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There’s more to Philadelphia than most non-locals assume. If it’s on your travel list, you’ll have no trouble planning an exciting few days of first-rate sightseeing.
You’ve got top-notch museums, a delightfully creepy abandoned prison, and quite possibly the most beautiful City Hall in the country. Plus, Philadelphia is steeped in American Revolution history, which you can learn about during one of the many tours of the city.
Also, two words: Philly cheesesteak.
There are some amazing things to do for free in Philadelphia, but there are just as many attractions that are kind of expensive. What’s a frugal traveler to do?
Enter the Go Philadelphia Pass. It can save you a bundle on sightseeing in Philly. Let’s check it out!
How the Go Philadelphia Pass Works
The Go Philadelphia Pass is an all-inclusive pass to more than 35 of Philly’s top attractions.
It’s available for one, two, three, or five consecutive calendar days and gets you unlimited entry to all the included attractions. You can visit as many as you like and in any order. Unless otherwise noted, you can visit each attraction once per day.
So why buy a pass when you can buy tickets at the gate? Good question.
Like all the best sightseeing passes, the Go Philadelphia Pass can save you money relative to gate prices – up to 50%. As a rule, the more you do, the more you save.
In addition to the savings, the Go Philadelphia Pass saves you time and hassle in two ways:
- You get to skip the ticket line at select attractions
- Your mobile pass and your free guidebook are at your fingertips on your smartphone
Attractions Included on the Go Philadelphia Pass
The Go Philadelphia Pass includes access to 36 Philly’s top attractions. Here are a few highlights, along with their regular adult gate prices:
- Big Bus Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour – $35
- Adventure Aquarium – $31.99
- Franklin Institute Science Museum – $23
- Eastern State Penitentiary – $16
- One Liberty Observation Deck – $21
- Philadelphia Zoo – $24.95
- History and Cheesesteak Tour – $29
- National Constitution Center – $14.50
- Museum of the American Revolution – $21
- Philadelphia Museum of Art – $20
- Barnes Foundation – $25
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center – $29.95
And those are just a few of the fun activities and sites. See the full list here.
*Prices current as of March 29, 2020
Go Philadelphia Pass Pricing
Now that you know how it works and what’s included, there’s one crucial detail missing: the price.
As I mentioned, the Go Philadelphia Pass is available for one, two, three, or five days. Here are the regular adult and child prices for each pass:
|Pass||Adult (ages 13+)||Child (ages 3–12)|
|*Current as of March 29, 2020|
Looking at these prices, it’s clear that the five-day pass offers the best value for your money. It works out to be just $32.80 a day for an adult and $23.60 for a child.
Let’s think about it this way: 19 of the 36 included attractions have a regular admission price of $20 or more. So as long as you stick to those higher-priced attractions, you would save money by visiting just two sites a day with the five-day pass.
And get this: If you bought the five-day pass and visited the 12 most expensive attractions, you’d save $186.84. That’s incredible!
That said, I suspect the three-day pass is the most popular option. And although I do recommend using the pass for the more expensive options, there are a couple of lower-priced attractions that are must-see, such as the Eastern State Penitentiary.
So what kind of real-life savings are you looking at? Let’s do another example.
Sample Three-Day Itinerary
Let’s say you buy the three-day pass and use it to visit nine attractions.
- HOHO Bus Tour ($35)
- Eastern State Penitentiary ($16)
- Philadelphia Zoo ($24.95)
- Barnes Foundation ($25)
- Franklin Institute Science Museum ($23)
- One Liberty Observation Deck ($21)
- Adventure Aquarium ($31.99)
- Museum of American Revolution ($21)
- Dark Philly Adult Night Tour ($29)
This itinerary works because it groups attractions together based on location and allows for two evening activities – One Liberty Observation Deck and Dark Philly Adult Night Tour (skip this one if you’re traveling with kids). It’s hard to fit in three attractions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless you rush through the museums.
The total cost of this itinerary without the pass would be $226.94. At full price, the three-day pass is $118, so you’d save $108.94. That’s 48% – fantastic!
