The DuSable Bridge

The DuSable Bridge, formerly known as the Michigan Avenue Bridge, is an essential emblem of Chicago's heritage. Named after the Haitian-born explorer and trader Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, the bridge serves as a tangible connection to the city's past while facilitating its bustling present.

The bridge was opened in 1920 as part of Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago. The plan aimed to address the city's rapid industrialization and urbanization, with the bridge serving as a central point of the comprehensive network of streets, parks, and public spaces. As an embodiment of the city's determination and innovative spirit, the DuSable Bridge was designed as a double-deck, double-leaf trunnion bascule bridge. This design that was pioneering for its time and is still revered today for its engineering brilliance.

The bridge's architectural details tell the story of the city's evolution. The four relief sculptures adorning the bridge's North and South ends depict significant stages in Chicago's history, including French investigative expeditions to the Chicago area in the 17th century and the city’s recovery from the Great Chicago Fire. The Beaux-Arts style details pay homage to the architectural tradition that was popular during the bridge's construction.

Visitors often marvel at the spectacular views from the bridge. The bridge offers an unparalleled perspective of the Chicago River, a body of water intricately tied to the city's history and development. Upstream, visitors can see the confluence of the river's North and South branches, while downstream, the river winds its way to Lake Michigan, flanked by a stunning array of architectural wonders. The bridge is also a gateway to the Magnificent Mile, Chicago's premier commercial district, known for its shopping, dining, and entertainment venues.

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Why visit the DuSable Bridge?

  1. Architectural marvel. As an engineering and architectural feat, the DuSable Bridge stands as a testament to the ingenuity and ambition that shaped Chicago into a world-class city.
  2. Historical significance. Beyond its structural beauty, the bridge serves as a living monument to Chicago's rich history. Its connection to Jean Baptiste Point DuSable offers insight into the city's origins and growth.
  3. Panoramic city views. From the bridge, you can take in the breathtaking views of the Chicago River and skyline, offering a visual treat and numerous photo opportunities.
  4. Vibrant neighborhood. Its strategic location in downtown Chicago means that a walk across the bridge leads to some of the city's most famous landmarks, including the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower.
  5. River cruises. Various river cruise companies include the DuSable Bridge on their route. These tours offer a unique vantage point to appreciate the bridge and learn about the architectural marvels lining the Chicago River.

A visit to the DuSable Bridge offers a comprehensive Chicago experience. It isn't merely a bridge; it's a journey through time, a visual spectacle, and a testament to the city's indefatigable spirit. Whether you're a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates beautiful cityscapes, the DuSable Bridge holds a wealth of experiences that are sure to enrich your visit to the Windy City.

Best places to visit near DuSable Bridge

  • The Magnificent Mile. This upscale section of Chicago's Michigan Avenue offers shopping, dining, and impressive architecture.

  • Chicago Riverwalk. This open, pedestrian waterfront located on the south bank of the main branch of the Chicago River is a beautiful place for a stroll, with cafes, boat rentals, and public art.

  • Chicago Architecture Center. This cultural organization offers insightful tours and exhibitions about the city's architectural history.

  • Navy Pier. This Chicago landmark features a variety of attractions, including rides, games, concerts, and restaurants.

  • Grant Park. Known as "Chicago's front yard," this park hosts several of the city's biggest events, including Lollapalooza. It's also home to the Buckingham Fountain.

  • Art Institute of Chicago. One of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States, it houses an impressive collection spanning thousands of years.

  • Millennium Park. Home to the famous "Cloud Gate" sculpture (also known as "The Bean"), the park also offers beautiful landscapes, public art, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art. This museum showcases innovative and compelling work by modern artists.

  • 360 Chicago Observation Deck. This deck provides breathtaking views of the city from the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center.

  • Lakefront Trail. This picturesque pathway along Lake Michigan is great for walking, running, or biking.
  • 1
    What are the most interesting and unique facts about DuSable Bridge?
    • The DuSable Bridge is a bascule bridge, which is a type of moveable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances the span, or "leaf", throughout the entire upward swing in providing clearance for boat traffic. Bascule is French for "seesaw." It was one of the first to use this design in the United States.

    • The bridge has been featured in numerous movies, such as The Untouchables (1987) and Mercury Rising (1997), as well as plenty of TV shows, video games, and other forms of media. It is a central part of the Chicago skyline and contributes to the city's cultural identity.
  • 2
    Can you walk across the DuSable Bridge, Chicago?
    You can walk across the DuSable Bridge. The bridge has pedestrian walkways on both sides of the roadway. It's a popular walking route for locals and tourists alike, as it offers stunning views of the city and river.