Chicago CityPass: Your magic card for a fun trip

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The Windy City’s five top attractions can be appreciated for free with the CityPASS and also comes packed with discounts for many other places worth visiting and appreciating. The museums and landmarks you get a chance to see with the CityPASS for free are The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, and you get to choose between a few others including the Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium and more. This pass is totally worth it for the savings and all the fun you can pack in with it. For instance, many individuals have been able to bypass long lines so they can get the biggest benefit for their purchase at the Skydeck. All the tickets are considered “premium” so for instance at the Shedd Aquarium you get to see a 4D movie for free. To visit the best attractions in Chicago, Illinois and simultaneously save serious money and time, the CityPASS is a must-have to make sure you have the smoothest trip through the Windy City.

What is CityPASS

CityPASS is an American company that is headquartered in Victor, Idaho but works out of many cities across North America including Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta, and many others. CityPASS is purchased for a flat rate and allows the traveler to visit attractions for free and get discounts packed on at many other places. CityPASS works in cooperation with the attractions in the city to offer you and your loved ones a discount and convenience. For visitors who don’t have a great deal of time to wait in lines or can’t afford to pay the full price for many of these attractions, CityPASS gives them an opportunity to experience it all with less damage to their wallet. The price savings for the average CityPASS is between 30% to 50% which adds up to hundreds of dollars if the full price and long lines are considered.

The company was founded by Mike Gallagher and Mike Morey who have extensive experience in customer service, marketing, operations and other’s facets of the business industry. They launched CityPASS in Seattle and San Francisco. Following those two cities came New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago started next in 2000.

Each CityPASS stays valid for 9 consecutive days and starts when you first use it. Nine days have proved to be more than enough time for a family or couple to see all the attractions included and not feel rushed or ripped off.

How to buy CityPASS for Chicago

The most convenient way to purchase the Chicago CityPASS is to visit the official website at www.citypass.com/chicago Even if you go to Groupon, or other discount sites, they will direct you back to the official website to make your purchase. Any route taken will provide the same discount, so no matter what, if it’s a “CityPASS” you’ll be given the same discount.

Price

  • Adult (Age 12 +) $106.00 per adult
  • Child (Age 3 – 11) $89.00 per child
  • Child (Age 2 & under) Free

Discount and coupons for Chicago CityPASS

Not available at the time of writing.

Chicago CityPASS Groupon

Nothing was available in Groupon at the time of writing this.

Where to buy Chicago CityPASS

The easiest way to purchase your Chicago CityPASS is to visit: www.citypass.com/chicago

Once you arrive at the website you’ll be able to purchase Adult and Child tickets. You’ll be able to choose how you want to receive the tickets; email or snail-mailed the physical booklets/tickets. Either way, you save the same amount.

They also offer the opportunity to make monthly payments through Affirm on any orders over $200. When you check out there will be an option to pay through “Affirm” with a click of your button. It will then walk you through the rest of the process. However, keep in mind that Affirm could decline you based on your credit check, you might have to make a down payment, and there is an annual percentage rate included.

Your VIP All Access to Major Chicago Attractions

Chicago Travel CityPass

There are 5 attractions covered by the Chicago CityPASS but 7 options in total. First, there’s the Shedd Aquarium (Priority Entry), second is the Skydeck Chicago (Fast Pass), third is the Field Museum (VIP Entry), and the remaining two admissions included require some decision making. Your fourth attraction is a choice between the Adler Planetarium (VIP Entry) or the Art Institute of Chicago (Fast Pass), and the fifth attraction is a choice between the Museum of Science and Industry or 360 Chicago Observation Deck (Express Entry). It’s amazing how much the Chicago CityPASS covers, and the amount of money and time saved with just one purchase instead of 5 separate purchases and 5 separate long lines.

The Shedd Aquarium

It is a favorite for all Chicagoans and anyone visiting the area. You get the chance to get up close and personal with a large variety of aquatic life in an award-winning atmosphere. Shedd offers many hands-on activities and in-depth information. With the CityPASS Priority Entry, you’ll be able to bypass lines so you can get from one exhibit to the next without the crowd. Many of the animals are most active early in the day during feeding and waking up, so be sure to get there early to observe the water life greet a new day. Not everything is indoors so if it’s cold be sure to dress accordingly. One of my favorite exhibits is Amazon Rising; the rainforest has a very diverse landscape that we’re learning new things about daily. They don’t just discuss the water life in the Amazon either, but also the Natives who call it home and the land-dwelling animals unique to the area.

Skydeck Chicago

The skydeck can be entered off Franklin Street and stays open 365 days a year despite any holiday. The actual Skydeck where individuals take photos and it looks like they might fall to their death is a whopping 103 floors from the ground. On the way up to the 103rd floor is a variety of exhibits, televised presentations, and offers space for events like parties or even business meetings. The view will take your breath away as you realize that you can see out before you for more than 50 miles. There is no other unobstructed view of the city like this one.

