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Boston CityPASS®

With the Boston CityPASS® you can save up to fifty percent on attractions. Here's what it offers and why you should choose it.

Ana C.R.

Ana C.R.

10 min read

Boston CityPASS®

Boston | ©Moe Homayounieh

If you are one of those who don't want to miss the most important attractions of a city when you travel and you are looking to save time and money, the Boston CityPASS® can provide you with the solution. For prices starting at 64 euros, this tourist pass will give you admission to four of Boston's best attractions, two fixed and two that you can choose from several options.

With a single purchase you will get the best value for money, with savings of up to fifty percent on tickets. All without wasting time and energy in long lines to secure your ticket, especially if your stay in the city is going to be short.

How much does the Boston CityPASS® cost?

Money in Euros| ©Pixabay
Money in Euros| ©Pixabay

The price of the tourist pass starts at 64 euros for adults and 59 euros for children ages 3 to 12. This rate includes admission to the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science, as well as a choice of two options: the Franklin Park Zoo, the Harvard Museum of Natural History or a cruise with Boston Harbor City Cruises.

The Boston CityPASS® also includes discounts on the attractions you leave out of your pass selection and the ability to claim refunds up to 365 days after purchase in accordance with their refund policy.

The prices of the attractions included in the pass are calculated as a flat rate, which generates savings of up to fifty percent on the cost of the tickets. This makes the Boston CityPASS® card a compelling proposition for touring the city's best museums at the most cost-effective price.

  • Price... The tourist pass starts at 64 euros for adults and 59 euros for children from three to eleven years old. Most attractions are free for children under the age of two, but I recommend you check the details in advance on each attraction's website.
  • Remember... Some attractions require advance reservations. The New England Aquarium requires reservations up to one hour in advance. Boston Harbor City Cruises must be reserved at the company's ticket office up to half an hour before the start of the tour.

How does the Boston CityPASS® work?

Boston CityPASS®| ©Translating Web Design
Boston CityPASS®| ©Translating Web Design

Like other sightseeing passes, the Boston CityPASS® can be purchased in advance. Once purchased, you will receive a virtual card in the email address you provide that you can present at the tour ticket booths from your cell phone.

You do not need to have printed information or receive any authorization by mail and once you buy it you will have one year to use it.

Its activation is very simple, from the scanning of the card that you will receive on your cell phone to access the first tour, the pass will be in operation and you will have nine days to visit the other three attractions.

Although I recommend that you have organized an itinerary in advance, it is not necessary to inform in advance which excursions you want to attend, so you can decide during your stay in the city or even the same day of the visit.

Just keep in mind that attractions such as the New England Aquarium New England Aquarium require a reservation.

What attractions and benefits does the Boston CityPASS® include?

New England Aquarium| ©Beyond My Ken
New England Aquarium| ©Beyond My Ken

This sightseeing pass has two parts. The first includes the fixed attractions, which are the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium, and the second includes optional attractions such as the Franklin Park Zoo, the Harvard Museum of Natural History and a cruise with Boston Harbor City Cruises.

You will have to choose two of these options. Here I tell you more about each of the options available on the Boston CityPASS®.

New England Aquarium

It is one of the main attractions of the city and it is included in the Boston CityPASS® as one of the two fixed options. The Aquarium will offer you the chance to see a large colony of penguins, seals, sea lions and Caribbean coral reefs with an ecosystem of more than 1,000 animals.

There are also interactive activities with rays and sharks that will turn your walk through the Aquarium into an unforgettable adventure. It is one of the favorite attractions for children when they visit Boston.

Please note that reservations are required for this tour and can be made up to one hour before the tour begins.

  • Price... Regular admission to the New England Aquarium costs 34 euros for adults and 25 euros for children from three to eleven years old. Free admission for children under two years of age.
  • Hours... During Spring and Summer the Aquarium is open Saturdays through Thursdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Fridays from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. During Autumn and Winter the hours are Monday to Thursday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Fridays from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
  • Duration of the visit... It is estimated that the total visit takes about four hours.
  • Location... The Aquarium is located at 1 Central Wharf, Boston.

Reserve your tickets for the New England Aquarium of Boston

Museum of Science

Museum of Science exterior| ©Chris Rycroft
Museum of Science exterior| ©Chris Rycroft

This museum is the second fixed option on the Boston CityPASS® Tourist Card and is also one of the most visited spaces in the city. Among the objects on display are dinosaur fossils, a room dedicated to recreating a thunderstorm that offers an interactive and sensory experience, and a display dedicated to the human body.

Boston is the cradle of great universities and scientific advances, making this museum a global reference. I recommend that you do not miss the exhibition dedicated to computing, where in a cube you can see the floppy disk that spread the first virus in the history of the Internet in 1988.

  • Price... Regular admission to the Science Museum costs 29 euros for adults, while for children between the ages of three and eleven it starts at 24 euros. Admission for children under two years of age is free.
  • Hours... From Saturdays to Thursdays it is open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. while on Fridays the opening hours are from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.. There are no changes during autumn and winter.
  • Duration of the visit... It takes about four hours to complete the total tour.
  • Location... The museum is located at 1 Museum of Science Driveway, Boston.

Franklin Park Zoo

Located in the northern part of Franklin Park, this zoo is one of the largest in the state of Massachusetts and home to a wide variety of animal species from around the world including lions, tigers and camels.

It is one of the options you can choose from to complement the other two activities available on the Boston CityPASS®.

Among the permanent exhibits, one of the highlights is the Tropical Forest exhibit, which recreates a natural habitat for gorillas, bats, crocodiles and ocelots.

The zoo also has an aviary, a thematic area with African animals and an exhibit that includes a community of kangaroos. The movie Zooloco was filmed there and since then the place has regained notoriety. I recommend you not to miss the savannah area, inhabited by giraffes from Africa.

