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Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the cities that is always a treat to visit and is on my people’s bucket lists of must-visit destinations. It’s a town with a rich history that doubles as a cultural and educational hotspot. Oh, Boston is also on the shortlist of the best sports cities in North America. Please read our full Boston CityPASS review to determine whether the pass is worth the price during your visit.
For the longest time, I’ve admired Beantown from afar. Not too long ago, though, I finally got to experience Boston firsthand. In the hopes of making the most of my experience, I decided to use the Boston CityPASS.
So, should you purchase the CityPASS before heading to Boston as well? Is the Boston CityPASS worth it? These are some of the important questions we’ll be answering in this review.
If you plan on making a tourist trip to Boston, you’ll without a doubt want to get an all-inclusive sightseeing pass of some description so you can save money on Boston’s top attractions. You can save as much as a mint rather than purchasing admission individually.
Boston CityPASS can be a great money saver, but here’s how it shakes out against the competition: Find out if booking a tour or seeing the city on your own with some help from a special pass will be the better move by reading on.
What is the Boston CityPASS?
Before we get into my experience using the Boston CityPASS, let’s first discuss what that product truly is. Think of CityPASS as a curator that compiles packages for you to experience key attractions for one low price. They look at one of the most popular metropolitan areas in the United States and choose what they think are some of its top attractions.
CityPASS then creates a ticket bundle containing passes for those attractions above. Aside from curating the Boston tourist attractions, CityPASS allows customers to save on vacation expenses.
The tickets included in the bundle are discounted. You won’t have to pay as much for those tickets as you would have if you purchased them directly at the location.
Key Features of the Boston CityPASS
Those destinations in question are the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium. You can also use your tickets for one of the Boston Harbor cruises.
CityPASS owners will also have the option of visiting either the Franklin Park Zoo or the Harvard Museum of Natural History. We’ll detail those attractions included in the CityPASS Boston later in this article, so stay tuned for that. For now, let’s talk more about pricing.
See Related: 2 Days in Boston Itinerary
Savings on the Boston CityPASS
CityPASS has done us the favor of outlining how much you could save if you use their service. Those savings could go towards your accommodations, food, or souvenirs! Here is a table showing the price and savings with the attraction pass:
|Boston||Adult (12+)||Child (3-11)|
Let’s assume you’re planning to visit the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, the Franklin Park Zoo, and the Boston Harbor cruise. To get tickets for all those attractions as an adult, you will probably have to pay (prices are subject to change, but they are accurate at the time of this writing) $120.65 – yeesh.
If you’re using CityPASS, you can secure tickets for all those attractions for $67. That’s a nearly 50 percent discount! The CityPASS costs $54 for kids, making it even more of a substantial discount if you have young’uns.
Knowing about those price points is important to many tourists. Many folks consider the Boston CityPASS vs. Go Boston card debate, and the conversation tilts in favor of the former when prices get mentioned. Online reviews speak for themselves.
Boston CityPASS Special Offers
Discounted access to some of Boston’s top attractions is not the only thing you get from your CityPASS. The service also presents buyers with an opportunity to jump on some deals.
During your visit to the Museum of Science, you can get discounts on some of that establishment’s top attractions. You can also enjoy a discount at the museum’s gift shop.
Also, expect a discount offer if you want souvenirs at the New England Aquarium. The Boston Harbor Cruises CityPASS offers a discount if you want to participate in the Whale Watch.
Lastly, you can purchase discounted souvenirs at the Franklin Park Zoo’s gift shop again. Your CityPASS purchase could also give you access to a behind-the-scenes tour while you’re at the zoo.
How to Purchase Your CityPASS
Getting your hands on a CityPASS is not that difficult, from my experience. Since the idea behind the service is to make traveling more affordable and convenient, it should be no surprise that accessing it is easy.
Check your email after you purchase the CityPASS. The tickets should be there if the transaction went through without any issues.
There are some great benefits to be had from purchasing a CityPASS package. Still, there are some things you should know before you push through with that purchase.
For instance, reservations are still required even if you’re buying a CityPASS. If you’re traveling during a busy time of the year, you must plan ahead. Other tourists may snag your slots otherwise.
The number of attractions you can visit using your CityPASS is also fairly limited. Returning to that Go City Boston vs. CityPASS Boston debate we touched on earlier, the former has a big advantage regarding accessible attractions.
You have more attractions if you get the all-inclusive pass from Go Boston. There are no Boston CityPASS duck boat tour deals sadly. However, you can include that in your itinerary if you have a Go Boston Card or are prepared to fork out the extra cash.
There are also limitations on how long you can use your CityPASS tickets. The validity period for your tickets is nine consecutive days. The timer starts the first day you use those tickets, and the day you use them is included in the tally. Buyers are also given one year from buying CityPASS to start using their tickets.
Attractions Included in the Boston CityPASS
Now it’s time for us to look at the attractions in your CityPASS if you’re touring through Boston. We already listed those attractions earlier, so let’s detail them further in the sections below.
The New England Aquarium
You don’t have to head to the sea if you want an up-close look at some incredible marine life. The New England Aquarium is already home to a fantastic collection of nautical creatures we rarely see. There is no shortage of incredible animals inside the New England Aquarium. Look at interesting inhabitants of the deep, including the lionfish, the balloonfish, and the Pacific sea nettle, while checking out the aquarium’s giant tanks.
You may even spot some sea turtles swimming around as you walk by. Some of these turtles have been at the New England Aquarium for a long time, and they’ve grown very comfortable there, enjoying near-celebrity status.
Also present at the New England Aquarium are some adorable amphibious animals. The adorable amphibians in question are penguins and seals, each with buckets of personality.