The Field Museum of Natural History

The CityPASS includes all general admission exhibitions, all ticketed exhibitions, and one 3D movie. They do a magnificent job of pulling you into the ancient world, scientific research, and creating the excitement of exploration in both children and adults. Every turn through the museum will uncover magnificent artifacts and features from all over the globe, including mummies, dinosaur bones, science hands-on experiments, and even an entire hall dedicated to Ancient China.

Adler Planetarium or the Art Institute of Chicago

For your fourth adventure, you get to choose between the Adler Planetarium or the Art Institute of Chicago. First off, the Adler Planetarium is a must-see for individuals whose heart races at the sight of planets, shooting stars, and meteorites. During your visit, you get the chance to explore in depth the solar system, a bright visual walk through space and time, an interactive experience about our first trip to the moon, and so many other mind-blowing exhibits. If you’re less of a science person and more of an art person, you’ll want to go to the Art Institute of Chicago. It was founded in 1879 and is one of the largest and oldest art museums in the United States. As you browse through the collection you’ll notice pieces from classical artists of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine origin, Renaissance Art, medieval galleries, all the way to present artists and contemporary classics. There is something for everyone in the Art Institute of Chicago; there’s something there from all facets of humanity.

Museum of Science and Industry or the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck

The fifth attraction you get to visit is a choice between the Museum of Science and Industry or the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck. The Museum of Science and Industry has exhibits covering subjects like Chemistry, Physics, Space, Transportation, Environmental Sciences, and much more! If you’re curious about your world and seek to understand it better, then I highly encourage visiting the museum. You won’t be able to see everything in one day but focus on your topics of interest. You’ll be amazed at the wealth of information, knowledge, interactive exhibits, and artifacts contained in this one building. If you’re not so much into Science and Industry, then you’ll want to go to 360 Chicago. It’s an observation deck on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building. It’s exactly as the name sounds, from this deck you get the chance to see the entire city from all corners; a full 360 Degree view. It’s located perfectly so you can see Lake Michigan from soaring heights as well the entire Chicago Skyline.

Top 3 reasons to get a Chicago CityPASS

1. Saving money while visiting Chicago

Here is a comparison of the regular admission ticket prices of the venues with CityPass. You get a significant saving for using the CityPass.

Shedd Aquarium – Priority Entry:

  • Adult (12+) $44.90 vs CityPASS $22.00
  • Child (3-11) $34.90 vs CityPASS $17.10

Skydeck Chicago – Fast Pass

  • Adult (12+) $49.00 vs CityPASS $24.01
  • Child (3-11) $49.00 vs CityPASS $24.01

Field Museum – VIP Entry All-Access Pass

  • Adult (12+) $38 vs CityPASS $18.62
  • Children (3-11) $27 vs CityPASS $13.23
  • Seniors (65+) $33 vs CityPASS $16.17
  • Students (with ID) $33 vs CityPASS $16.17

Adler Planetarium – VIP Entry All Access Pass

  • Adult (12+) $34.95 CityPASS $17.13
  • Children (3-11) $29.95 CityPASS $14.67

Art Institute of Chicago – Fast Pass

  • Adult (18+) $42 vs CityPASS $20.58
  • Seniors (65+) $29 vs CityPASS $14.21
  • Students (College/University) $29 vs CityPASS $14.21
  • Teenagers (14-17) $29 vs CityPASS $14.21
  • Children (13 and under) FREE

Museum of Science and Industry

  • Adult (12+) $39.95 vs CityPASS $19.58
  • Children (3-11) $27.95 vs CityPASS $13.70

360 CHICAGO Observation Deck – Express Entry

  • Adult (12+) $44 + tax vs CityPASS $21.56
  • Children (3-11) $44 + tax vs CityPASS $21.56
  • Younger (3 and under) FREE

2. Avoid long ticket lines

The Chicago CityPASS lets you bypass long ticket sales lines, long waiting lines for rides and exhibits, and gives you more time to experience the exhibits, sights, and scenes and less time waiting and staring at a watch.

3. Accessibility if you need it

Shedd Aquarium

They offer multiple options for a variety of guests including sensory friendly apps, accessible disability parking, drop-off turnaround, disability, and family-friendly restrooms, adult changing tables, nursing rooms, AEDs, sound-reducing headphones, wheelchairs, and audio-described presentations for those with low vision or blindness.

Skydeck Chicago

Skydeck{s accessibility is designed with many different factors in mind including strollers, scooters or wheelchairs. They offer complimentary wheelchairs while they’re available. The presentation in the theatre is subtitled for individuals who are hard of hearing. Licensed guide dogs are allowed, and they’re typically understanding about a variety of accessibility needs, but I recommend giving them a call ahead of time for any necessary arrangements.

