In this Atlanta CityPASS review, we’ll explore how this sightseeing pass works, what it offers, and whether it provides a good value for you. Enjoy!
Do your upcoming travel plans include a stop in Atlanta? This southern gem has a rich history, a diverse culture, and a vibrant sightseeing scene.
Whether you’re interested in history, sports, cultural icons, or nature there’s something for everybody to enjoy in The ATL.
Like most major cities, sightseeing in Atlanta doesn’t come cheap. To make the most of your time and money while you’re there, I have a potential solution for you – the Atlanta CityPASS.
Let’s take a look!
Atlanta CityPASS: How it Works
The Atlanta CityPASS is a sightseeing card designed to save you money on some of the best attractions in Atlanta. The pass sells for a set price and offers admission to five of Atlanta’s top seven attractions. Three of the attractions are included on every pass while you’ll have the option of choosing from two of the other four options.
As you might expect, the price of the pass is less than cost of regular admission at the included attractions. In fact, if you visit all five attractions, you’ll save up to 40% on admission fees using the Atlanta CityPASS.
Like the Seattle CityPASS, the Atlanta CityPASS comes as a physical ticket booklet. When you purchase it online, you can receive your booklet in the mail or opt for a voucher that you’ll later exchange for a booklet.
Once you have your booklet, you activate it by presenting it at your first attraction. For some attractions, the ticket in the booklet is your actual ticket for the attraction – allowing you to skip the ticket line. At others, you’ll need to exchange the ticket in the booklet for an entry ticket before heading inside. Don’t worry, instructions for each attraction are located on the back of the corresponding ticket.
Once you visit your first attraction, the Atlanta CityPASS is valid for nine consecutive days. That gives you plenty of time to check out the attractions you’ve selected.
Top Attractions Included on the Atlanta CityPASS
The Atlanta CityPASS includes entry to five of the seven hottest attractions in Atlanta. Every pass includes:
- Georgia Aquarium ($45.95)
- World of Coca-Cola ($17)
- CNN Studio Tours ($15)
Plus your choice of:
- Zoo Atlanta ($25.99) or Center for Civil and Human Rights ($19.99)
- Fernbank Museum of Natural History ($20) or College Football Hall of Fame ($21.99)
While the attractions you choose will ultimately depend on your own personal preferences, these are all great options worth checking out.
As you can see, the regular admission prices to some of these places are pretty steep (Georgia Aquarium, I’m looking at you). Luckily, you can save up to 40% with the Atlanta CityPASS.
How Much Does the Atlanta CityPASS Cost?
Now that you know what attractions are on the table, let’s take a look at the cost of the Atlanta CityPASS.
|Passes||Atlanta CityPASS Price||Regular Price of Attractions||Savings with Pass|
|*Prices current as of March 11, 2019|
As you can see, the Atlanta CityPASS saves you 40% off the regular price of admission when you visit all five attractions and choose the most expensive options with your either/or choices. (If you’re counting, that would be the College Football Hall of Fame and Zoo Atlanta.)
Even if you visit the two attractions with slightly lower prices, you’d still save 36% by using the pass. Regardless, I call that a pretty good value.
Think about it this way: If you visited only the Aquarium plus any other two attractions, the Atlanta CityPASS would pay for itself and save you some money. Visit a fourth attraction, you’re saving even more. Visit all five and you’re saving up to 40% off the cost of regular admission.
Here’s my take: If you’re confident you’ll visit at least four of these attractions (including the Aquarium), the Atlanta CityPASS is a good deal for you.
Atlanta CityPASS Attraction Guide
Before you take the plunge, you might want to know a little bit about each of the attractions featured on the Atlanta CityPASS. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Whether you’re interested in beluga whales, whale sharks, penguins, dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, or exotic fish, you’ll find them all at the Georgia Aquarium’s massive exhibits. A treat for the whole family, this aquarium is one of the largest in the world.
The Atlanta CityPASS hooks you up with entry to the main galleries, the two special exhibits (AT&T Dolphin Celebration and Sea Lions: Under the Boardwalk), and the 4D Funbelievable Theatre. As an added bonus, if you already have your booklet, you can save time by skipping the main ticket line.
World of Coca-Cola
Learn the history of America’s most iconic beverage at the World of Coca-Cola. You’ll get to explore some Coca-Cola artifacts dating back as far as 125 years, witness the bottling process, and see the vault that’s home to Coke’s secret formula. Adults and kids will enjoy the Taste It! Lounge where they can sample Coca-Cola beverages from around the world.
