The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum: Hours, Address, The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum
4.5
Speciality Museums • Points of Interest & Landmarks • History Museums
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10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum celebrates the Chicago River and its world-famous movable bridges. Beginning at river level and spiraling five stories up, the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore a historic landmark bridgehouse. At river level, visitors can view the massive gears of Chicago’s most famous movable bridge and then journey through time as they experience the story of the Chicago River. Once at the top of the Bridgehouse, visitors are treated to magnificent 360 degree views of the city and river, and will gain a whole new perspective on the beauty and complexity that is Chicago. The Bridgehouse Museum furthers the mission of Friends of the Chicago River.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Downtown / The Loop
Often visitors' first stop in Chicago, The Loop is a good starting point to sample the city's energy and flavor. This central business district boasts Michelin-rated restaurants, upscale hotels, premier shopping, and enough arresting architecture to keep your camera busy for hours. You won’t find too many photo galleries of downtown Chicago without a shot of Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. A stunning skyline coupled with cultural attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago present a Downtown where work and play peacefully coexist.
How to get there
  • State/Lake • 5 min walk
  • Randolph/Wabash • 6 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
149 reviews
Excellent
72
Very good
58
Average
14
Poor
2
Terrible
3

Brendan S
Arlington, VA1,308 contributions
Solo
This museum is devoted to the history of the Chicago River and its raised bridges. It’s located in one of the bridge towers and includes a view of the gears and ingenious counterweight system that allow the bridge to operate. There are tiny galleries on each level with panels about the bridge, the terraforming of the river, how it became polluted and then cleaned over time. There’s more than I expected and it is free on Sundays. One star deducted for a climate change panel that notes how Chicago - where snow in April is common - will suffer from higher average temperatures that will lead to more hot summer days. Anyone trying to convince me that warmer Chicago weather would be a bad thing is pushing an agenda, not providing information.
Written May 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alicia G
15 contributions
Couples
For a small museum, it's presentation is very effective. The wall placards share history in text and images on the first four levels, then predictions about the future on the uppermost level. Windows on each floor provide new perspectives. The mechanical workings of the bridge can be viewed, and diagrams explain the operation. Because of the space limitations, you won't want to take a large group; half a dozen people per level would be a crowd. And it's all stairs, no elevator, so not handicap accessible, but it was a pleasant and educational hour on a Saturday morning for us.
Written May 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Luvs2TravelAnywhere
New York City, NY6,683 contributions
The McCormick Bridgehouse is a moving monument to those who lost their lives in the Chicago fire. There is a small museum that you can get through in 30 minutes so it is definitely worth it to stop in.
Written April 11, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lolagirl92
125 contributions
Solo
I stumbled upon this small museum on a hot weekend in Chicago. I had time to kill before a river cruise and happily found a $4 admission price with great air conditioning and a clean bathroom.
There are a lot of stairs, so this attraction won't be for everyone, but the exhibits were interesting and explained the bridge system in Chicago in an interesting way. Great views & photos opps of Michigan Ave and the Michigan Ave Bridge.
Written June 17, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MathurS11
India1,006 contributions
Business
This is a very clean and well-maintained bridgehouse area. There is a museum which was quite packed with tourists.
Written February 9, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Fussy_Janet
Chicago32 contributions
Well, it's quite interesting!

This little museum is hidden in plain sight. The flaneurs of Michigan Avenue should really stop by this place. Seeing the bridge's machinery is fascinating, and you'll see uniquely beautiful views of the river and city from this structure.

Hey, this is the kind of place that makes Chicago distinctive-- not those chain stores and eateries along North Michigan. Check this place out, and then have a glass of wine at one of the cafes along the river.
Written July 17, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Grigol M
Ozurgeti, Georgia225 contributions
Solo
Museum is right on the river walk. This is very small but good place to see the mechanics of bridges and learn about history of Chicago river, how they turned the direction of the river, what role does river play in City's life and how bridges on that river operate. Museum is free on Sundays and has very well organized exhibition. If one climbs the stairs, will get beautiful view of the streets
Written December 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Claudette C
Washington1,642 contributions
Friends
My sister and I discovered this museum as we were walking along the river. The building is small but tells a great story about the bridges and waterways in Chicago. You can even go to see the inner workings of the draw bridge. We both really enjoyed this museum.
Written September 15, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Wendy119186363
Reading, UK1,559 contributions
Couples
We came across this museum by accident and I'm glad we stayed to visit. Interesting information about the development of Chicago and the influence of the river. The mechanics of this bascule (seesaw) bridge is explained well and you get to see the bridge's engineering below street level where the lifting happens. The River walk is also worth doing. On the bridge you view the bas relief .
Written October 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ecurranrx
Boston, MA445 contributions
Self guided tour thru here actually is inside one of the towers on the bridge. For just $4 got to see the exhibits which were pretty interesting how they changed the flow of the river and then later cleaned up the river. Enjoyed seeing the gears and way the bridge opens under ground but a video showing the mechanism in action would have been better to help understand. Views from inside the tower were unique and picturesque. Highly suggest you add this to your trip to Chicago
Written October 26, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum is open:
  • Wed - Sun 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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