Atlanta is an often underrated destination and most people heading there are doing so for reasons other than tourism. But there is so much for the average tourist to see and do in The A and over 50 million people visit every year, ranking it around 7th in the list of most visited cities. Most people heading into the city will be planning on visiting at least a few of the best attractions on off in the City.
If you are heading to Atlanta Georgia and are planning to visit a few of the great attractions on offer in the City then you may be looking to save a bit of money. There is a lot to see and do and the costs can add up, so trying to keep the costs down is the smart thing to do. One way to do this is with an Attraction Pass. The Official Atlanta City Pass is one such pass and offers pretty incredible savings of up to 44% off the regular entry prices. We recently headed to the Big Peach to check out the pass and bring you our Atlanta CityPASS Review and answer one of the most common questions er hear about the pass, is the Atlanta CityPASS Worth it?
- Product: Official Atlanta CityPASS
- Price: $86
- Price Child: $68 (Child 3-11yrs)
- Where to Buy: CityPASS.com
- Number Of Attractions: 5 Top Attractions from a choice of 6
- Time Limit: 9 Calander Days – from first use
- Validity – 365 days from purchase to use or return the Pass
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.9/5 Stars
Attractions Included :
- Georgia Aquarium
- World Of Coca Cola
- Atlanta Zoo
Choose 2 from:
- Fernbank Museum of Natural History
- College Football Hall of Fame
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Official Atlanta CityPASS
What is the Official Atlanta CityPASS?
The Atlanta CityPASS is the official attraction Pass of Atlanta. This allows the buyer to visit 5 of Atlanta’s top attractions all for one set price, which is far lower than you would pay to visit all the attractions singularly. The pass allows you to visit 3 fixed attractions, and then you can choose two additional ones from a list of 3. There are no requirements to book or choose your attractions up front, just turn up, scan the pass and enjoy the attraction.
You get a 9-days from the first time you use the pass to visit the rest of the attractions and CityPASS offers a full 365day money-back guarantee on unused passes should your trip not go ahead or be re-arranged. This gives great peace of mind which is especially important during these uncertain times for travel!
This is obviously very appealing to visitors as it potentially allows you to see more of the City and pay less while doing so, a bit of a holy grail in travel. But many feel this may be too good to be true or find significant drawbacks to using such a pass. So we headed to Atlanta to try out this particular pass in person!
How Much is the Atlanta CityPASS?
The Atlanta CityPASS has a very simple and uncomplicated pricing structure:
- Adults: $86
- Child: (3-11): $68
- Under 3 – Free*
really this is nice to see as a lot of these attraction passes use complex pricing structures and perma-sales so you never really know how much they are meant to cost. With CityPASS, things are simpler and the pricing does not change throughout the year** so you always know you are getting the best price!
* Technically there is no pass available for ages 0-2 however all the attractions covered offer FREE admission to kids of that age so you don’t need a pass anyway.
** With the exception of February when CityPASS carries out their Annual Price Review.
How much Will We Save with the Atlanta CityPASS?
The included attractions in Atlanta are not really big ticket items, so the savings are not as huge as some attraction passes we have looked at. But there are still some great savings to be had. Certainly from a percentage point of view, you are saving a bundle!
If you use all 5 attractions then the highest price is $154.84 and the lowest is $149.84 depending on which attractions you choose. That adds up to a hefty $68.84 or $63.84
Remember this is per person so for a family of 4 that’s up to $257.36 saved!!! That is not to be sniffed at, that money could really be used well for dining, hotels, or whatever. It is certainly better in your pocket than the attraction.
Atlanta CityPASS in Practice
We have used a lot of City Passes, and they all have their unique advantages and drawbacks. However, the Atlanta CityPASS was about the easiest and most straightforward pass we have ever used. There was no booking, no large queues, no tearing around the City to find the attractions. It’s all, with a couple of exceptions, all in one place.
The Pass is your ticket, so you just scan at the turnstiles and you are in. This is not always the case with Passes, sometimes you have to pre-book or visit a ticket kiosk to get your tickets for later. It can be a bit confusing, but at all of Atlanta’s attractions we walked right up to the turn-stile, scanned the QR code on the Pass, and in we went!
The Pass is E-mailed straight to you seconds after you purchase. You can use it straight from your phone, print it out, take screen grabs (recommended), or all three. As long as you can present the QR code to the scanners you are in. It really is so simple!
So What’s the Catch?
