Go City Chicago Pass Review – Is the Go City Chicago Pass Worth it in 2023?

Chicago is a city of culture and is filled with fantastic things to see and do. It is also a City of attractions where the normal plan of action is getting out and about and seeing exactly what the city has to offer. It’s not a place to go to relax, but to get out and be part of the City. Unfortunately, this can mean spending rather a lot of cash on the different sights and attractions the city has to offer! One solution to this is to purchase an attractions Pass, such as the Go City Chicago Pass.

Go City Chicago Pass Review 2023

Attraction Passes can get a bad rep on some internet travel boards, and they do not suit every type of traveler but on the whole, we are fans of the products and we think, especially first-time visitors can get great value from them. So in our Go City Chicago Pass Review post, we take a look at the Pass to see if the Go City Chicago Pass is Worth it in 2023. if the attractions included are worthwhile and analyze the Pros and Cons of the Pass. A family could spend hundreds of dollars on a pass like this or on attractions in general so it is important to be sure it’s a good deal!

Update February 2023 – Post-Covid update

  • Product: GO City Chicago Pass – All Inclusive
  • Price: $124 – $248
  • Price Child: $86 – $180 (Child 3-12yrs)
  • Where to Buy: GoCity.com – Direct
  • Number Of Attractions: 29+ Top Attractions
  • Time Limit: 1,2,3, or 5 Consecutive Calander Days.
  • Time Limit: 2-5 days unlimited (Consecutive Days)
  • Expiry: 90 Days Refund (No Quibble) – 2 Year Expiry for First Use
  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.3/5 Stars


Attractions Included – Unlimited All-Inclusive Attractions:

  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Skydeck Chicago
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • 360 Chicago
  • Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Chicago – 1 Day Classic Tour
  • Field Museum
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • Shoreline Architecture River Cruise
  • and Many more…
  • Price
  • Ease of Use
  • Attractions

In A Nutshell

The All inclusive Go Chicago Pass is a very comprehensive pass that covers nearly all the Paid attractions you would want to Visit in Chicago. It has a low Price and is easy to use, with Priority access to some of the attractions. The biggest issue is finding time to do even some of what the pass offers as there really is so much included on the Pass.


What is the GO City Chicago Pass?

The Go City Chicago Pass is an All-inclusive Pass that allows you to visit any number of attractions you like for a set number of days, 1, 2, 3, or 5 days. This allows you to visit as many attractions as you like from the list of 29+ attractions. This list covers most of the city’s most popular headline attractions and should have something for everyone. You simply arrive at your chosen attraction scan the pass and you are in. Most attractions require no pre Booking, however, since COVID some attractions do require you to make a reservation. Doing this does not activate your pass but it is a requirement for entry to some attractions.

The Go Chicago Pass is the All-Inclusive option but there are a few other passes available from the Go City People. Such as the Explorer Pass, Build your Own, and Package Options.

What is the Go City Chicago Explorer pass?

The alternative to the Go City Pass – All-Inclusive is the Chicago Explorer Pass. This is similar but works in a slightly different way. Here you pick the number of attractions (3, 4, or 5 attractions) you wish to visit and can visit them at your leisure during a 30-Day Period. As we discuss below a major downside to the all-inclusive pass is trying to cram too much in or chasing the pass, the way Explorer Pass works stops the temptation to do this, as you only have so much to get packed it.

In Practice, it works pretty much the same as the Go City Chicago Pass so you can continue reading this review and decide later if the Go City Chicago All-Inclusive Pass or explorer options are right for you. However it is important to remember the Shedd Aquarium which is very highly rated by us, is missing from the Explorer pass.

Click here to buy the Explorer Pass

Which is the best?

We do really like the GO All-Inclusive Pass in this instance. The Inclusion of the Shedd aquarium really sells it. The Nature of any Visit to Chicago is always quite hectic and the all-inclusive pass suits this quite well. For short trips, the Explorer pass does work very well though simply having a few good attractions to visit in the City really helps make the trip special without the stress of cramming things in. For longer visits, we prefer the Go All-Inclusive Pass though.

How Much is the Go City Chicago Pass?

Go City Chicago All Inclusive

  • 1-Day – $124 – Adult – $86 Child (3-12)
  • 2-Day – $174 – Adult – $129 Child (3-12)
  • 3-Day – $207 – Adult – $153 Child (3-12)
  • 5-Day – $248 – Adult – $180 Child (3-12)

Go City Chicago Explorer Pass

  • 2 – Choice Pass – $69 Adult – $40 Child(3-12) – $34.50 Per Attraction
  • 3 – Choice Pass – $86 Adult – $59 Child(3-12) – $28 Per Attraction
  • 4 – Choice Pass – $116 Adult – $78 Child(3-12) – $29 Per Attraction
  • 5 – Choice Pass – $126 Adult – $90 Child(3-12) – $25.20 Per Attraction
  • 6 – Choice Pass – $144 Adult – $99 Child(3-12) – $24 Per Attraction
  • 7 – Choice Pass – $153 Adult – $109 Child(3-12) – $22 Per Attraction

Check Our Promo code page to see if you could save even more!!! 

Check out our Promo Code Page to see if you could save EVEN more when Purchasing a Go City Chicago Pass. Click here to check out our available discount codes. or Click the Reveal button Below to Unlock our BEST current Code!

Clicking Reveal takes you directly to the Go Chicago Pass Page to input the code, we receive a small commission if you buy after clicking our link. This is how we support the Page

Go City Chicago Pass in Practice?

