Houston CityPASS Review 2024: Is It a Good Deal?

The Houston CityPASS offers entry to five of Houston's top attractions for less! In this review, we explain whether it's worth it for you.

This article may contain references to some of our advertising partners. Should you click on these links, we may be compensated. For more about our advertising policies, read our full disclosure statement here.

In this Houston CityPASS review, we explore what the pass offers, explain how it works, and determine if the Houston CityPASS is worth it for you. Enjoy!

Have you started planning your Houston itinerary? Even if you don’t love sightseeing, there are still some attractions you’ll want to check out while you’re there.

Although Houston is a relatively cheap vacation spot, the Houston CityPASS can help you cut your sightseeing costs in half! Yep, you can enjoy a savings of up to 49% off the price of admission. How’s that grab you?!?

So if you love travel AND saving money, consider giving this pass a try. Keep reading to learn if the Houston CityPASS might be worth it for you!

Houston CityPASS: How It Works

Houston CityPASS Logo

The Houston CityPASS is a sightseeing pass that covers admission to five out of seven major tourist attractions in Houston. One of these attractions is included on every pass, and you get to choose four of the other six options on the pass.

But let’s cut right to the chase: The Houston CityPASS can save you a lot of money. When used to its maximum potential, this pass can save you an impressive 49% on admission fees! That’s more than the savings on the Atlanta CityPASS or the Denver CityPASS…so I guess everything IS bigger in Texas!

The Houston CityPASS is valid for nine consecutive days once it’s used for the first time (including that day). This means you can take your time and spread out the fun.

After you buy the pass online, your tickets will be emailed to you. From there, you can use your mobile phone for entry or print paper copies of your tickets to scan at the entrance of each attraction.

Top Attractions Included on the Houston CityPASS

The Houston CityPASS includes entry to five major tourist attractions, but there are actually seven options available. Here are the available sights and their regular adult admission costs:

  • Space Center Houston ($29.95)
  • Downtown Aquarium ($17.31)
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science ($25)
  • Houston Zoo ($31)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston ($19)
  • Kemah Boardwalk ($28.13)
  • Children’s Museum of Houston ($17)

(*Current as of May 30, 2023)

How Much Does the Houston CityPASS Cost?

Want to know how much you’ll save? In the table below, you’ll find the adult and child Houston CityPASS prices and the total regular admission costs of the attractions.

PassesHouston CityPASS PriceRegular Admission CostTotal Savings
Adult (12+)$68.00$133.08$65.08 (49%)
Child (3-11)$56.00$104.59$48.59 (46%)
*Current as of May 30, 2023

See Houston for Less – Save up to 49% off the price of admission to 5 of Houston’s top 7 attractions with the Houston CityPASS! Get yours here.

Houston CityPASS Attractions Guide

Let’s take a closer look at the hot spots you can enjoy when you buy the Houston CityPASS.

Space Center Houston

The Houston CityPASS offers entry to five of Houston's top attractions for less! In this review, we explain whether it's worth it for you.
Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston is fascinating for all ages. You’ll see space shuttles, touch a real moon rock, and view a large collection of space suits. Take the NASA tram tour and see the facilities where astronauts train for trips to space. I’m excited just describing it – so cool.

  • Hot Tip: Book a time for the tram tour as soon as you arrive at the Space Center. Unsurprisingly, it’s super popular and fills up fast!

Downtown Aquarium

The Houston CityPASS offers entry to five of Houston's top attractions for less! In this review, we explain whether it's worth it for you.

The Aquarium Adventure Exhibit features 500,000-gallons with over 300 species of marine life from all over the world.

There are several exhibitions to check out:

  • Gulf Coast & Louisiana Bayou – Highlights include gators, snapping turtles, and bullfrogs.
  • Shipwreck – Explore a sunken ship and the marine life living among its wreckage. You can’t miss the giant Pacific octopus and the living coral reefs.
  • Rainforest – You might be surprised at what lurks in the waters of tropical rainforests: red-bellied piranhas and venomous stingrays!
  • Sunken Temple – “Ruins” of a lost Mayan civilization featuring a 20-foot Tiger Reticulated Python.
  • Stingray Reef – Touch and feed real stingrays – the kids will love it!

Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston CityPASS offers entry to five of Houston's top attractions for less! In this review, we explain whether it's worth it for you.

The Houston CityPASS includes general admission to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It’s home to 17 permanent exhibitions – make sure you give yourself time to see them all!

Morian Hall of Paleontology features prehistoric dinosaur skeletons, as you might expect. What’s different about this display is that the skeletons are arranged to show the predator-prey relationships in action. Much more exciting than standard museum fare.