Honestly, as we said we have found so many little issues with other passes we tested, mainly due to the attractions themselves, not the passes, but with the Atlanta CityPASS, there were just none of these. It was incredibly refreshing.
Three of the top attractions are literally within 100 meters of each other right in the heart of the city, another is a short 5-minute walk across Centennial Park. The Zoo is a bit of a drive out into the suburbs and only the Fernbank Museum of natural history is out of the way.
Really the only downside we found was the rigid line-up of attractions. There is very little room for maneuver. This is great if you really like the look of all the attractions but less so if they all look less than interesting to you.
However, even if only 3-4 of the attractions appeal you could still save some cash, again with very little downside. So let’s take a look at the line-up and give our honest opinion.
The first three attractions are fixed. Either visit them or don’t there are no substitutions.
We could say that the Georgia Aquarium can be considered as a reason to come to Atlanta all by itself, we say this as pretty much it WAS the reason we headed into the city! We rate it the Best Aquarium anywhere in the United States. And by a long way, nowhere else comes close.
It may not have the charm and natural beauty of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but it does have Whale Sharks and Manta Rays! Without its Ocean Explorer Exhibit, this is a Titan of an Aquarium. The Shark Tank is pretty much as good as it gets, the Reef tank is spectacular. There Arctic Zone has Beluga Whales and Penguins. There are fantastic Dolphin Shows, Sealion presentations and some really interesting smaller exhibits, highlights for us were the Moray Eels, the Giant Octopus, and the Electric Eels.
But, it is all totally overshadowed by the Ocean Explorer tank. This colossal exhibit is over 6.3* million Gallons and is simply mindblowing. You enter the Exhibit through one of the largest Glass Tunnels in the country and have various portholes and viewing points. But they are just teasing you. When you enter the Ocean observatory you are presented with a scene really like no other.
The Entire side of the tank is a Glass window and the whole room takes on the appearance of a giant Movie theater, only the film that is showing is the Ocean Explorer Tank. Giant Tuna, Jacks, Reef Sharks, Snapper, Trevally, Rays, and Batfish glide past in the blue depths. Then from the gloom, you spot the monsters, a hulking great Whale Shark, looms into view and glides past the viewing panel. Graceful and beautiful, it’s a petty movie sight!
There are also Manta Rays, Goliath Grouper, and a wise old Green Sea Turtle amongst the dozens of species and thousands of specimens!
*this one tank is larger than the entirety of the second largest Aquarium in the States, the Shedd in Chicago!
The Georgia Aquarium is an absolute must-see in our book, but we know not everyone like these exhibits. We have looked into some of the ethics of the aquarium and we a satisfied they are doing what they can. For example, the Whale Sharks were literally saved from the dinner table by the aquarium!
The honest truth is though, the Aquarium makes up a good portion of the Passes value, and if you are not wanting to visit here the pass maybe not be your best option. You can still save a little by visiting 4 other attractions, but this is the headline.
Full Review of the Georgia Aquarium
World Of Coca Cola
Next up is the World of Coca-Cola. For those who don’t know, Coca-Cola was invented, marketed, and still has its headquarters in Atlanta, so the location of the World Of Coca-Cola makes perfect sense. The attraction is in the same location as the Georgia Aquarium on Pemberton Place an open park area donated to the people of Atlanta by the Coca-Cola Company.
The attraction itself is really fun. It starts off with a memorabilia hall, followed by a short Coca-Cola Promotional film, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, and then into the main exhibit space with various different Coca-Cola exhibits.
There is a Pop culture hall with loads of adverts and promotional material from the decades of Coke. This is great as you are likely to have lived through a lot of these and it brings back heaps of memories. There is a taste and smell room where you can try and guess different scents. There is a replica bottling plant and of course, the Infamous Safe that houses the Secret Formula for Coca-Cola!
All this is great fun, but the main attraction is the tasting room. Here you can sample over 60 different flavors of Coke Beverages from around the world. This is a lot of fun and there are some great flavors but also some pretty rank offering too. Everyone will push the Melon Frosty Fanta from Thailand, but watch out for the Sour Plum Tea from China, which is exactly like BBQ Sauce! There were some really odd ones like a drink that tasted like Alka seltzer along with a really weird bitter drink we forget the name of.
There are also regular Coke fountains offering US-branded drinks in all their varieties. People often ask how much you are allowed to drink and the answer is far more than you want! We got through 59 of the world varieties, as one drink was unavailable, and a couple of regular cups too, and we were sick as dogs! W only took little sips but it’s all super gassy and sweet and really gets a good bloat on!
It’s a great attraction for all ages and with the fantastic location right in the heart of the City, it’s a no-brainer on the pass.
The final fixed attraction is the Zoo Atlanta. Not quite as convenient as the central attractions the zoo does require a little journey out to the suburbs, after all, who wants a Zoo right in the heart of a City?
The Zoo occupies a large portion of Grant Park and is not the largest zoo in the world. What it lacks in size it makes up for in character and animals. The lineup is really strong with everything you would expect to see and a few real star surprises!
Just after the entrance, you are greeted by the Elephants, Rhinos, and Giraffes. There is a spectacular Gorilla enclosure, which houses quite a few of Zoo Atlanta’s Breedingin Gorillas. Lions, Tigers, bears, Zebras, ostriches warthogs, and lemurs all make an appearance. Along with some impressive aviaries feathering Bald Eagles and Vultures amongst many others.
The Reptile House named the Scaly Slimy Spectacular, is fantastic and filled with various snakes, Lizards, Frogs, and bugs, this is always a huge hit with the kids! This houses some great species including Crocodiles, Pythons, Anacondas, and heaps of Turtles. It also has some impressive conservation pedigree and houses the critically endangered Arakan forest turtles!
Our favorite two exhibits were the stunning Komodo Dragons, an ancient and fierce beast that is pretty unreal to behold, and of course the Giant Pandas. We were so disappointed when the Panda’s left San Diego Zoo, it was great to see them here. Zoo San Diego is one of only 3 Zoos no in the States that house Pandas so they are great to see.
Due to its smaller size, we were no too optimistic about the Zoo, but overall it was a great experience ad well worth including on the Pass. The compact nature meant more time viewing animals and less time wandering aimlessly. The enclosures are all really natural and offer loads of cover and hiding spaces for the animals and overall the zoo just feels well thought out and caring.
Choose 2 from:
We should note at this point the value is already up to $104.90, offering a saving of $18.90 before you even start on the next two attractions.
Here you get to choose any Two attractions from the following list. We tend to lean to the more central attractions simply for convenience.
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Another attraction is right in the heart of the city right beside the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola, making this a great choice for most people. We also think it is a really important attraction and one that is not really a whole load of fun!
The Center highlights the seemingly never-ending battle for equal rights for all. A large focus is on the US Human Rights Struggles of the not-so-distant past, which is unsurprising seeing as Atlanta was both the Birthplace and final resting place of Martin Luther King.
However, there is plenty of focus on other inequalities and Human rights abuses from across the country and around the world that are happening to this day. It really sheds a light on how bad we as humans can be to each other.
It’s a somber, reflective, and sobering experience but very apt for the location and really important. This is definitely one of our recommended picks.
College Football Hall of Fame
In a completely different vein is the Chick-Fil-A College football hall of fame. This is an upbeat and fun look at the history of the College game. It is not that high on our list of attractions mainly as we are not really football fans (Well we are, but you would call real football Soccer). However, we went along to take a look and see how the exhibit feels to non-fans.
It’s a really fun place to check out and is hugely interactive. It has a giant wall of helmets devoted to the legends of the game and a cut-size replica football field where you can even have a go at some skills.
While it’s not our top choice anyone with more than a passing interest in the game will have a blast. The convenient location, just on the other side of Centennial Park also makes this a great choice.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
The final choice currently is the Fernbank Museum of Natural history. This is a great choice especially if you have kids who are into Dinosaurs, but we found the location to be a little inconvenient. If you are driving you should be fine, but public transport is a little clunky out here.
The Museum house some pretty impressive fossil skeletons including a Giganotosaurus and an Argentinosaurus, both absolutely colossal dinosaurs. The is a really neat look at the distant past of the Georgian landscape, a look at some impressive physics in the Fantastic Forces Exhibit, and tons of interesting and interactive exhibits, and even a 3d Theater. There are also plenty of visiting attractions with an impressive T-Rex display when we visited, and a really awesome Space exhibit on the way – Read more
The Museum is not limited to indoors however and has some really great outdoor displays. There is a great boardwalk that meanders into the tree tops and a large Forest to get out and explore right on the Museum’s doorstep, along with the Dinosaur Plaza featuring Life Size dinosaur replicas your kids will love.
It’s a great half day out and well worth the trip if you can make it, after all, it’s only a 20 min drive
CNN Studio Tours – Closed
This attraction used to be on the list but has not re-opened its tours since Covid.
Is The Atlanta CityPASS Worth It?
