Should You Buy a CityPASS Discount Ticket Booklet?

Thinking about purchasing a CityPASS discount ticket booklet? Wondering if they’re worth the money?

I’ve had the opportunity to use city pass discount tickets many times in Toronto as the booklet includes admissions to each of major attractions listed on my list of Top Things Every First-time Visitor Should Do in Toronto.

While savings of 38% are nothing to scoff at, if you’re planning a visit to Toronto in summer (or peak holiday periods) and hate waiting in line-ups,  it can be worth considering a CityPASS booklet of attraction tickets for the VIP access alone. But a CityPASS isn’t always the best option.

Here’s what you need to know before purchasing a city pass attraction booklet:

Royal Ontario Museum

Whisk past the line-ups at the Royal Ontario Museum with your CityPASS

How to Use City Pass in New York City and other Cities

If you’re not familiar with CityPASS, here’s the scoop. Launched in 1997, it’s a bundle of prepaid admissions to a city’s top attractions in one ticket booklet. Each CityPASS ticket booklet contains actual admission tickets to a destination’s top five or six attractions.

CityPASS is available in 13 North American destinations: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay Florida and Toronto.

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For example, with the CityPASS New York City, you can actually access six attractions such as the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Statue of Liberty and more.  By buying these attraction tickets in a bundle, you can save 42% off the price if you purchased the tickets individually. In other cities such as Houston,  the savings can be as much as 53% off the cost of regular box office tickets.

Save 40% or more on New York’s 6 best attractions with CityPASS. 

 

Casa Loma is a CityPASS Toronto Attraction

We used our Toronto CityPass at Casa Loma

When a CityPASS Might Not Be Worth it

The passes are valid for nine days from day of first use (14 days in southern California). It’s important to note that the CityPASS ticket booklet is valid for nine CONSECUTIVE days so you need to block off the time to be able to visit as many attractions needed to make it worthwhile. If you’re visiting a city for just a day or two, you likely won’t have time to be able to use enough of the tickets to make it worthwhile.

Tip: Some cities (including New York City and San Francisco) have launched a CityPASS known as C3 which means shorter-stay and weekend travellers can now experience the benefits of the customizable mobile tickets on three top attractions.

Designed to be flexible, the tickets don’t require you to pre-select the attractions that will be visited. You  are free to choose your attraction as you go.

It’s worth looking into the C3 option if you’re visiting a CityPASS destination for a short stay.

City Pass VIP Access is the Real Deal

However, if you’re worried you don’t have the stamina to visit those many attractions within the nine (or three) day period, then it might not be worthwhile for you to invest in a CityPASS booklet. Unless of course, you’re willing to pay extra for VIP access, even knowing you won’t use all the tickets.

Being able to bypass most line-ups at main entrances to museums, events and attractions is really handy if you want to visit several spots in one day or if you’re travelling with small children or people with mobility issues.

At the CN Tower or the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, queues during peak season can be an hour or longer. Losing your place in line or standing outside in the hot sun on busy Bloor street (in the case of the Royal Ontario Museum) can really put a damper on a day’s outing.

Personally, when I’m travelling with my grandchildren or elderly parents, the convenience of avoiding line-ups is a major advantage of using a city pass. With the kids, quite often, no sooner do we get to the front of the line than one or all of them need to get to a washroom.  Since I’m often travelling with them as the solo adult in the group, that generally means we lose our place in line.

How to Get the Most Benefit From a CityPASS

One way to increase the likelihood of being able to see as many sights as possible within the nine day window is to combine a CityPASS ticket booklet with one of the Hop on, Hop off Sightseeing Tours. They’re available in almost each city and while they can seem expensive compared to using the TTC or public transit, they are super convenient as a way of getting to major attractions as they often go directly there so no transfers are needed.

With the NYC CityPASS one of the options in the attraction ticket booklet is even a Circle City Sightseeing Tour.

