Bridges are important pieces of infrastructure – and without them, some areas around the country would be virtually impossible to access. Mostly used as routes over small bodies of water, bridges also provide access across mountain passes and gorges, and act as shortcuts for travelers on foot.
Some of the most famous bridges in the US aren’t known for how well they work. Many are renowned for their beauty, creative design, unique colors, and historic importance. There are hundreds of thousands of bridges across the country, but we’ve rounded up the top 30 most famous bridges in the US.
Table of Contents
- 1. Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, California
- 2. Brooklyn Bridge – Brooklyn, New York
- 3. Bixby Creek Bridge – Big Sur, California
- 4. Seven Mile Bridge – Florida Keys
- 5. Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge – Niagara Falls, New York
- 6. Mackinac Bridge – Mackinaw City, Michigan
- 7. Sunshine Skyway Bridge – Tampa, Florida
- 8. Glen Canyon Dam Bridge – Page, Arizona
- 9. Royal Gorge Bridge – Canon City, Colorado
- 10. New River Gorge Bridge – Fayetteville, West Virginia
- 11. Benson Bridge – Multnomah Falls, Oregon
- 12. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway – New Orleans, Louisiana
- 13. London Bridge – Lake Havasu City, Arizona
- 14. Edmund Pettus Bridge – Selma, Alabama
- 15. George Washington Bridge – Fort Lee, New Jersey
- 16. Chesapeake Bay Bridge – Annapolis, Maryland
- 17. Frankford Avenue Bridge – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 18. Roebling Suspension Bridge – Cincinnati, Ohio
- 19. Penobscot Narrows Bridge – Stockton Springs, Maine
- 20. Ambassador Bridge – Detroit, Michigan
- 21. Tacoma Narrows Bridge – Tacoma, Washington
- 22. Delaware Memorial Bridge – New Castle, Delaware
- 23. Walnut Street Bridge – Chattanooga, Tennessee
- 24. Skydance Bridge – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- 25. DuSable Bridge – Chicago, Illinois
- 26. Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge – New York, New York
- 27. Purple People Bridge – Newport, Kentucky
- 28. Oakland Bay Bridge – Oakland, California
- 29. Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge – Arizona/Nevada
- 30. Mile High Swinging Bridge – Grandfather Mountain State Park, North Carolina
1. Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate Bridge is famous worldwide, so it should come as no surprise that it’s one of the most famous bridges in the US. This iconic San Francisco bridge was designed in 1917 by Joseph Stauss and completed in 1937.
Back then, it was both the longest and highest suspension bridge in the world – and to this day it’s likely still one of the most photographed.
Connecting the mile-long stretch between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the bridge is open to cars, bikes, and pedestrians who aren’t afraid of heights. Over 10 million visitors a year make their way onto the bridge, and if you’re in San Francisco, you simply must stop to admire this icon.
If you prefer to do so with feet on solid ground, you can take in some of the best views from:
- Fort Point National Historic Site
- The Welcome Center
- Baker Beach,
- Crissy Field (a local favorite)
2. Brooklyn Bridge – Brooklyn, New York
On the opposite coast, you’ll find the Brooklyn Bridge – one that rivals the Golden Gate Bridge in terms of renown. The bridge has been connecting New Yorkers from Brooklyn to Manhattan since it opened way back in 1883, which makes the structure all the more impressive.
In 1964, the Brooklyn Bridge was dubbed a national historic landmark. It was also used to carry rail traffic and trolleys across the East River but ceased to do so in the 1940s and 50s.
The Brooklyn Bridge has six lanes for car traffic and an elevated promenade for cyclists and pedestrians in the center of the bridge. It’s been featured in a few movies and has also seen numerous political parades cross its 1,595-foot span. Countless tourists visit the bridge, trying to get the most out of their trip to the “Big Apple”.
Walking along the Brooklyn Bridge is basically a rite of passage for visitors to NYC, but keep in mind that if you hope to cross the whole thing on foot it’ll take you at least an hour and a lot of patience. It’s not a novel idea, and there are lots of other tourists with the same line of thought.
3. Bixby Creek Bridge – Big Sur, California
The Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur, California is certainly one of the most beautiful bridges in America – and it’s also one of the most famous. If you’re traveling along the highly scenic Highway 1, the Bixby Creek Bridge will likely be the most Insta-worthy spot on your whole road trip.