Your Atlanta CityPASS booklet allows you to skip the ticket line and head straight through security. If you have the voucher, you need to exchange it for a booklet at the ticketing window. In case you’re thirsty, admission includes a free Coca-Cola.
CNN Studio Tours
For a special behind-the-scenes look at how a news broadcast is produced, enjoy a 50-minute guided tour of CNN’s world headquarters. There’s even a chance you might witness a real broadcast! Other fun perks include a giant escalator and an interactive studio where you can see yourself on the big news screen.
The Atlanta CityPASS saves you money on admission to CNN Studio Tours, but it won’t help you skip the line. Whether you’re carrying a voucher or your ticket booklet, you’ll have to present it at the box office to get a timed-ticket. Since this tour is exceptionally popular and often sells out, it is recommended that you call ahead to reserve your spot.
Zoos are usually a favorite among kids, and Zoo Atlanta doesn’t disappoint. There are more than 1,000 animals to visit, including twin giant pandas, a huge population of great apes, and a rare Guatemalan bearded lizard! Kids will love the opportunity to get hands-on at the petting zoo, too.
With your Atlanta CityPASS ticket booklet, you can save some time by using the express entry gate.
Center for Civil and Human Rights
A more serious attraction, the Center for Civil and Human Rights offers visitors insight into the American Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s. Exhibits include art, videos, and interactive touchscreens. The biggest highlight is probably a showcase of personal effects that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This attraction is a must-see for history buffs!
Sorry, no skipping the line this time. Head to the ticket window with your Atlanta CityPASS booklet or voucher.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Dinosaurs? Check. Giant sloth? Check. Live animal exhibits? Check. It’s all at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. There are tons of hands-on activities for kids, and 75 acres of outdoor exhibits to explore.
You can present your Atlanta CityPASS voucher or ticket booklet at the box office to gain entry. Note that the pass does not include access to the Giant Screen Theatre. If you want to see a Giant Screen movie, there’s a coupon in the ticket booklet that gets you admission for $5 – that’s $8 less than the regular price of entry.
College Football Hall of Fame
The Atlanta CityPASS includes something for sports fans, too! The College Football Hall of Fame is one spot that any football fanatic will love. Check out helmets from more than 765 college teams on the massive Helmet Wall. Tour the indoor playing field. Learn about the history of the game through captivating exhibits. Get interactive and test out your own football skills. You can also catch a 4K film in the Game Day Theatre while you’re there.
The Atlanta CityPASS gets you access to all of it. Just present your ticket booklet or voucher at the will call window, and you’re good to go.
Benefits of the Atlanta CityPASS
- Buy the Pass and Save Cash – As I mentioned above, the Atlanta CityPASS saves you up to 40% off the price of admission to the included attractions. Even visiting just four attractions (including the Aquarium) is basically like getting at least one ticket for free. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?
- Skip the Line and Save Time – Waiting in ticket lines is a drag, and – with the Atlanta CityPASS – you can skip the line at three of the seven attractions. You do need to have your ticket booklet (not just the voucher) in hand to do this. My advice is to exchange your voucher for a ticket booklet at one of the attractions that don’t offer streamlined entry before heading to the ones that do.
- Additional Discounts – The Atlanta CityPASS ticket booklet includes more than just tickets. If you’re interested in seeing all seven attractions, you’ll be pleased to know the booklet includes coupons for $3 off admission to Zoo Atlanta, Center for Civil and Human Rights, College Football Hall of Fame, and $4 off the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. There’s also a $5 Giant Screen movie ticket you can redeem at the Museum of Natural History. Other savings include gift shop coupons and discounted rides at the zoo.
- Valid for 9 Days – Once you activate your card, the Atlanta CityPASS is valid for 9 days. That’s plenty of time to check out all five attractions without feeling rushed.
Where the Atlanta CityPASS Falls Short
The pass itself offers great value, and I don’t have any beef with the price or the savings.
In terms of selection, there’s something there for everybody – nature lovers, science nerds, history buffs, sports fans, adults, and kids.
The only thing that really annoys me about the Atlanta CityPASS is that you need to carry a physical ticket booklet. That’s an extra item to carry around on vacation and something else to worry about losing. What’s more, you can’t tear out your own tickets. Seriously, if you do, they may be considered void. What a waste of money that would be, right?
It just seems like an old-school way of doing things. While they do have electronic vouchers available to pick up your booklet, I’d love to see those work as your entry ticket. It seems like that would be a relatively easy fix, considering they’re already using the technology in a different way.
