With school-age children and full-time jobs, our family is not able to travel long term or for as long as might want to. We maximize our time off by planning trips as our work and school schedules allow, but how do we satiate our wanderlust in the meantime? Easy: hometown travel. It’s a term I came up with years back, synonymous with “being a tourist in your hometown”. My family and I try to take part in some hometown travel every chance we get and, living in Chicago, we have myriad options. A few months ago I was introduced to Go City Card, a division of Smart Destinations, which offers multi-attraction passes in top destinations, including Chicago. They asked if I’d be interested in trying out the Go Chicago Card and I thought, “Hey, that means hometown travel for the family and me!” How could I say no?
In addition to Chicago, Go City Cards are available in Boston, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Oahu, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. There are two types of Go City Cards to choose from: the All-Inclusive and the Explorer. The All-Inclusive allows you to choose from a number of attractions as you go (varies by city; in Chicago, there are 26). You can choose from 1, 2, 3, or 5-day passes. The Explorer pass is different in that you choose the number of attractions to visit (3, 4, or 5) and you have 30 days from the time of activation to use the pass. Again, the overall number of attractions to choose from varies by city; in Chicago, there are 25 eligible attractions to visit with the Explorer pass. In my opinion, the All-Inclusive is better for travelers who are visiting a city for a certain number of days, whereas the Explorer is more suitable for residents of a destination city who will have more time to use the pass to its fullest. Since I live in Chicago and my time to use the passes isn’t limited to a few days, I chose the 3-attraction Explorer pass for my family and me. The passes are convenient to use, regardless of which option you decide on. You can receive a link to your passes via email, which you can then download to your smartphone. No worrying about forgetting the tickets at home!
Our first visit with the Explorer passes was to the Adler Planetarium. As far as I’m concerned, the Planetarium is the city’s most underrated museum. My kids had visited twice before and when I asked them if they’d like to return to use the Explorer pass, they jumped up and down and cheered, “Yes!” With the Explorer pass, we were granted admission to all exhibits and an unlimited number of shows, which normally are at an additional cost to regular admission. The highlight of our day definitely was the Destination Solar System show. It is a wildly fun and interactive experience that takes place in the year 2096, and takes visitors on a quick trip around the solar system with Space Express Tours. My kids, ages 7 and 3, and I loved it, but it was a bit intense for my 2-year-old nephew. My sister had to leave the theater with him because he was so scared, so keep that in mind if visiting with younger children.
We have two attractions left to visit with the Explorer pass and I’m going to use the opportunity to finally get to Robie House, a place I have wanted to visit for years but just haven’t quite made it there. As for the 3rd attraction, I’ll leave that up to the kids.
Now, here is the best part of the whole deal: I have two Go City Cards to give away to one lucky reader! For your chance to win two 2-day All-Inclusive passes OR two 3- or 4-choice Explorer passes, just leave a comment on this blog post below, telling us in which city you’d like to use the Go City Cards (this step is mandatory in order to be eligible for the prizes). Then follow the instructions included in the widget below for additional entries. The timing of this giveaway couldn’t be more perfect, since many families are now planning their spring break travels. Perhaps your adventures will take you to one of the cities where Go City Cards are available, or you live in one of the cities and want to play tourist in your hometown just as I did. Either way, be sure to enter by 11:59pm CST on Saturday, February 18, 2017. The winner will be contacted via email so be sure to include a valid email address. Good luck!
I received 4 complimentary 3-choice Explorer passes from Smart Destinations for the purpose of a review and promotional giveaway. All thoughts and words, as always, are my own.