Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Is the Chicago CityPass worth the Cost?

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 24
While planning our trip to Chicago, we realized we wanted to visit a few museums. But the more research we did, the more trouble we had narrowing down our decision. We wanted to see it all, but were worried about the cost. Those entrance fees add up quickly. Thankfully, the Chicago CityPass offers major discounts, making everything more affordable.

What's Included? 

Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the skydeck offers up some amazing views of the city. Our recommendation: go first thing in the morning or right at sunset to see the city in the best light. Recreate this famous scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off and take a photo on the glass bottom floor. 

Shedd Aquarium 
I'm a big fan of aquariums, which also means I'm hard to impress. But we were blown away by how well done this aquarium is. On top of featuring popular sea-life, the Shedd Aquarium emphasizes the aquatic life of Lake Michigan that is just a few steps away from the aquarium's front doors. 

Museum of Science and Industry OR 360 Chicago 
Take your pick between a science museum or city views from the John Hancock building. If you can't choose between the two, no worries. Your CityPass booklet still offers you a ticket discount on the other option. This way you can still do both! 
We picked the Museum of Science and Industry. If you want to feel like a kid again, this is the place for you. Most of the exhibits are interactive so a day here feels nothing like visiting a traditional museum. You're so busy engaging in the exhibits and having fun that you don't even realize you're also learning something too. One of the largest science museums in the world, topics range from space to geology to the human body. And did I mention the full sized submarine and trains right in the museum?

The Field Museum
This is what a history museum should be-a place that inspires awe and teaches you to appreciate the past. Walking through this museum transports you into another time. Don't miss out on seeing Sue…a fierce T. Rex that happens to be the most complete dinosaur skeleton in the world. It was great to some time with her. #brewwithsue

The Field Museum is currently hosting the rare Terracotta Soldiers through the beginning of January 2017. The only other place to see them this year is China, don't miss out on these while they are in the states. 

Art Institute of Chicago OR Adler Planetarium
We had trouble choosing with this one. A world renown art museum or America's first and most primere planetarium. Honestly, if we had more time we would have used our CityPass discount to see both. But time constraints pushed us to choose just one. We settled on the Art Institute of Chicago and I'm so glad we did. I've been to a lot of art museums, but this is by far is one of the best. I enjoyed it even more than the Louvre. Some of our favorites included art featured by Georgia O'Keeffe, Grant Wood, Picasso, and Edward Hopper. 

Extra Perks? 

  • Fast Pass This is like having a key to the city. We visited Chicago during the peak summer months. Even though we showed up at some places right when they opened, there was already a line overflowing outside the door. The CityPass allowed us to completely bypass these lines and we felt like royalty. 
  • Why Choose One? With the pick one options, the CityPass booklet offers you an additional discount in case you decide you want to visit both. 
  • Extra Discounts We bought souvenirs/ate meals at several of these attractions. As a nice bonus, our CityPass booklet included discounts on the museum cafes and souvenir shops. Plus, there were coupons for additional shows and shops around the city. 

Is it Worth the Cost? 

The Chicago CityPass is $98 for adults and $82 for children. That may seem like a lot initially, but when you sit down and do the math, you're saving a ton. As graduate students, Tom and I even have the option of getting student discounts. Even still, the CityPass was the best choice for affordability. So is the Chicago CityPass Worth the Cost? Yes, Yes, and Yes. A million times Yes. 


  1. I love when cities have CityPASS! We had one in Seattle and realized how much money you can save and how much it allows you to see! I might have to check this out next time I am in Chicago.

    1. Definitely think it's worth the cost. As budget travelers, the city pass is a steal for how much you get out of it