City passes are often a great way to save time and money while you travel. A “city pass” is a sightseeing card that provides free or reduced admission to the most popular tourist attractions in a particular city. Some city passes also include discounts on select dining, shopping, and other forms of entertainment.
Most major European and U.S. cities offer at least one sightseeing pass, while many have several you can choose from. Keep in mind, though, that not all city passes are created equal. The amount of savings varies from city to city and may even differ between passes from the same parent company. Additionally, some cards include access to public transportation while others do not. Even if you’ve used sightseeing passes before, it’s a good idea to make sure a specific city pass fits your plans before each new journey.
All things considered, a sightseeing pass is a convenient item to have in your pocket. Each card typically includes admission to that city’s top attractions, making them a great fit for heavy sightseers and first-time visitors. Most city passes also include “fast track entry” which can save you from hours of waiting in line at popular attractions. And as any experienced traveler can tell you, when traveling, your time is practically as valuable as your money.
Speaking of value, most city passes pay for themselves… although some do not. As a general rule of thumb, the longer the length of the pass, the more value it provides. I’ve found, with most passes, visiting 2 or 3 attractions a day usually covers the cost of the pass plus some.
Best City Passes of 2018
Now that you know what city passes are, let’s take a look at some of our favorites. Listed below are several of the best sightseeing passes for popular travel destinations throughout Europe and the U.S., grouped by region to help you out. We’ve also included links to our complete reviews of each pass, filled with all the info you need to decide if a certain pass is right for you.
City Pass Reviews: Europe
London Pass Review – London is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It’s also one of the most expensive. The London Pass is a great way to save money while sightseeing in the U.K.’s capital city. With access to over 60 of London’s most popular sites, this card provides a great value to anybody visiting between 2 and 3 sites a day. You’ll gain free entry to places like Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, and Windsor Castle. There’s even an option to include your transportation, which is a nice perk. Quite frankly, the London Pass is one of the best sightseeing passes anywhere. I’d highly recommend it to anybody visiting London, especially first-timers. Follow the link above to read our review and learn more.
London Explorer Pass Review – As an alternative to the London Pass, the London Explorer Pass includes free entry to 20 of London’s biggest attractions. While the London Pass is better for most travelers, those who want to tour London at a slower pace may find the London Explorer Pass to be a better value. Offered in 3, 5, and 7 attraction options, this multi-attraction pass allows you to pay for only the attractions you use. It also includes a few sites not on the London Pass, so purchasing both passes is also an option. This pass will definitely save you money, but is it the best pass for you? Use the link above to read our full review and find out.
Rome & Vatican Card Review – The Rome and Vatican Card is actually two city passes combined into one – the Roma Pass and the OMNIA Vatican Card. Together, these passes provide free entry to select Rome and Vatican attractions, making them a great fit for those wanting to visit both. You also get to use Rome’s bus and subway system for free. Most importantly, this combo pass provides “fast track entry” at Rome and Vatican City’s busiest sites, which can literally save you hours of standing in line. (Trust me, lines are long even during the “slow season.”) There are a few quirks to be aware of (like scheduling your visit to the Vatican Museum), so use the link above to read our review and find out more.
Paris Pass Review – No matter the time of year, ticket lines at the top attractions in Paris are always long. If you’re visiting any museums, a Paris sightseeing pass is a must. The Paris Pass helps you skip past the queues and save oodles of valuable time. This convenient city card is actually a museum pass, an attractions pass, and a travel card wrapped into one. But beware – the Paris Pass definitely isn’t right for everybody. Our review explains how the pass works, evaluates the costs, and explores whether the pass is a good deal for you. We also compare the Paris Pass to other options, helping you determine if it’s the best fit for your travel style. Use the link above to read our full review and learn more.
Berlin Pass Review – Berlin is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Europe. The Berlin Pass is a convenient option for first-time visitors and sightseers wanting to make the most of their visit. This pass includes admission to more than 60 of Berlin’s most popular museums, tours, and attractions. You can also add a travel card to the pass, allowing you unlimited use of the city’s public transit system. As with all passes, it’s not right for every travel style. Follow the link above to check out our complete review and determine if it’s a good deal for you.
Dublin Pass Review – Dublin is a wonderful city that feels relatively small when compared to other major European hubs. Most of Dublin’s top attractions are located within a 10 minute walk of the city center, making it easy to thoroughly explore the city in just a few days. Of course, if you’ve only got a few days to see Dublin, it’s important to save as much time as you can. Luckily, the Dublin Pass features “fast track entry” to some of Dublin’s busiest sites – like the Guinness Storehouse. It also includes a hop-on hop-off bus tour, which is a great way for first-time visitors to experience the city. This pass is a good value for most, but it may not fit everybody’s needs. Be sure to read our review to see if it’s for you.