Updated: May 2018


Disclosure: By providing handy links to affiliates such as Amazon, advertisers and hotel booking sites, we may earn a small commission. Our opinions are our own and we only link to products we think readers will enjoy. Read more on our Disclosure Page.  

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Should you buy a CityPass discount attraction booklet? Get tips on participating cities, the discounts, VIP access and information on when you should buy a CityPASS and when you shouldn't.

Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 69 comments
  • Carol Perehudoff
    Reply

    Can you believe it? I’ve never been to Casa Loma. Now I have an excuse to go.

    • marie w
      Reply

      I would love love love to win Cps for San Fran

  • Lesley Peterson
    Reply

    CityPASS really saved me a lot of time and money in New York City last fall. I blew past the lineups at the Met Museum and was thrilled to be able to upgrade, for only $5, my boat cruise tour option to completely circumnavigate Manhattan, a thrilling experience! If I were lucky enough to win a CityPASS I’d like to win one for San Francisco.

  • Sherel Purcell
    Reply

    Recently, discovered the San Francisco CityPass is particularly good as it includes seven days of travel on MUNI including cable cars, regular city buses and light rail in addition to top notch attractions in Golden Gate Park.

  • Em
    Reply

    Would love a citypass for Hollywood

    • em
      Reply

      I saw Hollywood as one of the choices before but now it’s gone so I’m picking San Francisco

  • Lindsay
    Reply

    I’d love to win a CityPass for Tampa!

  • monica g
    Reply

    I used CityPass in Seattle and had a great time.

  • Lisa
    Reply

    This city is so expensive, citypass would help me out immensely in making fun affordable!

  • Nils
    Reply

    A citypass for Toronto would be amazing, so I could bring my friends to some great attractions!

  • esperanza
    Reply

    All the destinations sound great but I think I would like to start with exploring Toronto as it is so new to me

  • Kristin Henning
    Reply

    Just curious, in what city is CityPass based, and how do they normally promote and sell? I’m from Minneapolis, where several museums and arts organizations cooperated to find a sponsor and create a similar thing on their own.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Hi Kristin…their headquarters is in Victor, Idaho and they sell online at Citypass.com

  • Nicole
    Reply

    I would love to win for Toronto.

  • Kim B
    Reply

    I’d love to win the City Pass for San Francisco! My boyfriend and I are planning a trip this summer and having a CityPass would be PERFECT!

  • Marlene V. (Enelram)
    Reply

    New York City

  • Patti Morrow
    Reply

    I’ve used CityPASS in several of those cities. Sometimes I’m only in a city for a few days, and I really want to get a good feel for what it has to offer so I can write something about it. Travel writers can usually get a free CityPASS by contacting them ahead of time and suggesting story angles or have LOA’s.

  • Maggie
    Reply

    I would like to win the Toronto pass – I have never been to the Ontario Science Centre and would like to take my son.

  • Marilyn Jones
    Reply

    CityPass is always such a great value!

  • Sumita Dalmia
    Reply

    I would love a CityPass for Atlanta!!

  • Sumita Dalmia
    Reply

    I’ve wanted to hit all of the Atlanta hot spots!

  • KRisten Kellogg
    Reply

    I used a City Pass in Chicago and had such a great time! I’d love to experience one in NYC or Boston in the future!

  • May
    Reply

    I would love to win the Toronto CityPass!

  • Jenn
    Reply

    I’d LOVE to visit Casa Loma this summer. Can’t believe I haven’t been yet!

  • noelmorata
    Reply

    Well I’ve never tried a City Pass, perhaps my first time out will be lucky with a free pass 🙂

  • Michelle
    Reply

    I’ve never had a CityPass. What an awesome perk!

  • Maggie C
    Reply

    I would love to win the Toronto CityPass please!

  • Doreen Pendgracs
    Reply

    Yes, we had a City Pass in San Francisco and it was great! It is an excellent way to see a multitude of sights and just pay once.