Crossing over a steep canyon above Bixby Creek, the bridge itself is an impressive piece of infrastructure. But the true splendor of the bridge is the incredible backdrop of the dramatic California coastline.
There are multiple viewpoints of the bridge, but the best panorama can be found at the turnout on the south end – especially around sunset.
4. Seven Mile Bridge – Florida Keys
The (in)famous Seven Mile Bridge in the lower section of the Florida Keys is one of the most incredible bridges in the US. It was once used as a rail line over 100 years ago, but today is used to transport travelers between Knight’s Key and Little Duck Key.
The accurately named bridge is indeed 7 miles long and is part of the larger US Route 1 highway system that connects the chain of keys. This long stretch of the bridge only has 2 lanes, and if you’re prone to seasickness, you may start to feel a little woozy once you get to the center section.
This false ocean sickness is due to the fact that you can’t see any land ahead of you, but fear not – the bridge has been mostly reconstructed since its railroad days, and is completely modern and up to date on safety protocols.
5. Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge – Niagara Falls, New York
Commonly referred to simply as the Rainbow Bridge, this beautiful structure between New York and Ontario is one of the most famous bridges in the US (and Canada). It’s actually well-known around the world – although, the view from the bridge is really what draws people here.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more incredible backdrop than Niagara Falls. Some even consider the view here better than the one on the viewing platform. You can walk or drive across the bridge, but be sure to have some money for the toll ($1.00 USD for walking and $4.00 USD for driving, roundtrip). You’ll also need to have your passport on hand, as this is an international crossing.
If you’re looking for the best view of the bridge itself, you can get a fairly good (albeit foggy) one from the Cave of the Winds.
6. Mackinac Bridge – Mackinaw City, Michigan
Claiming the title of the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere, Mackinac Bridge is as famous as it is long. The bridge spans 26,372 feet and connects Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the Lower.
Often referred to by locals as Mighty Mac or Big Mac, the bridge opened in 1957 and put an end to the need for a ferry between the two anchorages. Although the bridge adds convenience for commuters, it’s also a bit of a terror for those with a fear of bridges. The fact that you can only see water for a part of the journey makes matters a bit worse for those with gephyrophobia, and honestly, who can blame them?
7. Sunshine Skyway Bridge – Tampa, Florida
Those with a fear of bridges might also want to stay away from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, though it’s one of the most famous bridges in the US. Located in Tampa, Florida, this cable-stayed structure connects Terra Ceia and St. Petersburg across Tampa Bay.
The bridge has a dark history. The original structure crossing the bay was hit by a ship and collapsed back in 1980, killing 35. The bridge has since been replaced and much improved upon – though the 4-mile stretch is still a bit daunting.
Nonetheless, taking a drive across will provide you with stunning views – and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge has even made it onto the Travel Channel’s list of “Top 10 Bridges in the World”.
8. Glen Canyon Dam Bridge – Page, Arizona
As you may have guessed from the name, the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge is located near the Glen Canyon Dam on the outskirts of Page, Arizona. This impressive structure was actually built solely for the dam to make transporting materials easier for the workers, but it is now one of the most famous bridges in the US.
The bridge is surrounded by beautiful red rock formations, and the combination of the modern structure and ancient geology makes for breathtaking views. Walk, drive, or bike across the structure for views of the dam below – but you’ll have to pay $5.00 for an entire dam tour.
If you’re more interested in looking from afar, a great vista point can be found for free at the Carl B. Hayden Visitor Center. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also hike up to some good viewpoints, with the best option being the aptly named Overlook Trail.
9. Royal Gorge Bridge – Canon City, Colorado
It stands to reason that the tallest bridge would also be one of the most famous in the country – and the Royal Gorge Bridge ticks off both of those boxes. Located near Canon City, Colorado, the Royal Gorge Bridge is a must-see for adventure seekers and those who aren’t afraid of heights.
The bridge’s walkway is made out of wooden planks, so it’s mostly used as an attraction at Royal Gorge Park. The bridge isn’t the only thing that’ll get your adrenaline pumping either. After a shaky walk across the bridge, you can take a ride on the Sky Coaster, go ziplining and rock climbing, and try a variety of other fear-inducing activities.
Even if you’re not after a thrill, the views from the Royal Gorge Bridge are spectacular – so don’t miss your opportunity to see them if you are in this area.
