Go Boston Card vs Boston CityPASS. Which should you choose when traveling to Boston, Massachusetts?
There is so much to do in this exciting city, and you could save a lot of money on these activities by buying the right Boston attractions pass. But which one is better: the Go Boston Card or the Boston CityPASS?
We dive in deep to compare these two Boston discount cards to determine which is the best deal.
Should you decide your Boston itinerary first?
Before considering these Boston attraction cards, it can be beneficial to think about what you really want to do and see while in the city. Prioritizing those sites that are most important to you will help you to see which pass will offer you more value. You should also consider how long your Boston vacation is going to be. For a short trip, you may prefer to pay for attractions individually.
Be sure to check out our articles on Boston activities to give you some ideas for a fantastic visit:
- 18 of the Best Free Things to Do in Boston
- 15 Romantic Things to Do in Boston (+ Where to Stay and Eat!)
- 10 Awesome Things to Do in Boston with Kids
- 15 Best Boston Boat Tours: Boston Cruises to Book ASAP
- 10 Best Boston Vacation Rentals: AirBnb, VRBO + More
- The Ultimate Guide to St Patrick’s Day in Boston
- Top Boston Trolley Tours: Boston’s Best Trolley Rides
Table of Contents
What do you get with the Boston CityPASS?
Let’s start with the Boston CityPASS. This pass grants you admission to 4 of Boston’s top attractions:
Standard with each Boston CityPASS
- New England Aquarium
- Museum of Science
Choose 2 of these 3 options to complete your 4!
- Franklin Park Zoo
- Boston Harbor City Cruises
- Harvard Museum of Natural History
It’s likely that you would want to visit one or more of these on your visit to Boston. The Franklin Park Zoo is a good one to complete your Boston Bucket List!
A Boston Harbor Cruise is a great way to get out on the water and view Boston from another angle, as you enjoy a 90-minute historic cruise, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History is always a fantastic way to spend a few hours in Boston!
Even those three attractions alone, when purchased individually, outprice what you would pay for a Boston CityPASS. Long story short, if you want to visit even 3 of the Boston attractions listed above, the CityPASS is a tremendous value.
In addition to admission to 4 major Boston attractions, the Boston CityPASS also might get you expedited entry at some of these spots. This saves you the time spent waiting in line and gives you more time for vacation fun!
How long is the Boston CityPASS good for?
The Boston CityPASS is valid for nine consecutive days, including the first day of use. The 9 day period begins on the first day you use/redeem the pass, and you can purchase well in advance.
How much does the Boston CityPASS cost?
Pricing as of February 2023 is as follows:
$67 for an adult (ages 12+)
$56 for a child (ages 3-11)
This represents a 47% savings over the cost of individual admission for all activities included with the Boston CityPASS!
What do you get with the Go Boston Card?
Now let’s look at the other popular Boston travel discount card.
You have some choices and flexibility when it comes to buying a Go Boston Card.
The All-Inclusive Card option gives you access to the 40 sites, and you can choose the number of days of validity: 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 consecutive days.
Available Attractions With All Inclusive Card, Explorer Options Italicized
- CityView Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley
- New England Aquarium (Theatre discount available)
- Fenway Park Tour
- USS Constitution Museum
- Museum of Science (Fast-track entry available)
- Freedom Trail Walk into History Tour
- Paul Revere House
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Salem Witch Museum (located in Salem, MA)
- Swan Boats of Boston
- Sam Adams Brewery Tour
- TD Garden Guided Tour
- Boston Children’s Museum
- The Harvard Tour
- Harvard Museum of Natural History
- JFK Presidential Library and Museum
- Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States
- Boston Bike Rental
- Franklin Park Zoo
- Plimoth Plantation/Plimoth Grist Mill Combo
- Real Pirates Salem
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- Institute of Contemporary Art
- Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA)
- House of the Seven Gables (Salem, MA)
- Mary Baker Eddy Library/Mapparium
- Boston Movie Mile Walking Tour
- Liberty Ride (Lexington + Concord, MA)
- Buckman Tavern (Lexington, MA)
- Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
- Otis House Museum
- Louisa May Alcott House (Concord, MA)
- Concord Museum (Concord, MA)
- Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge, MA)
- Hyannisport Harbor Cruise (Cape Cod, MA)
- John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum (Cape Cod, MA)
- Cape Cod Canal Cruise (Cape Cod, MA)
- Historic Sightseeing Cruise
- The Sports Museum Guided Tour
- MIT Tour
- Haunted Boston History & Mystery Walking Tour
- Boch Center Wang Theatre Tours
- Old State Museum & Old South Meeting House
- “Let it Begin Here” Battle Green Tour
- Cape Cod Maritime Museum
- Sunset Cruise (Explorer Option Only!)