Here is the good news: The makers of CityPASS have recently started offering mobile tickets for other cities – like with the Chicago CityPASS. If the trend continues and they roll out these changes for the Atlanta CityPASS, that would be awesome.
Who Should Consider the Atlanta CityPASS?
- First-time visitors – If it’s your first time in Atlanta, you’ll probably want to do some sightseeing. The Atlanta CityPASS offers a nice selection of spots to visit.
- Families – There’s enough variety included with the pass to satisfy adults and kids, and the savings are good for both age groups. Depending on the attractions selected, a family of four would save about $180 with the Atlanta CityPASS. Savings like that are hard to pass up!
- Travelers who will visit the Aquarium + 3 other attractions – The Georgia Aquarium is by far the most expensive attraction on the pass. Its regular price of $45.95 accounts for more than half the cost of the pass itself. If you’ll visit the Aquarium + 2 other attractions, you’ll save a little. Visit the Aquarium + 3, you’ll essentially be getting your fourth attraction free. If you visit all 5, you’re laughing all the way to the bank!
- Travelers who like to spread out their sightseeing – The Atlanta CityPASS is valid for nine days after you activate it, so that’s plenty of time to see five attractions at your own pace.
Who Should Skip the Atlanta CityPASS?
- Anyone not interested in the Georgia Aquarium – In terms of admission costs, the Aquarium is by far the most valuable attraction included on the pass. If you skip the Aquarium and visit everything else, you’re only saving $4. I mean, I’d rather save $4 than spend it. Still, I don’t think the pass is worth it unless you’ll visit the Aquarium.
- Travelers who won’t visit 4 attractions – Like I said before, if you visit the Aquarium + 2 attractions, you’ll save a little money – between $2 and $16, depending on your choices. That’s not bad, but to get some real savings, you need to visit the Aquarium + at least 3.
- Anyone not into sightseeing – If sightseeing isn’t your jam, then don’t waste your money on a sightseeing pass. That’s a no-brainer.
Tips for Using the Atlanta CityPASS
Don’t Skip the Georgia Aquarium – I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but hopefully, you’re getting the message. The Aquarium is the most expensive item on the pass and a visit there counts for a substantial portion of its value.
Visit All 5 Attractions – To get maximum value from the Atlanta CityPASS, visit all 5 attractions. Duh.
Choose Zoo Atlanta and the College Football Hall of Fame – These two attractions have higher regular prices than their alternatives, so choosing them provides the best bang for your buck. It’s that combination that saves you the 40%. Of course, if you’re more interested in the Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Natural History Museum, there’s nothing wrong with saving 36% either.
Do Not Rip Out Your Tickets – I can’t stress this enough. If you do, they’ll be useless and you’ll be ripping mad. Just don’t do it.
Retrieve Your Booklet at an Attraction that Doesn’t Have Streamlined Entry – To exchange your voucher for a ticket booklet, you have to line up at the ticket window of the first attraction you visit. Make sure it’s one of the four attractions that doesn’t offer streamlined entry. That way you won’t forfeit any time savings.
How to Get an Atlanta CityPASS
If you’re convinced the Atlanta CityPASS is for you, getting hooked up is a breeze. Buy yours online here.
At that point, you’ll have the option of downloading a voucher that you’ll exchange later, or you can have your physical ticket booklet mailed directly to you. If you have the booklet mailed, you don’t have to bother exchanging the voucher. All the same, I’d rather opt for the voucher and keep it on my mobile phone (you can also print it if you prefer). I prefer the electronic voucher because it’s one less thing to worry about packing and one less thing to keep track of.
It’s great to purchase the Atlanta CityPASS in advance, but don’t wait too long to exchange your voucher for a booklet. Once you’ve paid, you have six months to exchange the voucher for a ticket booklet. According to their website, a booklet you buy today will expire at the end of February 2019. I’m not sure if anyone buys sightseeing passes that far in advance, but consider yourself warned!
Final Thoughts: Is the Atlanta CityPASS a Good Deal?
So, is the Atlanta CityPASS for you? Maybe.
If you’re heading to Atlanta and plan to visit the included attractions, the Atlanta CityPASS is a great deal that will save you around $50 per adult. Even if you’ll only visit four of the included attractions, provided the Aquarium is one of them, I’d recommend grabbing the pass.
Thanks so much for reading! Have fun in Atlanta and happy traveling!