With so many things to see and do in Philadelphia, purchasing individual entrance admissions to each site can break the bank. And then you have to wait in the lines to get in. There are many places in Philly that we say is worth the price and the wait but if you can see them without either, we’d recommend that! Knowing that travelers have budgets on both cost and time, there are few companies who’ve created a tourist pass – one advance payment that gets you a discount or free entrance to many sites and lets you skip the line!
WHAT IS A TOURIST PASS?
Many locations in Philadelphia offer discounted admissions on certain days or times, some of the best sites are run by the National Park Service and are thus free, and then, of course, there are Free Tours By Foot’s name-your-own-price tours. But if you have a lot you want to see, these passes may be a good option. Many also offer discounted children’s passes for those with families.
Philadelphia Pass Price:
Adult (above 12 years of age)
Child (ages 4-12)
Under 4 years old free
- 1 Day Pass: Adult $59.00 & Child $49.00
- 2 Day Pass: Adult $89.00 & Child $79.00
- 3 Day Pass: Adult $109.00 & Child $99.00
- 5 Day Pass: Adult $129.00 & Child $119.00
- More information.
City PASS Price:
- Adult $55.00
- Child $35.00
WHICH PASS IS BETTER?
Well ,that depends on what you want to see and how long you’ll be in town.
The cards have a number of similarities.
Both City PASS and Philadelphia Pass offer free admission to some of the cities most popular attractions, including access to city hop on/off Bus and/or Trolley sightseeing tours. They also offer maps, coupons to area shopping and restaurants, guidebooks and free audio tours at some locations. Once you’ve visited attractions with either pass, you cannot visit again for free. Each attraction allows one person in per pass and only once for the duration of the pass.
There are some significant differences, however.
While both passes are time-dependent, your Philadelphia Pass works on consecutive days only. You can purchase 1, 2, 3 and 5 Day Passes. Each pass allows you to visit the same amount of sites, but it might be improbable to fit all 40 sites into one day! Say you purchase a three-day pass and begin touring on Monday. Your pass will automatically end on Wednesday, even if you only used it one day.
The CityPass, however, is good for nine days after your first use so you can take your time and visit the attractions in any order.
The CityPass allows entrance to 5 locations: The Franklin Institute, Adventure Aquarium, and free 24-hour travel on the Big Bus or Trolley Works tours. You can then also choose to visit either the Philadelphia Zoo or Constitution Center and either the Eastern State Penitentiary or Please Touch Museum.
The Philadelphia Pass offers entrance to more than 40 sites include the ones above, but not the Adventure Aquarium or Please Touch Museum (both of which are included on the CityPass).
The CityPass is a booklet, a set of vouchers that you can trade in at the specific sites for entrance. The Philadelphia Pass is more like a smart card – credit card size with a chip that you swipe to enter the attractions.
So which is better?
If all the sites you want to see are offered on the CityPass or you want more time to see them, this option would work for you. If you are ready for a whirlwind tour and want to fit as much as possible into your visit, the Philadelphia Pass included entrance to more locations but in a shorter period of time.
There are many great free sites to see in Philadelphia, plan on visiting these either before or after you get your Philadelphia Pass so you can make sure you’re using that time to see the many sites included on the pass since it does expire after a certain number of days.
Both the CityPass and Philadelphia Pass include the use of the Big Bus Company or Trolley for transportation around the city. However, the free rides are valid for 24 hours during business hours. If you want to upgrade to a multi-day pass on the Big Bus, both passes give you that option for an additional fee. (Tip: If you are interested in just a Bus Tour, see our post,
The CityPass offers some optional tickets – where a voucher is good at one place OR another. However, they do offer coupons off the entrance price to all optional sites so if you choose to visit the Please Touch Museum, you can still get discounted tickets to the Eastern State Penitentiary.
- Click here to Save up to 46% on Philadelphia’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS – Shop Now!
- Click here to Purchase The Philadelphia Pass Now!