10. New River Gorge Bridge – Fayetteville, West Virginia
The New River Gorge Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the US, and its main claim to fame is the incredible views that surround it. In addition to being extremely picturesque, the bridge has also cut down travel time for those looking to cross the river below.
The New River Gorge Bridge also boasts the longest steel span in the western hemisphere, so you can breathe easy as you cross this solid structure.
Not only is the bridge one of the most photographed places in West Virginia, but the town of Fayetteville also holds an annual festival for the structure. If you can time it right, you can enjoy the impeccable views while listening to music, eating, and watching extreme sports enthusiasts base jump and rappel off the bridge.
11. Benson Bridge – Multnomah Falls, Oregon
What it lacks in size it makes up for with incredible views. The Benson Bridge is one of the most famous in the U.S. and is located across Multnomah Creek, directly in front of the thundering Multnomah Falls.
The tiny 45-foot bridge is a great place to take pictures of the falls and a very photogenic part of the area itself. It’s often considered to be the most photographed architectural landmark in Oregon, so if you’re in this area, don’t miss your chance to see it for yourself.
Because of the bridge’s popularity, you’ll likely see lots of people crossing the bridge while you’re trying to snag a photo. For a more authentic shot, come back in the spring when the crowds thin out a bit.
12. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway – New Orleans, Louisiana
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is one of the longest bridges in the world – and certainly one of the most famous in the US. This 24-mile structure connects the cities of Mandeville and Metairie (located just outside of New Orleans) and stretches across the lovely Lake Pontchartrain.
Known locally simply as the “Causeway”, the bridge consists of two, 2-lane structures and the journey across takes about two hours one way. This is another bridge that should be avoided if you have a fear of heights, seasickness, or bridges in general, for obvious reasons.
13. London Bridge – Lake Havasu City, Arizona
You’ve likely heard of the London Bridge, but you may be surprised to learn that it’s not actually in London. This famous bridge can be found in Lake Havasu City, though it did once reside in its namesake city.
The London Bridge over the Thames in England never fell down – but was replaced with a new model back in 1968. Enter Robert P. McCulloch, an ambitious entrepreneur who bought the bricks off of the bridge and had them shipped all the way to the Panama Canal – and then transported the remaining 300 miles to Lake Havasu in Arizona.
There, a brand new bridge was built and overlaid with the precious London Bridge masonry. The bridge’s name has stuck, and the anomaly of it is part of what makes it so famous. It’s also simply beautiful – and a must-see when you’re in the area.
14. Edmund Pettus Bridge – Selma, Alabama
The Edmund Pettus Bridge is one of the most famous in the US, mostly for its historical significance. Located in Selma, Alabama, the bridge has been in the spotlight since a group of civil rights activists attempted to march across to the Capital building and were met with police violence that left many protesters injured.
The event is known as Bloody Sunday and was the first of many peaceful demonstrations that have taken place on the bridge. Many important figures have taken part in these protests over the years, including former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Ironically, the bridge is named after a confederate general who was also a state-level leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a US senator. The name has been an area of contention in recent years, with calls for renaming it after the late senator John Lewis, who led the first march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The bridge was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2013 and continues to be an icon of the Civil Rights Movement to this day.
15. George Washington Bridge – Fort Lee, New Jersey
Connecting commuters from New York City to New Jersey, the George Washington Bridge is one of the most famous in America. Although it’s a beautiful structure, this double-decker suspension bridge is probably more known for the stop-and-go traffic that occurs here on most mornings.
This is one of the busiest bridges in the world, with a whopping 103 million crossings each year. The bridge is enormous, and an impressive sight to behold – so if you’d like to check it out without getting stuck in traffic, you can walk or bike along the pedestrian pathway or just stop by one of the scenic viewpoints that can be found on either side of the structure.
16. Chesapeake Bay Bridge – Annapolis, Maryland
Often referred to simply as the “Bay Bridge” by locals, this massive steel structure is one of the most famous in America. The reasons for this vary, and you’ll find the bridge has both a good and bad reputation.
It does the important job of transporting passengers between the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and Ocean City, Maryland, and the 4-mile stretch was once the longest steel structure in the world. Although it no longer holds the title, it is still an impressive sight to behold, though this is generally only true when the weather cooperates.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is often considered to be one of the scariest bridges in the world which is mostly due to the extreme weather that often passes through the area. Storms often render the bridge impassable, and if you happen to be unlucky enough to be on it during high winds, you’ll understand why many avoid this scary structure.
