New Boston and Chicago passes offer discounts


Passes for discounts of up to 35 percent off major attractions in Boston and Chicago become available today from Smart Destinations. These Explorer Passes are a spin-off of their popular Go Cards.

Here's how the passes work: You buy the business-card sized smartcards in advance online, selecting the tours, museums, and other attractions you want to see (with unlimited admission per person). You then either pick up the card when you arrive in your city, or have the card be mailed to you in advance.

The Boston Explorer Pass

Valid for 30 days (compared with nine days for, say, the typical City Pass) You're given two lists of attractions, and you can pick one item from the first list of "premier" attractions and two items from the list of "signature" attractions. Overall, there are 27 attractions to pick from, including the Beantown Trolley Tour; Mass Bay Lines Whale Watch; the Freedom Trail Foundation Walking Tour; Paul Revere's House, Boston Harbor Cruise’s 45-Minute Constitution Cruise; and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Museum of Fine Arts; Bay State Cruise Company/Provincetown Ferry; Liberty Fleet Tall Ship Adventures; and Plymouth Plantation & Mayflower II (which are a drive outside of the city).

If bought online, the passes will be mailed to a home or office, but not area hotels, for a fee. Or you can avoid the fee by picking your passes up in-person at the Mass Bay Lines ticket desk, 60 Rowes Wharf, next to the Boston Harbor Hotel. The price is ordinarily about $45, but there's a sale from now until Aug. 7. for tickets for adults and children 13 years and older for $39.59 each. (Younger children qualify for a deeper discount.) Details at

The Chicago Explorer Pass

Same deal as above. Possible attractions you can choose to add to your pass (up to three)include: two-day Hop-On, Hop-Off Trolley Pass; Shoreline Sightseeing Architectural River Cruise, Adler Planetarium, and the Field Museum. (Full list of 24 attractions, here.) Pricing starts at $44.99 for adults, but there's a sale of 12 percent off now through July 31.

Smart Destinations already offers Explorer Passes for Las Vegas and New York. []

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