Chicago Bridge Tours Return for a Second Season

Patrick McBriarty hosting a Wendella boat tour

Patrick McBriarty hosting a Wendella boat tour in 2014

Good news if you missed the limited number of boat tours about Chicago’s moving bridges last year — they’re back for this year!

The Chicago Architecture Blog’s bridge expert, Patrick McBriarty, will once again host the tours on the Wendella fleet. There will be six tour dates this year, so check the press release below for the details.

And speaking of Mr. McBriarty, congratulations are in order because his childrens’ book Drawbridges Open and Close won third place in the New England Book Show’s annual awards. His Chicago-inspired book took the prize in the Illustrated Small & Self Publishers category.


Chicago, IL – Wendella Boats is proud to announce the return of the ChicagoArchitectural Bridge Tours for 2015 in partnership with Patrick McBriarty, author of the book Chicago River Bridges.
Without our bridges would Chicago be the Tri-City Area of North, South, and West Chicago separated by the Y-shaped Chicago River?
The bridges are elemental to Chicago, connect us all, and helped make the development of this city possible. And in classic Second City form, Chicago has more drawbridges than any city in the world, except Amsterdam, and is home to the second-longest bascule bridge in the world! The Windy City has long been a center for moveable bridge innovation and most modern drawbridge designs were first invented, tested, or built in Chicago before anywhere else. This innovation and development was a direct result of the interplay between the rapid growth of the city, use of the Chicago River as a harbor and waterway, and need to connect the south, west, and north sides of the city.
Experience fantastic views and learn all about Chicago’s development through the history of its drawbridges, how they work, their design, use, and architectural highlights while cruising the river to see 20+ bridges.
Inspired by the gritty aesthetic and need to enhance our collective appreciation for these often overlooked structures, this exclusive tour from Wendella Boats shares the colorful history of catastrophes, innovations, and human dramas surrounding the bridges and reveals the importance, power, and politics of these magnificent structures. After this tour you will never look at any bridge the same way.
For more details and for tickets go to Wendella’s website. Family friendly, tickets for children ages 3-11 years old are offered at a significant discount off the regular price.
2015 Schedule for the Chicago Architectural Bridge Tours:
· Friday, June 5 – 9:00-11:00 a.m.
· Tuesday, June 16 – 5:45-7:45 p.m.
· Sunday, July 19 – 9:00-11:00 a.m.
· Tuesday, Aug 18 – 5:45-7:45 p.m.
· Tuesday, Sept.15 – 5:45-7:45 p.m.
· Sunday, Oct. 4 – 9:00-11:00 a.m.
We recommended patrons arrive at least fifteen minutes prior the start of the tour to allow time for check in and boarding.

Most days a Wendella ticket stub is good for 2-for-1 admission to the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum located in the SW tower of the Michigan Avenue Bridge and run by Friends of the Chicago River.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

Share This Post On