And there ain’t no road just like it
Anywhere I found
Running south on Lake Shore Drive heading into town
Just slippin’ on by on LSD, Friday night trouble bound
— “Lake Shore Drive” by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah
I’ve had occasion to drive into or through downtown Chicago several times recently, which is unusual. A few times it was for medical reasons, another for a conference in the Loop, and last Friday for a morning seminar at the University of Chicago.
Each time I do it I’m reminded of how beautiful Lake Shore Drive is.
If you’ve never been to Chicago: the city sits right next to Lake Michigan, and Lake Shore Drive runs north-south along the lakeshore. Except some museums, Navy Pier, Soldier Field, and one swanky skyscraper, it’s mostly beachfront and parks the whole way, so whichever direction you drive it (or bike or run it) will give you an amazing view of Chicago’s famous downtown architecture and the expansive lake at the same time.
On Friday I drove almost the whole stretch of the LSD, from the far north side to the far south side and back. Heading southbound, I think the scenic part of downtown begins at the Oak Street bend where the Drake Hotel sits. (Which to me always calls to mind the crucial Bible from the Drake Hotel in Mission: Impossible: “They stamped it, didn’t they? Those damn Gideons.”)
And northbound from the University of Chicago it’s scenic pretty much the whole way. You can watch the skyscrapers get bigger and bigger until you’re almost among them.
I don’t know how many other cities have anything comparable to Lake Shore Drive, so I’m happy to have it.