City Passes Chicago – The Ultimate Chicago Attraction Passes Guide

The Ultimate Chicago Attraction Pass Guide

City Passes Chicago

City Pass, Go Card and Other Pre-Packaged Chicago Attraction Pass

Chicago city has many things to do and see, and if you are planning to visit as much as you can during your visit then it may end up very expensive. But, thanks to discount Chicago attraction passes.

In this post, I have covered all available Chicago attraction passes – Chicago City Pass, Go Chicago Card and other pre-packaged Chicago attraction passes, which can save you a lot of money on admission to top attractions.

This post will help you get all necessary details associated with each Chicago attraction pass, along with comparison of city passes Chicago for you to decide whether which Chicago tourist discount pass fits best for your trip.

Brief about City Passes Chicago – Chicago Attraction Passes

Go Chicago Cards

Go Chicago Cards come in three different types – Go Chicago Card – all-inclusive pass, Explorer Pass and Build Your Own Pass.

All-inclusive Go Chicago Card includes admission to over 26 attractions, tours and activities. This all-inclusive pass comes in different number of days for different prices.

Considering the number of included Chicago’s top attractions, all-inclusive Go Chicago Card will cost you more compared to other Chicago attraction pass.

If you are planning to spend few days in Chicago and explore as much as you can then all-inclusive Go Chicago Card is your best choice.

With all-inclusive Go Chicago Card, you can explore for 1, 2, 3, or 5 calendar days in a row. You will be able to save over 45% on admission to top attractions, but be prepared to explore Chicago continuously.

Explorer Pass gives you an opportunity to explore 3, 4, or 5 attractions from 29 top attractions, for one low price.

Explorer Pass attractions selection list contains fewer attractions compared to all-inclusive Go Chicago pass. I would say, still the selection list of attractions is large.

Build Your Own City passes Chicago let you create your own pass with the choice of your attractions. It’s like creating your own pizza.

With Build Your Own City passes Chicago, you start saving more as you add more attractions to your pass. You can save up to 25% with Build Your Own Passes. If you are planning to visit less than 3 attractions then Build Your Own pass is a good fit for you.

Chicago City Pass

Chicago City Pass can save up to 55% on admission to Chicago’s top 5 attractions. If you are planning to visit 3 or more attractions in Chicago then Chicago CityPass can save you good amount of money.

Is it Worth Using City Passes Chicago?

In my opinion, traveler must consider to utilize tourist attraction pass to explore Chicago. At first, you may think that tourist passes are expensive, lot of money! But keep in mind, it is one price for included attractions on the selected tourist pass.

When you calculate the individual admission tickets costs of attraction, you will be able to find out that these Chicago attraction passes can save you big amount of money.

I recommend that visitor must decide the list of attractions they are planning to visit in advance before coming to Chicago. Once you have list of attractions, find out which Chicago attraction pass fits well for you.

I insist visitors to utilize Chicago attraction pass, either Go Chicago Card or Chicago City Pass to explore Chicago. These Chicago attraction passes are good if visitors are planning to explore at least three or more attractions.

City Passes Chicago – Chicago Attraction Passes

Go Chicago Cards

All-inclusive Go Chicago Card

Go Chicago Card All-Inclusive Pass

All-inclusive Go Chicago Card includes Chicago’s almost all attractions. It gives visitors an opportunity to explore as much as they can for one low price.

Go Chicago Card comes in length of different number of days – 1, 2, 3 and 5 consecutive days. Visitors must keep themselves busy exploring Chicago if they want to take full benefit of the all-inclusive Go Chicago Card.

All-inclusive Go Chicago Card can save up to 45% on admission to top attractions. As of 2019, there are total 29 attractions and activities are included on all-inclusive Go Chicago Card.

You have one full year from the date of purchase to use Go Chicago Card. Visitors can get refund for unused cards within 30 days of Go Chicago Card purchase.

Your all-inclusive Go Chicago Card gets activated with the first use at any attraction. I recommend to use attraction pass early in the morning to get the full day of access.

These Go Chicago attraction pass doesn’t go by hours, it goes by 12:00 am to 12:00 am, 24 hours validity. If you activate your Go Chicago Card in the middle of the day then you have only few hours to access attraction, as attraction closes in the evening, they are not open 24×7.

If you are planning to visit fewer attractions then I recommend you to use Explorer Pass, Build Your Own Pass or pre-packaged Chicago City Pass
Go Chicago Card comes with unlimited access in limited time.

I recommend to plan ahead to decide which attractions you will be visiting. You must try to group attractions together to save time on travel, and explore more. Chicago is known for traffic, so try to pick nearby attractions to save on commute time.

Planning your attraction itinerary in advance will help you take maximum advantage of all-inclusive Go Chicago Card. You may like me sample one-day Chicago itinerary with Go Chicago Card.

