Bridge Lifts

It is quite a scene when Michigan Avenue meets the sky.

To accommodate sail boats and other tall vessels traveling between the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, Chicago's bridges open approximately 40 times a year from April to November. Witnessing the Michigan Avenue Bridge opening from inside the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum is quite a treat.

One spectator raved, “Watching the massive Michigan Avenue Bridge rise to the sky from inside the bridge is amazing. Powered by just a tiny 108 horsepower motor, the gears turn, the bridge rises - and you can’t help but be awed by the ingenuity of it all.”

We invite you to experience this engineering marvel up close and personal by attending a bridge lift at the museum. 

Bridge Lift Breakfasts return for Fall 2017!

Plan a fun, unforgettable and rare experience your friends, coworkers or clients can only find in Chicago: watching the Michigan Avenue Bridge lift from inside the bridge tower while enjoying breakfast courtesy of Corner Bakery Cafe! The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum invites you to reserve one of only five Bridge Lift Breakfast dates this year. Make your reservation soon – dates are going fast!

Dates available are: 

Saturday, September 30th                                 Saturday, October 7th                                   Wednesday, October 11th                               Saturday, October 21st                                       Saturday, October 28th

Tickets for a Bridge Lift Breakfast are $15 per person. If interested in a private rental for a bridge lift, please contact Josh Coles at jcoles@chicagoriver.org

Please note that even though a bridge lift is scheduled, Friends cannot guarantee that it will take place. The City of Chicago Department of Transportation executes bridge lifts only if sail boats sign up for the run, and factors such as technical malfunctions may cancel a day’s lift.  Refunds can only be made up to two weeks prior to the event.

See the entire Fall 2017 schedule here

Advance registration is recommended for Saturday bridge lifts. For more information or to reserve your spot, call the museum at (312) 977-0227.

Read about bridge lift details and cancellation policy (PDF)

Learn more about the Michigan Avenue Bridge (now DuSable Bridge) at ChicagoLoopBridges.com and  HistoricBridges.org

Photo credits: Main Branch bridges with sailboats © 2011 Patricia Armell, chicagoloopbridges.com; Main Strem near Clark Street © 2012 James S Phillips, chicagoloopbridges.com

 
 
 

Watch the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge Lift

The complete picture - Gears (filmed in the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum) move the bridge leaf. Video: ©2011 James S. Phillips, ChicagoLoopBridges.com