This question all revolves around what we just discussed, the attractions. If the attractions you want to visit are on the pass, or our descriptions above have tickled your fancy, then the pass is absolutely worth it.
We do a quick break down but even if you only visit 3 or four attractions you are still saving money, and with no other real drawbacks it would be crazy not to really. We do not say this about all the passes we have used, some of these have really big drawbacks, and while overall they are still great products, they just have other quirks, but the Atlanta CityPASS was pretty flawless.
Let’s look at a breakdown of the attractions to highlight just how much you can save:
- Georgia Aquarium – $49.95
- World Of Coca-Cola – $20.00
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights – $19.99
Total Price: $89.94
These three attractions are all within a stone’s throw of each other, and can easily be visited within a day, we managed them in <5 hours and we really took out time, and had lunch, and even took an extra tour at the Georgia Aquarium.
Even with just these 3 you will have saved $3.94 each, we know that’s not that much, and if this is all you are planning on doing, it’s possibly not worth your time, but we have used the cheapest two attractions here, and anything we do on the next day is FREE.
- Zoo Atlanta – $34.95
- College Football Hall of Fame – $24.99
- Total Price: $59.49
- Running Total: $149.88
CityPASS Price $86
Total Savings $63.88 PER Person!
We recommend heading to the Zoo first thing as for one it’s nice and quiet and two it’s cooler than in the heat of the day, and most importantly the ANIMALS love those factors so will be far more active. As the temps creep up they will largely just go to sleep.
This then leaves you the rest of the day to either visit the Hall of Fame or head out to Fernbank Museum. Either way, it is really easy to pack all 5 attractions into 2 days. and with savings of $63+, you can head out to a really special meal in one of Atlanta’s up-and-coming dining establishments!
Of course, if you are not taken with the list of attractions, then there is really very little point in considering the Pass. If you just know these attractions are not your cup of tea then the pass will be of little interest.
on top of the very obvious cost savings there are also a few other advantages to buying the CityPASS
The pass is great for showing you what is really on offer in the city. Most people have heard of the Georgia Aquarium but some of the others are less well known. The CityPASS helps you find places you may not have heard of and lets you visit places you would not have otherwise tried.
Planning your trip and finalizing itineraries can be a real chore, it’s hard to even know where to start, but the CityPASS can be used as the backbone of your itinerary and really help you flesh out the trip.
While we love planning and know it’s really important, you also need some flexibility and the ability to be spontaneous. With the pass noting is booked so you can visit any attractions whenever you please. Imagine you have the Zoo booked for a day it has given rain, no problem head to the indoor attractions such as the aquarium instead on that day!
It is also great to know just how much you are going to spend on attractions before your trip. This can avoid you running out of cash early or returning home to heart-stopping Credit card bills. It also helps you can pay for all your attractions in the month leading up to the trip, helping cash flow in the month you are actually traveling.
The pass is also one simple online purchase and you have all the entry tickets to all the attractions. It’s all connected to the Pass so you use the same App/QR code for all the attractions. This saves booking 5 lots of individual tickets or queuing at 5 attractions to buy tickets on the day. Just turn up, scan, and you are in!
What We Don’t like
Honestly, we struggle a lot here. The pass really performed better than most passes we have used and there were just no real negatives. Of course, this all revolves around the attractions being of interest to you, but on the whole, these are the City’s best, paid attractions.
It’s worth noting that focussing on Paid attractions could steer you away from some of Atlanta’s free attractions such as the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, Centennial Park, or the great open spaces and green parts of the City such as Piedmont Park. But all this takes is to be minded of this issue and make sure you get the best out of the A.
There are also a couple of attractions we would have liked to see included on the pass but are not. Such as the Centennial Wheel and the Atlanta Botanica Gardens, but on the whole, it covers most of the top attractions and really helps get the best out of the City.
If the attractions are one you want to see, even if it’s only 3-4 of them then you are sure to save a heap of cash and have an even better trip to. With the downsides being so few this particular Attraction pass is really a No-Brainer. You either pay more, or see less, or buy the pass and do the opposite!
Out of all the passes we have used all across the world, in terms of ease of use and lack of downsides the Atlanta CityPASS is about the best!
Have Your Say
Have you used the Atlanta CityPASS? What did you make of the attraction pass? How did you find the lineup of attractions? What did you make of the way the pass worked? Was there anything you didn’t like? Whatever you have to say we would love to hear from you in the Comments and if you have any questions, just fire away below.
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