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When we decided on Atlanta as the location of our families trip, I started surfing the web for the fun places we could visit while in town. I kept coming across the same top attractions, and eventually, I stumbled across this fantastic company, CityPASS.
I wanted to do a quick rundown of the company that helped us so much on our Atlanta trip. Honestly without CityPASS, we wouldn't have been able to see so many cool attractions during our three days in Atlanta. This company is legit, and I want to dedicate a blog to their awesomeness!
What Is CityPASS?
CityPASS is essentially a booklet you can get to visit a town's most touristy places cheaper than you would if you purchased the tickets separately. You get a set of passes plus some discounts at the venues you attend.
CityPASS is only worth it, if you want to visit the places they recommend, though. I encourage you to check out the CityPASS page for whatever city you are thinking of. If the attractions sound good, it's a bargain for you. Otherwise, it's not worth your time.
CityPASS Review: Where You Can Use It
CityPASS has a relationship with multiple cities across North America. Each of these CityPASSes includes the best those cities have to offer at a lower price.
CityPASS has a presence in the following cities:
- Atlanta, GA
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Dallas, TX
- Denver, CO
- Houston, TX
- New York City, NY
- Philadelphia, PA
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Southern California
- Tampa Bay, FL
- Toronto, ON
This list is only updated as of July 12, 2018. Things are subject to change as CityPASS expands or even decreases (hopefully not!) in size. I encourage you to check out the website for the most up to date information, but I will try to keep this list up to date as well!
CityPASS Review: When Should You Use It
Going to be honest here, fitting in five activities in three full days in Atlanta was hella hectic. This activity is not for the faint of heart. It requires a certain amount of planning to execute properly.
Here are some things to consider as you figure out if CityPASS is for you:
The Passes Aren't Indefinite
For starters, there is an expiration date on how long you can take to start using them after you buy them. You cannot just keep them around like forever stamps. This means that you need to purchase them around the time you will use them, don't just pick them up if you are still deciding on if you will go somewhere and when you will go somewhere. *This point is more for people who are pre-ordering their CityPASSes like we did.*
Second, once you begin using your passes, you need to use them all in 9 days. When you use the pass at your first location, they will write down the date you started using the passes on the booklet that way anyone who sees your booklet after that will know if your tickets are still good.
You Have To Like The CityPASS Activities
For the Atlanta trip, the CityPASS itinerary made sense for what my family and I wanted to see already. We were already talking about visiting the aquarium and Center For Civil & Human Rights. We had seen the other activities but hadn't made up our mind on those activities yet. Once we saw the lineup of activities on the CityPASS, though, we knew that it would be the most cost-effective route for us.
You Have To Have The Time
I explained in my Atlanta city guide just how we saw all the activities in three days, but it was no easy feat. We had what you would call an aggressive vacation because we were straight tourist each day we were in Atlanta. This was a draining experience.
You have nine days to use the passes. Using your passes likely won't be a fun experience if you are visiting a city for the weekend or visiting for a day. Only use the passes if you have enough time because once you start, you can't stop.
CityPASS Review: What Was My Experience With The Atlanta Pass?
Here are the options you get to visit on the Atlanta CityPASS, which is the one I have experience with:
- Georgia Aquarium
- World Of Coca-Cola
- CNN Studio Tours
- Zoo Atlanta OR Center For Civil & Human Rights
- Fernbank Museum Of Natural History OR College Football Hall Of Fame
I love that there was a mixture of places you had to go as well as some options. This CityPASS truly hit on some of the most fun experiences in Atlanta. There are many places I'd like to check out in Atlanta like the High Museum and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, but overall I was impressed by the attractions on the Atlanta CityPASS.
I have written an in-depth Atlanta city guide that you can check out here, but for this part, I want to chat about my experience using Atlanta CityPASS.
Here are a few pictures from my time in Atlanta, you can see more in the city guide:
CityPASS Review: Using The Pass
Honestly, the hardest part of using the CityPASS was the first stop, which for us was the Georgia Aquarium. We didn't get our booklets shipped to us (which would have made this entire process even easier), so at the first stop, we had to pick up our booklets. Every stop after getting our booklets was as easy as going to to the ticket counter and showing them our booklets.
Seriously, everyone we came across at ticket counters were so easy to deal with. They knew exactly how to deal with our CityPASSes. I know there is a lot of fear when it comes to using new things like this. You never want to be embarrassed because someone behind a ticket counter doesn't know what to do with your stuff. This is not like purchasing tickets off some sketchy website or a person selling bad tickets in front of an event. CityPASS is a GENUINE company.
You cannot tear out your own CityPASS tickets. The person at the ticket counter has to tear out your tickets. If you tear out your tickets, this voids the entire ticket. So, don't tear anything out thinking you are going to help the line move faster if you do. Tearing out your ticket may be something you'd think to do but IGNORE THAT THOUGHT PROCESS. CityPASS only saves you the most money if you can use all your passes, so, make sure you can use all your passes.
Watch Out For How New CityPASS Is To Your City
As I was reading reviews, I saw that some people in the past had issues with using CityPASS at first. I think this is just because there is a learning curve to using any new technology or tool.
You can always call ahead to see what you need to do to use CityPASS with specific attractions. The CityPASS website is also incredibly helpful about giving your tips and tricks for visiting each place you want to visit.
Watch Out For Special Instructions
One of the instructions we got for CNN was to call ahead to make sure that we got a tour time. The person I talked to was very relaxed about this when I called the CNN tours hotline, but I wanted to make sure that we would get in on the day we wanted to tour, so I booked a time. You never know what could be happening, so follow any special instructions (especially in the summer) to make sure that you can use up all your CityPASS tickets while you are in town.
My CityPASS Review Verdict: Save That $$$
I know that CityPASS personally saved my family $100+ on our Atlanta trip. That may seem like a small amount, but when you are already spending hundreds of dollars on travel to get to your destination, hotel rooms, transportation in your new city, etc. any amount helps.
CityPASS comes in handy when you are planning to go to multiple museums and attractions in a city on vacation or even just being a tourist in your town. It's almost as if you get a bulk discount because you are visiting so many places in one trip.
My verdict, save those $$$ if you can. It wouldn't have made sense for us to spend all the money on those tickets if we could have saved that money and put it towards another part of the trip.
Are you a CityPASS fan? What will your next CityPASS trip be?
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