Chicago Explorer Pass Online Guide
With 26 miles of lakefront backed by a stunning skyline, Chicago is home to some of the country’s most exciting cultural attractions and is always full of surprises. From sky-high views atop two observation towers to whirling Ferris Wheel rides on Navy Pier and the fascinating museums on Museum Campus, there is always something new to experience.
Let this guide introduce you to the wonders of the Windy City. Enjoy!
Every pass has a unique code, which will be scanned for admission to each attraction. For special offers at shops and restaurants, show your pass to your server or cashier.
Good to Know
- Please read attraction information for hours, closings, and special admission instructions. Some attractions require reservations.
- Visiting your first attraction activates your pass. Then, you have 30 days to use your pass. You have 1 year from purchase to activate your pass or it will expire.
- You may visit an attraction once per the life of the pass, unless otherwise noted.
About this Guide
- To get the most out of this guide, enable location services in your browser.
- You'll see this symbol on the Details tab, next to the approximate time it takes to visit an attraction.
- Attractions displaying this icon may close or have varied hours of operation during winter.
These are a few questions we hear from customers regularly. If you have a question not answered here, please get in touch:
- Toll-free within the US: 800‑887‑9103
- Toll-free within UK: 0800 090 3140
- From other countries: +1 617 671 1001
- Mon - Fri: 8 am - 9 pm EST
- Sat - Sun: 9 am - 6 pm EST
- How do I activate my pass?
- Easy: simply visit your first attraction!
- How do I use my pass?
- Every pass has a unique code, which will be scanned for admission to each attraction. Please read attraction information for hours, closings, and special admission instructions. Some attractions require reservations.
- I purchased multiple passes, how do I use them at attractions?
- You will need to show the individual passes for each member of your party at attractions to get in.
- When can I visit attractions?
- You can visit most attractions during their normal operating hours. Please read attraction information for specific hours and closings.
- Do I need to make reservations?
- A few attractions require reservations. Check each attraction's details for more information.
- When does my pass expire?
- You have 1 year from purchase to activate your pass or it will expire. Once activated, your Pass will be valid for 30 days.
- There are long lines at some of the attractions — do I need to wait in the line?
- As a Chicago Explorer Pass customer, you can skip the ticket line at many of our attractions. Be sure to check the attraction description for additional information.
Chicago is an easy city to navigate. With few exceptions, the streets are a perfect grid, centered at State and Madison in "The Loop" — the center of Chicago ringed by the L.
Take the L!
The buses and trains of the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) are a fast and cost-effective way to get into and around the city. Known as the "L" (though they may be elevated or underground) the trains are a fun way to see The Loop from a new vantage point.
CTA visitor passes offer the best value, with unlimited rides on all CTA trains and buses. A 1-day pass is $10, a 3-day pass is $20, and a 7-day pass is $28.
Passes are easy to use. They activate the first time you use them and are valid for the number of consecutive days purchased. Just dip your pass into the bus fare machine or the train station turnstile.
Check the CTA website for the latest fares, travel alerts, and trip planners.
Traveling by foot is a great way to discover Chicago's amazing architecture, and the lake front alone has 18 miles of bike and pedestrian paths. Remember though, Chicago is a city built on a grand scale — each 800 address numbers is about a mile.
You can take a Hop On, Hop Off Trolley to see the sites at your own pace. Taxis are also readily available, but like in any city they can get expensive, fast.