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Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips.

Sure, pedestrian bridges can get you from one side to another and help raise your step count, but they’ve also got interesting backstories, lovely views and eye-catching design aesthetics. In this time of social distancing, they can also provide a fair amount of space for spreading out and bringing us a little closer to natural settings. So plan a leisurely stroll along these pedestrian bridges across America.

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Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge: Omaha, NE

Credit: Visit Omaha

While formally named for a Nebraska senator, this bridge across the Missouri River is simply known as “Bob.” And Bob’s got it all—including a Twitter handle, Instagram account, a friendly troll statue placed underneath him and even a hashtag—and is positioned so that in one spot you can set your feet in two states, Nebraska (from Omaha) and Iowa (from Council Bluffs)—at the same time!

Sundial Bridge: Redding, CA

Courtesy of Turtle Bay Exploration Park

Spanning the Sacramento River in Redding‘s Turtle Bay Exploration Park, this bridge gets its name from having a working sundial that can record shadows for four hours a day. This dazzler also serves as an entrance to the Sacramento River Trail system and links the park’s northern and southern campus entrances.

Soleri Bridge and Plaza: Scottsdale, AZ

Credit: Scottsdale Public Art

Named after the Italian architect who designed it (and first came to Arizona to study under Frank Lloyd Wright), this fixture along the Scottsdale Waterfront offers more than passage and a hangout spot for pedestrians. It also acts as a solar calendar. Crossing the Arizona Canal, the bridge features two steel-clad 64-foot-high pylons that create a shaft of light that, depending on the time of year, results in the sun’s shadow crossing the bridge.

The Liberty Bridge: Greenville, SC

Greenville has a 28-foot waterfall right in the middle of its downtown, and this 345-foot bridge was designed with a curve for onlookers to get the best point of view. Positioned over Greenville’s Reedy River waterfalls, the Liberty Bridge is held up by a single suspension cable that makes these falls appear as though they’re floating in the air. Plus, the bridge is readily accessible along Main Street and by walking down a flight of steps.

BP Pedestrian Bridge: Chicago

In Chicago’s Loop, this 925-foot-long, serpentine bridge runs along Millennium Park and provides more than great views of the Chicago skyline and a way to and from neighboring Maggie Daley Park. Designed by Frank Gehry, its stainless-steel panels not only enable walkers to safely cross over busy Columbus Drive but also serve as an acoustic barrier for blocking out the noise from the traffic below.

Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge: Chattanooga, TN

As the Volunteer State’s oldest non-military highway bridge, this late 19th-century structure was saved from demolition in the 1980s and restored and reopened in 1993 as a pedestrian bridge and linear park. The bridge also connects to many of Chattanooga’s popular attractions, including the North Hunter Museum of American Art, the Tennessee Riverwalk and the Tennessee Aquarium Museum.

Land Bridge: Vancouver, WA

Confluence Project

This 40-foot-wide earth-bridge hovering above Washington State Route 14 marks a place in history. It’s near the site where European and Native American cultures once met at the first European trading post in the Pacific Northwest. Today, the bridge connects the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site to the Columbia River and has a Welcome Gate designed by Native American artist Lillian Pitt signifying its historic point of contact between two heritages.

Walkway Over the Hudson: Upstate New York

Having been a busy railroad bridge hauling freight coming in from the West and transporting passengers east to New England and Mid-Atlantic cities, this bridge across the Hudson River (the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge) would cease in its original role as rails due to a 1974 track fire. However, 35 years later, it would be rebuilt and reopened as a pedestrian walkway in the form of a 1.28-mile linear park with views north to the Catskills and south to the Hudson Highlands.

Stone Arch Bridge: Minneapolis, MN

Once accommodating rail traffic during Minneapolis’s heyday as the “Milling Capital of the World,” this stone bridge now welcomes walkers, scooters, cyclists and Segway riders since its re-purposing in the early ’90s. It’s also a prime photo spot for snapshots of the Minneapolis skyline and the St. Anthony Falls, as the bridge crosses over the Mighty Mississippi River.

High Trestle Trail Bridge: Madrid, IA

Based along the High Trestle Trail, which spans 25 miles through five towns in four central Iowa counties, this bridge is worth an easygoing pace. About three miles west of Madrid, its design describes the area’s past via six overlooks paired with interpretative storytelling panels. Overhead, 41 steel “frames” represent the support cribs found within a traditional coal mine. At night, blue lights illuminate the section marking the main river channel below.

Providence River Pedestrian Bridge: Providence, RI

Go Providence

This wooden bridge and public park space connects Providence‘s East Side, which contains the Rhode Island Museum of Design and a mix of cafes, restaurants and shops, to its Innovation & Design District, a former industrial area that’s now an academic hub for Brown University and other Rhode Island higher education institutions. Speaking of academics, it was a RISD student who came up with the idea to use the foundations of a former highway overpass as the bridge’s substructure.

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park: Cañon City, CO

Eve Nagode, FoxRunArt

Called America’s highest suspension bridge, this public attraction in Southern Colorado spans over the Royal Gorge, a 1,200-foot deep canyon naturally carved out of the Arkansas River. Built during the 1920s, this wooden footpath was constructed specifically for its 360-degree surrounding views of not only the gorge but also this mountainous location; you can see the back of Pikes Peak, which is 60 miles away.

Tagged: Arizona, Chicago, Midwest, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee

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Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

Michele writes about women's travel, destinations, culinary, and cultural topics for various outlets and has ventured as far as Fiji, to date. She also muses her tales on She Is Going Places.
Michele Herrmann

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