Not long ago, team member Harlan decided to tour his own city, and hit all the attractions he’d never bothered to go. And he saved lots of money while doing it! I’ll let him tell you how he did it.
Tickets to both attractions would cost $45 ($28 for the Perot Museum + $17 to visit Reunion Tower). But I learned with CityPass, we could add the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and Dallas Zoo for only $3 more – and really make a fun weekend out of it!
Here’s more about CityPass. And which cities participate, including Boston, Chicago, and New York!
CityPass is a website that bundles major tourist attractions in 12 participating cities and sells passes at significant discounts – usually between ~30% and 50% off!
In addition to saving money on fun attractions, you usually get to skip the main ticket lines, too. So you can save time AND money – always a win-win! 🙂 Currently, these cities participate in CityPass:
- New York
- San Francisco
- Southern California
Each city has different things to do, with varying prices and discounts. But each CityPass works the same.
First, you can purchase a pass online or in-person. If you buy it in-person, you’ll get a booklet to use right away. And you’ll have 9 days to visit each of the attractions. The clock starts ticking on the day you redeem your first pass.
I bought mine online. So I got a voucher in my email to use within 6 months of purchase. But the 9-day clock started on the day I visited my first attraction.
We spent days working around all the places we wanted to visit. And it gave shape to a fantastic weekend experience.
I live in Dallas. But I’d never been to any of the places included in the Dallas CityPass. So I used it as an opportunity to explore my own city – and saved money doing it!
My CityPass Experience
It could NOT have been easier! My CityPass package included:
I was excited to see them ALL! We decided to visit Reunion Tower first. They had a dedicated CityPass line. I presented my voucher on my phone. The desk agent scanned it, and gave us 2 booklets. She wrote the date on the cover to start the 9-day redemption period. And removed the Reunion Tower pass. Then, she gave us a ticket and sent us up to enjoy the views of downtown at sunset.
The next day, we visited both the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and Dallas Zoo. We got to the Arboretum in the morning after brunch. It was still cool before the heat of the day. And it was so nice to get some fresh air and see the gorgeous trees and flowers.
Later, we headed to the zoo to see the animals about an hour before closing time. Plus, we were able to stay afterward and check out the Zoo Lights when it became dark. We ordered a hot chocolate and looked at all the animal-themed displays while festive music played all around us.
I also learned so many things about the earth, the human body, weather, and outer space. As a nature lover, it was basically heaven. I spent several hours immersing myself in the exhibits and reading all the information. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday.
I loved that all these sites were in my home town! And they were also places I’d always wanted to visit.
As I looked at the other CityPass options, I realized the potential to use it to see more of other cities, too.
For example, in SoCal, you can save ~$151 per person on Disneyland, SeaWorld, & Legoland tickets. That would make for an incredible long weekend!
Other cities have similar options. I was impressed by everything you can do in New York on a budget with CityPass.
So I’ll definitely check CityPass when I visit another participating location. It’s a convenient way to cut long lines and save a decent amount of cash on what could be an expensive excursion.
Are There Drawbacks?
Kind of. Even though I saved money on the tickets, CityPass did nothing to help pay for the parking. For example, at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, parking was $15! I also had to pay to park at the zoo, the science museum, and downtown to visit Reunion Tower. That added up quick!
However, I would’ve had to pay all those costs anyway. But buying the CityPass definitely sets you up to spend a lot on parking. If you were planning on visiting these places anyway, you’ll definitely save even more with CityPass.
Keep in mind, you can save on parking in major city centers with SpotHero! It can be a huge help to find the cheapest parking in dense urban centers. I wish I’d known about it sooner myself.
I loved using CityPass for the first time to see brand new (to me) places in Dallas. And was impressed by its ease-of-use, discounts, and selection of other cities to save money and time seeing major tourist attractions!
I had a blast being a tourist in my own town for a weekend. 🙂 And I’ll consider CityPass in the future, when I visit places like Boston, Chicago, or New York.
The biggest and only downside is having to pay for the (often expensive) parking at the attractions, which adds up. But they were expenses I would’ve paid anyway. Plus, I recently discovered SpotHero to save on that, too!
If you’ve used CityPass, how did your experience compare?