Field Museum

Field Museum accessibility allows for full mobility no matter what the situation is. They’ve worked hard to be mindful about removing barriers so all interactions can be equally meaningful. They have wheelchairs available, elevators, restrooms of every level, offer special tours for blind or low-vision guests, and sensory friendly apps. Free admission is also provided to paid personal care assistants (PCA) that are accompanying a visitor with an acute impairment.

Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium kept accessibility in mind by providing a U-shaped drop off area, accessible parking, and is easy to access if you’re using public transportation. All entrances and levels are accessible using either elevator or provided ramps. There are restrooms on the midlevel on the south and north sections of the building. The theatres can be accessed with a wheelchair if needed. They’re extremely accommodating regarding sign language, sensory processing disorders, food allergies, special dietary needs, and devices that assist those who are hard of hearing.

Art Institute of Chicago

Accessibility here is no different from the previously listed locations. They are mindful and helpful with customers with mobility needs, dementia, deaf, blind, or any other disability.  All locations can be reached in a wheelchair, and restrooms are easy to access. They do offer resource options for individuals or groups with any disability.

Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry is very easy to access thanks to their oversize and van-accessible parking spots which can be found in the Blue Section (D) in the parking garage. In the same section, you’ll find that to enter all you must do is push a button. There are elevators, and all areas are wheelchair accessible. The front street entrance also features push-button entry for ease, and there are cuts in the curb to allow wheelchairs and scooters to access the front door. Within the museum are easy to find elevators and ramps. They keep AED’s in different parts of the museum.

360 Chicago Observation Deck

The 360 Chicago Observation Deck is accessible by all guests even wheelchairs. The glass case can hold a wheelchair just fine so no one misses out on having a 360-degree view of the Windy City.

Chicago pass for couples and families

Chicago CityPASS is perfect for families or couples that love saving money, or like in this case, 51% off the retail price! These attractions usually charge less or children, but CityPASS makes it possible for you and the kiddos to get a massive discount. Also, keep in mind that when you arrive at your destination you won’t have to stand in long lines. You, your partner, or your family will feel like VIP walking into the aquariums and museums. You don’t have to worry about trying to cram it all into one day because CityPASS gives you 9 consecutive days to hit all five attractions and reap the benefits of getting a discount at many other places in Chicago.

Does Chicago travel voucher covers special exhibitions?

Yes, in most cases it does. Take for instance at the Shedd Aquarium you’ll get the chance to enter all permanent exhibits, special exhibitions, a 4-D Interactive Experience and more! At the museums and aquariums, you also get the benefit of bypassing the long lines, so you get right to the fun.

At the Field Museum, you get to access all the permanent exhibits and you get a free 3D film experience. Anything outside of the “All Access Pass” might require an additional charge.

Suggested travel Itinerary with Chicago CityPASS

One-day pass for Chicago

If you only have one day to use your CityPASS in Chicago, there is a way to get the most out of your pass all in one day. Three of the locations are very close together so those can be hit in consecutive order. Before going to the attractions, since you won’t be able to spend an entire day there make sure to decide which exhibits are most important to you that you don’t leave feeling disappointed. My recommended travel itinerary for a one-day visit to Chicago with a CityPASS is as follows:

  • 9A.M. – 11A.M.: Shedd Aquarium 1200 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
  • 11:30 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.: Adler Planetarium 1300 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
  • 2P.M. – 5P.M.: Field Museum 1400 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
  • 6P.M. – 8P.M.: Skydeck Chicago 233 South Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL 60606
  • 8:30P.M. – 10:30P.M.: 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck 875 North Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611

Two-day Chicago pass

If you have two days, you can spend more time really enjoying each place more thoroughly than if you only had one day.

Day 1:

  • 9A.M. – 12P.M. Shedd Aquarium 1200 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
  • 1P.M. – 4P.M. Field Museum 1400 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
  • 6P.M. – 10P.M. Skydeck Chicago 233 South Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL 60606
  • 10:30A.M. – 12P.M. Art Institute of Chicago 111 South Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60603

Day 2:

  • 1P.M. – 4p.m. Museum of Science and Industry 57th Street and Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60637

Three-day travel plan for Chicago

Day 1:

  • 9A.M. – 1P.M. Field Museum 1400 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
  • 3P.M. – 8PM. Skydeck Chicago 233 South Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL 60606

Day 2

  • 9A.M. – 1PM. Shedd Aquarium 1200 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
  • 2P.M. – 5PM. Art Institute of Chicago 111 South Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60603

Day 3:

  • 9A.M. – 11P.M. 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck 875 North Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611

Will you try the ultimate Chicago travel voucher?

Remember the next time you decide to visit Chicago, Illinois to consider grabbing a CityPASS. You save 51% off the retail price of Chicago’s top 5 attractions. This pass gives you the opportunity to save half of your cash, bypass long and tedious lines, spend less time waiting and more time experiencing the wonders of Chicago. You’ll get to absorb the history of the city, discover new scientific research, interact in a meaningful way with your world, and create memories that will stay with you for the rest of your lives. Will you try the ultimate Chicago travel voucher?

 

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