Barcelona Pass Review – Barcelona is one of the most popular travel destinations in all of Europe. Although Barcelona is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the continent, hitting the sand isn’t the only thing to do there. The city is known for its unique architecture and fantastic museums. With guided tour options, fast-track entry, and access to over 20 of Barcelona’s top tourist destinations, the Barcelona Pass is definitely worth your consideration. Read our complete review to find out if it fits your Barcelona travel plans.
Other European Sightseeing Passes
- The Stockholm Pass
- The Vienna Pass
- The Amsterdam Pass
- The Helsinki Card
- The Gothenburg Pass
- The Paris Explorer Pass
City Pass Reviews: United States
New York Pass Review – If you’re traveling to New York City, you should definitely consider the New York Pass. Like London, New York is expensive – very expensive. Entry fees at most sites hover around $30 per adult. The New York Pass offers free entry to over 90 attractions, including the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, the Statue of Liberty, and many more. By getting a pass that’s good for 3 days or longer, you can save hundreds of dollars (per person) by visiting just 2 to 3 attractions a day… and these are places you’re probably going anyway! Additionally, this pass offers entry to more than 15 guided tours, something you don’t find on most other city passes. The New York Pass is a superb value and should be in your pocket if you plan to do any sightseeing in New York. Check out our full review for more details.
Chicago CityPASS Review – You can save hundreds of dollars on sightseeing in Chicago with the Chicago CityPASS. With this pass, you get to choose 5 of Chicago’s top 7 attractions to visit. We’re talking about places like the Field Museum, Willis Tower, Shedd Aquarium and more. Here’s the best part: You’ll save up to 54% off the regular admission price. Seriously, this pass is superb. Follow the link to learn all about it!
Go Chicago Card Review – If you’re looking for a more all-inclusive card for your Chicago vacation, the Go Chicago Card is it. This pass includes entry to 25 of Chicago’s best attractions and is meant to be used on a consecutive day basis. You can visit as many of the sites as you like during the time your card stays active. It’s another great way to see the top spots in Chicago for less. Read our full review by following the link above.
Las Vegas Pass Review – Want things to do in Vegas that don’t involve sitting at the blackjack table or wandering around casinos? The Las Vegas Pass may be for you. With entry included to over 50 of the best tours and attractions in Las Vegas, this card aims to help you see more of Sin City than just the strip. The pass runs on a consecutive day basis, and certain passes even include some really “big ticket” items not normally found on a sightseeing pass. Follow the link above to learn if this card can help you save.
New York City Explorer Pass Review – The New York City Explorer Pass is another great option for sightseeing in New York. Unlike the New York Pass, which works on a consecutive day basis, this includes admission for up to 10 of New York’s biggest attractions. Better yet, you can save up to 50% off regular admission prices. Valid for up to 30 days, this is a great option for seeing just a few sites or for slow traveling your way through the city. Use the link above to learn more!
New York CityPASS Review – Are you traveling to New York and want to visit just a few of the city’s most important sites? The New York CityPASS may be for you. This pass includes admission to 6 of New York’s 9 best tourist attractions. In my opinion, it’s best suited to those who have less than 2 days in New York, or for those who only want to visit just a few sites. Of course, you can also save some significant money by using it. Just follow the link above to learn if this pass is right for you!
Seattle CityPASS Review – If you’re traveling to Seattle, you should definitely consider getting the Seattle CityPASS. This card is a great way to enjoy sightseeing in Seattle for less. Like other passes under the CityPASS label, the Seattle CityPASS offers entry to 5 of the top 7 attractions in the city. In my opinion, it’s best for first-time visitors to the city and for those who want to check out the Space Needle and at least 2 other attractions. Learn more by using the link above to read our complete review!
Other U.S. & Canada Sightseeing Passes
- The New Orleans Pass
- CityPASS Atlanta
- CityPASS Boston
- CityPASS Dallas
- CityPASS Houston
- CityPASS Philadelphia
- CityPASS San Francisco
- CityPASS Southern California
- CityPASS Tampa Bay
- CityPASS Toronto
Final Thoughts on Using City Passes
Personally, I love using city passes – especially if it is my first time visiting a new city. These passes usually include entry to most of the major attractions, which helps me plan my travels and save money doing it. In fact, I always make sure to price out the value of a city pass before finalizing my itinerary.
As importantly, the “fast track entry” feature included on most passes saves me loads of time. Lines at major attractions can sometimes be hours long. Ain’t nobody got time for that! That’s why I consider a sightseeing pass with “skip the line” access an invaluable tool for making the most of my trip.
Remember, though, not all city passes are created equal… and a sightseeing pass may not be the best fit for each and every trip. Be sure to check out our reviews of each pass to determine if they fit with your travel plans. You’ll also want to bookmark this page and visit it often. We’ll add more passes to the list as we complete more reviews.
Above all, have a great time! We wish you the best on your travels and invite you to join along with ours. Be safe, have fun, and happy traveling!