Clearly, the Go Boston Card would be an incredible value, saving you money on admission to these many attractions. The difficulty with this card is the practicality of using it. The 7-day version of the card is the longest duration available. While you could certainly pack a great deal into 7 days in Boston, it is unlikely you’d be able to visit all 40 of these sites, especially as some of them are located outside of Boston.
Of course, if even a few of these Boston attractions are of interest to you, you could absolutely save money by purchasing the Go Boston Card.
How long is the Go Boston Card good for?
The Go Boston Card’s validity varies based on what card you choose. If selecting an All-Inclusive Card, you are limited by the number of consecutive days you’ve chosen: 1,2,3,5, or 7.
With the Explorer Card, you actually have a much larger window. According to the Go Boston Card website:
“Visiting your first attraction activates your pass. Your pass will then be valid for 60 days after activation.
For example, if you have a three-choice Explorer pass and visit your first attraction, you’ll have the next 59 days to visit your remaining two attractions.”
How much does the Go Boston Card cost?
The pricing for the Go Boston Card will vary depending on your specific options. Current pricing as of February 2023 is below:
All-Inclusive Go Boston Card
1 Day Pass – $69 (adult) $44 (child 3-12)
2 Day Pass – $94 (adult) $69 (child 3-12)
3 Day Pass – $119 (adult) $89 (child 3-12)
5 Day Pass – $159 (adult) $119 (child 3-12)
7 Day Pass – $189 (adult) $139 (child 3-12)
2 Choice Pass – $52 (adult) $37 (child 3-12)
3 Choice Pass – $69 (adult) $49 (child 3-12)
4 Choice Pass – $89 (adult) $64 (child 3-12)
5 Choice Pass – $99 (adult) $74 (child 3-12)
So, is Go Boston Card or Boston CityPASS Better?
Clearly, there are many options to choose from when selecting a Boston attractions pass. What is our recommendation?
While the right card for you is going to depend on a variety of factors, including your budget, travel goals, and who you are traveling with, our personal recommendation would be to choose the Boston CityPASS. This pass is well-priced, lasts for a relaxing 9 days in duration, and includes 4 essential Boston attractions.
You could consider purchasing a Boston CityPASS as well as an Explorer Boston Go Card. These combined would give you admission to more major Boston attractions, with a much more flexible schedule.
While the 40 attractions included on the All-Inclusive Boston Go Card are attractive, the time frames for visiting them all are too short. The 7-day pass would make it more feasible, but it is the most expensive of all the options. You’d be very busy trying to visit as much as possible during your trip. For shorter trips, you might be better off buying individual admission to attractions or mixing and matching with both the Boston CityPASS and the Boston Go Card!
Exploring Boston or beyond? We’ve got plenty of ideas for your New England travels. Check out some of these useful posts:
- The Absolute Best Day Trips from Boston
- 10 Best Breweries in Boston You Can’t Miss
- Where to Go for the Best Breakfast in Boston
- 13 Best North End Restaurants in Boston
- Boston Slang: 30 Wicked Cool Boston Sayings You Should Know!
- A Guide to New England Slang: 50 Slang Words & Phrases
- 11 Best Walking Tours in Boston
- 10 Literary Sites in Boston All Book-Lovers Should Visit
- Things to Do in Salem, Massachusetts in October
- Things to Do in Rockport, Massachusetts
- Spring in Boston: 12 Best Things to Do for Spring Fun
- How to Spend One Day in Boston: 24 Hours of Boston Fun!
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Amy Hartle is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of New England With Love, a comprehensive resource for travel in the New England region. Amy has been exploring New England since 2001. She lived in Vermont for many years and is a graduate of Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Amy has been writing about travel for over a decade. On this site, Amy aims to share her love of New England and help you to have the best possible adventures!
Amy has been a full time blogger since 2012, and is also the publisher of Two Drifters, where she writes about couples travel and relationships, as well as Let’s Adventure Baby, a family travel site. When not traveling the world or creating epic blog content, Amy can be found cuddling with her husband, son, and cats, & drinking a maple latte.