Attractions Included in All-Inclusive Go Chicago Card

As of today there are 29 attractions included with Go Chicago Card. Click here to check the full list of attractions, activities and tours included with all-inclusive Go Chicago card.

Go Chicago Card Price (As of March 2019)

1-­Day:
Adults $94
Children (ages 3-12) $59

2-­Day:
Adults $134
Children $89

3­-Day:
Adults $159
Children $107

5­-Day:
Adults $199
Children $119

Click here to get current price or to purchase all-inclusive Go Chicago Card.

How to buy all-inclusive Go Chicago Card?

You can buy all-inclusive Go Chicago Card online and get it delivered electronically to your email. You can either print the e-mail or show it on your smartphone at the gate.

Chicago Explorer Pass

Explorer Pass (3, 4, or 5 attractions)

Chcago Explorer Pass gives you option to customize your pass from the list of pre-selected attractions. You get less number of attractions compared to all-inclusive Go Chicago Card, but still it is large list that also includes top attractions such as Field Museum, Art Institute, Adler Planetarium and SkyDeck Chicago.

With Explorer Pass you get flexibility of not pre-selecting attractions at the time of purchase. You can choose attractions as you go from the list of included attractions on you custom Chicago attraction pass.

Your Go Explorer Pass gets activated with the visit at first attraction. After your Explorer pass gets activated, you have 30 days to use your pass.

Attractions Included in Explorer Pass

There are list of attractions to select from to create your Explorer Pass. Visotrs can select 3, 4 or 5 attractions from the pre-decided attractions list. Click here to check the available attractions for Explorer Pass.

Explorer Pass Prices (as of March 2019):

3 Attraction Pass:
Adults $79
Children (ages 3-12) $49

4 Attraction Pass:
Adults $104
Children (ages 3-12) $69

5 Attraction Pass:
Adults: $119
Children (ages 3­12): $79

Click here to get current price or to purchase Chicago Explorer Pass.

You can save good amount of money on admission to top attractions with this Chicago attraction pass, especially if you visit expensive attractions such as SkyDeck Chicago, the Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium and more.

How to buy Chicago Explorer Pass?

You can buy Chicago Explorer Pass online and get it delivered electronically to your email. You can either print the e-mail or show it on your smartphone at the gate.

Build Your Own Pass

Build Your Own Pass is perfect for travelers who like to explore Chicago at very easy pace without feeling any kind of time pressure.

Visitors must select attractions of choice at the time of purchase. You lose flexibility to choose attraction on the go, but still it is a very good option for someone who doesn’t like to feel pressure while exploring Chicago.

Build Your Own Pass can save up to 25% on admission to attractions. Percentage of savings keep changing as you keep adding attractions to your Build Your Own Pass.

How to buy Build Your Own Pass?

You can buy Build Your Own Pass online and get it delivered electronically to your email. You can either print the e-mail or show it on your smartphone at the gate.

Tips on Go Cards

  • All-Inclusive Go Chicago Card is good for someone planning to explore Chicago as much as they can over few days.
  • Activate all-inclusive Go Chicago Card early in the morning to take advantage of full day.
  • Explorer Pass is perfect for visitors planning to visit 3 or more attractions in Chicago.
  • Build Your Own Pass is a good choice for someone looking to explore Chicago at their own pace without feeling any kind of pressure.
  • All Go Chicago Cards come with 30 Days return policy.
  • With Go Cards, visitors can skip the ticket line at majority of attractions.
  • Buy Go Chicago Cards online and get it delivered to your email. Keep printed copy of your purchase in case your phone battery dies. 🙂

Go Chicago Card Combo Package

Go Chicago Card promotional offers includes different kinds of combo passes. As of today there is one Go Chicago Card promotional combo pass offer.

SkyDeck Chicago 3 Attraction Combo Pass

If you are on a short trip to Chicago and want an option for three things to do in Chicago, then I recommend SkyDeck Chicago 3 Attraction Combo Pass.

This combo offer includes Chicago’s two must-see attractions, plus hop-on hop-off big bus tour to get familiar with Chicago. Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus Chicago 1-Day classic tour is best way to get around the Chicago city and see top sights.

You can purchase this combo attraction pass instantly and start using it from your mobile device. Even though this combo attraction pass is good for short time visitors, you get 30 days validity period from the first use.

Considering 30 days validity, I would say this Chicago attraction pass is perfect for locals as well, who have not visited two of these included attractions.

Attractions Included on Combo Pass

SkyDeck Chicago
Adler Planetarium
Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Chicago: 1-Day Classic Tour

Go Card Combo Package Price as of March 2019:

Adult $75.00 compared to purchased individually $104.95
Child $49.00 compared to purchased individually $71.95
Click here to purchase SkyDeck Chicago 3 Attraction Combo Pass online.