Is the Go Chicago Pass Worth It

The pass is a Digital Pass. This means there is no physical item to be delivered and as such you get the pass instantly. It is then used directly from your phone or you can print it out and use it that way. It’s basically just a QR code that you show and scan at the attractions.

The Go Pass is activated upon first use and then you have 1,2,3 or 5 consecutive calendar days to use the pass as much as you like.

It is important to remember that the pass is CONSECUTIVE CALENDER Days. Meaning, If you activate a 3-day pass on a Tuesday, you have Tuesday Wednesday, and Thursday to use the pass. It is not 24hr blocks. So if you activate late on Tuesday you only have till midnight that day, so it’s important to visit your first attractions early to get the FULL day, or you may only be getting 2 1\2 days or less!

Using the pass is very simple it’s a simple scan of the QR code at the attraction’s entrance, and you are in. Some attractions offer Priority entry, This is essentially the fact your Pass is your ticket meaning you head straight for the entry queue whereas walk-up visitors will have to queue for tickets first.

The exception to this is the cruise where you need a timed ticket or a reservation. For this, you will have to queue up to get the timed ticket and then queue for the cruise. This is a bit of a pain really and could be avoided if you bought a timed ticket online beforehand. However, in practice, we often miss our timed slots and need to queue for new tickets anyway (they will swap missed slots for free). Since Covid, a few of the attractions require reservations to be booked beforehand. This does not activate your Pass but it will allow you to visit the attraction of your choice. Unfortunately, this does take away the spontaneity of the pass but the good news it is only applicable for a few attractions, many on the Pass still work on the walk-up system.

On the plus side, the Cruises sail from Navy Pier which is one of our favorite places in Chicago. So it’s easy to arrive at the pier, grab a timed ticket for the next hour or two, and then explore the Pier while you wait for the ticket! It makes for a fun afternoon/ evening.

Overall the pass does work very well and is incredibly simple. We use these passes all over the States and never had a serious issue. There are always drawbacks, which we discuss below,  but on the whole, they make our trips SO much more rewarding and can turn a pretty mundane aimless trip into a trip to remember for a lifetime! While the pass is a great idea for many people, they are not the right choice for everyone.

2023 Update

It seems nowhere in the world has been spared the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Chicago was hit really hard and is only just starting to Re-Open. While on lockdown an attraction Pass was obviously a poor idea but as things open up it makes more and more sense as people’s budgets are tight and saving money is more important than ever.

The Go City Chicago Pass now offers a 2 Year Validity period so if things do change in the near future you will always be able to use your pass at a later date.

Remember, Keeping attractions COVID Secure may mean they take longer with added screening measures and longer queues, for now, visitor numbers are down so this will not be a problem, but as things pick up it could be very slow so factor this into your plans!

Is the Pass Right for me?

Chicago at night

With the Choice between the Go City Chicago All-Inclusive and the Explorer pass, most types of visitors are covered by these passes. For very short trips or trips where your reason for visiting is a Festival, Convention, or some specific reason but you also have time to get out and see a bit of the city the Explorer pass is fantastic. You can get just the highlights at a huge discount with no time pressure at all.

For longer trips or where the City is the reason for visiting the Go Pass All Inclusive is the perfect option, The pass gets you right t the heart of the best attractions the city has to offer and you will find yourself touring the best tourist part of the city as you travel from attraction to attraction.

For those who detest planning, the Go Pass All Inclusive is a poor choice, it does require a certain amount of planning so those with an aversion will hate it. A lot of people want to experience what they feel is the “real” City or get an “authentic” experience. The pass encourages an unashamedly Touristy approach to sightseeing. Those attempting this type of travel will probably be disappointed.

But for most, those wanting to see the City from on high, For those wanting to see the city’s world-class museums and exhibits, for those wanting to really explore everything the City has to offer the Go Pass All-Inclusive gives you everything you could want, at a fixed low price!

Really the most important aspect of any pass, is that the Attractions are the ones you WANT to visit! So on that basis, we take a look at what is on the pass and point out our favorites.


The Attractions included on the Go City All Inclusive card are some of the best attractions in the City. We put together our list of the best things to do in Chicago and most of the attractions included on the pass came up on the list! So really we do think for most people the pass does have almost everything they would want to do in Chicago included, as far as paid attractions go that is.

One big omission currently is the Art Institute which used to be included on the pass, but is still on the CityPASS.

Shedd Aquarium – $45.88

shedd Aquarium Chicago

We Make no secret of the fact we love Auqauriums, most Cities we visit we head to the Aquarium (if there is one) and love seeing the wonders of the undersea world. In Chicago, The Shedd Aquarium is one of the best in the country. We would rank it at number 3 just behind the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Georgia Aquarium, which both rank as some of the best in the world. The Shedd is a little behind but it is absolutely world-class.

We couldn’t visit Chicago without heading to the Shedd, and it’s great to see it on the pass, it’s a good half-day attraction so make sure you factor in a full morning or afternoon to get the best of it!

Reservation Required

Skydeck Chicago – $36

skydeck gallery ledge

In any City getting up high and getting a good view of the Skyline is one of our favorite attractions. This is especially true in such heavily vertically built Citys such as Chicago. The Willis Tower, Formally the Sears tower was the tallest tower in the USA and has only just been surpassed by the freedom tower in New York. The Skydeck Chicago is the Towers 103’rd floor oversedation deck, and at 1353ft is the highest observation deck in the country.

The View is simply mind-blowing. From the Skydeck, you have 360 views of the entire city and can see 4 States, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and across Lake Michigan into Michigan itself.