Hall of Ancient Egypt explores the ancient civilization and culture. And get this: They have a real mummy!

Houston Zoo

The Houston CityPASS offers entry to five of Houston's top attractions for less! In this review, we explain whether it's worth it for you.
By Becker1999 from Grove City, OH (Houston Zoo 2010 #11) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Animal lovers will feel at home among the thousands of animals that reside at the Houston Zoo. Gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and howler monkeys – they’ve got ‘em. Snakes, reptiles, and amphibians – you’ll find them too. There are elephants, lemurs, cheetahs, jaguars, and even a clouded leopard! Don’t forget to also visit the Zoo’s Kipp Aquarium.

Kids will enjoy all the animals, but there’s a special section just for kids called the John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo. There’s also a Water Play Park featuring a friendly sea serpent and 37 ways to play.

  • Hot Tip: If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll want to use the Houston CityPASS for the zoo instead of the museum. The Museum of Fine Arts offers free admission to kids 12 and under. So, if you want to go to the museum, your kids can go for free and you can use the coupon in the ticket booklet instead.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Houston CityPASS offers entry to five of Houston's top attractions for less! In this review, we explain whether it's worth it for you.
Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll find a variety of high-quality artwork from around the world at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Collections include:

  • Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
  • American Painting and Sculpture
  • Antiquities
  • Arts of Asia
  • Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design
  • European Art
  • Film
  • Art of the Islamic Worlds
  • Latin American Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Photography
  • Prints and Drawings
  • Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation
  • Bayou Bend (house museum for early American decorative arts and paintings)
  • Rienzi (house museum for European decorative arts)

The Houston CityPASS includes access to permanent collections and non-ticketed special exhibitions (these vary throughout the year).

  • Hot Tip: The museum is closed on Mondays. Also note that the museum closes at 5pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So, if you’re a real art lover and plan to spend a full day viewing all the exhibits or want to visit later in the day, I recommend going Thursday – Sunday when the museum is open later (9pm on Thursdays; 7pm Friday-Sunday).

Kemah Boardwalk

The Houston CityPASS offers entry to five of Houston's top attractions for less! In this review, we explain whether it's worth it for you.

Kemah Boardwalk is like an amusement park community on the waterfront. Rides include the 65-foot Century Ferris Wheel, Double-Decker Carousel, Drop Zone free fall, and the Bullet – a 96-foot wooden roller coaster. That one’s not for the faint of heart!

Travelers visiting Kemah Boardwalk will also enjoy games and a slew of waterfront restaurants to choose from. The Houston CityPASS gives you an All-Day Ride Pass (with certain exclusions). Additionally, as a CityPASS holder, you can buy tickets at a discount for the deluxe rides not included on the pass.

Kemah Boardwalk is a great choice for adults or families. If you don’t have kids with you, Kemah will be an easy choice over the Children’s Museum. If you do have kids in tow, weigh your options. Choosing Kemah means more cost savings, but it’s going to depend on whether your kids are into rides. It might also depend on the weather – amusement parks aren’t as much fun in the rain.

Children’s Museum of Houston

The Houston CityPASS offers entry to five of Houston's top attractions for less! In this review, we explain whether it's worth it for you.
Credit: Children’s Museum of Houston

This kid’s haven features 15 interactive exhibits your little ones will love. Touted as “a playground for your mind,” the displays are meant to be educational and fun.

Kids learn about the properties of water and hydropower by getting hands-on (or rather, hands-in) at the FlowWorks exhibit. They participate as productive members of the community in Kidtropolis, a city ran entirely by kids. In Invention Convention, children use their imaginations and spare parts to build their own creations.

If you’re traveling with kids (especially kids who are into science), the Children’s Museum will be a great time for them.

Other Benefits of the Houston CityPASS

  • Save Up to 49% on Sightseeing – The main benefit of the Houston CityPASS is that it can save you a big chunk of money. If you choose the two most expensive options (Houston Zoo and Kemah Boardwalk) and visit all five attractions, you’ll cut your sightseeing expenses in (almost) half. That’s hard to pass up!
  • Streamlined Entry – Hate wasting time in lines? Who doesn’t! For most of the included attractions, you can skip the ticket lines because you already have your tickets. That means less time wasted and more time enjoying your day.
  • Valid for Nine Days – If you prefer a relaxed pace when sightseeing – say one attraction a day, or even every second day – you’ll love that the Houston CityPASS is good for nine days. No need to rush.
  • Variety – There’s a nice bit of variety included on the Houston CityPASS. You’ve got something for animal lovers, space/science buffs, art aficionados, thrill seekers, and kiddos. And having a choice for two of the attractions adds to its versatility. If you like a bit of everything, I think you’ll be happy with this its selection.
  • Additional Tips and Discounts – There’s more to the pass than you might realize at first glance – like some additional savings opportunities at gift shops, discounted admissions, and more.