The SkyDeck Chicago 3 Attraction Combo Pass can save 29% on admission tickets.

Chicago CityPASS

Chicago CityPASS

Tourists who are planning to visit Chicago’s top 5 attractions, then I recommend them to go for Chicago CityPASS. This Chicago attraction pass will save up to 50% on admission tickets, plus gets you admission to Chicago’s top 5 attractions.

Chicago CityPass has pre-selected set of attractions. Chicago City Pass includes three mandatory attractions and gives you choices for two attractions from the pre-selected choices.

Attractions Included in the Chicago CityPASS

Shedd Aquarium – PRIORITY ENTRY
SkyDeck Chicago – DAY/NIGHT ADMISSION
Field Museum – ALL-ACCESS PASS
Adler Planetarium – PREMIUM PASS OR Art Institute of Chicago – FAST PASS
Museum of Science and Industry – ENTRY +1 TICKETED EXPERIENCE OR 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck – EXPRESS ENTRY

The Chicago CityPASS is a good choice for tourists planning to cover at least 3 or more attractions at their own pace without feeling any time pressure.

Visitors get 9-day period from the first use of Chicago CityPASS. In my opinion, it’s one of the best Chicago attraction pass as you have plenty of time to cover all top 5 attractions in Chicago.

Chicago CityPASS Prices (as of March 2019):

Adults: $108 compared to admission ticket price at gate $213.90
Children (ages 3-­11): $89 compared to admission ticket price at gate $174.90
Click here to get current price or to purchase Chicago CityPass.

I recommend to plan your Chicago itinerary ahead of time, even before coming to Chicago. That will help you utilize your time efficiently. Refer my suggested 3-Day Chicago itinerary using Chicago City Pass.

Day 1:
Stop 1: SkyDeck Chicago
Stop 2: Shedd Aquarium

Day 2:
Stop 1: Field Museum of History
Stop 2: Adler Planetarium or Art Institute of Chicago

Day 3:
Stop 3: Museum of Science and Industry – ENTRY +1 TICKETED EXPERIENCE OR 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck – EXPRESS ENTRY

Tips: SkyDeck Chicago and 360 Chicago Observation Deck are similar in nature, so I recommend to avoid 360 Chicago Observation Deck, unless you really want to experience TILT.

How to buy Chicago CityPASS?

You can buy Chicago CityPASS online or even at any one of their partner attractions. I recommend to purchase Chicago CityPASS online before you arrive to Chicago.

Pre-Selected Viator VIP

Pre-Selected Viator VIP: Willis Tower SkyDeck Early Access, Trolley City Tour and Chicago River Cruise

Viator VIP package is a group package that includes early admission to Willis Tower SkyDeck, 2 hours narrated trolley city tour and Chicago River Cruise. This package is a good option for first time visitors to Chicago, who wants to go around the city and explore in a day.

Name says it, Viator VIP package is only available through Viator. Your group tour of Chicago begins at Willis (Sears) Tower with early admission privilege. Enjoy excellent views of Chicago city skyline and walk outward on glass bottom window at 1,353 feet height.

After SkyDeck Chicago, you will board on 2 hours guided trolley city tour to explore the windy city. Chicago trolley tour will take you around Chicago’s world famous building, attractions and sights.

Trolley will stop at world famous Millennium Park, do not forget to take photos at the Cloud Gate, “The Bean”, and Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Your trolley tour will end at Navy Pier and you will have one hour time to relax and eat lunch before you board on 75 minutes long guided architecture Chicago River cruise.

Attraction Included in Viator VIP Package:

SkyDeck Chicago Early Access
2 Hour Chicago Trolley Tour
Architecture Chicago River Cruise

Viator VIP Package Price as of 2019:

Per Person: $124
Click here to purchase Viator VIP Package.

With this VIP Package, you do not save money. It’s more of convenience than savings. Just because your tour has SkyDeck Chicago, you must check weather before booking VIP Package. On cloudy and day, visit to SkyDeck is a big NO! You WILL NOT enjoy at all!

Conclusion

I recommend one of the Go Chicago Cards or Chicago CityPASS to explore more and spend less. All-Inclusive Go Chicago Card is perfect for visitors who are looking to spend 3 to 5 days to explore Chicago.

In my opinion, Chicago CityPASS is perfect for tourists who are looking to visit Chicago’s top 5 attractions. I would say the best Chicago attraction pass for 3-Days Chicago itinerary.

For those who are planning to visit Chicago for 2-Days then Chicago Explorer Pass is a good option for 2-Day Chicago itinerary.

I recommend Build Your Own Pass to someone who is looking to explore Chicago at their own pace without rushing to see & do things in Chicago.

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