You also have the gut-churning “ledge”! A glass Balcony that suspends you over the 1353ft drop to the pavement below. It is perfectly safe, but try telling your brain that!

Reservation Required

360 Chicago – $35

360 Chicago John Hancock Tower

Another observation deck is 360 Chicago. While it might seem unnecessary to have two observation decks on the pass, The 360 is a fairly different experience. It’s not as high as the Willis Tower but the 1000ft + is pretty tall. The John Hancock Building is located on the shore of Lake Michigan and gives stunning views of the City, the Magnificent Mile, and the Coastline. Unlike the Willis tower which is right in the heart of things, the 360 is away from the downtown area meaning you get a better view of the imposing skyline of the City.

As is the case with most towers these days the view is apparently not enough. They need a Gimmick like the “ledge” on the Skydeck or the SkySlide in L.A. The 360 has “Tilt”. This is a window that tilts outwards over the City as you hold on leaving you face-first over the plunge. It’s a bit gimmicky and not as terrifying as it sounds and has an extra fee on top of the Go Card!

Most people ask which Observation platform is best. Our answer is if you are going for the Pass, do BOTH. They are both great in their own right and quite short experiences, so it’s well worth making your own mind up! It also gives you the opportunity to see Chicago from heights both day AND night!

Reservation Required

Art Institute of Chicago – $35.00

Not as Famous as the Louvre (Paris), The Britsh Museum (London), or the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, but in reality, every bit as good a museum) the Art Institute is a genuine world-class museum. What it lacks in prestige it makes up for in incredible pieces of art, culture, and history. This Monster of a Museum can take a full day to see properly, which can be a problem for pass users wanting to pack a bit more in! However, a good half day will easily pack in the highlights and give you a great idea of just how special this collection is! Personally, we don’t really want to spend a whole day in a museum anyway?

Any art lover will need little enticement to visit the location, but many of us are not the biggest art fans. We might pretend to be artier than we are just to appear a bit more cultured. But there are works of art here that are truly awe-inspiring such as Edward Hopper’s famous Nighthawks, Chagalls, America windows, Grants American Gothic, and Matisse Bathers by a river. 

It’s not just old paintings, however, There are huge pottery collections, Sculptures, Modern and Contemporary art, suits of armor on horseback. The varied collection ranges from Ancient artifacts to modern-day masterpieces. Really you would have to really really hate art to not be very impressed with this wonderland of culture!

This is one of the reasons we love passes. We would probably skip places like this without the pass, but not having to pay means we check them out and are normally very thankful we did! The Art Institute of Chicago is a revelation in that sense!

Unfortunately, the Art Institute of Chicago has been removed from the Go City Pass, if this is important to you it’s still available on the Official Chicago CityPASS

Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Chicago – 1 Day Classic Tour – $49.99

Hop On Big Bus Tours Chicago

Hop On Hop Off Buses are pretty poor in terms of transport. They are irregular, slow, have long queues, and are pretty packed. For getting around, we don’t really recommend them! However, that doesn’t mean we don’t like them!

When arriving in a new City, your bearing can be shot to hell and you have no idea where you or anything else is. These tours are great an orientating yourself and learning the basics of the City. The elevated views from the top decks are great and it really can be the perfect intro into the City. This tour is worthwhile in its own right.

However, it’s not completely useless as transport. It certainly links up many of the top attractions so on the first day we always use it and hop off a few times at certain points before hopping back on and completing the loop. After that, we revert to more reliable and regular forms of transport!

Field Museum – $35.00

The Field Museum

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of Chicago’s top museums and is ranked in the world’s top 10…So Don’t tell anyone, but we prefer the Field Museum!

Really they are completely different offerings. The field is a natural History Museum showing the wonder and beauty of the world in a really modern and spectacular way. With huge Dinosaur Skeletons, Egyptian Tombs, a Giant Insect room, and many enthralling exhibits of the wonders of our planet it’s anything but a stuffy exhibit of stuffed animals. We love the Field Museum and it’s a great addition to the Pass

Museum of Science and Industry – $33.95

Museum of Science and Industry

Another really fantastic Museum that shuns the concept of boring stuffy museums. This interactive playground museum showcases all things science and does so in a really fun way that is really suited to younger audiences, as well as adults. If the regular museums are a bit too grown-up for you the Science and industry museum is far more likely to excite you.

Navy Pier, Centennial Wheel, and 4 Ride Pass – $45.00

Chicago, Illinois Visitors Guide

Chicago is a fairly serious city. Filled with Museums and culture. Fun can often be pretty hard to come by so the Navy Pier can be a welcome relief. An old town-type fair with rides and attractions for all ages. The Highlight of the pier, apart from the fantastic setting, of course, is the 200 ft Centennial Wheel. And really this is where the pass’s value comes into its own. The Pier itself is actually free to explore but to actually do or see anything costs extra. With the PAss, you get access to any of the pier rides, including the Centennial wheel.

You can also board one of 3 Cruises included on the pass from the pier and we highly recommend arriving at the pier booking your cruise then enjoying the pier until your time slot. Head out on the cruise then carry on at the pier into the evening!

Remember that during the summer on Wednesdays and Saturday Evenings, there are fireworks at the pier too so plan your trip here for one of those days…but count on it being busy!

If you have kids do not miss the pier, but with loads of food and drink options, and a generally fantastic setting even an adult-only trip should definitely head to the pier too.