17. Frankford Avenue Bridge – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Built way back in 1697, the Frankford Avenue Bridge in Philadelphia is the oldest and one of the most famous bridges in the US. The bridge was mostly built for pedestrians and horse carriages, so needless to say it has gone through lots of renovations to survive in modern society.
The bridge was built for the Pennsylvania colony founder, William Penn, who wanted a way to access the new city of Philadelphia from his expansive mansion on the other side of Pennypack Creek. The bridge also served as a major connection to other important up-and-coming cities including New York, Boston, and Trenton. Many famous figures have crossed over this historic bridge, including John Adams and President Washington.
Although today it’s known as the Frankford Avenue Bridge, the structure has gone through many name changes over the course of its long life and was also known as the Pennypack Creek Bridge, the Holmesburg Bridge, and the King’s Highway Bridge.
18. Roebling Suspension Bridge – Cincinnati, Ohio
Originally named the Cincinnati-Covington Bridge after the cities it connects, the Roebling Suspension Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the US. It is especially iconic in the state of Ohio (specifically in Cincinnati) and acts as a symbol of the city’s long and rich history.
The bridge is one of the most beautiful in the country, with stone-tower bases and twinkling night lights. It’s also one of the oldest bridges still in use, which is even more impressive when you take in its grand size.
The bridge opened in 1867 and has since been added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a national historic landmark.
19. Penobscot Narrows Bridge – Stockton Springs, Maine
One of the most famous scenic bridges in the US is the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, located in Stockton Springs, Maine. This modern, cable-stayed bridge connects the city of Prospect to Verona Island and is famous for the incredible views from its tall observation tower.
It’s actually the tallest public bridge observation tower in the world, and if you’re not scared of heights, you can take in panoramic views of the lovely Maine countryside and mountains in the distance.
The observation tower is also the best place to get some great views of the bridge. If you’re not much into heights, other fantastic views of the bridge can be found on Verona Island and in the city of Bucksport.
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is relatively new (completed in 2006), and was built to replace the old Waldo-Hancock Bridge which dates back to 1931. It’s one of only three bridges in the US that is built using a cradle system, and it’s as modern in construction as it is in design.
20. Ambassador Bridge – Detroit, Michigan
The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Michigan is another one of the most famous bridges in America, and it’s the only connection between the US and Canada that’s privately owned.
This large suspension bridge crosses over the Detroit River into Windsor, Canada, and sees a massive amount of trade between the two countries. 25% of US/Canadian trade passes over this bridge, and on any given weekday, about 10,000 commercial vehicles make the trek between countries.
The bridge is good for more than just commerce – it’s actually quite beautiful as well. Some of the best views can be found at the Windsor Sculpture Park, especially at night when the bridge is lit up.
21. Tacoma Narrows Bridge – Tacoma, Washington
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is actually two separate suspension bridges connecting the city of Tacoma with the Kitsap Peninsula. What makes this bridge so famous is actually its predecessor, a wobbly structure that collapsed into Puget Sound back in 1940.
Nicknamed Galloping Gerdy for the severe sway that could be felt at the top of the bridge, the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge has acted as an example of what NOT to do when engineering bridges. The bridge was rebuilt in 1950, and in 2007 a twin bridge was added to accommodate more traffic. The 1950 bridge has earned itself the new nickname of Study Gerdy, in stark contrast to its swaying predecessor.
22. Delaware Memorial Bridge – New Castle, Delaware
Another pair of twin suspension bridges can be found crossing the Delaware River between Delaware and New Jersey – and although they might not look like much during the day, these bridges are truly spectacular once the sun goes down and the LED lights are turned on.
After much pressure from local commuters, the first bridge was built in 1959, and the second followed shortly after in 1968.
The bridge is dedicated to Delaware and New Jersey natives who died in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War. There’s also a war memorial located on the Delaware side of the bridge, with annual celebrations held for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
23. Walnut Street Bridge – Chattanooga, Tennessee
Some of the most famous bridges in the US aren’t just for car traffic, rather they’re used solely by pedestrians, and the Walnut Street Bridge is one of those. Although it was originally constructed for motorists back in 1890, it was closed in 1978 due to safety issues.
The bridge sat in a state of disrepair for nearly a decade before reopening to pedestrians, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Today, the bridge is an iconic symbol of Chattanooga with its teal coloring and wooden planks.
