See the Best Of Chicago with CityPass

Last Updated on November 1, 2016 by Jody Halsted

Thanks to Francesca of The Working Mom Travels for this guest post!

I’m lucky to have grown up and to still live in such a vibrant city like Chicago. I truly enjoy getting to be a tourist in my hometown and taking in all it has to offer, and to play tour guide to out-of-town visitors. Most recently, I got to be both tourist and tour guide when two of my oldest friends came to visit from Michigan. It was a serious “girls weekend”, filled with shopping, great meals, and sightseeing.

The best deal in Chicago! Save money and time with City Pass. Chicago travel tips

The sightseeing was made easy, thanks to having a Chicago CityPASS. At $84 for adults (ages 12 and up) and $69 for children (ages 3-11), the Chicago CityPASS provides admission to five of seven of Chicago’s top attractions: Shedd Aquarium; Sky Deck Chicago; The Field Museum; John Hancock Observatory OR Museum of Science and Industry; and Adler Planetarium OR Art Institute of Chicago. If tickets for all of these attractions were purchased separately, the total for adults would be $167.50; for children, $149.50. That makes CityPASS a steal for a fun family vacation, right?

On top of saving a whole lot of money, CityPASS also can save you a lot of time with Fast Pass entry. Especially when traveling with young, and possibly hungry and tired, children, getting to skip long lines can be a vacation-saver! I found this feature to be most invaluable, even for us adults, especially when visiting John Hancock Observatory on a busy Saturday night. We bypassed the line for the elevator to get to the top of the tower, though it wasn’t very long. The line to get back down from the Observatory, however, was insane. I kind of felt badly for all the people waiting in such a long line to go back down the ninety-four floors, but not badly enough to forfeit my Fast Pass! We sauntered right past a ton of people who had been waiting for at least thirty minutes, right onto an open, waiting, and empty elevator. Ah, CityPASS has its privileges…

Night View from Hancock Observatory, Chicago. The best deal in Chicago! Save money and time with City Pass. Chicago travel tips
Night View from Hancock Observatory

Fast Pass is not offered at Art Institute of Chicago but included with the CityPASS is a free audio tour. The handheld device was quite helpful at various exhibits throughout the museum. We just had to dial in the corresponding number to hear additional information about the pieces.

The Art Institute of Chicago. The best deal in Chicago! Save money and time with City Pass. Chicago travel tips
The Art Institute of Chicago

At Shedd Aquarium, CityPASS holders will again bypass potentially long lines with the Fast Pass. CityPASS also includes admission to: Shedd’s new aquatic show featuring dolphins and beluga whales, which will no doubt be a hit with the youngsters; and to the fascinating Jellies special exhibit, featuring more varieties of jellyfish than I could ever imagine!

Jellyfish at Shedd Aquarium. The best deal in Chicago! Save money and time with City Pass. Chicago travel tips

One of the newest and coolest attractions in Chicago is The Ledge at the top of Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower). Guests can step out onto the balcony and stand 103 floors above Chicago and look down on the city through the glass floor. I haven’t been brave enough to do it yet (I’m kind of afraid of heights) but my friends went out onto The Ledge and reported back; they agree it is “very cool!” Fast Pass up to and unobstructed views from Sky Deck were good enough for me.

The last attraction included in CityPASS that we could have visited, but didn’t because we ran out of time, is The Field Museum. The T. rex, Sue, calls The Field Museum home, as do almost twenty-six million other artifacts. CityPASS grants visitors access to all special exhibits and a 3-D movie.

Using CityPASS for our girlfriends’ weekend was the best decision we could have made. It saved us time (to shop a little more) and money (to spend while shopping; see how that works?), and I definitely recommend it for anyone visiting Chicago.

Francesca of The Working Mom’s Travels is a Chicago-based working mom and travel blogger. She believes travel is a state of mind: we do not have to physically travel to far-off locales to have meaningful travel experiences; we can do so even in our hometowns. Francesca’s aim is to prove that it is possible to maintain a career, a family, & a traveler’s lifestyle all at the same time, and employs the cooperation of her husband and her daughter to accomplish her mission. You can find Francesca on Twitter (@WorkMomTravels4848484848) and on Facebook.

Photos by Francesca M.

Disclosure: CityPass supplied the Chicago passes to Family Rambling.  Francesca was not compensated for her review.

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  1. I have visited Chicago’s major attractions on various occasions, so I have never purchased the pass. However, looking at the fast lanes and doing math in my head I always wish I had… The pass is a great initiative and an ideal solution for visitors and locals alike who want to have fun downtown. Great review, Francesca, really informative.

    1. @jettingaround Thank you! The CityPASS really is worth it for the Fast Pass alone, and it was perfect for our girls weekend.

  2. (See the Best Of Chicago with CityPass) This is a great way to go all around Chicago. My brother and I do this all the time and we take the L-train as well.

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