Shoreline Architecture River Cruise – $51.23

Shoreline Sightseeing Architectural River Cruise

As we mentioned before there are three cruises available on the pass. Whenever a location is on the water we really love getting out onto the waves to see the city from a different angle. All three Cruises can be boarded at the Navy Pier and use timed tickets. So you turn up show the pass and then wait until your allotted time. The Navy Pier is the perfect place to pass that time.

  • Architecture River Cruise
  • Classic Lake Tour
  • Tall Ship WINDY

Our Favourite is the Architecture tour. It isn’t your regular boat tour as it explores the city from the 3 branches of the river as it winds around the city. This 70 Min cruise takes in many of the City’s amazing landmarks, highlighting the impressive architecture of the city. Real Architecture buffs may be disappointed as it’s a friendly take on the city’s buildings but it gets you up close and personal to the city from a completely different angle to what you would expect, and after all most of us are not real architecture buffs!

Unfortunately, you can only do one cruise per day with the pass. But TBH how much time do you want to spend on a boat each day?

So, Is the Go City Chicago Pass Worth it?

From a purely financial point of view, it’s pretty hard to argue a case against the pass. It really can save you a stack of money. Below is a costed example of a very reasonable and do ale itinerary. We always take care not to suggest too much or pack out the pass to give unrealistic expectations. Of course, simple maths is not the only thing to consider with a pass so we take a look at the pros and cons afterward.

*We have done a little funding up/down just to ease the maths, but we are only taking a few cents either way

Day 1:

  • Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Chicago – 1 Day Classic Tour – $49.99
  • Skydeck Chicago – $36
  • Magnificent Mile Shopping – Free

Total –$ 85.99

Day 2:

  • Shedd Aquarium – $45.88
  • Field Museum -$35.00
  • Navy Pier – $45.00
  • Shoreline Architecture River Cruise – $51.23
  • Centennial Wheel and Rides – $included with Pier

Total – $177.11

Day 3:

  • Alder Planetarium – $35
  • Museum of Science and Industry – $33.95
  • 360 Chicago – $35 (Sunset)

Total – $ 103.95

  • Full Price $ 367.05
  • Pass Price $ 207
  • Saving $ 160.05

That’s a saving of 54+% Saving over paying full price on the gate. That’s a big lump of cash you could put toward something else! But as we said it’s not just about the money. there are some pretty meaningful advantages to getting a pass.

Check Our Promo code page to see if you could save even more!!! 

Check out our Promo Code Page to see if you could save EVEN more when Purchasing a Go Chicago Pass. Click here to check out our available discount codes. or Click the Reveal button Below to Unlock our BEST current Code!

Clicking Reveal takes you directly to the Go Chicago Pass Page to input the code, we receive a small commission if you buy after clicking our link. This is how we support the Page

Advantages of the Go City Chicago Pass

Chicago_navy Pier


Often when Visiting any new City you do not always really know what there is to actually do. We have headed to many new places only to arrive and not really know what we should do or where we should go. The pass solves this problem pretty well. With access to many of the Citys best attractions, we find ourselves doing and seeing a lot more than we would if we just winged it!

You may have found just scanning our list of attractions something you didn’t know about but actually really like the look of.


While we would all love money to not be an issue, unfortunately for most it is the defining characteristic of any trip. It’s awful to miss out on things because the budget won’t stretch, or worse get home to building credit card bills you didn’t plan for. With a pass in hand, you know all this is taken care of beforehand! As far as attractions go you know exactly what you will spend and can even get that out of the way before the trip.

Then you only have spiraling food and drink costs to contend with!


Equally, Once this is paid for, you can do as much as you like. We find with a Pass we will do a lot more than we would without. We will see and do things we would not have considered before and often have a great time. How often have you looked at an entry fee and just thought “I am not paying that!” With a pass, you can check it out knowing it’s all covered! After all, Travelling is all about seeing and doing new things!


Planning is most people’s least favorite part of any trip and it can always be hard to know where to start. The pass can really help out on this front as you map out the attractions you most want to visit on the pass. You can then tie these up to free attractions and other things you want to do in the city. It really does help pull a trip together.


The other great thing about the pass is it makes that planning very flexible. With pre-booked timed tickets and rigid planning then it’s all set in stone. But life doesn’t really work that way. If you have your River Cruise all booked and the day breaks and it’s given torrential rain all day, then said cruise will be pretty miserable, Same with an open-top bus ride. This would be doubly frustrating if yesterday’s sunshine was enjoyed inside a museum!

With the Pass and the fact that nothing is set in stone means you can chop and change to suit mood and weather! We recommend planning days. lumping attractions together based on location and weather appropriateness. Then these days can be taken in any order as you see fit! So if the forecast is for rain head to the museums, sunny, and do the outdoor options.

What We don’t like!

Polar Bear Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is free so not included on the Pass!

Not everything is as rosy as you may think, however. There are always downsides to everything. And really these passes can get some pretty severe stick from online travel forums. Most of this stems from timed ticket issues.

Things like cruises cannot be pre-booked beforehand with the passes. So you need to turn up at the cruise, use the pass to get a timed ticket then wait for your allotted time. This is fine when quiet but at busy times it can be quite a bit of queueing. As we have pointed out though the Cruises depart from Navy Pier Which is a great place to pass time waiting for your cruise. Also, some other attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute offer priority entry so it’s kind of swings and roundabouts.