By the way, the New England Aquarium is also home to some green anacondas. If you’re up for seeing one in person, you should definitely set aside some time for a tour of the New England Aquarium.
Seeing the green anaconda there is undoubtedly one of the most memorable experiences of my trip and is one of the more fun things to do in Boston!
The Museum of Science, Boston
The Museum of Science, Boston, is home to many interesting exhibits. You can start your tour of the museum by traveling into the past. Look at the dinosaur fossils on display and imagine what life was like when they roamed the land.
The Arctic Adventure exhibit is another one worth your time if you’ve long been curious about that largely underexplored area of the world. While checking out that exhibit, you may see some arctic wildlife.
Sometimes, you don’t have to look far to find a subject of great interest. The Museum of Science’s Hall of Human Life touches on biology and how our bodies can do what they do. Gain a newfound appreciation for yourself by spending some time at that exhibit.
Numerous other exhibits at the museum are devoted to topics such as mathematics, engineering, the celestial bodies, and so much more. Go ahead and visit them if you have the time. Visitors should also know that the museum is home to some traveling exhibits. That means you may see something different every time you visit there using your CityPASS.
See Related: Do You Need a Car in Boston?
The Boston Harbor Cruises
Pack up your favorite travel accessories for your upcoming Boston Harbor cruise. The cruise typically involves a Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park tour.
There are so many things for you to see while the ferry slowly moves along the islands near Boston. Make sure you have some good binoculars so you don’t miss any of them.
The 34 islands that make up the park are quite varied. Some of them have been transformed so they are better suited to accommodate guests. Others have remained relatively untouched, which makes them fun spots for experienced campers.
You may not have time for camping during your trip, but it’s something to remember for subsequent visits.
The Franklin Park Zoo
The Franklin Park Zoo introduces guests to the amazing examples of wildlife that roam our world. Exploring the Franklin Park Zoo is especially fun because you see different animals in varied environments.
Head to the Kalahari Kingdom and introduce yourself to the African lions. You’ll immediately understand why they’re known as the kings of the jungle after seeing them in their habitat.
The Outback Trail exhibit allows you to get a glimpse of animal life down under. Inhabiting the Outback Trail are emus, kookaburras, and, of course, the kangaroos.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Tropical Forest exhibit as well. While you’re there, you’ll see hippos, lemurs, and gorillas. The exhibit truly does take on a tropical feel that makes the experience of being there even more memorable.
There are also some seasonal exhibits at the zoo. Inquire about them beforehand if there are particular animals you want to see.
See Related: Is Boston Safe to Visit?
The Harvard Museum of Natural History
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is in the running to be considered among the best museums in the country. It constantly bombards you with fascinating exhibits.
By visiting the Harvard Museum of Natural History, you better understand the world around you. Learn about the microbes invisible to the naked eye that have shaped our world. Also housed within the museum are exhibits that spotlight insects and their unique qualities.
Some of my favorite exhibits at the museum are the ones devoted to the mineral makeup of our planet as well as climate change. Checking out those exhibits puts into perspective just how special the world is and why we need to do more to save it from climate change’s destructive effects.
Boston CityPASS Reviews
Beyond our experience with the attraction pass, the Boston CityPASS has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from travelers and locals alike. TripAdvisor users have given the CityPASS an average rating of 4.0 stars out of 5, with many praising its value and convenience.
Customers on Viator have similarly given the pass high marks, noting that it covers some of the best attractions in the city at a great price.
Overall, it seems clear that people agree that the Boston CityPASS is an excellent way to explore all Boston has to offer without breaking your budget or missing out on any of the best attractions in town.
See Related: Things to do in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
The Pros and Cons of the Boston CityPASS
We’re nearing the end of the review, but before we draw things to a close, let’s highlight some pros and cons of purchasing a CityPASS.
Pros of Boston CityPASS
- Significant savings on ticket purchases
- Good selection of Boston-based attractions
- Some discounts for gift shops are provided
- Tickets are delivered directly to your email address
- Buying the CityPASS online is easy
Cons of Boston CityPASS
- Some of the signature Boston attractions are not included
- Reservations may be required depending on when you intend to travel
- Ease of Use – 5/5
- Features – 3/5
- Customer Service – 4/5
- Value for Money – 5/5
See Related: Do You Need a Car in Boston?
Boston CityPASS Review: Is It Worth It?
Ultimately, deciding whether you’ll like the Boston CityPASS is your level of interest in the included attractions. The CityPASS is very convenient and budget-friendly. But if you don’t like the attractions, then those benefits will not matter.
As someone who likes museums and wildlife, I feel I got the most out of my CityPASS. Even so, I understand those who believe that alternatives such as the Go Boston pass provide a better deal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When Is the Busy Season for CityPASS Purchases?
Unsurprisingly, the busy season for CityPASS purchases coincides with the summer and other extended holiday stretches. Reserving your tickets ahead of time is a must if you’re traveling during those times of the year.
How Long Has the CityPASS Been Around?
The CityPASS has been around since 1997. It was first launched on the West Coast that year, with San Francisco and Seattle as the target locations.
Other CityPass Reviews.
- Orlando CityPASS Review
- Seattle CityPASS Review
- Tampa Bay CityPASS Review
- San Francisco CityPASS Review
- Chicago CityPASS Review
- Denver CityPASS Review
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- Where to Stay in Salem
- Best Day Trips from Boston
- Haunted Hotels in Salem
Ease of Use9.0/10
Value for Money9.0/10
- Significant Savings on Ticket Purchases
- Good Selection of Boston-Based Attractions
- Some Discounts for Gift Shops
- Tickets Are Delivered Directly
- Buying the CityPASS Online Is Easy
- Some Signature Boston Attractions Are Not Included
- Reservations May Be Required
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.