nearby Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
Boston Harbor Cruises – $31.44
A fully narrated 90 minute trip, the Boston Harbor Cruise grants you views of Boston herself from a different perspective. During the cruise, you'll find views of the skyline, the 1760s Gardiner Building, Long Wharf and the real life site of the Boston Tea Party. As you pass by these sites, you'll get the chance to enjoy a commentary focusing on the history, characters and sites of Boston. This tour is great for all ages. Reservations are not necessarily for a tour, but they are strongly encouraged.
Are all of the attractions covered with the Boston CityPASS worth a visit
In short- yes, yes! Even though the pass covers entrance into 4 Boston attractions, there are actually 5 to select from. Outside of the 4 listed in the itinerary above, you have the choice of viewing the Harvard Museum of Natural History as well. This can be done outside of the pass or in place of the Boston Harbor Cruise as the ticket containing both options is a pick and choose ticket.
Instead of just one niche, each attraction covers a different interest, making it easy to get the whole group or family excited about your Boston vacation. In addition, every single attraction is considered a great one with high reviews from past visitors. Instead of visiting small, newer attractions, you'll be visiting established landmarks that are admired by both locals and visitors alike. This gives you added security that your time won't be wasted.
How not to use the Boston CityPASS
First off, before you even start using your pass, you don't want to start tearing each ticket out of its booklet. Doing so will cause each ticket that has been torn out invalid. These should only be removed by each attraction's attendant. You'll also want to make sure that you use your pass within 6 months of purchase. If not, the pass will be deemed expired.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the pass is valid for 9 days in a row starting from the first attraction visited, meaning that unless you are only in town or a day or two, there is no reason to rush through each attraction. You'll have more than enough time to enjoy everything each attraction has to offer. Also, it won't matter how much you enjoyed one attraction, one visit is all you'll get from each pass as each attraction is only valid for a single entry.
For a low price, you'll not only get a ticket booklet that offers you discounted admission into 4 different area attractions, but an area map and coupons that can be used around the city. You'll also find that each ticket allows you the ability to skip the lines and walk straight up to the attraction gate, which could end up being a big time saver, especially during the busy season and holidays. As each of the attractions are tried and true and have been both adult and kid tested over and over again, you'll find that you really are getting a good deal, one that will appeal to all family or group members.
Where do you purchase your Boston CityPASS
There are two ways to receive your new pass with the first being via email. In the email you'll receive a ‘voucher' that serves as representation of your pass until you receive the actual booklet of tickets at the first attraction that you visit. Usually when exchanging your voucher for your booklet you'll need to present some form of identification so make sure to bring your id with you. The second way to receive your pass is to have the booklet shipped straight to you via snail mail. This way you'll have everything set up ahead of time.