One price for unlimited admission to more than two dozen attractions, skip-the-line privileges, and discounts on food and souvenirs—Smart Destinations Go Chicago Card is a great choice for budget-conscious visitors to the Windy City. The biggest attractions on Museum Campus Chicago—the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium—are all included. You can also spend the day at the historic Navy Pier riding the Ferris wheel, carousel, and wave Swinger; playing miniature golf; and enjoying the sights, sounds, and people-watching.
Since so many of Chicago’s biggest attractions are close together, you can plan your sightseeing and really get your money’s worth from the Go Chicago Card. It also includes tours that will help you get your bearings and see as much of this architecturally stunning city as possible.
Top Included Chicago Attractions
Adler Planetarium (includes Skip-the-Line admission)
Shedd Aquarium (includes Skip-the-Line admission)
Museum of Science and Industry (includes Skip-the-Line admission!)
LEGOLAND Discovery Center (includes Skip-the-Line admission!)
Chicago Children’s Museum (includes Skip-the-Line admission!)
Museum of Science and Industry, plus Omnimax (includes Skip-the-Line admission!)
Field Museum (skip-the-line entry included)
Art Institute of Chicago
Two-day Hop-On Hop-off Trolley Pass
Architectural walking tours
Hancock Observatory (includes Skip-the-Line admission!)
SkyDeck Chicago, Willis Tower (includes Skip-the-Line admission!)
Navy Pier rides
See the complete list of attractions and tours in the sidebar.
The greatest strength of the Go Chicago Card is the sheer breadth of the included attractions. Almost everything a visitor would want to see in the Chicago area. Also the range of activities from major museums, to science- and architechtural-related attractions to observation decks, river cruise, and amusement park ensures that there is something for everyone.
The Go Chicago Card offers good savings for travelers who are planning a fast-paced vacation and want to see as many attractions as possible. For example, you could easily go to the Shedd, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium in one day as they are all located in the same park. You would save $5 (and 2 huge lines).
Because each person has his or her own card, families can split up and visit different attractions based on their interests. Because of this flexibility, individuals or families can easily switch gears if they change their mind about an attraction, or if Chicago’s infamous weather gets in the way of an outdoor activity.
The card also allows you to skip ticket lines at many places like the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum—allowing you to save time, especially during the busy summer season. The line at the Shedd can be several hours long on a summer weekend.
In addition, the Go Chicago Card includes discounts to restaurants, including the House of Blues and the Goose Island Brew Pub, and retail locations such as Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and American Girl.
Lastly, the 100-page guidebook included with the passes is an invaluable resource and can help visitors get the most out of their Go Chicago Card and their visit.
What Could get better?
Not too many downsides to this card. According to reviews, the only major stumbling point of the Go Chicago Card is the 5:30 time limit. See the tips section below for advice on getting around this.
Get Your Money’s Worth
Generally, the more days you purchase for your Go Chicago Card, the fewer attractions per day you need to visit to get your money’s worth. For example, if you buy a one-day pass, you’ll need to go to three attractions; buy the seven-day pass and one attraction per day is enough to reap the benefits of the Go Chicago Card. Many people have reported that they could go to almost every single attraction on a 7 day card.
Your Go Chicago Card is activated by the first attraction you visit. Your consecutive day passes are not counted in 24-hour increments. For example, if you activate your card at 4 pm, that counts as day one on the length of your card.
The Go Chicago Card is not accepted after 5:30 p.m. Though most attractions will close around this time, plan your days carefully. If you want to go to an attraction in the evening, you might consider getting there a little before 5:30. GIve yourself some time cushion. This works really well at the Navy Pier as you present your card at a ticket booth and receive a voucher for the 5 included rides. You can then use these vouchers whenever you want.
Don’t try to rush through all the attractions to see as many as you can. You can still save money without hurrying.
If you plan well and are aware of the included extras—like dining, for example—you can save a lot of money on eating out and souvenirs. In most cases, these discounts are “show and save;” therefore you can get these discounts the day before your card is activated or the day after it expires.
Get $10 off any order over $100! I tried it out and it works on all cards, even ones that are on sale. There is no better deal out there right now. Use code: ZM-479-SDW.
Here is the fine print: Limit 1 Coupon/Order; Must Be Redeemed Online. Expires February 28, 2014. New Customers only
Get Free In-City pick up on all Go Cards and Explorer Passes via coupon code: FREEUSPICKUP .
I tried it out and looks like it stacks on top of sale prices. It can also be used with the coupon above.
Here is the fine print: Limit 1 Coupon/Order; Must Be Redeemed Online; Not Valid for Go Select. Expires February 28, 2014.
Where to Buy It
You can get the Go Chicago Card online at places like Orbitz and Travelocity. You can also buy it in person at pick-up locations in the city. These options usually cost more though, so your best bet is to get the card directly from Smart Destinations at their website.
All Included Attractions
- Adler Planetarium***
- Shedd Aquarium***
- John Hancock Observatory***
- Robie House
- SkyDeck Chicago, Willis Tower***
- Brookfield Zoo
- Lincoln Park Zoo train ride & carousel
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center***
- Navy Pier rides
- Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio tour
- Chicago Architecture Foundation walk tours
- 2-day hop-on hop-off trolley pass
- Grand Chicago tour
- North Side tour
- South Shore tour
- Chicago Theatre Marqee tour
- Sightseeing lake cruise
- Architecture river cruise
- Navy Pier bike rental
- Tall ship skyline cruise
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- Chicago History Museum
- Field Museum check***
- Chicago Children’s Museum***
- Museum of Science and Industry + Omnimax***
*** Skip the line!
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