It is a shame that the pass is consecutive days as some passes offer Non Consecutive days. This means packing quite a lot into a short window. This is fine on shorter trips, and most people’s trips to Chicago tend to be shorter trips, but if you have more time to spend it can make things a bit hectic. It’s not a big thing with Chicago but it’s always nice to have the option of having days where you don’t do paid attractions and just relax, shop, or maybe explore further afield

As with all passes, the temptation can be to Chase the Pass. This is where you attempt to pack too much in and not properly enjoy what you do see as you are in a race to get to the next attraction. A pass should improve your enjoyment of the City, so worry less about getting value and more about enjoying the city the best you can.

Cramming too much in can also be very very tiring, you need to factor in getting to and from the attractions, and tearing around the City will leave you pretty exhausted. It’s likely you will be ready for your bed whatever you plan in Chicago but planning too much can leave you feeling like you have run a Marathon!

You also should not skip the free things the City has to offer that are not included on the pass, the many parks, the incredible coastline of Lake Michigan, and Lincoln Park Zoo. These are all free and as such not included. You should not skip these though just to get the best use of the pass or you will not be getting the best of the City!

We find a lot of complaints come from people not knowing properly what they are getting, and not properly planning out how to use the pass. If you have got this far in our review we like to think we have helped you understand exactly what the pass is and how to maximize its use. But we hear all the time from people who felt it wasn’t good value, or they were misled. We think most of these complaints come from a lack of understanding as everything is in black and white and we have never personally experienced any issues in using any pass that we were not aware of prior!

We are also really disappointed to see one of the best Museums in the world, The Art Institute of Chicago, being dropped from the Pass. This is a big loss, and it makes us lean toward the CityPASS instead!


Overall we are big fans of the Chicago Go Pass. It really does help you get to see the best Chicago offers. In most, cases it adds to your experience far more than it takes away. We find ourselves visiting far more than we would ever do without a pass and for us, it’s the biggest strength of the pass. Money-saving should always be secondary to an improved experience (after all we could just stay at home for free!) and we find the Go Chicago Pass really gets us to the best Chicago has to offer.

Check Our Promo code page to see if you could save even more!!! 

Check out our Promo Code Page to see if you could save EVEN more when Purchasing a Go Chicago Pass. Click here to check out our available discount codes. or Click the Reveal button Below to Unlock our BEST current Code!

Clicking Reveal takes you directly to the Go Chicago Pass Page to input the code, we receive a small commission if you buy after clicking our link. This is how we support the Page

Have Your Say?

Have you tried a pass? Did you get good value from it? Did it help or hinder your trip? Would you recommend it to friends and family? We certainly would but would love to hear your take on it. Just drop us a comment below. Also if you have any questions regarding the Pass just fire away in the comments below and we will get right back to you.

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50 thoughts on “Go City Chicago Pass Review – Is the Go City Chicago Pass Worth it in 2023?”

  1. First off let me say that I love Chicago. I was lucky enough to stay there for 3 weeks for absolutley FREE thanks to my work sending me there for training.  It is a great city with so much to offer. I don’t know that I would have ever visited there if I wasn’t sent there for work.

    That was probably about 15 years ago, and now I would like to go back for a visit, but this time I have a family.  Paying for it out of pocket this time, I am definitely interested in saving some money. 

    The Go Card seems like a great option, but for me I think the Chicago Explorer Pass would work out better. Chicago is a big city, and just walking around can be exhausting.  Plus I want to leave a little room in my itinerary for just milling around freely.

    Great options though, any of them sound like great deals!

    • Hi James,

      Glad you think the Pass would save you some money.

      We do love the explorer pass for that reason. There is no need to rush just see the attraction you want at your pace. The Go Card does promote the need to do something all the time, but you would be surprised how much other things you can pack in along with the paid attractions and still get great value.

      We know what you mean about it being exhausting. you end up covering a huge amount of steps and by the end of the day all you want to do is crawl into bed and pass out.

      Thanks for reading


  2. I was thinking about going on a trip with my family to the woods or something like that. The other option was to go to a aquarium. Now after reading your article I am thinking about going to Chicago, I didn’t know there wete so many attractions. And also I can’t let the opportunity of 43% discount pass

    Thanks to this information I can save some cash!

    • Hi Fredery,

      Well if you do Chicago then be sure to Check out the Shedd Aquarium as then you have got two birds with one stone! Glad we alerted you to the many great things to see and do in Chicago.

      Hope You have a Great trip!


  3. Hi Steve and Katie,

    Love the site.

    I were researching a USA Road Trip when we came across this article. The Pass looks a great idea for when we are in Chicago, we will only be there a few days so the explorer pass looks great! 

    I Kept looking around your site in detail and I have to tell you that your have a “FLABBERGASTING” site. We  love your beautiful Photography. You have given us some great ideas for our road trip, We found the Car rental in the USA post very useful and also your Road Trip Tips are just great. 

    I really CONGRATULATE ON SUCH A WONDERFUL SITE. I personally added it to my favorites and will certainly refer it to all of my friends.  Well, that is it, happy travel and have a great day.  


    • Hi Jules, Wow thanks for the kind words.

      It’s great to hear we helped out with your road trip and that you are considering a Chicago Explorer pass. It’s a great choice if you just want to see a few highlight s of this great City.

      Have a great Trip


  4. I would definitely think that a pass is the way to go.  have used passes in various places, and I have almost ways found the to be good value or money.

    Also, if you don’t know too much about a city, so may not really be sure what are the best places to see, again a pass will really help you.

    I know very little about the tourist attractions in Chicago, the only one I had heard of was the Sears tower, and now I find it isn’t the Sears tower any more!! So if I were to visit Chicago, for me a pass would be a must.

