Touring with the Chicago CityPass

Establishment: Chicago CityPass
Location: Chicago, illinois, USA

Editor’s note: One of our favourite contributor, Bel, shares with us her best find when visiting the Windy City – Chicago.  If you’ve not used a CityPass on your travel in the USA, you need to read her review on why the Chicago City Pass is an absolute must when visiting the city – smart travel savings right there! Thanks for sharing this tip with us Bel! 

How the Chicago CityPass Worked for My Family

If you are planning to visit the windy city of Chicago, and it’s main attractions are on your list, the best way to go is with a Chicago CityPass.  That’s what we did during our visit in Dec 2013.

Sightseeing with the Chicago Citypass

Travelling with a family of 4 can get really expensive and the CityPASS saves you as much as 50% off entrance fees with the added bonus of either a fast pass, VIP entrance and all access entry to selected attractions. You can choose to visit 5 of the 7 attractions available.


The online convenience was a big welcome and made the whole process family-friendly and less of a hassle.

I need to stress – BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE and not at the attraction unless you do not mind waiting in very long queues.  If it happens to be a holiday in Chicago on tour visit, the lines can go on for 1-2hours.

Our passes itself covered 3 days of our sightseeing.  We didn’t have enough time to cover 5 attractions, which is why I strongly suggest you plan enough time to cover all 5 to get the ultimate best value from your CityPass. We aimed to set aside 3 – 5hrs per attractions as there was so much to see and for the kids to interact with at each stop and it still was not enough, we wished we had factored more time especially at the Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum and Museum of Science and Industry.

How the Chicago CityPass worked for my family

The Chicago CityPass: 1 Adult ticket

Your CityPass booklet is valid for 9 consecutive days beginning with the first day of use. Good if you plan to stretch your visits and focus on one main activity a day.

What it covers, and how we used our Chicago CityPass

Here is a brief breakdown of which attractions are included, our suggested time to set aside for each attraction and more details of what you get with the CityPass.

The Three Main Attractions

There three attractions are covered under the CityPass.  We visited the SkyDeck and the Field Museum, unfortunately having to give the Shedd Aquarium a miss.

1. Skydeck Chicago

– minimum 2hours – best time just before sunset, but it gets crowded

Includes Fast Pass admission to the Skydeck’s 360-degree views and The Ledge glass-floor balconies. Read our review here.

2. Shedd Aquarium

– minimum 4hours – but if you include the activities you need to pay for you could spend the whole day there.

includes VIP entry to Waters of the World galleries, Amazon Rising, Wild Reef, Abbott Oceanarium, Polar Play Zone, an aquatic show and Jellies special exhibit, plus a choice of a 4-D Experience.

3. The Field Museum

– minimum 4hours – lots of interaction activities for kids

Includes All-Access Pass, including admission to all permanent and ticketed exhibitions plus your choice of one digital 3D film. Read our review Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, here.


The Ones You Need to Choose

Then there are the ones you need to choose an option for:

How we used our Chicago CityPass

There are four attractions offered over two options on the Chicago CityPass


Museum of Science and Industry

– minimum 4hours – lots of interaction activities for kids

Includes VIP entry into the museum, including Science Storms, the U-505 exhibit, YOU! The Experience, an Omnimax show and a Motion Simulator Ride. This was our choice – read our review here.



– minimum 2hours – best time just before sunset, but it gets crowded

Includes Fast Pass admission to Chicago’s best views and only open-air Sky Walk


Adler Planetarium

– minimum 3hours – lots of interaction activities for kids

Includes VIP entry and general admission to all exhibitions, the historic Atwood Sphere and one 3-D theatre show


Art Institute of Chicago

– minimum 2-3hours

Includes audio tour and admission to all permanent collections and non-ticketed special exhibitions

In the CityPass booklets you can find useful information, operations hours, contact and transportation information and insider tips for each attraction plus discounts to Bloomingdales, Blue Man performance and Macy’s and a map of the attractions and its proximity to each other which will help assist with your plans.

Purchasing the CityPass is EASY.  With the added convenience with the New Mobile Voucher Option, you can purchase your tickets online, present your voucher on your mobile device at the first attraction you visit to receive your CityPASS ticket booklets. (Mobile voucher redemption not currently available at Adler Planetarium or Museum of Science and Industry.)

Happy travels!

PS: There’s also CityPasses for Atlanta, Boston, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, SanFrancisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay, Toronto!

Editor’s note: Have you used the CityPass in any of the North American Cities you’ve visited?  Share with us your experience – we’d love to hear from you


More on USA from our community here




20 Comments on “Touring with the Chicago CityPass

  1. Thanks for the info. Chicago is one place I love to see. hopefully, if I get a visa then I’ll be there.

  2. The Chicago City Pass does seem like a good deal which other destinations and / or cities can adapt. 3 days of sight seeing is certainly fun – exploring the city and trying out new stuff. The Sky Deck is something that I’d love to visit + the Planetarium.

  3. Wish we had something as great as the CityPass here in Manila then maybe our economic state would improve! It’s so convenient! :)

  4. Fifty percent? That’s a great deal. I would love to visit Chicago one day and I would definitely keep CityPass in mind.

  5. I have never been to Chicago. However, I have used the CityPass in Boston and New York City. These cards are the real deal about the discounts. My wife and I enjoyed planning where to go based on what the card had to offer.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I guess in all countries, its best to buy group promo tours and tickets as it save up huge money.

  7. Glad for this CityPass that gave you discounts for exploring Chicago. I think, in the future, all over the world, promotion like this is a must for every city.

  8. The concept of buying online and doing transactions like booking online makes our life easier. Sadly, here, not everyone have online portals. So we don’t have a choice but to go through the long queues of people trying to get their tickets and passes. Good thing Chicago has it in their city. how i wish the same is implemented here.

  9. Chicago is one of my dream destinations. I think I have tried a similar pass when we were at Singapore the year before. It was much easier for tourists. I hope we have this kind in the Philippines because this kind of convenience really helps the tourism of the place and it makes tourists come back.

  10. Cool idea to make kids more busy. A place full of activities and at the same time kids can learn too!

  11. Thanks for the advice! If ever I drop by in Chicago to meet a friend, I’ll do as you said because it looks so much easier.

  12. The city pas would be worth it considering it covers so many places. I’m sure, the discount would really be huge for this.

  13. 50 percent discount it not bad at all. I will consider Chicago Citypass the moment we have plan to visit Illinois

  14. wow this Citypass is truly a convenient tool to visit the city… what an innovation to ease the traveling and visiting your target destinations in chicago

  15. The Chicago CityPass is more worth it as you can go so many places unlimited, I have tried the New York Citypass and it was awesome. I miss US.

  16. Haven’t been to Chicago yet, but I’ll definitely keep this CityPass in mind when I do! Love how it makes traveling more convenient! :) Thanks for the tip of getting it online too!

  17. Pingback: What to do in Chicago: Willis Tower | Kids On Board

  18. Pingback: Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry | Kids On Board

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