We made the five hour drive to Chicago, and once we reached the hotel we parked the car and ventured out on foot or bike to explore the city.
We started off our first morning with a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. This was the point when we exchanged our vouchers for the actual city passes. With the city pass, the Museum of Science and Industry also includes a motion simulator ride, and admission to one of the special exhibits at the museum. We had options such as a tour of the U-505 WWII German U-Boat, or a tour of a coal mine.
We opted for the coal mine, which I highly recommend. In 1933, this coal mine was the museum’s first exhibit.
After exploring the whole museum for four hours, we made our way to Michigan Avenue to park our car. If you are going to drive to Chicago, I recommend doing some research on the parking available at and around your hotel.
After checking in to our hotel, we made our way to Navy Pier. There are so many restaurants and shops there that will keep you busy for hours. While we were there we had the opportunity to ride the Centennial Wheel, a massive ferris wheel that gives visitors fabulous views of the city. We ended our evening at the pier with Giordano’s pizza, a Chicago must!
On day two, we finally decided to check out the Divvy bike program. Essentially, the company Divvy has set up bike stations all over Chicago, and for $9.95 per day you can rent bikes to help you get around town. It is extremely easy to use and includes unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes within the 24 hour window. The company also has an app available which was very helpful in locating stations nearby. When you purchase a pass, you are given a code that you punch it to unlock a bike. When you return a bike to a station, your timer is reset. The codes are only good for 5 minutes, so each time you request a new code.
After finding my balance on my bike (it had been a few years), we biked over to the Museum Campus. We visited the Field Museum, where our City Passes gave us admission to all exhibits, plus a 3-D film. We spent a long time exploring the halls of gemstones, animals, and dinosaurs.
The one thing the City Pass did not include was admission to the special temporary exhibit, China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors. It was only an additional $15 per person for this exhibit, and it was definitely worth the money.
We followed up the Field Museum with the Shedd Aquarium. Having a city pass allowed us to walk past the long general admission line (standing out in the heat) and head straight to the VIP entry. We had admission to all of the exhibits, a 4-D experience, and the Stingray touch, and for only $3 more per person we were able to enjoy the aquatic show.
After we got our fill of watching dolphins, fish, whales, and other marine animals enjoying the water, we decided to head out on a water taxi that took us from the museum campus over to Navy Pier.
After feasting on shrimp at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant, we biked all the way back from Navy Pier to the Field Museum bike station. What seemed like a far distance was actually only about a 15-20 min bike ride along Lake Michigan.
That evening we decided to make our way to the Skydeck at Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). We got there around 9PM, an hour before closing, and were able to walk right in. The tower had amazing views of the city!
For Ferris Bueller fans, they offer the chance to recreate a famous scene from the movie in honor of the 30th anniversary of the film. And of course we had to walk out onto the glass deck and stand 103 stories above the city.
Our last day in Chicago meant checking off the last item on our city passes. We decided to visit the Adler Planetarium and immerse ourselves in all things space-related! With our city passes we had admission to two theater presentations and the Atwood Sphere Experience, Chicago’s oldest planetarium. Also, if you need to eat lunch here, your city pass gets you a 10% discount in the café.
For a quick recap, the Chicago City Pass includes:
- Shedd Aquarium
- Skydeck Chicago
- The Field Museum
- Museum of Science and Industry OR 360 CHICAGO
- Adler Planetarium OR Art Institute of Chicago
Not only do you get admission to all of the included attractions, but all come with VIP or fast-pass entry, so you don’t have to stand in the long general admission lines. There are also lots of extra perks and discounts that come with the pass, as well. And the best part is that the price for a City Pass is less than half the amount of money you would spend if you went and purchased individual tickets to each attraction!
Overall, we had an amazing time and thanks to the Chicago City Pass we were able to see and do everything we wanted to.