Is the Chicago CityPASS worth it or a complete waste of money?
You’re headed to Chicago and not sure how best to save money on attractions.
If you’re like me, you might be a little skeptical of discount sellers.
More times than none, I can’t help but wonder if it’s too good to be true.
Maybe it’s because I live in Las Vegas and know many of those tourist traps are a complete bull$h*t.
Am I wasting money or is this truly a great deal that everyone would be crazy not to get?!
I just got back from an incredible 3-day weekend in Chicago and saw so many things.
For the first time, I opted for a CityPASS. More explanation to come.
The mission was to see as many attractions as possible and still have fun.
No one wants to spend over $100 USD for tons of attractions if they only have time for one.
So we knew in order to get our monies worth we needed to see multiple attractions.
The only rule was, it still had to be fun.
We didn’t want to rush around frantically to see everything just to say we got our monies worth.
Does that make sense?
Chicago is massive both in population and things to do. Not mention, quite expensive.
Practically speaking, why not save where you can?
It’s never smart to waste when you can save! I feel like I should tweet this line or something.
So is the CityPass really going to help you save?
Let’s break it down.
Table of Contents
What is the Chicago CityPASS?
The CityPass is all about helping you visit top attractions, skip the lines, and save money.
You’re essentially getting VIP admission to 5 attractions.
Though 7 attractions are on the list, you must choose between the Adler Planetarium vs. Art Institute or 360 Chicago vs. Museum of Science – making that 5 attractions you can visit.
The price per adult at the time of writing this was $106.
But is it worth it?
To determine whether the CityPASS was worth it or not, I did a cost comparison had I gone to these attractions ala carte.
After 3 days exploring the city and attractions, here’s what I determined. . .
Chicago CityPASS 3 Must-See Attractions
(Price without CityPass $49 Price with CityPass $49)
This is an amazing place to view the entire city and test your courage as you step 4 feet out over The Ledge.
What I really loved about Skydeck, was the crowd control.
Sure, there is a line to step out on the ledge. Yet, it also means that when your turn comes, you will not have tourists bombarding your pictures.
Now isn’t that nice?
This places makes for an awesome date night, or date breakfast.
Plan a dinner overlooking the entire city lit up at night or breakfast on the ledge.
Couples have three dining options:
Pie in the Sky: Slice up some of the best pizza in Chicago while looking out at the night sky from above.
Breakfast on the Ledge: Breakfast is served over the ledge with food catered by Metropolitan club.
Metropolitan Club: Down on the 64th floor is a more formal dining restaurant and bar. Still, offering amazing views and access back to the Ledge.
As always space is limited. To check availability and make a reservation, click this link here which will take you to Skydeck’s official website.
Address: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606 | Hours of Operation: Monday through Sunday 10 am – 8 pm. I do know these hours change seasonally, so double check before you go.
One of the many reasons I love Google Maps. They always show the hours!
Best Time to Go: Skydeck peak hours are during sunset, however, on a clear day any time will deliver jaw-dropping views.
(Price without CityPass $34.95 Price with CityPass $24.95)
Unleash your inner geek at the Adler Planetarium – a great spot for star gazing from the comforts of a theater to exploring the galaxy through interactive experiences.
I would say this is the most geared towards families, but the shows are amazing. It’s actually kind of trippy.
The screen is a massive dome, like puts IMAX movies to shame. The chairs lean back giving you the feeling of being in the sky surrounded by stars.
Speaking of movies. Who’s excited for Mary Poppins Returns? I know I’ll have to come back in a few weeks and remove this line, but in the present moment, I can’t wait!
Address: 1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605 | Hours of Operation: Open daily from 9:30 am to 4 pm
Best Time to Go: When you need a break from walking the city all day
(Price without CityPass $44 Price with CityPass $44)
The highlight of 360 Chicago is the thrill ride, Tilt.
Though not included in the CityPass, you save a dollar for being a CityPass holder.
Tilt costs $7, but for you, $6. That’s a whole extra dollar towards beer woohoo!
I opted for it because that’s what makes the experience totally worth it.
They also show a documentary about the building and all the hard work that went into building it.
I found it interesting. Then again, when in Rome.
Address: 875 N Michigan Avenue, 94th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611 | Hours of Operation: Daily from 9 am-11 pm
Best Time to Go: At night when the entire city is lit up
TOTAL: $127.95 (savings $21.95)
As you can see just those 3 attractions alone make the CityPASS worth it.
Other attractions you can choose are the Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, and the Field Museum.
If you choose the Art Institute over the Planetarium you will have saved even more.
Though I didn’t visit these attractions you can still learn more about them by visiting CityPass.com.
Where to Buy Chicago CityPASS
You can purchase the voucher on CityPass.com – the official site.
I will most certainly be purchasing the CityPass if and when I find myself in one of the cities listed.
What I like about this site are the easy navigation and detailed information.
They even provide tips on optimal times to go. It helped me plan my arrival times.
If you’re reading this and happen to be a Canadian with a Costco membership, you can purchase the CityPass on Costco.ca.
How did you get so lucky?
Pros & Cons of Chicago CityPASS
Less wait time in line. As you can see you don’t save any money going to 360 and Skydeck. Those two ala carte come to $93 HOWEVER, the general admissions line for Skydeck was longer than waiting to get on the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland. As a CityPass holder, we zoomed past EVERYONE and was at the top in less than 15 minutes. That alone is worth the CityPass of $106.
You save money and we like that.
It’s valid for 9 consecutive days so you can skip a day or two if needed depending on how long you’re in the city you can have a chill day.
You’re limited to just those attractions. At least if you want to get your monies worth.
You can only visit each attraction once. No repeats. If you went on a less than glamorous day and wanted to go back you would have to pay.
Since I had to choose between the Planetarium and Art Institute I had to pay $4 which made my total spending on Chicago attractions $110. As you can see, that still comes in less had you bought admissions individually making the Chicago CityPASS totally worth it!
It’s a deal, people. It’s a legit savings deal!
If you’re pressed for time, then stick with the CityPass. But, if you’re visiting with a few days to spare (i.e. 4-5 days) then consider booking a fun tour around the city, on the river, or for you beer lovers, some booze tours.
Psst. . . Looking for more weekend getaway ideas around the U.S.A? Check out a few of these posts:
Does this sound like a good deal to you or what? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Thank you to Choose Chicago for sponsoring this post. Though sponsored all opinions are 100% my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission (at no cost to you) when you purchase through these links, which helps me keep my lights on and order pizza from Dominos! I am extremely grateful. Thank you.
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