Planning a visit to Chicago? Then you’ll want to experience all of the magnificence that the city has to offer! From world-class museums and iconic architecture to eclectic neighborhoods and culinary culture, Chicago is filled with must-see attractions and exciting experiences that will make your visit absolutely unforgettable.
Smart travelers can take advantage of significant discounts for the most sought-after adventures in Chicago by joining their attractions together with a CityPASS. Providing not only discounts but other extra perks, CityPASS allows individuals and families to get the most out of their visit to one of America’s greatest cities.
Chicago CityPASS Benefits
CityPASS Chicago provides savings of around 50% on Premium Admission to the Top 5 Attractions in the city—which may equal up to $100 for each adult and $85 for a child aged 3-11. The voucher provides entry into 5 total attractions within a 9-day time period—three are standard with all passes and two offer a choice based on preferences.
Attractions included with CityPASS:
- Shedd Aquarium with 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
Chicago Attractions Included with CityPASS
At Shedd Aquarium, you’ll skip the lines with priority entry, which is an incredible hack because the lines can sometimes be out-the-door! You’ll get in first and enjoy hours of fun at permanent exhibits, animal presentations, special exhibits and even the Stingray Touch (late-May to Mid-September).
At the Field Museum you’ll enjoy an All Access Pass to get into all general admission exhibits, all ticketed exhibits, as well as a 3D movie. Save time (sometimes up to 2 hours!) by skipping the line to connect with SUE (the famous T. rex), Maximo the Titanosaur, ancient Egyptian tombs and much more.
Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower provides views of the entire city, including. Day + Night admission with CityPASS allows two different entries with unparalleled views at over 1300 feet, once illuminated by the sun and once by the city’s twinkling lights. While you don’t get a fast pass here, you can skip the ticket line and go straight through to security—though you may still have to wait a bit for the elevators.
Choosing Between CityPASS Options
CityPASS gives you the freedom to choose your preferences on a couple of different attractions. Your first choice falls between a Premium Pass to Adler Planetarium or a Fast Pass to the Art Institute of Chicago.
- For so many people who visit or live in the Chicago area, the Art Institute is a must-see attraction that allows you to get close to famous works by Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and so many more. And you can skip the line here which could save an hour or two on a busy day!
- People who have smaller children may be interested in the observatory, telescope and domed theaters focusing on the stars in the Adler Planetarium. The premium pass includes museum entry as well as several shows.
If you were paying full-price, the Art Institute would be slightly more expensive. So, if you do want to go to both, it’s wise to choose the Art Institute for your CityPASS option and then pay for the planetarium separately.
Your second choice will be between the Museum of Science and Industry and 360 Chicago.
- The Museum of Science and Industry (the largest science museum in the US) is highly recommended with exhibits including a captured WWII German U-Boat, Apollo 8 spacecraft, and much more. With CityPASS you’ll get general admission as well as your choice of a timed-entry experience such as a replica coal mine tour, a film in the Giant Dome Theater, or other rotating exhibits.
- 360 Chicago provides great views where you can tilt outward over 1000 feet above the Magnificent Mile! You get a skip-the-line pass, but since it’s very similar to Skydeck, many people pass over this option in favor of MSI. But, of course, the choice is yours!
Is a Chicago CityPASS Worth It?
If you’re planning to visit even three of the included attractions, then CityPASS will definitely be a money saver! Not only that, but ticket lines can be very long—especially in the hot Chicago summer. CityPASS allows quicker entry to most of the attractions on the list, as well as upgraded experiences at certain places. Plus, buying just one book of tickets instead of trying to deal with five different bookings will save you time and allow you to relax on your vacation!
There are lots of options for tourist passes in Chicago. Look at a Go Chicago Card if you want to experience a lot more and an Explorer Pass if you want a larger selection of things to see than the CityPASS. If you are not sure which pass is best for you, check out our comparison page.
Purchase Options for Chicago CityPASS
Purchase CityPASS online and have it delivered instantly to you by email with convenient printable or mobile ticket options OR have a CityPASS ticket booklet shipped directly to you. If you do get it delivered electronically, you’ll still need to trade it for a voucher book upon arrival. Another option is to get your CityPASS ticket booklets at the first attraction visited when arriving in Chicago. Of course, this means that you may need to wait in a long line at the first attraction.
Although a great value, a small drawback for CityPASS is that it requires users to carry around a book of tickets, which is a bit inconvenient. Expiration dates on booklets do vary, so be sure to read the fine print before purchasing.
Planning Your Chicago Visit with CityPASS
Once you’ve decided that a CityPASS adventure is right for you, you’ll want to plan your time so that you can take full advantage of each experience. Some attractions have limited hours on certain days, while others are open in the evening, so planning out an itinerary ahead of time is key. And, of course, you’ll need to plan in times to enjoy the ultimate in Chicago food including pizza, Chicago hot dogs, and so much more!