Believe it or not, in the concrete jungle that is Chicago, Windy City residents and their canine companions have plenty of places to retreat for some good old fashion recreation. Chicago dog parks (or Dog Friendly Areas [DFAs] as those in this Midwest hub like to call them) are plentiful—but all dogs must have a DFA tag to enter Chicago dog parks. Tags are $5 each and owners must have proof of vaccinations.
Whether you represent the city’s north side or south side, the eastern lake shore or the western suburbs, Chicago has no shortage of parks that are within walking distance of area pooches and their owners. These are Chicago’s best dog parks.
Montrose Dog Beach
Uptown, 610 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Giving all new meaning to the phrase “the dog days of summer,” Montrose Dog Beach is the city’s first legal off-leash beach and has been a premier doggie destination for over ten years. Although better known for its harsh winters, Chicago heats up considerably in the summer, so a day at Montrose is a great way for owners and their furry friends to soak up some rays. And just because Lake Michigan isn’t often thought of for its surfing, both owner and pet will find a quick dip to be a refreshing respite when the weather really sizzles. Montrose features a handicap accessible ramp, and all dogs are required to have a DFA tag. (FYI: Montrose is open all year, but the dog days of summer reference had to be made.)
Near West Side, 115 S Sangamon St, Chicago, IL 60607
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city’s trendy Near West Side is Mary Bartelme Park, which is home to the fenced West Loop Dog Park. This .10-acre doggie playground is comprised almost entirely of concrete, though your furry city pal is probably used to that, and is highlighted by a water fountain/geyser that is a wet-and-welcome reprieve from the summer heat. Other features include artificial grass for potty areas, steps and ledges, a seating area, a water bowl, and waste bags.
Norwood Park, 5899 N Avondale Ave, Chicago, IL 60631
Residents of the city’s Northwest section can enjoy a spacious spot that is perfect for owners with larger dogs. While Norwood Park’s four-legged visitors will undoubtedly appreciate the inclusion of doggie toys and summertime swimming pools, two-legged park-goers will certainly welcome benches and the cool shade of the park’s trees.
West Town, 1825 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Situated in close proximity of both Wicker Park and the Bucktown neighborhood, Churchill Field Dog Park is part asphalt and part gravel, but all fun! This is a preferred location of many of the area’s friendlier dog owners, and they take pride in keeping the park well maintained and getting to know new pups and their owners.
Lake View, 3035 N Hoyne Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Roscoe Village’s Hamlin Dog Park is one of Chicago’s larger dog-friendly areas, which makes it a popular destination for pet owners in its vicinity. The L-shaped park features a pea gravel surface, borders a tennis court (which means those stray tennis balls will soon become toys for Fido and friends), and provides benches and a bevy of natural shade thanks to the trees planted on the edge of the dog run.
East Side, 450 E Benton Pl, Chicago, IL 60601
Designed with both dogs and their owners in mind, the dog park at Lake Shore East is welcomed by many pet people for making ample use of artificial grass, which allows for minimal clean-up after a day in the park. With centralized water features that keep dogs well hydrated, and a number of different pathways and berms that make sure they’re well entertained, the Lake Shore East Dog Park has quickly become a must-see doggie destination.
Portage Park, 4100 N Long Ave, Chicago, IL 60641
Newly opened in 2011, the Portage Dog Park has quickly become one of Chicago’s favorite places for owners and pets to spend some quality time together. Updated from what was once a ballfield, the Portage park is divided in two areas. One area is strictly for dogs larger than 35 pounds, the second for smaller pups. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and owners are encouraged to join the Portage Park Dog Park Committee.
Near North Side, 350 W Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60654
Large-dog owners are enthusiastic about the Ohio Place Dog Park thanks to the park’s large size, which allows their pets plenty of running room. The park features a sturdy fence that small-dog owners should be cognizant of, due to the fact that the fence features some space between bars that their pets could slip through. A doggie favorite is an area known as “The Dunes,” which is an inclined sand pit where dogs can dig the days away.
North of Chicago, 3220 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60076
Located in the northern town of Skokie, Pooch Park is what doggie dreams are made of. This 2.7 acre park is a full-fledged off-leash recreation zone to be enjoyed by dogs and their owners. Open daily from 5:00am to 10:00pm, Pooch Park has both a section for puppies and small dogs, and an Agility area where pups with energy to spare can get a move on. An annual doggie celebration called “Woofstock” is held at the park and features food, canine demonstrations, games, and more. There is a membership fee for both town residents and non-residents, but man’s best friend is most certainly worth it.
Lincoln Square, 5100 N Francisco Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
A smaller dog park serving the Lincoln Square, North Park, and Albany Park neighborhoods, the River Park Dog Park is a favorite destination for owners who want a mellower place for the pups to play. The park features water fountains for both pets and their owners, and a kiddie pool makes for some cool summertime refreshment.
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Photo Credits: Flickr