So you’re in Chicago for business or a conference and you only have two hours or one afternoon of free time between meetings. If you love beautiful architecture, you’re in luck. Chicago has some jaw-dropping structures. One worth ogling is the DuSable/Michigan Avenue bridge. Take a stroll across the bridge. Then walk downstairs to the riverfront esplanade. Have a bite to eat, a cocktail, and savor the view.
For Travelers Who Like: Architecture, a brisk walk, food, and drinks.
Where to Go: Any Uber or Lyft driver can take you to the DuSable/Michigan Avenue Bridge which crosses the Chicago River between Michigan and Wabash. The stairs at the end of the bridge will take you down to the riverfront esplanade
What Makes It Special: The bridge, which was built in 1920, was recently renamed the DuSable Bridge in honor of Chicago’s first permanent resident, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, a fur trader of African descent. It was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1991.
The bridge is designed in the Beaux Arts style to resemble the Alexander III Bridge over the Seine in Paris. It is what’s known as a Trunnion bascule bridge, which means it moves in order to allow boats to pass. It has two decks and allows both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Each of the four bridge houses features a bas relief sculpture that depicts a pivotal moment in Chicago’s history: the arrival of French explorers James Marquette and Louis Joliet; du Sable and John Kinzie who were the city’s first settlers; the Battle of Fort Dearborn; and workers rebuilding of the city after the Great Fire of 1871. The southwest bridgehouse has been converted into a small museum which has exhibits about the history of the Chicago River and the bridge.
Don’t Miss: The amazing views from the bridge. Deana of Deana of Deana Rose Designs highly recommends taking the stairs (at the end of the bridge) down to the riverfront promenade. One of her favorite restaurants is Tiny Tapp which closes for the winter and typically reopens in mid May. Order the brisket nachos or the pimento cheese dip and wash it all down with the Wyatt Earp cocktail.
Traveling to Chicago for business? We asked Hilary of H. Bune Designs to tell us what she'd recommend to a visitor who only has two hours or an afternoon to spend seeing Chicago. If you love architecture or history, she suggests taking the Chicago Architecture Foundation Riverboat Tour. Hilary, who loves the tour enough to have taken it three times, says it's perfect if your free time is limited because the tour only lasts about 90 minutes