Los Angeles can be a very expensive City to visit. Food, drink, hotels, travel, shopping it all adds up. Things get even more expensive when you start wanting to visit any of the great attractions the city has to offer. One way of limiting this expenditure is to purchase a City/attraction pass. But some passes are better than others and you don’t always know if they represent good value. The GO Los Angeles Card from Smart Destinations is the leading pass for LA but is the GO Los Angeles Card Worth It?
Our GO Los Angeles Card Review takes an in-depth look at the value, practicality and entertainment value of the card so you can see if the card is right for you and if it represents good value. People want different things from a trip and a pass is not always the best idea for everyone so read on to see if the GO Los Angeles Card is right for you?
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links
- Product: Los Angeles Go Card
- Price: $89 – $339
- Price Child: $69 – $299 (Child 3-12yrs)
- Where to Buy: Smartdestinations.com
- Number Of Attractions: 34+ Top Attractions
- Time Limit: 1-7 days unlimited (over two weeks)
- Rating: 5/5
Attractions Included – 34 +
- Warner Bros Studio Tour
- Rockin Hollywood Tours
- Aquarium of the Pacific
- Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Hop On Hop Off LA Bus Tour
- Madame Tussauds Hollywood
- Pacific Park – Santa Monica Pier
- LEGOLAND California
- OUE Skyscape LA
- and Many more…
- ….Oh and UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD*
Go Los Angeles Promo Code, Page
*Did you Say UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD?
Yep. There is a caveat that you need to choose a 3,5 or 7 Day pass, so not available on the 1 or 2-day passes but yes the pass includes the incredible Universal Studios Hollywood, Normally priced at $129, as part of the deal. But more on that later and why we find it quite exciting.
What is the GO Los Angeles Card?
The GO Los Angeles Card is an attraction pass for Los Angeles enabling the holder to visit an unlimited number of LA attractions within a set number of consecutive days. You choose either a 1,2,3,5 or 7-day pass and then from the first use, can visit as many attractions as you like for that number of days across a two week period (more details on that below). All for a fixed fee meaning if you use the card quite a bit it adds up to some pretty substantial savings.
How Much Does the Go LA Card Cost?
- 1 Day Pass – Adult – $89 ($89 per day) Child – $69
- 2 Day Pass – Adult – $139 ($69 per day) Child – $109
- 3 Day Pass* – Adult – $219 ($73 per day) Child – $189
- 5 Day Pass* – Adult – $289 ($57 per day) Child – $249
- 7 Day Pass* – Adult – $339 ($48 per day) Child – $299
*Includes Universal Studios
Is the GO Los Angeles Card right for me?
An attraction pass is not for everyone. If you are planning on visiting the attractions listed on the pass anyway then getting a pass is a bit of no-brainer, you will simply save money on what you were already planning. However, you may not really know what you want to do while in LA in which case a Pass can act as a really good base for your trip. There may be attractions on your pass you didn’t even know existed that you may find really interesting or exciting.
However, some peoples perfect idea of an LA trip is just relaxing by the pool and doing a bit of shopping. If that’s you then a pass is a waste of money. LA is also home to a huge number of FREE attractions. LA is really just a Massive attraction in itself. The Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, Venice beach, the Walk of Fame, Sunset Strip, the list goes on. You don’t need a pass to see all these. For many just visiting the City is enough. Our own top 10 LA attractions list doesn’t include a lot of the PAID attractions from the PASS.
So does that make the pass bad value? Not really in our opinion. The line up is very strong, and most of the attractions are well worth visiting, it’s a very varied list with something to suit most tastes. More on that later as we will go into some of Our Favourites. But the key message is to go through the list of attractions and if a number of them seem like attractions you really can’t miss, then it probably suits you very well. And there are some REALLY big attractions on the pass! So it’s highly likely it will suit! More on those below.
Be careful not to plan too much, don’t think you can plan 4-5 attractions and expect to get them done on a 1-day pass, it won’t happen. especially when you consider LA’s enormous size, getting between attractions can take a long time! Also, plan to group attractions together so you only have to travel to one part of the city to experience a few attractions.
But it is perfectly possible to cram quite a few attractions into each day as you can read about in our live blog about our recent trip to Los Angeles.
Buy a 3-day pass and use it on a Monday you then have the rest of Monday to use the card. You then can use it ANY other two days over a two week period after the activations date. The days DO NOT have to be consecutive!