Visit Houston and Save Up to 49% – Save up to 49% at some of Houston’s top attractions with the Houston CityPASS. Get yours here.

Where the Houston CityPASS Falls Short

The Houston CityPASS can help cut your sightseeing costs in half, and that’s awesome. Like with all sightseeing passes, though, it’s not perfect.

My biggest complaint is with the Kemah Boardwalk. Although your pass is good for most rides, it does not include a few “premium” rides. Just make sure you understand this prior to your arrival.

Who Should Consider the Houston CityPASS?

First-Time Visitors: If it’s your first time in Houston, these attractions all have something new to offer.

Anyone Visiting at Least Four Attractions: If you’re interested in at least four of the seven attractions and are confident you’ll visit them, you’ll definitely save money with the Houston CityPASS.

Travelers Who Enjoy a Chill Pace: Enjoy traveling at a slower pace? The Houston CityPASS is valid for nine days.

Travelers Who Crave Variety: I think the Houston CityPASS offers a good selection of attractions. If you have varied interests and like to change things up, this pass might be a good fit for you. It’s also nice that there are two either/or choices, so you can customize the pass to your tastes.

Who Should Skip the Houston CityPASS?

Anyone Who Won’t Visit Four Attractions: If you don’t think you’ll visit at least four of the sights, the Houston CityPASS isn’t a good buy because you won’t save money. There are some combinations of three attractions that will still result in savings, but if you visit four, you’re guaranteed to save.

Extreme Budget Travelers: If you’re on a really tight budget, you might not want to drop $68 on a sightseeing pass.

Tips for Using the Houston CityPASS

The Houston CityPASS offers entry to five of Houston's top attractions for less! In this review, we explain whether it's worth it for you.
  • Visit All Five Attractions – To get the maximum value from the Houston CityPASS, you should visit all five attractions. If you visit any four, you’re still guaranteed to save, but obviously not as much.
  • Choose Kemah Boardwalk and the Houston Zoo – To save the full 49%, use the Houston CityPASS for the most expensive combination of attractions. That means opting for the Houston Zoo and Kemah Boardwalk for your two choices.
  • Don’t Forget About the Coupons – If you really want to see all seven attractions, you can still use the additional coupons to get discounted admission to the Children’s Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Kids Under 12 Get Free Admission to the Museum of Fine Arts – Speaking of which, kids under 12 are free to the Museum of Fine Arts…so, take that into account when planning how to best use the pass for family sightseeing.
  • Watch Expiration Dates – Don’t forget, the Houston CityPASS is valid for one year after purchase. Once activated, the pass is valid for nine days once activated, including the day you activate it.

How to Get the Houston CityPASS

There are a couple of ways to buy the Houston CityPASS. The easiest is to buy it online now.

If you buy it online, you’ll have another choice to make – show the tickets using your phone or print paper copies. Then, simply head into the sights you want to visit.

Personally, I’d be worried about misplacing my paper tickets before my trip. Plus, it’s another thing to pack and keep track of. I’d prefer to get the tickets on my mobile phone so it’s one less thing to worry about.

Is the Houston CityPASS Worth It?

If you’re interested in visiting at least four of the attractions, I think the Houston CityPASS is a great buy! If you visit all five, that’s even better. By choosing the most expensive combination of attractions, you’ll save a whopping 49% off the cost of regular admission prices!

Houston CityPASS review - is it worth it?

That’s a savings that’s hard for any traveler to pass up.

Thanks so much for reading, and enjoy your trip to Houston!

Save Up to 49% in Houston – Visit 5 of Houston’s top attractions and save up to 49% with the Houston CityPASS. Use the link above to get yours now!

Houston CityPASS Review
  • Attractions
  • Pass Options & Lengths
  • Price
  • Fast Track Entry
  • Overall Value

Houston CityPASS Review

The Houston CityPASS is a great way to save money while visiting Houston. By visiting at least four of the attractions available with your pass purchase, it’s a good buy. If you visit all five, that’s even better.

With that said, although the Houston CityPASS offers good variety of sights and streamlined entry, it is only a sampler of the city’s top attractions. If the sights on the pass meet your interests, however, it’s hard to go wrong.

Similar Posts

Disclaimer: Comments, responses, and other user-generated content is not provided or commissioned by this site or our advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by this website or our advertisers. It is not the responsibility of our advertisers or this website to ensure that all comments and/or questions are answered. Club Thrifty has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Club Thrifty and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

One Comment

  1. Can you visit all 4 attractions twice or is it only a one time pass?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.