The best time to visit the bridge is during the annual Wine over Water Festival, where wine, food, and live entertainment are served on the bridge. Tickets sell out quickly, so try to snag one well in advance if you hope to attend this popular event.
24. Skydance Bridge – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The unique design of the Skydance Bridge has made it one of the most famous bridges in the US, so if you’re ever around Oklahoma City, don’t miss this iconic structure. The bridge was inspired by the state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, and was built complete with a 197-foot sculpture.
The bridge is for foot traffic only, allowing plenty of time to take pictures and gawk at the massive sculpture. The bridge was selected as one of the top 50 best public art projects in the country in 2012.
If you’re lucky enough to be in town during a holiday, you’ll be treated to a spectacular bridge light show in a variety of neon colors.
25. DuSable Bridge – Chicago, Illinois
If you’ve spent any time at all in Chicago, you’ve likely seen (and probably passed over) the DuSable Bridge. This bascule bridge is one of the most famous in the US, and it puts on quite the show when it’s raised up to allow boats to pass underneath.
Formerly known as the Michigan Avenue Bridge, the Dusable Bridge connects Michigan Avenue to downtown Chicago over the scenic Chicago River. The bridge is part of the Michigan-Wacker historic district and has been in operation since 1920. The bridge’s decorative work celebrates the city’s early history from the 1780s onward.
26. Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge – New York, New York
Although less celebrated than the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, the New York City Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is still one of the most famous bridges in the US. This massive suspension bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn and is the only fixed crossing on the Narrows (the body of water that links the Atlantic Ocean and the Upper and Lower New York Bays).
The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is nearly a mile long and has a double deck with a total of 13 lanes for traffic. The bridge is fairly daunting to cross over, so if you’re just looking for a picture of it we recommend keeping both feet on solid ground. There are tons of places to photograph this spectacular structure, including Fort Wadsworth, the Upper New York Bay, and along the coast of Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
A fun fact about the bridge: when it was officially named back in 1960 it was misspelled as the “Verrazano-Narrows Bridge”(with only one ‘Z’), and the mistake wasn’t corrected until 2018.
27. Purple People Bridge – Newport, Kentucky
Another famous bridge connecting Ohio to Kentucky is the Purple People Bridge, often referred to by its official title of the Newport Southbank Bridge. Although slightly less majestic than the historic Roebling Suspension Bridge (also located in Cincinnati), the Purple People Bridge is iconic in its own sort of way.
Nicknamed for its purple hue, the bridge is easy to spot, even from miles away. The bridge is for pedestrian traffic only and has been around since 1886. The bridge hasn’t always been purple, but the current paint job has started to look pretty ancient. The city is currently taking donations to restore the bridge to its former purple glory – though it’ll remain an icon over the Ohio River no matter its color.
28. Oakland Bay Bridge – Oakland, California
Although the Golden Gate Bridge takes up much of the attention in San Francisco, the city is home to another one of the country’s most famous bridges – the Oakland Bay Bridge. As the name suggests, the bridge connects San Francisco with the neighboring city of Oakland, and is often referred to simply as the “Bay Bridge”.
The Bay Bridge actually predates the Golden Gate Bridge, though only by about six months. The idea for the toll bridge was conceived much earlier, with accounts of the idea dating all the way back to the California Gold Rush era.
The bridge actually came into fruition in 1936, and today the structure is as used as it is loved with nearly 300,000 cars crossing it each day.
29. Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge – Arizona/Nevada
Located in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area just outside of Las Vegas, the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in America. The bridge is located next to the Hoover Dam and was built to eliminate the stop-and-go traffic along the deep curve of the dam.
The bridge is the first arch bridge in the country built with concrete-steel composite, and construction was completed in 2010. There’s a pedestrian walkway overlooking the dam, and it’s one of the best places to view this iconic structure if you’re not afraid of heights.
30. Mile High Swinging Bridge – Grandfather Mountain State Park, North Carolina
Those looking for a real adrenaline rush should head straight for the Mile High Swinging Bridge, located in Grandfather Mountain State Park in North Carolina. If the name alone wasn’t enough to instill some fear in you, once you step foot on this swinging suspension bridge there’s no doubt that your heart rate will speed up.
The bridge truly is a mile high – and is perched over an 80-foot chasm of Grandfather Mountain. The bridge is known to swing in the slightest of breezes, but those who make the nerve-wracking trek across will be rewarded with unparalleled views of the mountains and valleys below.