That’s quite a big thing! It means you can break your days up into “activity days” “leisure days” “Shopping Days” or whatever. Often with these cards once activated the clock is rolling. So if you have a day to sit by the pool you lose a day of pass time! With the GO Los Angeles card that not the case. We really think that’s a GREAT feature of the card. We wish Smart destinations would roll that out across all their Passes!
The Go Los Angeles Card is an E-card. So there is no delivery and no physical card. To use you either simply scan a code on your phone via a downloaded app or, for the less tech-savvy you can print the QR code out first and scan the printed copy.
The App is also really useful as a guide for locating the attractions and providing detailed information about how to use the Pass at each location. If you are not using the App there is a downloadable and printable PDF version too so you don’t miss out.
Below is their promotional video explaining the card, bear in mind the promotional nature of the video, below we discuss the pros and cons of how it really works.
Apart from just pure money saving there is a lot to like about the Pass. The Very simple QR code based nature of it can be a big advantage at certain attractions. Allowing you to simply walk up to the gate and scan the code and you in. Other times it’s less useful, See Below.
Having a Pass is great for budgeting too, on top of the money saving it’s also really good to know exactly how much you will spend on attractions. You won’t get to 3 days left on your trip and find you have run out of money…Well, you might but not because of attraction cost! A lot of people really do find this useful.
The Pass can also act as a basis for an itinerary, You plan your travel around the attraction and fit in a much other stuff around those attractions as you can. While in Hollywood for a bus tour you can take in the walk of fame, and the Chinese theatre for example. It really can add structure to the trip when used correctly. We have visited Los Angeles many times before we discovered the Pass and really just found ourselves wandering about not really know what to do.
While the Pass can add structure its pretty flexible structure. You can mix up when you do things very easily, maybe you planned universal one day but are just really tired, no problem just take an easier day and do universal another. We find it’s best to plan days but the order of those days is irrelevant. you can always make changes based on weather. If what you have planned is pretty weather dependent but not playing ball switch it out for something less weather reliant. That said LA weather is pretty reliable! Although there are always exceptions…
While these are all great advantages they probably are not worth getting a pass for by themselves but When factoring the potential cost savings they add up to a nice little package of benefits.
It’s not all perfect though there are reasons why a pass is not a simple No Brainer. First the QR code system. Apart from the fact, some people would much rather have a physical pass (swings and roundabouts as the QR code is so much easier from a delivery point of view) It also doesn’t work as well on attractions that require booking. Tours and trips may require reservations and when you arrive at the ticket office you will be put on the “Next Available” tour. During busy times this can be quite a wait. This would be the same as if you “walked up” but you can often book ahead at full price to guarantee a time and avoid disappointment.
There is a risk of trying to Chase the Pass. By this, we mean trying to just cram too much into your trip to try and get value from the pass. In reality, you will just make yourself and your whole party miserable and won’t enjoy the trip. Make a good plan, work out what is most important to each of you and plan around that. If you can easily squeeze a couple of extras in then do but if not, or if you are just tired and want to hit the beach do that instead. The pass is there to make things better not to add stress.
While We think the pass is great value, It’s still a lot of money, and by no means necessary for a great trip. Because a lot of the attractions are really big headliners It pushes the price of the card up. If these are not of interest to you then you may just be better doing a few cheaper attractions and enjoying LA’s many free attractions.
Some people don’t like the rigidity that a Pass can bring. They want their trips to be off the cuff and spontaneous. If the thought of planning complex itinerary’s fills you with dread then a Pass is probably not for you. Having a pass really does add a good amount of structure to a trip and that really isn’t for everyone.
On our recent trip, one of the big issues we found was L.A’s awful parking situation. Everywhere we went we found was costing us extra. And these were not insignificant costs, sometimes we were being asked $60+ to park (yes we refused to pay that). It became a real chore and we were constantly looking for ways to park for free or for cheaper. Even then it all added up. In 3 days we spent nearly $100 in Parking fees!
Of course, having a pass or not makes no difference to the Parking costs and if we were paying Gate price or pre-booking we would still have to plump for parking fees. However, we did probably do more with the pass than we may have without. So may have incurred more fees. We still feel it’s worth it as the attractions were all well worth the parking but without being frugal we could have run up $300 by just parking in the recommended parking lots!
