Lake Shore Drive is one of the most iconic streets in Chicago. It boasts over 15 miles of scenic waterfront and towering skyscraper views. The history of Lake Shore Drive, also known as The Drive, stretches back to distant 1882.
Chicago businessman Potter Palmer convinced the city to build a pleasant, scenic road next to Palmer Mansion in today’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Palmer’s goal was to create a place for the city’s elite to drive their carriages. Unfortunately, the birth of the automobile crushed this dream, and the road was opened to cars.
Did you know that it was originally named Leif Ericson Drive? It wasn’t until 1946 that it became Lake Shore Drive.
In 1937 the largest bridge of its time, the double-decker Link Bridge, was built to connect Lake Shore Drive on either end of the Chicago River. With the help of other improvements throughout the twentieth century, Lake Shore Drive remains an excellent way to move along Chicago’s east side.
Lake Shore Drive is a great way to connect to the city beaches, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and Grant Park from the Eisenhower Expressway intersection. It also connects to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Lincoln Park Conservatory.
If you have a need for speed check out the marathons that run along Lake Shore Drive. The Chicago “Bike the Drive” is an annual non-competitive event that opens the entire stretch of Lake Shore Drive to bicycles. The annual Chicago half marathon uses portions of Lake Shore Drive as well.
For those who simply want to enjoy the scenery, Lake Shore Drive features the 18-mile Chicago Lakefront Trail along much of Lake Michigan. It’s a must-see for any visitor.