I’ve heard of Chicago Citypass, a ticket that gets you into several museums for discounted rates, or something like that. Is it a good deal? Are there any discounts on the Citypass itself?
It’s a fair amount of money, so take a look at how many museums you’re really likely to visit. You can easily check their websites to see how much you’d normally pay.
I think CityPass allows you to bypass ticket lines at some places, but the only place this is really a big concern is at the Shedd Aquarium during summer.
When my best friend came to visit me in Chicago last October, we went with the CityPass. At the time, the Art Institute wasn’t included, and the choice was between the Sears Tower, or the John Hancock Observatory. It was actually really great. At the time, it was only $65; it now seems to be at $76, though you’re getting even more perks at each place, and have the option of the Art Institute instead of Adler (which is nice, because even though I love astronomy, Adler was sort of lame).
One thing to keep in mind is that the CityPass doesn’t just include admission; it includes admission-plus-other-shit. For instance, at the time we went, there was a Muppets exhibit; our CityPasses allowed us to choose that as one of the perks. So, when you go to the places, you’re not just getting in; you’re getting to do stuff. It saves you some of the trouble of, “oh, I want to see XXXX, but I don’t know, it costs extra. . .”
That being said, if you want hard numbers: If you do Shedd + Science and Industry + Skydeck + Adler + Field Museum, for admission only, it’s around $81 dollars. If you do the Art Institute instead of Adler, it’s around $89. I didn’t bother checking for the John Hancock Building, only because I can’t imagine why you’d do both Skydeck and that. This is assuming that you’re an adult, and that you’re not a city resident, and that you only get the basic admission. The City Pass is less than that, and you’re going to get more stuff (shows, admission to special exhibits). If you’re certain that you’re going to do all five attractions, I’d say go for it. It’ll probably save you on the lines getting in, too.
I used a Citypass just the other day (c.f. this thread). As a general rule I’d say the extras are not worth it, and the bypassing of tickets lines doesn’t get you in any faster in practice. Even so, it probably does save you money if you are going to visit everything.
Well, I went ahead and got the Citypass on my recent trip. I saved a bit on all the attractions, but wouldn’t have done some of the extras if they weren’t included.
I will say that it’s worth it just to bypass the line at the Shedd Aquarium. That could have taken half the morning. Just be sure to buy the Citypass at a diferent location before you go to the Aquarium.
BTW, the Adler Planetarium’s big star chamber is undergoing renovation and is not open for shows. That was the reason I wanted to go, and apparently even when it is open, it’s an extra charge. As the main feature, a show in the big chamber should be part of the basic admission.
If you or someone you are traveling with is acive duty military don’t let them buy one. They get in free to every one of those attractions.
The Chicago Public Library gives out free passes to the museums. It’s strictly first come and first serve, but if you know someone in Chicago, who will let you use their library card it’s worth it.
I know the OP has already, been there, but for others who may be interested:
I got a 3-day Go Chicago card a few years ago when I visited for several days. They have sales periodically (like right now) that make it even a better deal.
If you’re doing lots of touristy stuff and plan well, it can be a very good deal.
Important caveat: Some attractions will only honor the GoCard during the day (the SkyDeck, for instance). Read descriptions really carefully; it will say something in red at the bottom if there are time limitations.
Still, it doesn’t take too many attractions to more than pay for the card and it also lets you skip the line.