City Guide / Chicago

Best Dog-Friendly Places in Chicago

By Bri Hand | Oct 18, 2021

If you’re headed to the Windy City with your dog in tow, you’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of pet-friendly activities within the 234 square miles Chicago occupies. From water activities to parks to restaurants, there’s no shortage of dog-friendly places in Chicago to keep your pup occupied. 

Let’s get started! 

Best dog-friendly water activities in Chicago

If your dog is partial to long walks on the beach, boat side frolics, and aquatic environments of all sorts, Chicago has several stand-out dog-friendly places for you both to enjoy:

  • Doggy Paddle Aquatic Center for Dogs: If your dog loves swimming, bath time, or any other water-related activities, they will love Wicker Park’s Doggy Paddle Aquatic Center for Dogs. This venue offers three courses for pups in Chicago: Learn to Swim, Fitness Swim, and Wellness swim. Classes are offered as private lessons or group lessons, calm sessions or energy-expending ones, as well as a doggy daycare service.
  • Evanston Dog Beach: At 1631 Sheridan Road in Evanston lies a well-kept secret: the neighborhood’s favorite oasis for owners and their dogs. A Google search won’t yield Evanston Dog Beach on a map, but this site is filled with space to bound around, doggy bags for pick-up patrol, and a tight community of dogs and their owners who are in on the secret.
  • Mercury Cruises: On Mercury Cruises, your pet can roam free on the deck, sit on your lap, or take a seat all to themselves while they take in the views of the city skyline from the Michigan river. Pets aboard are treated to personal water bowls, a paper-lined bathroom on board, and a dog-friendly map of the city to take your voyage together to the next level.

With the whole city of Chicago flanked by Lake Michigan, you and your dog are sure to sniff out some other places to savor the lakeside breeze.

Best dog-friendly parks in Chicago 

Sometimes referred to as “a city in a garden,” Chicago’s 8,300 acres of parks and green spaces are a point of pride for the city—and a major point of attraction for dogs and their humans.

Here are some of the best ways to take your pup for some fresh air:

  • Jackson Bark, Jackson Park: Jackson Bark is something of an amusement park for the canine crowd. There are tunnels, water sculptures, ramps, and pools to cool down in when the weather gets hot. This doggy dreamworld is entirely volunteer-run, and the crew making this spot a magical, fun place for owners and dogs to relax deserves a round of applause (and a-paws).
  • South Loop Dog Park Action Cooperative, South Loop: This action-packed park in the South Loop provides a separate area for (human) kids to play on the jungle gyms and rolling hills of astroturf. The dog section has hoses, a dog run, and wading pools for cooling off in the summertime.
  • Fred Anderson Dog Park, South Loop: This is a funky little park for pups and owners alike to socialize and enjoy the clean, well-landscaped terrain. Fred Anderson Dog Park is complete with an agility course, water fountains in the summer months, and two separate areas for large and small dogs.

And, while it’s not a park, Camp Dogwood in Highland Park is a must-mention for dog havens by land. Camp Dogwood is a summer camp for dogs for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors, engage in some fun dog-human activities, and deepen their bond with your pet. Just don’t forget to check for ticks before you leave!

Best dog-friendly restaurants in Chicago

Want to grab a bite but don’t want to leave your dog at home? Great news—there are a ton of dog-friendly restaurants in Chicago to choose from. 

  • The Kennison, Old Town Triangle: Inside the Lincoln Hotel in the Old Town Triangle is a dog-friendly restaurant and cocktail bar called The Kennison. Grab a seat on the patio where you can treat your pup to one of two doggy ice cream flavors: peanut butter bacon or beef brisket. While they enjoy a sweet treat, try the Kennison’s fresh takes on American classics like the knockout Kennison Fried Chicken Sandwich with sweet Thai chili aioli and homemade kimchi.
  • Taureaux Tavern, Chicago Loop: If you’re in the mood for brunch, Taureaux Tavern is a classic, commodious bistro in the Chicago Loop neighborhood with a host of outdoor tables for you and your pet to relish. Its Saturday brunch menu includes dog-friendly dishes like scrambled eggs and hamburgers, as well as a steady flow of hydration from their own water bowl.
  • Recess, River West: True to its name, Recess calls to mind the abundant possibilities of that half-hour of free play on the school playground. On Fridays and Saturdays, this hub is open ultra-late, and the restaurant’s vast outdoor space—all 14,000 square feet of it—is a welcome place to bring your dog for a bowl of water and a midnight bite during patio season.

Find your next pet-friendly apartment with Landing

If you’re thinking about moving to Chicago, Landing offers pet-friendly apartments in Chicago that come fully furnished and with all the amenities you need to start your brand-new life in the Windy City. Browse our apartments in Chicago here, or contact us to learn more about how a Landing membership works.

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.