Chicago C3 Pass

Your trip to Chicago is coming up and you want to see the highlights of the city? The Chicago C3 Pass is your ticket to Chicago’s best attractions without breaking your budget.

This article will guide you through everything you need to know about the pass – from the cost to the attractions included. I’ll not only tell you when it’s worth buying, but also when it’s not.

So stay tuned, because by the end of this article you’ll know exactly whether the Chicago C3 Pass is right for you.

Steffen

What are the advantages of buying a Chicago C3 Pass?

  • includes admission to 3 attractions
  • Choice from 8 popular attractions
  • savings potential

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What is the Chicago C3 Pass

The Chicago C3 Pass is one of five sightseeing passes for the city of Chicago. The pass gives you access to 3 of Chicago’s top attractions. Ideal for short visits or for those who don’t want to commit. You can save up to 33% compared to buying individual tickets!

From a list of 8 popular attractions, you can freely choose 3 that you would like to visit. This allows you to design your sightseeing programme according to your preferences.

Once you have purchased your digital pass, you can use it directly on your smartphone – no need to print it out. So nothing stands in the way of sightseeing!

How does the pass work

The pass is very easy to use:

  • Activation & validity: You have 1 year from the date of purchase to redeem the pass. It is activated the first time it is used and is then valid for nine consecutive days.
  • Choice of attractions: You decide which three of the available attractions you would like to visit. You can easily make your selection using your smartphone.
  • Use on site: Show your digital pass at the respective attractions – it’s that easy.

Attention: For the Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck and Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour reservations are required!

You can easily make a reservation via the app. You can then specify the time slot when you want to visit the attractions.

What does the Chicago C3 Pass cost

The prices for the C3 Pass are as follows

  • Adults: $96
  • Children (ages 3-11): $72

Always check the current prices on the website, as these may change from time to time.

Which attractions are included in the Chicago C3 Pass

The Chicago C3 Pass includes access to some of the city’s most impressive attractions. You can visit 3 of the following 8 attractions:

  • Skydeck Chicago
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour
  • Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
  • Hop-on hop-off buses and public transport are not included in the Chicago C3 Pass

How long is the pass valid for?

You have 1 year after purchase to redeem the pass. The Chicago C3 Pass is valid for 9 consecutive days from the first use.

Is the Chicago C3 Pass worth it?

That depends on which combinations you choose. If you choose mainly the higher-priced sights in Chicago, your bill will look like this:

Attractions

Price without C3 Pass

Skydeck

$36

Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour 

$49

Shedd Aquarium

$39

COSTS SINGLE TICKETS

$124

PRICE C3 PASS

$96

YOUR SAVINGS

$28 (22 %)

As you can see, you can save a lot with the pass! Let’s try another combination. With a mix of expensive and normal attractions, you save about this much:

Attraction

Price without C3 Pass

Shedd Aquarium

$39

360 Chicago

$30

Art Institute

$32

COSTS SINGLE TICKETS

$101

PRICE C3 PASS

$96

YOUR SAVINGS

$5 (5 %)

The savings here are small, but of course still worth it. Especially if you are travelling as a family or with several people, you can still save quite a bit.

Please note that the prices may vary depending on the date of your visit. This will of course also change the calculation shown here. I have always chosen around the middle of the price range.

Steffen

When is the Chicago C3 Pass worth it?

The more expensive the individual prices are, the more you save! If you visit the expensive attractions, you can really get a lot out of the pass.

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However, if you don’t want to commit to the attractions just yet and are looking for more flexibility, check out the Chicago Explorer Pass – it’s my favourite!

When is the pass not worth it?

  • Single tickets cost under $33: The pass is not worth it if you choose a combination of cheap single tickets. Since the pass costs $96, the attractions should cost at least $33 each on average for you to save any money at all with the pass.

A calculation looks something like this:

Attraction

Price without C3 Pass

Museum of Science and Industry

$26

360 Chicago

$30

Adler Planetarium

$19

COST OF SINGLE TICKETS

$75

PRICE C3 PASS

$96

YOUR SAVINGS

None

Where can you buy the Chicago C3 Pass?

There are several places to buy the pass:

  • Official website: You can purchase the pass on the official website. You can return an unused pass up to 365 days after the date of purchase for a full refund.
  • Tiqets: You can also purchase the pass on the Tiqets platform. The price remains the same. You can cancel the pass free of charge until 11.59 pm the evening before

What I like about Chicago C3 Pass

  • Flexibility of choice: You have 8 of Chicago’s top attractions to choose from. There are sure to be some attractions you want to see.
  • Perfect for first-time visitors: The pass includes the highlights of the city. Ideal for anyone visiting the Windy City for the first time.

What I don’t like

  • Important attraction missing: Admission to the Field Museum is not included
  • Restricted operation: The Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour will operate on a restricted basis from 1 November.
  • No transport: Hop-on hop-off buses and public transport cannot be used with the pass.
  • Limited flexibility: You can choose the attractions flexibly, but you should know which attractions you want to visit with the pass when you buy it so that you can work out whether the pass is worthwhile for you.

Steffen

My rating

I give the Chicago C3 Pass overall ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ✨

  • Handle: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
  • Attractions: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
  • Price: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
  • Savings potential: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
With the pass, you have great highlights to choose from. If you choose the right combination, you can make really good savings with the pass. However, you should always calculate beforehand whether the pass is worthwhile for the desired attractions, as the individual prices for many combinations are often actually cheaper.

Still not sure?

Pass Savings Calculator IconUse our savings calculator to work out exactly which Chicago Pass will save you the most!

Try it out here for free

Alternatives to the Chicago C3 Pass

If the pass is not right for you, there are also other sightseeing passes for Chicago that may be more to your taste:

  • Chicago CityPASS®: The Chicago CityPASS® is similar to the C3 Pass. The pass gives you access to 5 attractions: 2 of them are fixed (Shedd Aquarium & Skydeck Chicago), the remaining 3 you can choose freely from 6.
  • Chicago All-Inclusive Pass: The Chicago All-Inclusive Pass is the most comprehensive pass in the city. You can visit as many attractions as you can manage in the number of days you choose. You can choose from over 25 attractions.</li
  • Chicago Explorer Pass: With the Chicago Explorer Pass, you choose how many attractions you would like to visit and can then choose from a pool of over 20 attractions. You have 60 days to do this
  • Chicago Digital Pass: With the Chicago Digital Pass, you get discounted admission to the 3 attractions Field Museum, Art Institute and the 360 Chicago observation deck.

Want to compare ALL attraction passes directly to find the best sightseeing pass for Chicago for you? Then take a look at my Chicago Pass Comparison!

FAQ

Are there discounts for children?

Yes, for children between the ages of 3 and 11 the pass costs only $72.

Are there discounts for senior citizens?

Unfortunately not, you have to buy a standard ticket.

Can I book attractions in advance with the C3 Pass?

Yes and no, you have to book a few attractions in advance. These include the Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck and Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour.

Is there an app for the C3 Pass?

Yes, the app is called My-CityPASS™, it’s free and you can download it from the App Store and the Android Store.

Does the Chicago C3 Pass include public transport?

No, the pass is purely a sightseeing pass.

Can I visit attractions more than once with the pass?

No, you can only visit each attraction once.

How do I activate the C3 Pass?

As soon as you present the pass at the first attraction, it will be activated. From then on it is valid for 9 days.

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The author

I'm Steffen and over the years I've been able to help over 100,000 travelers easily save money on vacation. You can find the best tips for the most beautiful cities and regions worldwide here on this page. Whenever you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

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