Is the Go City Chicago Pass worth it? Go City Chicago Pass review 2024

Chicago is one of America’s largest and most interesting cities, but similar to other major American cities, the top attractions tend to be expensive. If you are coming to the Windy City for at least two full sightseeing days then you’ll have dozens of great choices and your budget can easily spiral out of control if you aren’t careful. The Go City Chicago Pass can be a great tool for some people, but not for everyone.

While many other American cities are known for being sprawled out, Chicago’s tourist zone is quite compact and most of the top attractions are close together and many are walking distance from each other. The Go City Chicago Pass covers 33 of the top attractions including the ever popular Big Bus hop-on, hop-off bus tour and the Architectural River Cruise. It even includes the Millennium Wheel and other rides at the Navy Pier.

As long as those sorts of popular attractions interest you, you’ll be almost guaranteed to save quite a bit of money with the Go City Chicago Pass. If you are well organized and are able to start early then you’ll probably be best off with the All-Inclusive Pass, but if you are a slow starter you might be better off with the Explorer Pass. We will go over all of these options below.

Go Chicago Pass prices for 2024

The Go Chicago Pass prices vary depending on how many days you are purchasing and what age group you fall into. Adult prices cover ages 13 and up while child prices cover ages 3 through 12. Children under 3 are free.

All-Inclusive Pass prices

  • 1-Day Adult $124, 1-Day Child $79 (ages 3-12)
  • 2-Day Adult $169, 2-Day Child $114
  • 3-Day Adult $199, 3-Day Child $134
  • 5-Day Adult $234, 5-Day Child $169

Explorer Pass prices

  • 2-Choice Adult $84, 2-Choice Child $39 (ages 3-12)
  • 3-Choice Adult $104, 3-Choice Child $54
  • 4-Choice Adult $139, 4-Choice Child $74
  • 5-Choice Adult $154, 5-Choice Child $109
  • 6-Choice Adult $184, 6-Choice Child $129
  • 7-Choice Adult $189, 7-Choice Child $134

Where to buy the Go Chicago Pass with our EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT

Look for “Have a promo code?” in the Review Your Order screen and use the code ‘GO5POT’ for the exclusive Price Of Travel 5% discount. The 5% discount is valid on sale prices, so you save even more.

>>>Buy the Go Chicago Pass at an ADDITIONAL 5% off using this link and the promo code GO5POT

Top sights and attractions

Hop-on, hop-off Big Bus Chicago 1-Day Classic Tour– $54.00

As with so many other cities, the fastest and most efficient way to see almost all of Chicago’s top attractions in just a few hours is on the top deck of a double-decker hop-on, hop-off tour bus. The Chicago Big Bus route includes 12 stops including the Willis Tower, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and Chicago River Walk. You’ll be visiting all of these places anyway and many of them have included attractions there as well, so it’s recommended that you do this HOHO bus tour on the first full morning you have in Chicago. After that you’ll know where everything is and what everything looks like and it’ll make the rest of your trip easier and less stressful.

The Field Museum – $35.57

A museum that puts the entire world in one place, The Field Museum was made for those who love to learn about anything and everything.  Some of the exhibits include a T. rex, an ancient Egyptian tomb, rare jewels and gold. One of the reasons this museum is a good choice is its close proximity to both the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium.

SkyDeck Chicago – $47.00

Set on the very top deck of the Willis Tower (Sears Tower to older folks), the SkyDeck is perched at 1,353 feet, making for quite the experience. From here you’ll have views of the entire city and if the weather is good, parts of the surrounding states.

If heights make you nervous, you’ll want to take this one slowly as the deck itself is see through all around, even below you. Generally speaking, this attraction will take about an hour to enjoy. It’s also kid friendly, making it a great option for families as well.

Shoreline Architecture River Cruise– $54.49

Chicago is famous for its skyscrapers and architecture and there is no better way of seeing the highlights than this 75-minute boat tour along the Chicago River. It’s impossible to appreciate the amazing buildings from the sidewalks below, so this is a real treat for any first-time visitor. The HOHO bus tour will take you to most of the top attractions, but it’s actually much easier to see the tops of the buildings and the architecture from a slow-moving boat than from a bus moving along in traffic.

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel and Rides– $51.23

Since you are heading to Chicago you already know that the Navy Pier is a huge entertainment complex in the heart of the city and it has a famous Ferris Wheel and a bunch of other new thrill rides. With the Go City Chicago Pass you’ll get to ride on the Ferris Wheel plus your choice of 3 other rides.

Adler Planetarium– $35.00

The Adler Planetarium is one of the finest planetariums in the world and it’s a short walk from the Field Museum, which is also included here. Obviously this is a great attraction for younger people and especially those who enjoy science and astronomy. The ticket includes admission to all of the displays as well as up to two of the sky shows.

Should you get the All-Inclusive Pass or Explorer Pass?

While it’s difficult to confidently recommend one over the other, it should be pretty obvious whether you are better off with the All-Inclusive Pass (unlimited attractions in a set number of days) or the Explorer Pass (a fixed number of attractions within 60 days). If you are organized and you have 2 or 3 full sightseeing days in Chicago, you should find it easy to visit 3 attractions per day, especially since so many of them are close together. This makes the All-Inclusive Pass an unbeatable deal.