  • Josie
    Reply

    Hi Michelle,
    Any excuse for more travel is a very good thing. Thanks for this opportunity. Would love to get up to Toronto!
    Josie

  • Sandi Tymchuk
    Reply

    New York City’s would motivate me to visit!

  • BobbiJo Pentney
    Reply

    I would love the Toronto one.

  • Irene S Levine
    Reply

    What you get to the front of the line, the City Pass sure makes you feel like a VIP!

  • Kelly D
    Reply

    I would like the one from Philadelphia.

  • Kay Dougherty
    Reply

    I moved to Florida 6 months ago. I’d love to see one for Miami even though it’s two hours away I would be motivated to go if they had a pass. Good contest – thanks!

  • Michelle
    Reply

    I would love a City Pass for New York! Thanks for this contest!

  • Tiffany Hartwell
    Reply

    I would love one for Chicago!

  • Sunshine G
    Reply

    Would love one for Seattle!

  • anna key
    Reply

    I would love the seattle citypass! 🙂

  • Fan R
    Reply

    I’d live CityPASS for Toronto.

  • Fiona Mullins
    Reply

    I would like to win for Toronto

  • ben
    Reply

    I want to win citypass for Hollywood so badly 🙂

  • Sherri
    Reply

    I would love to win a pass for New York!

  • beth
    Reply

    either chicago or new york

  • Tim Nelson
    Reply

    CityPASS in Boston = a summer of fun!

  • christine reyes
    Reply

    I’d get the Seattle one! Even though I live nearby, there are still a ton of things I haven’t done for numerous reasons.

  • Robyn B.
    Reply

    The CityPASS for Toronto!!

  • Carly D.
    Reply

    I would love to win the Boston one!

  • eryn
    Reply

    hope to win – would be perfect for our family vacation in California! thank you 🙂

  • Peg
    Reply

    Would love a City Pass for SF or SoCal!

  • Shelby
    Reply

    Toronto

  • Yuen C
    Reply

    I want a Toronto citypass!

  • Marie Wausnock
    Reply

    going to SAN FRAN for the 1st time and CITYPASSES would take me to where I want to go and help me save some $$$…fingers are crossed

  • jessica edwards
    Reply

    atlanta

  • Marie W
    Reply

    san fran city pass and me would be perfect together

  • Momma kitty
    Reply

    That’s a tough choice! I’d definitely enjoy the Toronto pass for a fun stay-cation, though it would be fun to take a real vacation to New York or San Fran if I won! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Eldon
    Reply

    Toronto one

  • Gina
    Reply

    With Spring in the air, I am excited to explore my city (Toronto) again. Good luck to everyone!

  • Clare
    Reply

    We’ve purchased city pass for NYC for our upcoming trip of the US – a citypass for Boston would really make our trip fantastic.

  • Roger
    Reply

    I’d love to win some CityPasses considering I’ve only been to three of the cities listed. Three for Seattle please!!

  • Marie Wausnock
    Reply

    no hashtags here…..just hoping to win city pass…would be sweet

  • Albert Peruzzo
    Reply

    New York City

  • Melanie F.
    Reply

    The one for Toronto please!

  • Bailey Dexter
    Reply

    I would love them for Toronto!

  • Nathan
    Reply

    It would be great to win and see some of these city attractions! Good luck everyone.

  • Hibbat Tariq
    Reply

    Would love to win the one for toronto- haven’t been to most of these places so would be nice. Thanks for the chance!!!

    Also, I’ll be going to Chicago soon so I don’t mind chicago or toronto.

  • Cveta K
    Reply

    I’m crossing my fingers that I win the Toronto City Pass! I would love to explore a bit more of Toronto now that the weather is perfect for exploring!

  • Kristina
    Reply

    I would love the San Fran one.

  • Victoria
    Reply

    I ♡ Toronto!

  • liz l
    Reply

    Houston or Atlanta

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