    Would you recommend a pass for all cities which be visited in the US?

     had never really considered visiting Chicago, as I had always assumed that it was mainly a industrial city. But your post has made me think again.

    Very many thanks for your most interesting post 🙂

    • Hi Chrissie,

      Yeah I know what you mean about Chicago. It conjures up images of freezing weather and heavy industry, but the reality is very different.

      We tend to use passes for pretty much every Location we visit in America yes, we just find we have a much better trip when we do. You never really know what you are going to enjoy until you try it and often the most unexpected attractions that we would probably have slipped without are our favourites!

      Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy your trip to Chicago


  5. Great post and good info.

    This looks like a card you can use in London, where I’ve been a few years ago, and it is such an advantage to have it.

    Me and my wife want to go to USA, and Chigaco is one of the places we want to visit.

    With this card we can visit everything we want, and with a discount, how good can it be?

    Thanks for sharing it!

    • Hi Emmanuel,

      Glad you like the Article, We too have used the London Pass and found that great. You are right the Chicago Pass is very similar. 

      Hope you get to Chicago soon, It is a really great place to visit. If you are looking at visiting a few places in the USA feel free to check out our other City Pages.

      Thanks for reading


  6. This looks like a great deal, and something we may take up this summer, but I get the impression that we won’t be there long enough to visit all the attractions included on the pass. 

    Considering we are pushed for time when in Chicago, which of the attractions listed would you go for – which are ‘must see’ from a family point of view?

    • Hi Chris,

      It’s unlikely you will get round all 29+ attractions, it’s definitely a case of picking out your favourites. The roster is pretty diverse so there are normally a few things that don’t interest you.

      We point out the must see in the review, but the Shedd Aquarium, the sky-deck and the 360, the field museum and a visit to the Navy pier are very high up on the MUST do list!

      Have a great trip to Chicago in the Summer

      Thanks for reading


  7. Chicago is most certainly on my bucket list as a place to visit.

    Its a shame the Build your own pass is not cost effective so i think the explorer card looks like the best option. If i am going to go to Chicago i really want to explore and see as much as I possibly can

    • Hi Dianne, 

      Remember the Explorer and the Build Your own work pretty similarly as you simply visit the attractions you would have chosen on the build your own. Simple!



  8. Hello there,

    Thanks for such informative and detailed article, I found it to be very helpful and enjoyable! I’ve learned a lot of new things today 😉 As far as Chicago card goes, I have to say- I am very impressed by it. In my opinion it offers truly an amazing value for the money You pay. When You consider the amount of very unique and engaging atractions it has to offer while being very user-friendly and maintaining relatively solid price tag- it’s really hard to deny the chicago card and what it brings to the table! This package covers many crucial things which every visitor needs to experience when visiting Chicago, which is great! However, it’s a bit dissapointing to discover that there are such downsides to this card, as not being able to pre-book cruises and the fact that this pass is consecutive days, which is truly a bummer 🙁 All in all, thanks for the amazing review and keep up the great work 😉 

    • Hi Evald, 

      Yeah, we don’t really like the consecutive day’s way of doing things especially when some of Smart Destinations Passes offer Non-Consecutive. The truth is People are only in Chicago for a limited time so normally want to have the Pass to cover the time they are there but are exceptions.

      Still, We guess you can’t have everything and the upside is the longer you buy the cheaper per day so you can technically have a day off or a light day and still get good value, and overall we still think it’s great value. The Pre Booking is a shame but it’s not the end of the world as the cruises depart from the excellent navy Pier that is well worse exploring while you wait.

      Thanks for reading


  9. I would never know about Chicago Card if I did not read this article. This is safe and awesome opportunity that one can get a digital pass like Chicago Card and will get the opportunity to visit lot’s of attraction together. I want to know about family package and other’s related opportunity also. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Hi Mzakapon,

      Glad you like the look of the pass.

      Unfortunately, there are no Family packages as such. They offer cheaper prices for children but no bulk discount. So you need to buy for each Family member. Sorry


  10. It looks like the Go Chicago card is a great deal if you are travelling to the city as a tourist or even if you live there. It has been a long time since I visited Chicago. I was there on business the last time and didn’t get a chance to take in many of the sites you are featuring. If I go back, I will definitely look closer to the card in planning my itinerary.

    • Hi Rich, 

      Glad you like the look of the card. Chicago can be very different to visit for work rather than pleasure. Hope you get back soon to enjoy the city a bit more



  11. Sounds like an awesome deal, since I would definitely be interested in the aquarium plus the Art Institute as well. While my main reasoning for visiting Chicago would include a trip to Wrigley Field due to its historicity, taking a detour to a few of the places you have listed here would be worth the time. Besides, I’d be seeing Chicago for the first time and since it’s likely I’d be on a budget, this card is a steal. 

    • Hi Todd,

      Yeah, most of the cities “must do’s” are all on the pass so it’s a really great idea and a great money-saving tool. Hope you have a great trip 


  12. This is a place I would indeed love to visit because of the architecture. And the passes…the Go Chicago card would definitely be something I buy. I did this pas-thing once for just  the Universal parkpass in Orlando once with my young family and like you said…it was a 5 day consecutive pass. I wasn’t sure about it when I bought it but it made math sense to save the money. Now…after that experience I will always look for passes…I saved a ton of money! SoI’m glad to find your website for the lowdown!

    I also agree that the queuing when its busy did not work…you spend most of the time in a lne. But we found a trick round this. We would go as doors opened and by around 11am when everyone started strolling in , we had done 3 or so tours and felt we had our money’s worth and would head off to restaurants and the pool.Then the consecutive days were not so bad and we did everything in the non peak times!