However, if you aren’t known for starting early or being well organized you might be better off with the Explorer Pass. This way you can do 1 or maybe 2 attractions per day and you’ll have your savings locked in before you even start. Obviously for the Explorer Pass it makes sense to go through the included attractions and choose exactly which ones sound worth doing on your trip. After that it’ll be easy to decide whether the pass will save you money and figure out when you’ll have time to do each of them.

Is The Go Chicago Pass a good deal

With the pass you’ll receive free admission to 23 different Chicago attractions. You’ll also receive a detailed guidebook full of information regarding each attraction, hours of operation and a map. As an added bonus you’ll also find some dining, entertainment and shopping discounts.

But is the pass a good deal in the end? This all depends on how you use the pass. If you plan on visiting as many attractions as you can within the amount of days you purchased the pass for, then you’ll see some nice savings. If you plan on visiting only a few places and purchase the 5 day pass, then it might not be the best deal for you. Below you’ll find a sample itinerary showcasing the difference in price between a 2 day pass and the general admission costs.

Day 1

  • Navy Pier Ferris Wheel and Rides $51.23
  • Field Museum $35.57
  • Adler Planetarium $35.00

Day 2

  • Skydeck Chicago $47.00
  • Museum of Contemporary Art $22.00
  • Shoreline Architecture River Cruise $54.49
  • Hop-on, Hop-off Big Bus Chicago $54.00

In the end, the final cost for this 2-day itinerary is $299.29. If you were to visit these same attractions using your 2-day Go Chicago Pass, you would only be paying $169.00 (or $162 using our 5% discount). That’s a savings of $130 (or $137). That extra money could be used for a nice dinner, some shopping or toward hotel costs (and maybe even a hotel room upgrade).

It’s important to keep in mind that most attractions are only open between the hours of 9am to 5:30pm, although the Skydeck closes at 8 PM or 10 PM so it’s a great one to save for the evening. It’s best not to pack your day in too tight. If you do, you might only get a small amount of time at each attraction.

Are all of the attractions covered with the Go Chicago Pass worth a visit

In short, yes. In a longer answer, it depends what you’re looking to get out of your day. If you’re more of a cultural enthusiast, you’ll be delighted with the many different cultural attractions available, throughout the entire city. If you’re more into science, you’ll find options such as the famous Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium to be more up your alley.

Even if you are traveling in a group or with a family of various ages, you’ll have the option to include different types of attractions each day, making it so that everyone gets to visit at least one that interests them. This is fantastic as it can be very difficult in normal situations to please everyone in a large group.

How not to use the Go Chicago Pass

In order to get the most value for your buck, it’s important to realize the dos and don’ts of the Go Chicago Pass. Firstly, it’s wise to plan your day out before you take off on your adventure. You’ll want to look at where each attraction is located and go from there.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is a hop-on, hop-off bus service available that you can utilize to help get you from one attraction to the next. This helps to take out the hassle of trying to find your way around the city and find parking.

Secondly, you’ll want to plan your attractions for the day keeping in mind the gate cost of each. Some attractions have a low entrance fee. If you just visit those, you won’t get as much savings as you would if you visited ones with a higher cost.

The bottom line

Unlike some of the other city passes, the Go City Chicago Pass is pretty straightforward. It includes 23 attractions and 10 of those cost less than $25 so you will probably ignore most of those, at least when calculating whether to buy the pass or not. Of the 13 expensive attractions, how many of them sound fun and interesting? I’d think for most people the answer is at least 5 of them and maybe 8 or 10 of them.

Since Chicago’s tourist zone is fairly compact, most of the attractions are actually close together so you won’t waste a lot of time going across the city to reach one more thing before closing time. So it’s pretty easy to visit at least 3 attractions per day, as long as you can fit one in before lunch. As a result, it’s almost impossible not to save a lot of money with the Go City Chicago Pass as long as you are interested in the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, the architectural river cruise, and other major (and expensive!) attractions.

Where do you purchase your Go Chicago Pass

Look for “Have a promo code?” in the Review Your Order screen and use the code ‘GO5POT’ for the exclusive Price Of Travel 5% discount. The 5% discount is valid on sale prices, so you save even more.

>>>Buy the Go Chicago Pass at an ADDITIONAL 5% off using this link and the promo code GO5POT

Because of today’s technology, there are three different ways to receive your pass. The most common way is to have it delivered straight to your smartphone.

Similar Go Passes to consider

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  1. Debra W says:

    Though we did make up our cost I would say, the Field Museum and Art Institute can and should take a lot of time, they are extensive and well worth the visit. Do plan your time according to the bus route, it is one way and takes time to get around the whole route. We had issues with the E-tickets because a few venues did not have wi-fi, would not go that way again.

  2. Twila C. says:

    This is absolutely the way to see Chicago if you have several days to spend there, at an incredible cost savings! My daughter and I purchased the five-day card, and we saved a LOT of money with it because literally everything we wanted to do and see are included with this card! Even better, there are things included that we probably would not have done, had we had to pay for them individually, and we ended up really enjoying these things we would never have seen or done otherwise. I’m not sure how much you would save on a two- or three-day card, but we consider our five-day card the best vacation choice we’ve ever made!