Admission fees at Chicago’s museums and attractions can really add up. Most fees range between $15 and $25 per adult, so a family of four could easily spend hundreds of dollars checking out all the world-class exhibits around the city. If you can’t schedule your trip on on museum free day and you plan to visit multiple museums, check out a Chicago City Pass or a Go Chicago Card.
The Chicago City Pass
Cost: The City Pass is $69 for adults, $59 for kids.
Days included: The Pass is good for 9 days, but you can only visit each attraction once.
Attractions included: Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Museum of Science and Industry and John Hancock Observatory OR Sears Tower Skydeck Fast Pass
Extras: 15% off coupon at Bloomingdale’s
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Best for: People who specifically want to go to at least three of the more-expensive museums and would do so even without the discount. If this isn’t you, add up the admission prices of the museums you know for sure you wish to visit and then compare the price of the pass to paying a la carte.
The Go Chicago Card
Cost: Prices range for $64.99 to $135.99 for adults and from $49.99 to $110.49 for kids.
Days included: You can purchase a Go Chicago Card for 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 days.
Attractions included: The Go Chicago Card covers over 30 of the city’s attractions, including the Adler Planetarium, Frank Lloyd Wright House, Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, and Willis Tower Skydeck. Be careful though, at some of the attractions listed, admission was already free – the Pass just gets you a few bonuses for free.
Extras: The Go Chicago Card is packed with extra perks that are good for the same number of days as your pass. Extras include discounts at local stores and restaurants, buy-one,get-one freebies and line-jumping privileges.
Best for: Those who wish to pack their days in Chicago with lots of activities that normally charge a fee, of who planned to eat or shop at many of the establishments offering discounts. Before you get sucked in by the sheer volume of attractions covered by the pass though, take a moment to figure out how many you can realistically visit in one day without going crazy. Then add up the admission costs and see if you save by buying a pass.
Tip: If you only plan on using the pass for one day, make sure that is the day when you visit the most-expensive attractions to get the most out of your pass.
Photo via Smart Destinations