So I’m planning a road trip down to San Francisco with a Canadian friend next summer. Since I lived in that area for a long time, I’m familiar with most of the touristy stuff. However, today I randomly stumbled across Citypass. It was something I’d heard of but never knew the specifics of it. Now, unlimited Muni and Cable Car rides for 7 days is awesome in itself, but there’s also admission to five ‘attractions’ included. This is stuff like Alcatraz and the Exploratorium and SFMOMA. All of this for $70? It seems too good to be true. There’s got to be some catch. Has anyone used it before? What’s the catch?
The only catch I can see is, you can get a version without the attractions (“7-day MUNI Passport”) for $27. You’re paying $43 for the attractions - which appears to be a good deal if you’re going to go on all five of them within 9 days.
The main catch is the 9-day time limit, and the fact that if you skip any of the attractions you lose some of that value.
I bought a Citypass book when I went to Seattle, and it was a pretty good deal. For $70 I got admission to the aquarium, the science center (plus an IMAX show), the EMP, two trips up the Needle, an excellent 1-hour cruise around the harbor, and either the aerospace museum or the zoo (I ended up going to the zoo).
If you’re planning to hit all the attractions the Citypass offers within that 9-day window, it really is a great deal. You don’t have to pay anything at time of entry, and because the booklet is your ticket, you don’t have to waste time at the ticketing window for most attractions; just hand the book over, they tear out the right page, you’re in.
I’ve used the New York one a couple of times. As long as you’re planning on going to three or more of the attractions listed anyways, they’re a great deal.
On the other hand, the Toronto CityPass is decent, but not that exciting to me.
The Chicago city pass was a great deal. I’m a Chicago local, but my friend and I bought the city pass when he visited here for a week. I was tired at the end, but I’m glad I got to go to all the attractions. The catch is that out of town tourists are likely to spend money at the gift shop or the restaurants at the locations. In Chicago, the express lane at the Sears Tower allowed us to beat the 3 hour waiting line. We also got the audio guide tour of the Art Institute included in that admission.