Anyone can appreciate tips for saving money, and visitors to the Windy City are no different. The cost of exploring tourist attractions and local museums can add up quickly. An easy way to avoid this is to invest in an attractions pass. Here are some ideas for how to save money in Chicago with a Go City Card.
How to Save Money in Chicago with a Go City Card
What Is a Go City Card?
The Go City Card is available in many major cities. It is a pass to visit many of the popular tourist attractions at discounted rates. In Chicago, customers can choose the Go City Card option that best suits them. There are three types of Go City Cards: All-Inclusive, Explorer, and Build Your Own. Here is how they compare:
Who is it for?
Visitors and locals alike can benefit from the discounts of using a Go City Card. For example, we often enjoy “staycations” in the city. We choose a few attractions to explore and sometimes stay overnight. The All-Inclusive is a great option for a quick trip to Chicago.
Locals might prefer the Explorer pass which allows users to choose 3, 4, or 5 attractions and is good for up to 30 days. This would be great during summer break or even during the school year.
The Build Your Own is just that, a pass that allows you to choose the attractions (saving 20 to 25% when you purchase two or more) and gives you 30 days to use the pass. If you’re planning on visiting the Windy City, there are plenty of ways to save money with a Go City Card.
Is it worth it?
That’s always the question, isn’t it? We used the All-Inclusive Card which was good for one day and gave us access to 26 different attractions. The plan was to use it for the Shedd Aquarium, the Hop On Hop Off city bus tour, Willis Tower SkyDeck, and Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.
Our first stop was the Shedd Aquarium, which our kids have been begging to visit. For two adults and three children (without discounts) the cost would be $172.75. We used an express entry line, and enjoyed our time visiting the various marine life. Penguins and the beluga whales were the favorites.
We wanted to use the Hop On Hop Off Big Bus tour because one of our children was making the rounds with a foot cast, but the bus was difficult to find. When we did locate it near the aquarium, we realized it only came around once an hour, but the schedule was not posted. As a result, we did not have a chance to use the bus (which would have cost our family $140.00).
Instead we hopped in a taxi and headed to our next stop, the Willis Tower and SkyDeck. The Go City Card was very helpful here as we were able to have priority access and skipped waiting in line for tickets. We went straight to the top and enjoyed panoramic views of the city and Lake Michigan. The cost for our family of five to enter the SkyDeck would have been $91.00.
The current cost of the Go City Chicago Card for a one day all inclusive is $92/adult and $65/child. For our family of five, this would have been $379. There were plenty of attractions we could have seen, but we were exhausted after the Shedd and the SkyDeck so we even skipped the ferris wheel. Thankfully, we were given these passes in exchange for my honest review by Go City Chicago. The cost of the attractions we were able to visit was $263.
In hindsight, we had several things working against us. We weren’t able to arrive downtown until mid-day. If we had arrived earlier, we could have easily seen another attraction in the morning. Also, if we had been able to make the bus tour work, it would have been worth the expense.
Tips for using the Go Chicago Card
If investing in the all-inclusive card, make a game plan before purchasing. What can your family honestly see in one, two, three, or five days?
Ask yourself which attractions you want to see. What do they cost? Add it up to see which card suits your needs.
If trying to see the most in one day, group attractions geographically. The Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and Adler Planetarium are all located on Museum Campus making them easy to see together. Navy Pier and the Chicago Children’s Museum are in the same location. The Lincoln Park Zoo and Chicago History Museum are close to one another. The Museum of Science and Industry and Robie House are in the same area. Legoland is quite a distance from downtown in one direction, the Brookfield Zoo is not downtown either. The Frank Lloyd Wright home tour is in Oak Park and it’s quite fun to make a day of this.
Start first thing in the morning to make the most of the pass.
If planning on using the Hop On, Hop Off bus tour, start on the bus at the beginning of the day. Use it as your transportation all day long and ask the driver for the schedule. Plan visits accordingly.
Download the tickets to your phone. This allows you to find the tickets quickly and not deal with paper tickets that could get lost.
What would you want to see with a Go Chicago Card?
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