Top Reasons to Get the Go Philadelphia Pass
Save Money on Admission
If it couldn’t save you money, I wouldn’t recommend it. But luckily, the Go Philadelphia Pass can save you up to 50% compared to gate prices. You save the most when you visit multiple attractions per day, choose the most expensive options, and go for the five-day pass. But honestly, as long as you visit at least two attractions per day and try to include some pricier options, you’re pretty much guaranteed to save money.
A possible exception is the one-day pass. Exercise caution with that one. It’s a good buy if you’re going to do the bus tour and a couple of attractions along the route, but it may not be worth it if you only do two attractions.
Tons of Tours
Like its sister pass, the Go Las Vegas Pass, the Go Philadelphia Pass includes an impressive lineup of tours. The Hop-On, Hop-Off (HOHO) Bus Tour is the flagship offering, including more than 25 stops and a live tour guide. HOHO bus tours are great because they serve two functions: you get to take in the city’s sites from an open-top, double-decker bus and you get to catch a ride to your next attraction. The tours are an especially awesome way to explore a new city for the first time.
The two-hour History in HD Walking Tour guides you through some of Philadelphia’s best-known sites and includes a free craft beer at the end. It’s the most expensive attraction on the pass, so including it in your itinerary will help you max out the pass’ value (the HOHO Bus Tour is the second-most expensive option, so the same applies).
I’m really digging the Go Philadelphia Pass’ spooky vibes…the Dark Philly Adult Night Tour shows you the R-rated version of the city’s history. And the Philadelphia Ghost Tour is a 90-minute ghost story tour of Independence Park and Society Hill. A lark any time of year, but perfect near Halloween! Because these tours take place at night, you can likely fit two or three other attractions in on the same day.
Lastly, there are a couple of tours geared toward foodies. The History and Cheesesteak Tour is basically a walking tour of the historic sites, but it lures you in with a Philly cheesesteak (which you obviously must try during your stay).
Even though the Go Philadelphia Pass includes a tour with “adult” in the name, there is no shortage of kid-friendly attractions. LEGOLAND is a big draw, but you’ll also find the Adventure Aquarium, Philadelphia Zoo, and several museums that should appeal to your little ones. And taking in the view from the One Liberty Observation Deck or touring the city on a HOHO bus is fun for all ages.
It may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of world-class museums, but Philadelphia boasts an exciting selection.
The pass includes 16 museums, as well as the famous Eastern State Penitentiary, which isn’t exactly a museum, but it’s a must-see exhibit, all the same. Popular choices include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute Science Museum, the National Constitution Center, and the Museum of the American Revolution.
Other Benefits of the Go Philadelphia Pass
Free Guidebook: The Go Philadelphia Pass includes a free guidebook that contains essential details for every attraction. You also get a map that highlights all the key tourist attractions, a copy of the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour route, and a guide to planning your trip to Philadelphia.
Mobile Pass: This is becoming the norm, but the Go Philadelphia Pass and the free guidebook are available digitally. That means all you need is your smartphone and you’re good to go. For people who like to carry as little as possible, this is super convenient.
Where the Go Philadelphia Pass Falls Short
The Go Philadelphia Pass offers great savings potential and includes and a well-rounded selection of museums, tours, and activities. To be honest, I can’t find much to complain about.
The one-day pass isn’t great, in my opinion. If you do the HOHO Bus Tour and a couple of pricier attractions, you will save money, but the other options offer better value.
Something else to consider is that the one-day pass doesn’t usually go on sale, whereas the other options do. I’d only opt for it if you only have one day in town and plan to make the most of it.
Who Should Buy the Go Philadelphia Pass?
First-Time Visitors: If you’ve never been to Philly, there are certain tourist attractions you know you’ll want to check off your bucket list. Things like the One Liberty Observation Deck, Eastern State Penitentiary, and the Rocky Steps (which happen to be in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art – you might as well check that out, too). The Go Philadelphia Pass offers it all at a discounted price.
