Chicago CityPASS: Explore the Windy City for Less

View of Chicago gazing toward Lake Michigan

From the Art Institute of Chicago to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago is packed with experiences from A to Z. And if you want to see the most popular Chicago attractions for less, the Chicago CityPASS can help you stretch your travel budget further. How much money can you save with a Chicago CityPASS? We did the math!

Hugging the southwestern curve of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the largest city in the Midwest. Known for its stunning architecture, impressive museums, and unique style of buttery deep-dish pizza, there is no shortage of things to see and do in the Windy City.

To spend more time exploring the sights (and less time waiting in line) while keeping more cash in your pocket, check out Chicago CityPASS. You’ll see five of the top attractions and save money at the same time!


Have You Visited Chicago?

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A sea otter at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
Dive into the aquatic animal world by visiting Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Photo courtesy of CityPASS.

What is a Chicago CityPASS?

With a Chicago CityPASS, you get discounted, skip-the-line tickets to five of the Windy City’s most popular tourist attractions. 

Sage Advice: If your Chicago itinerary doesn’t allow enough time to visit five attractions, then check out Chicago C3. This CityPASS offering saves you up to 35% on your choice of three of the best things to do in Chicago.

A model of Saturn hangs above an exhibit at the Adler Planeterium in Chicago
Soar through outer space with a visit to the Adler Planetarium. Photo courtesy of CityPASS.

How does the Chicago CityPASS Work?

Immediately after purchasing a Chicago CityPASS you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to access your digital tickets. You may either print these tickets or access them through your mobile device when visiting your selected Chicago attractions.

Sage Advice: If you’re visiting Chicago in the summer or during another busy time of year, be sure to plan ahead and make any necessary reservations. And no matter when you visit, be mindful of each attraction’s operating hours. For example, the Art Institute of Chicago is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Viewing the city at sunset at Skydeck Chicago
Enjoy the best views of the city at Skydeck Chicago. Photo courtesy of CityPASS.

What Does the Chicago CityPASS Include?

The Chicago CityPASS includes admission to five attractions in Chicago. Make your selections from the following:  

 1. Shedd Aquarium

Recognized as one of the best aquariums in the world, you’ll receive all-access admission to the Shedd Aquarium, which includes all habitats, animal presentations, and exhibits. With your CityPASS, you’ll also be able to enjoy the special Underwater Beauty exhibit, the seasonal Stingray Touch, and a special 4-D experience.

2. Skydeck Chicago

Spend less time in line and more of your trip admiring breathtaking views when you use the expedited entry available through your CityPASS to visit the 110-story Willis Tower. Formerly known as the Sears Tower, you’ll have a hard time finding a better vantage point of the city than the views offered from its glass-ledge observation deck.

3. Field Museum of Natural History

With a Chicago CityPASS, you’ll also enjoy VIP access to the Field Museum of Natural History. Inside one of the largest natural history museums in the world, and the most visited museum in Chicago, your All-Access Pass grants you admission to all permanent exhibits, natural history collections, and regularly priced experiences. Plus, you can enjoy one digital 3D film. 

Sage Advice: Note that special exhibits may require a separate ticket for an additional fee.

4. and 5. You Choose!

Round out your Chicago CityPASS by selecting two final attractions from these four: Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, 360 CHICAGO observation deck, and Adler Planetarium.

What Does Chicago C3 Include?

The Chicago C3 CityPass gives you one-time admission to three fabulous Chicago attractions. Pick three options from this list:

  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Skydeck Chicago
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour
  • Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier

How Long is My CityPASS Valid?

You have one year to begin using your Chicago CityPASS mobile tickets. Once you visit the first Windy City sight, you’ll have nine consecutive days to visit the remaining Chicago attractions.

The exterior of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry is the largest science center in the Western Hemisphere. Photo courtesy of CityPASS.

Does the Chicago CityPASS Include a Hop-On, Hop-Off Ticket, Bus Pass, or Parking?

No, it does not. But you can purchase a Hop-On, Hop-Off ticket from BigBus Chicago. Simply select the option that fits your itinerary best!

Classic Ticket. A one-day hop-on, hop-off tour of Chicago in an open-top, double-decker bus that includes all of the city’s top landmarks.

Premium Ticket. A two-day version of the Classic Ticket.

Night Tour. Available only during the warmer weather months of May through October, this option lets you see the sights of Chicago at night.

How Much Do You Really Save with a Chicago CityPASS?

A woman admiring a painting of Liz Taylor by Andy Warhol at the Chicago Art Institute
Photo Credit: CityPASS.

Your savings with a Chicago CityPASS depends on two factors:

  1. Which two attractions your group chooses to round out your Chicago  adventures. If you choose 360 CHICAGO and the Adler Planetarium as your fourth and fifth attractions, the regular ticket price for those two activities is $65. But if you pick the Art Institute of Chicago and Museum of Science and Industry, the combined ticket price for those two attractions is $35.95. Because the Chicago CityPASS is a flat rate — no matter which two final experiences you select — you’ll save even more with higher-priced adventures like 360 Chicago and the Adler Planetarium.
  2. The number (and ages) of the adults and children in your party. A CityPASS child ticket is for visitors ages 3 to 11 while a CityPASS adult ticket is for visitors ages 12+. But some Chicago attractions — like the Art Institute of Chicago — offer free admission to guests under the age of 14.

Here’s how the math works out for one adult and one child using a Chicago CityPASS to visit the three standard sights — Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, and the Field Museum — plus 360 CHICAGO and the Adler Planetarium.

Save at Chicago's top attractions with CityPASS
Based on prices in April 2022

Again, your savings may be different based on the attractions you select and the number of adult and child tickets in your party.

Is the Chicago CityPASS Worth It?

Yes! The Chicago CityPASS will save you money when you visit the most popular things to do in Chicago!

SUE the T-Rex at the Field Museum in Chicago
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Where Can I Buy a Chicago CityPASS?

If you purchase your Chicago CityPASS here at Everyday Wanderer, you’ll receive the same great rate available everywhere, but I’ll receive a teeny tiny commission to help offset the costs of running this travel website. Thank you for your support!

Have You Explored Chicago with a CityPASS?

What attractions did you visit in the Windy City? Did the Chicago CityPASS save you money on the sights you wanted to see? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.


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2 thoughts on “Chicago CityPASS: Explore the Windy City for Less”

  1. Who doesn’t love discounts and skipping the line? Not me! I totally love these two, especially when traveling. I will definitely buy this pass and choose the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck and Adler Planetarium for my last two destinations.

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