    • Hi Liz,

      Hope you get to Chicago soon. It is a wonderful City.
      We always use passes now as they really do bring the City to life. We have used passes all over the USA and have never been disappointed. Orlando is a crazy expensive city if you want to “do it all” and the passes really help her. Again with Chicago, the pass really does cover all the must-see sites and attractions so it just makes so much sense.
      Like you, we time our attractions so we hit them early when possible to minimize queues. We are lucky as we can usually use Jet Lag to our advantage and get to locations super early as we are still on UK time.

      Hope you have a great time when you finally make it to Chicago.


  13. Hey thank you for the awesome post!!  My wife and me want to visit every state in the US.  Chicago is one of the cities we want to visit.  I really like the looks of the Chicago pass, and I actually like the price because it will get us to all the more popular things in Chicago.  We love visiting bigger cities because we live in a small town.

    • Hi Jessie,

      Great ambition to visit every state, that is on our list too, we are slowly working our way through, got a six-state road trip planned for next year, and already have quite a few ticked off! Alaska might be the trickiest!

      Glad you like the Pass it really does include all of the City’s best attractions and can save quite a bit of cash. Have a great time ticking off those states!


  14. The Chicago pass looks like a wonderful idea, especially for tourists, as it gives them an idea of the most popular sites to see, and as you say it saves a lot of money. I am sure you would pay a lot more seeing these sites individually.

    You are right about the timed tickets though. It is no use booking beforehand unless you are really sure of your times as you end up queuing most of the time anyway.

    Two of my want to sees are definitely the aquarium and the 360 Chicago, so those would be my first choices.

    • Hi Michel,

      Yeah, we have missed plenty of timed ticket slots both in Chicago and other cities. It sounds great but things just get in the way. Most of the attractions will re-book you but we find with the pass you are usually let in within the hour even at busy times and there is always something to do in the area.

      The Shedd Aquarium is really impressive and nothing beats getting up high in big cities like this. The views are just breathtaking.

      Have a great trip


  15. The Go-All Inclusive pass seems the best option to me. Making your own pass also sounds great, but if you don’t really know what to see in Chicago (like me), then I suppose it’s better to go for the all-inclusive one. I have always wanted to visit Chicago, it seems like such an amazing city. Hopefully, one day I get to go. That’s why I’m so glad I found your post, because I didn’t know about this visitors pass. This is a great incentive for tourists. 

    The Sky Deck looks scary and awesome at the same time. I would have vertigo in those glass boxes, I would be too scared to get in there … I would go on high observation decks, because I love those views, but I would not exactly stand on the edge of the deck. The Field Museum looks like a place I would like to visit too. I’m not much of a planner when I go on vacation, I prefer to be spontaneous, but I think that the pass would still work for me. Some things just need to be planned, and the pass will also save me money, won’t it? I will definitely consider it if I go to Chicago one day. 

    • Hi Christine,

      Yeah, the Sky Deck “ledge” is not for someone with Vertigo. It is perfectly safe, but the brain really can take over as the central governor! The view is mindblowing though and as long as you are reasonably away from the edge vertigo isn’t too bad. It can flare up but on the whole, we don’t see many problems.

      The Pass really doesn’t require huge amounts of rigid planning, we are not ones for Ridgid and unchangeable itineraries. Spontaneity is so imoortant, but planning and knowing what’s available is essential as otherwise you can end up spontaneously sitting in your hotel room wondering what to do! 

      The pass means you can pick and choose what you do each day based on mood, weather, exhaustion levels. etc. It really adds a whole new layer onto any trip. and yes if used correctly it will save you ALOT of money, but more than that you will likely just do so much more than you would without.

      Have a great trip


  16. Well, what can I say. The US is on our plans for 2020 but Chicago wasn’t even though it’s always seemed like a place we should visit. Now I think we will have to look at some revision. Generally, we do like to do our own thing when we travel but some of the places we would spend time at are mentioned here anyway so it would be great to get a one or two day pass and spend a third day searching for live music and great places to eat. This was a comprehensive post and I’m pleased that I found your site because you have other places listed that we definitely plan to visit. Also, do you envisage covering any of the big music venues like Nashville and New Orleans? I know there are others but these would be great for starters. Thank you, great post.

    • Hi Steve,

      Yeah, we are very much do our own thing type of people too, we shy away from tours or group activities, but the pass is perfect for this as all that is included, for the most part, is entry to the attractions. So you simply get in and are free to do what you please.

      I do worry what we have started here as heading you to Chicago for an American adventure starts to ignite ideas of route 66! An amazing road trip but not short!

      We are currently expanding. Music is not huge on our list of expertise and as such we have shied away from some of the big Music cities. New Orleans is definitely on the list for the upcoming expansion along with a few Texa cities such as San Antonio and Dallas. We may look at Nashville but it’s not currently on the list, but we plan to spend some time there and if (when) we fall in love with it we will add it then! America is just SO big and SO diverse it’s really hard to get under the skin of all of it!

      Have a great trip


  17. I’ve come across the Go Chicago Pass before but I haven’t read such an in-depth look and this is really helpful information to have. Chicago really does have a lot of fine places to visit. I’m glad to see that this is a well-rated pass and worth the price, which is actually very reasonable for what is included. 

    As someone who has visited most of these museums I can say they are definitely recommended. As examples, Museum of Science and Industry has an amazing German U-Boat that you can go inside and Field Museum has Sue the T-Rex dinosaur skeleton. Great review. I’ll definitely save your post so that I can save some money next time I’m in Chicago, well done!

