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Tour Chicago's Moving Bridges with a Civil Engineer

The Loop

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In a Nutshell

Retired Civil Engineer Jim Phillips expands on the how and why of Chicago's moving bridges during a tour by foot and water taxi

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Sep 2, 2014. Amount paid never expires. This deal is for the purchase of a ticket. Reservations required prior to attending event. Dates subject to capacity and cancellation. Refundable only on day of purchase. No value after experience date & time have passed. Recommended for ages 12 or older. Gratuity included. By completing your purchase, you agree that the email address you provide will be shared with SideTour for marketing purposes and as described in SideTour’s Privacy Policy. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

The Deal

  • $20 for one admission to a two-hour tour of Chicago's moving bridges with retired civil engineer Jim Phillips
  • Upon purchase, you may schedule for one of the available dates
  • You must reserve your date here in advance of the event
  • Children are welcome, but tours are best understood by children 12 and older.
  • The walking portion of the tour is roughly three-quarters of a mile and involves stairs.

Groups meet at Wells Street bridge house at the intersection of W Wacker Dr and N Wells Street.

Each event is capped at 10 purchasers.


What You'll Do

Because the Chicago River is a navigable waterway, it can't have permanent barriers to water traffic. As a result, downtown Chicago houses 18 movable bridges within a two-mile stretch, an engineering feat that Jim Phillips detailed in his own e-book. Join Jim for a walking tour of six of these marvels before boarding a water taxi and gliding under 12 bridges on the way to Michigan Avenue.

  • Learn How a Moving Bridge Operates
    Get an up-close look at the architecture and machinery that drives Chicago's bridges while Jim explains their origins and the science behind their operations.

  • Hop on the River
    Enjoy a water-level view of the iconic Du Sable Bridge at Michigan Avenue and the Riverwalk construction project.

  • Keep Learning
    Cap off your tour and expand your knowledge of the bridges with a visit to the McCormick Bridgehouse, where you can explore the machinery from top to bottom, and Chicago River Museum; admission is included.


Your Host

Jim Phillips Jim Phillips
Retired Civil Engineer

With an extensive background as a civil engineer, Jim Phillips became so fascinated by the history and functional artistry of the movable bridges in downtown Chicago that he just had to write an e-book about them. More than just a rundown of statistical facts and figures, Two Miles – Eighteen Bridges delves deep into the historical and cultural impact of the structures. As an active volunteer at the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum, Jim leads presentations about these fascinating marvels of engineering for local schools and civic groups.


  1. 1

    The Loop

    West Upper Wacker Drive & North Wells Street

    Chicago, IL 60606

    Get Directions

Outdoor activities, from cycling to sailing
Experiences that expand cultural awareness, such as museums, tours, and literature
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