Go Los Angeles Promo Code, Page
With over 30 Attractions we would be here all day if we listed them all but here are a few of our favorites. As we said there are some BIG attractions on the Pass. It really is a very strong offering in our opinion. So let’s Start with the Headliner.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD – $129 gate price
Often on a City pass, the very big headline attractions of a city can be absent. Why? Because these sort of attractions are so big they kind of have a monopoly and really don’t need to offer discounts to entice visitors in. They can charge what they like and the people just queue up. So to see General admission for Universal Studios Hollywood included is really a big deal. It only appears on the 3,5 and 7-day passes but really that’s ok as the price jump is quite high so the 1 and 2-day passes are priced to reflect the big headline attraction is missing.
General admission to Universal costs £109-119 (depending on when you buy and for what date) or $129 on the gate. The two day GO card is $139 and a 3 Day $219. This effectively gives you a 2-day pass and Universal admission for only $80. That’s $49 (per Person) saved on just universal Studios Entry. That’s BEFORE you consider the potential savings to be had on the 2 day GO Card. Potentially up to 50% on the other attractions. With longer passes, the value only goes up.
The above pricing is for adults to give you an idea expect a small saving on all prices for child entry.
We think of it that way as really it’s safe to assume if you visit Universal, that’s all you will be doing that day. It’s a BIG day out. Expect to get back to your hotel and collapse. Even more plus points for the fact the Card is non-consecutive days, tomorrow can be a pool day!
Edit: On our last trip we actually managed to visit Warner Bros AND Universal in one day with enough time to head up to the Griffith Observatory in the evening.
So It seems very good value if you are planning on visiting Universal. But is Universal any good? Is it all its hyped up to be? Is it worth a full day of out your trip? Simply put YES! It really is one of the best theme parks in the world. There is an awful lot of competition in that market so it’s a bold claim. But it really does shine. It pitches such a good balance. It’s not too young as Disney can be, but not too thrill ride based such as Six Flags parks. It has such great franchises that kids of all ages will love it. There is still plenty for the young (Minions, Harry Potter, Shrek) but older Kids will love it with big movie franchises and big thrill rides (King Kong, Transformers, Harry Potter). It is also perfectly suited to Grown-up Kids…like Us.
The 60 Minute Studio Tour is a one of a kind attraction that really has to be experienced by everyone. It still tours the actual studio taking in new and old sets of actual movies, like it did in the beginning but has morphed into a kind of tour/thrill ride/special effects show combo. It really is quite the spectacle.
We tried to keep this brief as Universal is probably worth a blog on its own, and this is more about the PASS than the attraction. But rest assured the pass offers fantastic value by getting you into Universal for a very discounted price.
Warner Bros Studio Tour – $68 gate price
Another tour of a big Hollywood studio is included in the Pass, Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood is quite different to universal as its much more about the actual studios whereas Universal is really just a theme park (well its an awesome theme park actually).
The Warner Bros. Studio tour takes an in-depth look at the actual working of the studios with real sets from actual programs and films being shot NOW. You might actually see filming happening, but this is all luck of the draw so don’t pin your hopes on seeing big stars plying their trade… but don’t rule it out! There are also multiple exhibits of past and present franchises shining a light on how Hollywood works its magic.
If you are at all about film and TV this tour will be of immense interest. A huge array of franchises are represented from current TV hits like Big Bang Theory, and Pretty Little Liars to older Classics such as friends. While Big budget films like Batman Superman, DC universe Characters, Harry Potter and fantastic beasts are all represented. It’s a fantastic tour.
Expect the tour to take around 3 hours, however, you can count on the trip taking quite a bit more out of your day after traveling to Burbank factor in a good half day, and combine with other activities in the Hollywood area.
Rockin Hollywood Tours – $52.00 gate price
This open-top van tour Will whisk you round all the sights of the Hollywood area, taking in celebrity homes and Hollywood landmarks. It’s a great way to pack in a lot of sights and potential Celebrity spots into a quite short time. While the $52 asking price is Way over the top in our opinion getting it included on the pass makes it well worth it. Possibly the most touristy thing you can do, but hey you are a tourist right?
Aquarium of the Pacific – $29.95
Everyone loves a good Aquarium and that’s why there is often one included on most City Passes, In fact, there are two in the GO Los Angeles card. The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium the other. This being the better. Situated down in long beach it can be quite a trek but combine it with a visit to Long Beach (Queen Mary and the Battleship Iwo Museum are also featured on the card and in Long Beach) and it’s well worth visiting. The Aquarium isn’t exactly world class (if you want that head to Monterey Bay Aquarium). But it’s still a very high-quality offering. Here you will see sharks, Sea otters, Penguins and Sea lions amongst many more exhibits. A nice change of pace from the in your face Hollywood attractions.
Six Flags Magic Mountain – $ 84.99
Another Full day attraction but worth every minute, Six Flags Magic Mountain is a World class Theme park home to some properly thrilling Big white-knuckle rides.
X2 – Technological wonder 4-D coaster, Basically like a normal coaster but the seats are suspended and spin around independently.
Tatsu – Worlds tallest and fastest flying coaster at 62mph and 170ft with 4 inversions!
Superman: Escape from Krypton – Has now been overtaken as the worlds tallest and fastest roller coaster but this aging monster is still up there as a huge scary beast! Still the 5th fastest and 3rd tallest!
Goliath – Another Past record holder this gigantic coaster features a huge 255ft drop at 85mph
plus many more. In fact, more than anywhere else as Magic Mountain boasts 19 coasters more than any other park worldwide! Magic mountain won’t appeal to everyone as it’s mainly about hard-core ride action, but if that’s your thing it’s one of the best parks in the world.
Hop On Hop Off LA Bus Tour – $44
Perfect for a first-timer looking to get a feel for the City, the ultimate tourist activity, an open top bus tour of the City. While the tour on offer here is only the yellow route which takes in the area between Santa Monica and Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills (see map Here). Combined with the Rockin Hollywood tour you will see an awful lot of the City. This Hop on Hop Off tour is perfect for combining a shopping trip to Rodeo Drive with a tour of the City as you can jump off at Rodeo shop till you drop then Hop back on to finish off your Tour. The tour is narrated so you know what you are looking at and will take around 2 hours if you don’t hop off.
Pacific Park – Santa Monica Pier – $32.95
We love Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park is a fantastic Amusement park built on the pier. It’s far from cutting edge and that’s its charm its a throwback to the way things used to be, although the Ferris wheel is Solar powered, so it’s not completely un-modern. We think any trip to Santa Monica should include the pier and the amusement park so having this on the pass is a great addition. It’s a really great way to spend an evening.
LEGOLAND California – $99.00
Another Incredible addition to the card. While it’s not technically in LA and it’s quite a trip out to it, kids go absolutely bonkers for LEGOLAND. Honestly, if you don’t want to go We advise not letting your kids know it’s an option as they will pester you until you take them! It will be another FULL day (you could actually spend several as its full resort! but only one visit included with the pass) so If you are doing Universal as well probably better suited to a 5 or 7-day pass. Or this options is an absolute bargain if you are planning a multi-base trip with San Diego as an additional stop!
There are loads of other Attractions included these are just a selection of our favorites, This on one pass where even on a 7-day pass we would struggle to fit in all the attractions we wanted. It’s a really top line up. That isn’t always the case with these passes, there is often a lot of filler to get the headline number of attraction higher, but in this case, almost all the attractions are top quality.
So is the GO Los Angeles Card Good Value?
We really think so. the total value of the above attractions is a whopping $539.99 That’s a lot of money. The 5-day pass (you will need 5 days to do all the above) is $289 a $250+ saving PER PERSON! That is a lot of money you can spend on food, drink, Gas, Souvenir’s, etc. It’s even enough to pay for a trip to Disneyland!
Now in the real world by being savvy and shopping around, buying in advance and using coupons etc., you could probably make good savings on the attractions without buying a pass, but it’s a lot of hassle, especially when the GO Los Angeles card is so easy to purchase and use. And we doubt you would be getting the level of savings offered by the Pass.
Go Los Angeles Promo Code, Page
Combined with the other advantages we mentioned above we consider this an incredible deal. Of course, it has to be the right fit for you, there is little point in paying a large sum of money for attractions you have little interest in and just want to chill by the pool. But anyone looking to see and do everything they can on an action-packed trip would see great value from the GO Los Angeles Card.
Have Your Say?
Have you used a Go Los Angeles Card? What did you think of it? Did you feel it offered good value for money? Or maybe you visited LA Without a Pass? Do you wish you had used one? Feel free to drop us a comment below. Or if you have any Questions ask away we are more than happy to help.