  • Price... Regular admission to Franklin Park Zoo has a cost for adults starting at 23 euros, while for children between two and twelve years old it starts at 16 euros. Admission for children under the age of one is free. Prices are subject to change in winter.
  • Opening hours... From Monday to Friday it is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm while on Saturdays and Sundays the opening hours are from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm.
  • Duration of the visit... It takes about four hours to complete the total tour.
  • Location... The zoo is located at 1 Franklin Park Road, Boston.

Harvard Museum of Natural History

This is another optional activity offered with the Boston CityPASS®. At Harvard University's most visited attraction, located in Harvard Yard, you can visit the sixteen galleries that include the Blaschka collection of glass flowers, minerals from around the world, dinosaur and whale bones, and an extensive collection of wildlife specimens from around the world.

This museum is also connected internally with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, so many of the exhibits from both museums can be visited alternately in the two buildings.

Admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History with the Boston CityPASS® gives you admission to the Peabody as well. Are you ready to be amazed by the enormous right whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling of the main hall?

  • Price... Regular admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History has a cost for adults starting at €15, while for children between the ages of three and eighteen it starts at €10. Admission for children under two is free.
  • Hours... Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Duration of the visit... It takes about three hours to complete the total tour.
  • Location... The museum is located at 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge.

Tour on a Boston Harbor City Cruises cruise ship

Boston Ferry| ©Shadow _ Traveler
Boston Ferry| ©Shadow _ Traveler

This is another optional attraction offered on the Boston CityPASS®, but the only one that is truly different. This excursion consists of a ride on one of Boston's cruise ships, in this case the Boston Harbor City Cruises.

During this tour, the ship travels along the Fort Point Channel and Boston Harbor and has an expert local guide who will accompany the tour and provide information about the history of the city, the Tea Party Mutiny and the American Revolution.

This tour must be booked at least half an hour in advance at the company's ticket office, but it is a good opportunity if you are interested in seeing the city from across the bay while learning more about the colonists and their exploits on a historical tour of Boston.

  • Price... The regular price for the tour starts at €43 for adults and €38 for children ages three to twelve. Children under the age of two get in free when accompanied by an adult.
  • Schedule... The cruises have permanent departures from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., just show up in advance at the company's ticket office in Boston Harbor.
  • Duration of the tour... The total tour lasts one hour.
  • Location... The pier used by the company is located at 1 Long Wharf, Boston.

Book a guided tour to learn about Boston's history

Attractions not included in the Boston CityPASS® Tour Pass

While the CityPASS includes several of Boston's top attractions, the Tea Party Museum, which is considered the most important patriotic museum in the United States and one of the most prominent in the city, is not included.

The Tea Party Museum reconstructs through interactive exhibits and guides dressed as colonists Boston's rebellious era, which ended with the Tea Party Mutiny and began the American Revolution.

The Boston CityPASS® sightseeing pass also does not include any Boston sightseeing bus tours among the optional offerings. The hop on-hop off transfer is often in demand by tourists as it saves them time and money they would otherwise spend on public transportation.

Beyond these two attractions not included, the Boston CityPASS® is a very cost -effective option if your travel itinerary includes several of the Boston CityPASS® tours.

Reserve your ticket for the Tea Party Museum

When is the Boston CityPASS® not a good time to buy a Boston CityPASS®?

Boston Streets| ©Tiago Henriques
Boston Streets| ©Tiago Henriques

This tourist pass will not be useful if you are not really interested in visiting several or all of the attractions it offers, since its options are somewhat limited.

The Boston CityPASS® is designed for those tourists who want a general knowledge of the city since, except for the Tea Party Museum, it includes the main excursions of the city.

It is also not convenient if you do not plan to exhaust all the visits in a short period of time, since from the activation you will have nine days to do the remaining excursions.

Other Boston sightseeing passes

Go Boston Pass| ©Klook
Go Boston Pass| ©Klook

If you feel that the Boston CityPASS® is insufficient or does not meet your expectations there is another option that is a bit more comprehensive. The Go Boston Pass offers unlimited sightseeing at over forty attractions and discounts at stores and restaurants.

The Go Boston Pass works differently from the Boston CityPASS®, as the Go Boston Pass is not a fixed number of attractions, but rather a one, two, three, five or seven-day pass. During the validity of the tourist pass, which is counted from the activation at the first attraction, you can enjoy as many options as you want.

Unfortunately the Go Boston Pass also does not include the Tea Party Museum, although it does include among its options several tour buses and the Museum of Fine Arts.

  • Price Go Boston Pass All Inclusive 1 day... From 56 euros
  • Price Go Boston Pass All Inclusive 2 days... From 77 euros
  • Price Go Boston Pass All Inclusive 3 days... From 86 euros
  • Price Go Boston Pass All Inclusive 5 days... From 115 euros
  • Price Go Boston Pass All Inclusive 7 days... From 136 euros

Buy your Go Boston Card

Tips on how to get the most out of your Boston CityPASS® Tourist Pass

Getting to know Boston| ©Chris Hawes
Getting to know Boston| ©Chris Hawes

While you have nine days from activation to visit the three remaining attractions, it's best to plan an itinerary with your tour. The Boston CityPASS® includes a guidebook with tour information to help you get organized.

In this tourist pass are not included some places that I recommend you to visit, such as the Tea Party Museum or a historical tour of the city, so if you plan to do those activities you can organize them interspersed with the options of the Boston CityPASS® tourist pass.

Also remember that the New England Aquarium and the Fort Point Channel and Boston Harbor cruise tour require you to book in advance, so you will also need to keep that in mind so you don't miss out on any activities.