The 18th Street Bridge is not as well know for skyline images as the Adler Planetarium, but it’s a great location that offers a variety of views. The bridge goes over the south branch of the Chicago River, as well as a railyard, which are great foregrounds. The easiest way to access the bridge is probably with the Red Line, stopping at Cermak-Chinatown.
From there, you’d get to the east end of the bridge, which overlooks Ping Tom Memorial Park, with the St Charles Air Line bridge in front of the city.
The park trail and the river provide great leading lines into the city. If you find the bright, red pavilion in the foreground to be distracting, you might prefer a vertical composition.
Walking west, the view starts to shift and you can shoot tighter to focus on the bridge and the skyline.
Moving further down the bridge, you’ll pass over the river. I personally don’t like that location as the bridge gets in front of the Willis Tower. But if you keep walking, you’ll get to the train tracks, where you can get great shots.
That location allows you to see most of the skyline, all the way to the lake. You can include the bridge in your composition by shooting from the west side of the tracks. Both wide and tight compositions work well here.
The 18th Street Bridge is a great location at sunset and blue hour. As you can see, it looks great in a variety of light and weather conditions.
What’s your favorite cityscape location in Chicago? Let us know in the comments below!