See the world’s first double-decker bridge

What a bridge! Actually, it’s two. Michigan Avenue Bridge is built as 2 separate spans, so one side can be raised for maintenance while traffic flows along the other. This 1920s landmark connects the South and North of the city over the Chicago River, and will take you to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile too.

The bridge is known as Michigan Avenue Bridge, but it was officially renamed the DuSable Bridge in 2010 to honor Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable. He’s known as the father of Chicago. Whatever name you choose to give the bridge goes by these days, it’s well worth a visit.

Two speeds

Michigan Avenue Bridge was a bit of a trailblazer when it was first built. It was the first double-decker bridge that had a roadway on both levels. The faster cars were meant to travel on the top, while the slower commercial traffic visiting the docks had to use the lower level.

The gear change

When you’ve hopped off your Chicago Bus Tour, be sure to take in the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum while you’re here. The museum contains lots of exhibits on the history of the Chicago River – and you get to see the bridge’s gear room in action.

Other interesting facts about Michigan Avenue Bridge

  • It’s one of the most photographed landmarks in the city
  • The bas-relief sculptures on the bridge depict important events in early Chicago’s history
  • The bridge used to open up to 3,000 times a year to let ships through
  • Now it’s only raised in the spring and fall, to let sailboats pass from Lake Michigan to the boat yards