We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Only go if you are a history buff, McDonald's Fan or just love a good business story”

Original McDonald's Site and Museum
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed October 7, 2013

This is secret....lots of history here including the McFeud...very sad but at the same time...you will say Wow or OMG at least ten times. First of all it is free....second....you will see things that will make your reflect on commercials and flashback to characters also it makes you think hard about the happy meal as well as how the franchise business is complicated. This is the first store, the original corporate in Oak Brook does not share about this history which is the real history. Ray Kroc had a dispute with the McDonalds Brothers and actually built a cooperate store across the street to drive them out of business as well as take way the Golden Arches Trademark. The Gentlemen that works here also provides history of the town, famous people and the Juan Pollo Chicken. The outside of the building has some excellent murals. If you are within a one hour drive I would recommend stopping by if you care about history, business or the birth of McDonalds. They also have lots of items donated by people. Here's a secret...there is a small military museum that is next door that is also free!

1  Thank jdreynoldsjr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (190)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages

119 - 123 of 190 reviews

Reviewed October 3, 2013

I was in San Bernardino and decided to check out the site of the first and original McDonald's restaurant ever opened. Today at the site, which is now a building that houses corporate headquarters and a McDonald's museum, and is the site of the original location where the McDonald brothers opened their first restaurant "McDonald's Bar-B-Que" which they ran from 1940-48. At that same location In Oct 1948 they closed the BBQ and in December 1948 opened McDonald's Hamburgers featuring the "speedy service" system and sold 15c Hamburgers and 10c fries. The original octagonal shaped building was torn down and replaced with the new "Golden Arches" design in 1953 the same year that saw 3 other McDonald's locations open in Arizona and So California. In 1954 Ray Kroc convinced the brothers to let him franchise McDonald's and he opened his first store in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois. Although it was the 9th McDonald's to open he names his store McDonald's #1 and his first store is now the Official McDonald's Museum. Although the original San Bernardino site was demolished in the 1970's a building was built on the site which was not a restaurant, but is the corporate headquarters for "Juan Pollo" a chain of Mexican style Chicken restaurants. The building houses the corporate offices and staff and is a combination office and museum. I arrived and was given a guided tour by Jim Valdez who was a fountain of knowledge of all things McDonald's and San Bernardino history. There are fascinating displays and memorabilia of McDonald's and also Route 66 which went through San Bernardino. I highly recommend stopping by this place and its free. Don't miss the murals that are painted on the north and south sides of the building. A fun time to go down memory lane.

Thank Ken L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2013

I guess I should have done a little more reading or research before stopping by. The Key Word is "site". It's where the Mc Donald Brothers built their first restaurant. That building was torn down in the 70's. The current building is just that, a building. They do have a lot of smalls, but nothing much with a wow. It's free.

Thank Jeffrey S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2013

was very cool, like a trip down memory lane! They have every Happy Meal toy. Place is kinda small so probably not good for the little ones.

1  Thank deezlilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2013

Only One First in any chain, company ect.

But, to be the First Mc Donalds is a Legend,
we were shocked, when we heard it was going to be
removed years ago, What a Shame that would have been.

There is another very close, but we chose to eat at the
Original, just to say we had eaten there.

Worth the drive to Downey CA, to eat there.

Ritchie H.

1  Thank Ritchie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Original McDonald's Site and Museum also viewed


Been to Original McDonald's Site and Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing