Why Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive has long been a favored destination among motorcyclists
“There’s a road I’d like to tell you about, lives in my hometown. Lake Shore Drive, the road is called and it’ll take you up or down. From rats on up to riches, fifteen minutes you can fly.”
And as the rest of the lyrics to the 70s song ‘Lake Shore Drive’ by Chicago-based rock group, Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, go – “there ain’t no road just like it!”
Lake Shore Drive, known formally as Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable Lake Shore Drive or abbreviated as LSD, is one of the most iconic roads in the US, following Chicago’s picturesque Lake Michigan shoreline. Stretching approximately 18 miles (29 km) from Hollywood Avenue or 5700 North, to Marquette Drive and Jeffrey Drive at 6600 South, Lake Shore Drive is a popular route for motorcyclists from near and afar.
Chicago local Taylor B, says, “I have lived a short walk from Lake Shore Drive in Chicago for nearly 50 years and it just dawned on me that it has never been reviewed by TripAdvisor. I don’t understand how that can be! No other city in the country can match the scenic beauty of Lake Shore Drive.”
Feel the lake breeze against your face and breathe in the fresh, earthy scents of fresh water and shoreline woods, as you ride along the expressway. You’ll take in the scenic views of the city skyline, parklands, sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue-green water – it’s truly a sight to behold. Even riding at night, when the downtown Chicago’s skyscrapers are glistening with light, will evoke awe.
And the drive itself has an interesting history. Lakeshore Drive’s origins date back to 1882 when wealthy hotelier Potter Palmer built an impressive mansion on the lakefront drive south of North Avenue, near Burton Place. It wasn’t long before other wealthy Chicagoans built homes nearby, in what is now known as the Gold Coast, and Lake Shore Drive became a popular tree-lined carriage drive.
The drive was also previously known as the ‘Leif Erikson Drive’, after the Norwegian explorer Leif Erikson. Erikson is thought to have been the first European to have set foot on continental North America, approximately half a millennium before Christopher Columbus. He was the son of Erik the Red, the founder of Greenland. There’s a statue honoring Leif Erikson in Chicago’s Humboldt Park.
Highlights along the Drive from north to south include its many parks such as Lincoln Park and Jackson Park. Stop your motorcycle and soak up one of the best uninterrupted views of the city’s skyline from Promontory Point, located in Burnham Park.
Lake Shore Drive is packed with history, architecture and cultural attractions, along with a breathtaking view of one of the country’s great lakes. And if it’s an option to ride into the city from the south at night, either off the Dan Ryan expressway or I-55, go for it. As you will be treated to an unsurpassable view of the glittering Chicago skyline.
In the words of the ‘Lake Shore Drive’ song, “There ain’t no finer place to be, than running Lake Shore Drive. And there’s no peace of mind, or place you see, than riding on Lake Shore Drive.”