Families: The Go Philadelphia Pass has an impressive number of family-friendly options. Adventure Aquarium, LEGOLAND, the Philadelphia Zoo, the HOHO Bus Tour, and the Franklin Institute Science Museum are excellent examples. These attractions happen to be on the expensive side, which means families who buy the pass are likely to get good value from it.
Power Sightseers: All-inclusive passes are best for people who enjoy busy days filled to the brim with sightseeing and attractions. This is for one simple reason: the more you do, the more you save. If you’re game to hit at least three attractions a day, you’ll save some serious money with the Go Philadelphia Pass.
Who Should Skip the Go Philadelphia Pass?
Travelers Who Prefer a Relaxed Pace: If the pass is best for power sightseers, it’s not so great for people who prefer to take their time. If consecutive jam-packed days sounds exhausting rather than fun, you won’t get good value from an all-inclusive pass. Something like the Philadelphia CityPASS may be a better option instead.
People Who Don’t Like Museums and Tours: The Go Philadelphia Pass includes 16 museums and 10 tours, so if those aren’t your cup of tea, you’ll be left with pretty limited options.
Those on a Restrictive Budget: You can save a nice bit of money with the Go Philadelphia Pass, but you still have to buy it. If you’re on a very tight budget, dropping $118 on the three-day pass may not be an option. If that’s the case, there are still some fun things you can check out in Philly for free. The Reading Terminal Market, the waterfront, the Liberty Bell, and the Rocky Steps are all cool examples.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Go Philadelphia Pass
- Visit Two to Three Attractions Per Day: Whether you’re using the New York Pass, London Pass, or the Go Philadelphia Pass the amount of money you save with an all-inclusive sightseeing card depends on how much you use it. You want to make sure the regular gate prices add up to more than you paid for the pass. Visiting at least two or three attractions each day ensures this, as long as you don’t choose the cheapest options. If you can fit more in, your savings will soar.
- Choose the More Expensive Attractions: To maximize the value you get from the Go Philadelphia Pass, try to choose some of the pricier options. The HOHO Bus Tour, the History in HD Walking Tour, and the Adventure Aquarium are all good examples that many people will gravitate toward anyway.
- Plan for Efficiency: To make the most of your time, plan to visit attractions that are near each other on the same day. For example, the Barnes Foundation is across the street from the Franklin Institute, so it makes sense to visit them on the same day. Not interested in both? Eastern State Penitentiary is a 10-minute walk up the street, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art is just 15 minutes away.
- Buy It on Sale: I’ve become a sightseeing pass expert, and here’s a major lesson I’ve learned: The Go Philadelphia Pass is always going on sale. It can save you money at regular price, but it will save you even more if you buy it on sale. For example, at the time of writing, the three-day pass was on sale for $11 off and the price of the five-day pass was slashed by $22. My advice? Buy it on sale.
How to Buy the Go Philadelphia Pass
If the Go Philadelphia Pass sounds like a good fit for you, you can buy it online here.
Once you’ve paid, you’ll get an email with your pass attached. From there, you have two options:
- Download your pass and use it on your smartphone with the free Go City Card app
- Download your pass and print a copy at home
Here are a few keys details you should know about:
- You can buy the pass in advance, but must activate it within a year of purchase. After that, it expires.
- If you change your mind within 30 days of purchase (but before activating it), you can get a full refund on the Go Philadelphia Pass.
Go Philadelphia Pass Review: Is It Worth the Money?
If you’re visiting Philadelphia, plan to do a lot of sightseeing, and don’t mind consecutive busy days, the Go Philadelphia Pass is a great buy and will save you money. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for people who fit that description!
Thanks so much for reading and enjoy Philadelphia!
Go Philadelphia Pass Review: Is It Worth the Money?
- Pass Options and Lengths
- Overall Value
Go Philadelphia Pass Review
The Go Philadelphia Pass includes entry to over 35 of the city’s best sites! Even better, it can save you time and money in the process.
Like with other all-inclusive passes, the more you use it, the more you save. Admission prices are included in the cost of the pass, and you can visit as many of the included attractions as you like. The Go Philadelphia Pass also includes several different tour options, providing you with even more value.
If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing in Philadelphia, we highly recommend checking out this pass.