    • Hi Pentrental,

      Thanks for your insight on the Museums. Chicago certainly has it’s fair share of really top quality Museums, really world-class establishments that just don’t get the spotlight the NYC Museums get. Shame!

      The Go Chicago Pass really does help you get the most out of the City and can save some serious money to so we do really rate it highly.

      Thanks for your input


  18. Hi After leaving an earlier comment on your site, my wife has said, “yes” to Chicago. Now it’s just a matter of placing it with everything else sometime next September. Seems like a long time away but at least we get to watch your site for new developments…and places. Excellent site and very informative. Thank you.

    • Hi Steve,

      Great to hear you have the green light for Chicago! Have a great time. 

      Let us know how you get on and how your plans for other cities go and where you are planning on heading. 


  19. Thank you so much for the in depth review of the Go Chicago Pass. I always try to pack a lot into a trip and it can get to be expensive pretty quickly. It’s nice to save some money where possible, but not if it means having to deal with too many hassles (can’t afford to waste time while in a different city like Chicago on vacation). I spent a weekend there last year and didn’t do any of the things on the pass, so it’s good that I’ll still be able to see new things if I decide to get the Go Chicago Pass next time! Thanks for all of the helpful information!!

    • Hi Aly,

      You are dead right. Saving money is great but not if it severely affects your trip in a negative way, meaning you spend hours in queues or make trips to places for no reason.

      We really find in almost all cases the Pass actually makes touring the city easier and better, Some attractions we skip queues some it is simply the same process as buying at the gate. At no point was the pass a burden.

      I hope you get back to Chicago and get to check out some of the attractions you missed.


  20. Thanks for this break down of the Pass, we are heading to Chicago soon and were considering a Pass but didn’t know if it was worth it or not! Based on your Review we think we will give it a try. Most of the big attractions we wanted to visit are covered, Skydeck, Field Museum, and Shedd Aquarium and the pass has given us a few ideas of things we hadn’t considered. 

    Hopefully a few more attractions will open up soon, but most of the big ones seem to open now!

    • Hi Ben,

      Great to hear you are considering a Pass, it really can transform your trip and let you see the best of the City. 

      Yep things are opening up slowly, baby steps to getting back to normal

      Have a GREAT trip


  21. Hi, Steve! Great post!
    It was Frank Sinatra’s kind of town and I guess it would be mine too and I’d really enjoy visiting all attractions you mention… The Go Chicago Pass looks great to me and the fact it’s digital and allows some money-saving is a great advantage.
    You’ve done a great job writing such a thorough post full of valuable information and really friendly to read.
    Thanks for sharing and keep safe! 

    • Hi Antonio, 

      Great to see you like the Pass, it certainly can save an awful lot of cash if you are going to visit the attractions anyway. And open up opportunities and experiences you would otherwise miss! 

      Hope you get to experience everything Chicago has to offer soon 


  22. We are heading to Chicago hopefully this fall and look around at what to do when there! We saw these Passes and wondered if they were too good to be true!

    Great to have this City pass business explained so well. Buying this pass seems to be a good opportunity to visit lots of attractions and really make most of our time in Chicago. And that you explain the downsides of the pass is really good too, you know what you are getting and what not…As you mention nothing is perfect!
    This article is also a good opportunity to make some choices of attractions at the same time, really consider how we can explore the City well.

    This is the page to start your visit to Chicago, definitely!

    • Hi Eija 

      Hope you have a great trip and get to see the best of this amazing City

      Let us know how the pass goes if you do end up purchasing one


  23. I love Chicago the windy city! There´s so much history and excitement there. I never really had the chance to enjoy the city as I wanted.

    This article´s giving me a lot to think about regarding my next trip to Chicago. The City Pass sounds really good. I find myself wanting to get a few of them. It is hard to make a decision when the offers are so good.

    I know that I definitely want to visit the Alder Planetarium. Thank you for the valuable information, now it comes down to decisions, decisions!

    • It really is a great city, we can’t wait for our next trip, the Go City Pass really does help you The the City properly. 

      You don’t need to buy multiple passes though just buy for more days


  24. Wow, Go City Chicago Pass is worth it! Thanks for sharing this well-detailed review about the Go City Chicago pass. It’s really exciting to know that such a service like this exists. I have never been to Chicago but am planning a trip later this year, and this is a fantastic package for first-timers like myself. The pricing is not expensive for the fun, sightseeing, and other adventurous activities it offers.

    • Hi Bethel, 

      Glad you like the look of the Pass, hope you get to Chicago soon and have a great time exploring with the Pass.


  25. The Go City Chicago Pass is a great idea. I am planning on going to visit my brother in the US next year and we are going to do a road trip to all the cities or as many as we can. I like the idea of purchasing a pass such as this, as then we will know exactly what the city has to offer without having to do the research. I am sure this will work out a lot cheaper for the tourist than paying each time he visits an attraction. 

    Does the pass give you enough time to visit a lot of the places, or do you find you still have many places you still need to go to once your time is up?

    • Hi Michel

      If you need more time in the City you can simply buy more days on the Pass, so if you are in Chicago for three days buy a three-day pass, or consider the other PAsses that offer a set amount of attractions and give you longer to visit them. 

      We love Road trips across the USA and are heading to the East coast for an Epic in just over a month’s time. 

      We have lots of guides on several USA Cities so feel free to read up on those and most of them also have Passes to help lower your travel costs. 

      Hope you and your Brother have a great trip



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