A Dogs Life

November 12, 2019

A dog’s guide to Chicago

Chicago isn’t just a great city for humans, it’s also a wonderful town to share with your four legged friend. Dog owners will know that it’s important to scope out places where you and your pet can spend time outdoors together in a new city without breaking local rules or upsetting business owners. Luckily, Chicago is full of fido-friendly establishments and open spaces. Below are a few of our favorites.

The first thing to know is that you’ll need a DFA (Dog Friendly Area) tag for your dog to visit Chicago parks and beaches. These only cost $5 and show that your dog is healthy and up to date with all vaccinations. You can find more on the DFA tags here.

Beaches
There’s nothing better than a day at the beach with your dog, and the closest dog friendly beach to the South Loop is the Belmont Harbor Beach. At just 5 miles away, it’s a decent walk but an easy drive. The small fenced off area is sometimes crowded on weekends, but the shallow slope to the beach means your pup can splash around in the ankle-deep water without having to commit to jumping all the way in. There is no seating here, so bring a stool if you want to hang out and let your puppy play for a while.

Slightly further away is Montrose Dog Beach, but the larger off leash space might be more fun on crowded weekends. The nonprofit that runs the beach organizes cleanups and provides a clear set of rules which should keep unwanted interactions and conflict at bay.

Parks
Closer to the South Loop is the Grant Bark Park. This 18,000 square foot dog park is fenced-in and an easy stroll from The Paragon. Grant Park is often referred to as Chicago’s front yard and this goes for your pets as well. This park is really well set up, using double gates to prevent any escapes, and providing bags and water for free.

A larger dog park, with separate spaces for large and small breeds, can be found at Fred Anderson Dog Park . There are shared and separated areas on the one acre site, and there are even picnic tables and benches so you can rest while your pet exercises. As with the Grant Bark Park, there is a water fountain and a bag dispenser, so you won’t be wanting for any supplies if your walk ends up taking longer than expected.

Stores
If your walk takes you into downtown on a lazy morning, you could do much worse than stopping by Taureaux Tavern where dogs are welcome to not only sit in the Pergola or on the patio but also to join you for brunch! The dog-friendly menu offers hamburger patties and scrambled eggs. If you’re really lucky, your pup might be featured in their Instagram feed!

The Spoke and Bird also has some pretty darn cute dog photos on their social media pages as well as a dog friendly patio. Their menu is great value, locally sourced, and has vegan and vegetarian options as well as great coffee. With live music and wifi this is a great place to bring your dog if you work remotely, or to enjoy a drink with fellow dog-lovers.