Traveling is all about making choices, time is always too short and there is way too much to see. At least that’s the struggle I always face when travelling. When I decided I wanted to travel the Eastern parts of Canada and the USA, in three weeks, I knew it was all about making choices again. Therefore I chose to use CityPASS and these are my experiences.
Even though I only had a short amount of time to visit these places, I still wanted to see it all. Which made me think of ways to make the most of each city without rushing or spending too much money. I ended up using the CityPASS for Toronto, Philadelphia and New York. All three of them, cities with a lot to see and do, and by using the CityPASS I was able to spend my limited time wisely and do much more than I had expected.
Note: my NY helicopter trip with open doors and my helicopter flight over Niagara Falls were NOT included in the CityPASS! ;)
I wanted to visit as many of the cities along the East coast as possible, but with limited time, I had roughly 1,5 to 2 days to spend in each city, which is not a lot! In this CityPASS review I explain you why I think it is a fabulous product for travelers willing to make the most of their precious holiday time. As part of my trip to East Canada and the USA I also visited the Niagara Falls American side, click on the link to find out all my travel tips.
It all started back in 1997 when CityPASS was started wanting to offer not just another discounted attraction ticket, but so much more. They wanted to create a product that would save money and save time while offering a rich, memorable experience at several attractions, not just one!
They hand-picked the very best attractions in the very best cities across North America, with savings of up to half of the price of separate admission, all to create the experience they envisioned.
CityPASS is still family-owned and operated and they continuously adding cities and partner attractions while maintaining focus on creating happy customers. The phrase “Leave with more than you came with” is firmly entrenched within the company, and as a happy customer I can say, I left these cities with much more than I came with. Memories for a lifetime!
How does the CityPASS work?
See it like a ticket for a concert. After your purchase you can either download the ticket on your mobile phone or print it out. With the CityPass you then have free admission to top attractions in the city you signed up for.
Here are 9 reasons why I can recommend you to use CityPASS when traveling in the USA and Canada.
1. Where can I use CityPASS?
At the moment there are 14 CityPASS destinations where you can purchase the CityPASS. Obviously they are constantly looking to add cities, and attractions to this list. From New York to San Francisco and from Houston to Toronto, CityPASS is being offered for the very best cities across North America.
2. Spend less with CityPASS
Travelling can be expensive at times, especially visiting cities where you want to do most of their famous attractions. Admissions to these attractions can be expensive, which may make you decide to just leave it, because entrance fees are too high.
Whichever city you visit and buy the pass for, with CityPASS you’ll save at least 40% or more, in some cities you can even save more than 50% of the price of separate admission. Spend less at the attractions you want to visit and have more to spend on other parts of your vacation or start saving for your next holiday.
3. Experience more with CITYPASS
By purchasing the CityPASS you buy admission to the best attractions of the city. You’ll always have access to at least 3 attractions, but most of the times you can visit more than 5 attractions. With this pass you get to experience much more than without, because separate admissions to all these attractions would cost you a fortune.
4. What does the CityPASS include?
Only the best of the best is good enough for CityPASS. They want happy customers, so they offer only top attractions included in their passes. To give you an idea, here’s just a small selection of the kind of attractions you can visit using the CityPASS: CN Tower in Toronto, Bush Gardens Tampa Bay, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Top of the Rock, The Empire State Building, Eastern State Penitentiary, Space Center Houston, CNN Studio Tours, and much, much more!
5. Do you have to use the CityPASS in one day?
Activating your pass is easy, just scan your ticket at the first attraction you’ll visit, and your pass is activated. From then the pass is valid for nine consecutive days.
Having nine days to do all the attractions included with your CityPASS gives you plenty of time to truly enjoy a destination. No need to rush from attraction to attraction, and totally get your money’s worth.
6. Line-skipping privileges
A lot of participating attractions offer line-skipping privileges. With the CityPASS you’ll get some more information on each participating attraction, address information, opening hours. If one of the attractions offers line-skipping privileges, you can find that information listed under the attractions name under the attraction details, that comes along with the pass.
Be sure to check if you can skip the line at the attraction you’re visiting, most of these attractions are popular and can get extremely busy at times, so what’s better than skipping the line just because you can?
7. Where can I buy the CityPASS?
Purchase online or at any participating attraction. CityPASS booklets, mobile tickets and vouchers can easily be bought online. If you’re already in the city you can also buy the pass at any included attraction. Mobile tickets are sold exclusively through their own website.
8. Mobile tickets available
Buying the CityPASS online, I got mobile tickets, which are super easy to use, similar to digital airline boarding passes. Just show the ticket on your mobile phone at each attraction and scan your ticket for admission. In some cases they might ask for photo ID, I have never been asked to show photo ID.
You can also print the tickets, but mobile tickets are much better for the environment.
9. Discounted admission with CityPASS
In some cases CityPASS includes admission to your choice of attraction, for example in New York you can either visit Top of the Rock Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum. If you’re using your ticket to visit one attraction but would also like to visit the other, take advantage of some exclusive discounts just for CityPASS ticket holders. Just present your ticket to redeem these discounts.
After using the CityPASS I must say it is the ideal pass if you’re visiting a city and really want to make the absolute most of your visit. With CityPASS you get access to most major attractions in the city you’re visiting. If you want to do it all, go for the CityPASS, it is totally worth it and it saves you a lot of money.
For the specific cities I visited, I had certain attractions in mind I really wanted to visit. In Toronto I wanted to do the CN Tower, but having the CityPASS I ended up visiting the Aquarium and Casa Loma as well.
Same goes for Philadelphia, where the CityPASS gives you access to the Big Bus Hop on Hop off tours, with unlimited on/off privileges. Using my pass for the Big Bus made me see much more of Philadelphia than I would have without.
If I ever get to visit one of CityPASS destinations again, I will get myself this pass to explore and enjoy these cities to the fullest. As I now know it makes me see and do much more and save some dollars at the same time.
If you’re time in a city is limited, or if you’re considering visiting only a few attractions, be sure to check separate entrance fees before you go and do the math whether or not a CityPASS is in your advantage.
For my trip to Canada and the USA I was given the CityPASS for Toronto, Philadelphia and New York. Being able to visit more attractions in these cities, just because I had the CityPASS, made my time in these cities much more worthwhile.
This blog was written by travel writer and Traveltomtom team member Ashley. She travelled through Canada and the USA in October 2019 on behalf of Traveltomtom and used the CityPASS in Toronto, Philadelphia and New York, exploring these cities to the fullest.
Also check her blog about the Sofitel Philadelphia or what about her helicopter rides over Niagara Falls or the one with open doors above New York City?