A weak economy drives families (and all travelers) to seek value-driven vacations, which often means a Staycation, or travel in one’s own back yard. On the positive side, this kind of travel fosters a sense of community, lets people “vacation” more often and discover their own city, while saving money.
We think the best way to enjoy a Staycation is with a CityPASS. Thinner than your iPad, and full of homegrown bargains and deals at a dozen or so top cities, like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, it’s a great way to vacation at home.
The company’s intention is to get travelers and locals to enjoy their own city’s cultural attractions, to draw people throughout the city and appreciate the neighborhoods, streetscapes and attractions that get taken for granted.
Besides saving money, CityPASS ticket booklets let families avoid most ticket lines, because they’re actual tickets, not passes or vouchers.
Show your CityPASS, and you’re in.
In New York, for example, New York’s CityPASS attractions include the Empire State Building Experience, American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art and options between Top of the Rock Observation Deck OR Guggenheim Museum, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, AND 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. MoMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art & The Cloisters. Going to the head of those lines is a big help, especially with kids in tow.
The CityPASS web site is graphics-driven and makes price comparisons easy, so I chose to look at Boston:
The deal gives me four top Boston attractions:
• New England Aquarium
• Museum of Science
• Harvard Museum of Natural History OR Boston Harbor Cruises
• Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center
Are these the sites you want to see? Well, all I can say is the Blaschka Glass Flowers collection of 2,000 botanical art works in glass, made by father and son artists, is remarkable. And totally intriguing for kids. Now the Harvard Museum of Natural History is displaying another 60 Blaschka artworks in glass — made before they begun the flowers in 1886 — called Sea Creatures in Glass. Being able to discover something so unexpected is part of the delight of getting to know your neighborhood.
The CityPASS Boston, fully updated as of March 1, 2017, costs $56 for adults, and $44 bucks for kids (3-11), for entrance to all four places. When I did the math for the four attractions separately, I had saved 45% off the combined admission. Even for kids. But, keep in mind that most attractions allow children under 3 in for free.
So, figure that in too. But it’s still a significant savings.
Each CityPASS ticket booklet is valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use. Booklets include contact information for the attractions, hours of operation, information on how to get to and from the attractions using public transportation, and tips on the least crowded times to visit. The passes also include features like insider tips from partner, National Geographic Traveler Magazine, a very reliable source of travel news and information.
CityPASS also throws in advice on special places and fun finds, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.
How does CityPASS compare to its closest competitor, Smart Destinations? For one-day stays, Smart Destinations may be the better choice and they also allow you to customize your own list of attractions. But for a 2-5 day visit, CityPASS is the better value. But the selected attractions are different, so make your own comparisons.
The CityPASS itself also comes nicely wrapped, rather classy.
Sounds like a deal!
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.