Experience Chicago with the Chicago CityPASS (Day 1)

Kirschblüte in Chicago

In May the three of us went to the USA, our son's first time. We started our little tour in Chicago. We had planned two days for this and to visit enough attractions with the Chicago CityPASS. In this article you can find out what you can experience and what we can recommend.

Our first day in downtown Chicago started very relaxed. Our little man let us sleep “late” (7:30 am is long for him) despite the risk of jet lag. But he didn't seem to have that, because he fell asleep normally and through the night, just like at home. you have to be a child. Mom and Dad struggled more. We spent a leisurely breakfast at the Hilton Chicago with lots of fruit and a large croissant for our sunshine. The perfect start to the day.

Hilton Chicago
Hilton Chicago

Sightseeing tour with the Chicago CityPASS

Then we started our Chicago tour with the Chicago CityPASS. With the We already had CityPASS in Seattle gute Erfahrungen gemacht und wollten ihn hier auch unbedingt nutzen. Ihr könnt damit ins Shedd Aquarium, auf das Skydeck Chicago und in das Field Museum. Entscheiden müsst euch zwischen Museum of Science and Industry und 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck sowie Adler-Planetarium und Art Institute of Chicago. Mit unserem kleinen Begleiter kam für uns nur das Observation Deck und das Planetarium infrage. Also ging es auf zum Museum Campus, direkt am Michigan See, wo das Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum und das Adler-Planetarium zu finden sind. Vom Hilton Chicago aus sind das nur 20 Minuten zu Fuß.

Kirschblüte in Chicago
Cherry blossom in Chicago

Shedd Aquarium mit dem Chicago CityPASS

Our first destination was the Shedd Aquarium. There are many different underwater worlds to see here: Amazon, Caribbean, Arctic Ocean and also the local rivers and lakes around Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, there are many steps to get to the museum, the entrance for the pram is quite hidden around the corner to the right.

Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium

The CityPASS includes admission and a 4D show, with a choice of Splash and Bubbles, Coastal Predators and BBC Shark. We chose Splash and Bubbles because it was the only show for kids. The film featured 3D glasses, light effects, vibrating seats and soap bubbles as bubbles. It was an animated fish movie like Finding Nemo or Big Sharks Little Fish. The little man had a lot of fun, even if he didn't want to put on the 3D glasses. We also watched a free dolphin, penguin and sea lion show at the Abbott Oceanarium. This was very nicely designed and for the kids to participate in and also informative, so have fun and learn.

The beluga whales were being fed when we passed. What beautiful white animals, our sunshine didn't want to leave at all. There is a small indoor playground across from the penguins. Here the children can be like penguins in a research station, climbing up and sliding down cardboard rocks.

When we left the aquarium around noon, there were many young demonstrators in front of the entrance. They accused the welfare of the caged animals. Anyone visiting a zoo or aquarium should be aware of this if they want to see animals in captivity.

We then wanted to take the 146 bus into town. What we didn't know is that you always have to have the right ticket money. But unfortunately we didn't. So we went back and forth about what to do. The lady behind us gave us a nice smile and said, "No problem, I'll pay for you." She had a bus card, which she only had to show and the amount was paid for us. That was really super friendly, we couldn't thank you enough. It turned out that she was also from Europe, and she was Polish, but lives in Chicago. We actually drove downtown to have a deep dish pizza at Giordano's for lunch. But unfortunately we had to expect a waiting time of 1 to 1 1/2 hours and that was too long for us. So we went to the Nutella Café right around the corner and ate waffles and pancakes. It was also super tasty and since it started raining outside, it was still nice and dry.

Essen im Nutella Café
Eating at the Nutella Cafe

360 Chicago meets Chicago CityPASS

The rain got heavier and we decided against the beautiful Chicago Riverwalk, but went "directly" to the John Hancock Tower with a small detour to the Apple Store and a large toy store. When we got there, it stopped raining, but the clouds were extremely low.

verregneter Chicago Riverwalk
rainy Chicago Riverwalk

Our Chicago CityPASS gave us free entry to the Skydeck 360 Chicago and we wanted to take advantage of that. So we drove up anyway, because it was pretty empty due to the bad weather. As feared, we had zero visibility when we reached the top. A white wall stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling window panes. Our little man still had his fun, because you could walk around the window front in a circle. So he ran lap after lap like a madman. Suddenly there was a tiny little gap in the clouds, but as quickly as they had come, they were gone again. We didn't worry about it because according to the weather report it was supposed to get better the next day and that's when we had planned the Skydeck in the Willis Tower. Fingers crossed that we have a better view there.

Maggie Daley Park - playground for young and old

In the late afternoon the weather got better and the sun came out a bit. So that our son also got his money's worth, we decided to go to a playground. Maggie Daley Park is right next to Millennium Park. A huge facility, brand new, completely fenced in and with security at the entrance, so no child can escape. Everything is beautifully green and the paths and play areas are covered with rubber mats or rubber granulate. There are individual subject areas for each attraction, such as the boat theme, which matches Lake Michigan. Our child loved the large net swings. A tall climbing tower serves as a lookout point with an oversized suspension bridge and every type of slide imaginable. Everyone can play and participate here, from toddlers to older children and young people to parents. You can honestly say that this playground is perfect! We have never seen anything like this in Germany.

Spielplatz im Maggie Daley Park
Playground at Maggie Daley Park

Our little sunshine was so broken afterwards that he fell asleep in the pram on the way to the hotel and didn't even wake up for dinner.

Which travel guide do you recommend for Chicago?

Chicago erleben mit dem Chicago CityPASS (Tag 1) 1Chicago erleben mit dem Chicago CityPASS (Tag 1) 2For the perfect city trip to Chicago, we recommend you this guide. Here you will not only find a detailed city map, but also a lot of information about all the important sights. You will also be shown great suggestions for detours to the outskirts.

The Chicago CityPASS was kindly provided to us by Choose Chicago. At this point we would like to thank you again for the cooperation. This post represents our free and independent opinion. You can find more information on journalistic independence under the point Cooperation.

Did you enjoy the post? Then share it on social networks. With this you support our work. Have you been to Chicago? Then I look forward to your opinion and tips in the comments.

Experience Chicago with the Chicago CityPASS
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Hancock Tower Skydeck
  • Maggie Daley Park Playground


Our first day in Chicago was a complete success for our little man too. We all had a great time and would highly recommend the Shedd Aquarium and Maggie Daley Park Playground with children. The Skydeck on the John Hancock Tower is only worthwhile in good weather, but that's probably clear to everyone. The Chicago CityPass was absolutely worth it in both attractions that day.


Hello, I am a Christian and grew up in magical Merseburg. During my studies in Erfurt, I met my husband, Christian, and we moved to Halle together. With our small family we now live again in my original hometown. Because of my job as an architect, I am always interested in places with an exciting history and great architecture. I was already often on the road during my studies, but my great passion for travel only spilled over from my husband to me. My motto: "The way is the goal!" For us, a relaxed holiday begins at the airport... in the lounge. :-)

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