Dog-Friendly Guide to Chicago, IL (Restaurants, Hotels, Bars)
|Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Stores||555|
|Chicago’s Most Popular Dog Breed||French Bulldog1|
|Dog-Friendly Areas in Parks and Beaches||31|
|Average Price of a Dog Walk||$15–$25|
Looking for a specific dog-friendly guide to Chicago? Try:
- Dog-Friendly Area Tags
- Dog-Friendly Bars in Chicago
- Dog-Friendly Patios in Chicago
- Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Chicago
- Dog-Friendly Hotels in Chicago
- Dog-Friendly Beaches in Chicago
- Dog-Friendly Parks in Chicago
- Dog-Friendly Trails in Chicago
- Dog-Friendly Stores on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago
- Dog-Friendly Attractions in Chicago
- Dog Walkers and Daycares in Chicago
- Interesting Facts
- Leash Laws & Licensing
- Average Cost of Ownership
- Shelters & Rescue Centers
Dog-Friendly Area Tags
Chicago loves dogs, but it’s important to remember that no matter how well-trained your dog is, there is a leash law in the city required for all animals outside of private property. Dog-Friendly Areas (DFAs) are places in the city where dogs are allowed to run and play off-leash. These include designated dog parks and dog beaches. If you’re interested in bringing your dog to a DFA and letting them off-leash, stop by a local veterinarian’s office first and purchase a DFA Tag for a small fee.
The Top 4 Dog-Friendly Bars in Chicago
If you want to grab a drink in the city, your dog can accompany you inside the following places. As long as your dog is social, friendly, and well-behaved, they can join you for a nightcap. These are great places to relax after a long day of sightseeing.
1. River Shannon
2. Archie’s Iowa & Rockwell TavernArchie’s Iowa & Rockwell Tavern in Humboldt Park looks like any other corner bar from the outside. But walk inside with your dog to see what sets it apart. Your pup can be next to you while you play pool, enjoy the TVs, play board games, or browse the various antique knickknacks lying around. Play your favorite song on the jukebox, and unwind with your dog after exploring the city.
3. Bucktown Pub
4. Four TreysFour Treys will welcome you and your dog. There’s no food service here, but you are encouraged to browse and order from the local delivery menus available. There are comfortable chairs around, so you can settle in and watch the game with your pup. You can also enjoy live music, darts, and pool table without having to leave early to tend to your dog at home.
The Top 4 Dog-Friendly Patios in Chicago
If the Windy City isn’t so windy, you may want to sit outside with your dog and enjoy a few cocktails. In that case, here are dog-friendly patios to visit for great drinks and atmospheres.
1. The MoonlighterAt the border of Logan Square and Humboldt Park, you’ll find Moonlighter. This bar has a dog-friendly patio where you can order food and drinks. After a long walk with your dog, this is a laidback place to have a meal and relax.
2. Bar SienaThe patio at the West Loop’s Bar Siena has pet-friendly outdoor tables where you can discover the establishment’s adaptations of Italian dishes. This sophisticated patio doesn’t leave your dog out of the fun either. While you choose your dishes, your dog can choose their own from the “puppy menu” that offers entrées and desserts.
3. O’Donovan’s PubO’Donovan’s Pub is an Irish spot located in the North Center neighborhood. The name of the place used to be Schulien’s before it became O’Donovan’s in 1999. This location is famous as one of the oldest operating bars in the city. Its sidewalk patio welcomes dogs. Since your pup will be next to you and not waiting at home for you to return, you can take your time choosing from the long list of food and drink options.
4. Brickhouse TavernBrickhouse Tavern serves up “refined sports bar” food and includes dishes made especially for your pup. Your dog is welcome on the patio to enjoy the atmosphere and food. One thing to keep in mind is that this tavern is located right next to Wrigley Field. The area always sees crowds but it’s packed on game days. If your dog gets overwhelmed by that many people, it’s best to check the Cubs schedule first and make sure a home game isn’t happening.
The Top 4 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Chicago
You don’t have to miss out on some of Chicago’s best food offerings just because your dog is with you! These restaurants welcome you and the pup in their outdoor seating sections.
1. Smoke DaddySmoke Daddy for some of Chicago’s best barbecue. This menu offers brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and ribs with plenty of beer and cocktail options to wash it all down. Dogs are welcome on the patio, but they’ll probably be pulling you toward it anyway once they get a whiff of the smoky air.
2. WishboneWishbone is a popular spot in the West Loop to enjoy traditional Southern food with your dog at an outdoor table. If you’re up early, walk your pup over after 8 a.m. for their breakfast options. It’s a great way to start the day before enjoying the city. If you’re there on Sunday, check out their dog-friendly brunch!
3. Bartoli’s PizzeriaDon’t think that we forgot about Chicago-style pizza! Bring your dog over to Bartoli’s in Roscoe Village for a traditional deep-dish or thin-crust pie. The sidewalk patio has several tables and a dog water bowl. If you aren’t in a pizza mood, there are other options, like sandwiches and salads. The area is filled with dogs, so if you have a social pup, they’ll make plenty of friends while you enjoy one of the best pizzas that Chicago has to offer.
4. Big StarIn Wicker Park and Wrigleyville, Big Star is a hidden gem honkytonk with a menu inspired by Mexican street food. Come for beer, bourbon, tacos, and chips on this popular patio that loves dogs. Dog owners are encouraged to take photos of their pups and post them on Instagram using the hashtag, “#DogsOfBigStar.”
The Top 3 Dog-Friendly Hotels in Chicago
Selecting a place to stay in the city is one of the most important parts of planning your trip. These dog-friendly lodging options are sure to make your vacation fun and hassle-free.
1. The Peninsula ChicagoPeninsula Chicago in downtown Streeterville welcomes dogs! For a fee, you can bring up to two pets under 30 pounds. If your pets are over 30 pounds, there is a larger fee. If your dogs are well-behaved and don’t disturb other guests, they’re allowed to stay in the room unattended. Upon check-in, your pup will be given a bed, bowls, and treats to make their stay more comfortable. Convenient dog parks are located nearby. Only one floor of this hotel allows dogs, so make sure to ask for a dog-friendly room when booking.
2. Hotel LincolnThe Hotel Lincoln in Lincoln Park accepts dogs without any extra fees. You can bring up to two pets with you of any size. Pet beds, bowls, and treats are provided at check-in. If you forgot poop bags, that’s no problem, as the front desk has you covered. The hotel is surrounded by sidewalks, but if you cross the street, you can find grass in the park before you reach the Lincoln Park Zoo. Ask the front desk about the “secret door” to give your pup a fun surprise.
3. Loews HotelIf you’re staying downtown or prefer to stay close to O’Hare Airport, a Loews Hotel location will welcome your pup. Two pets are allowed per room for a fee. One perk of this hotel is that you don’t have to bring anything for your dogs besides their food and any medications that they need. The front desk provides beds, toys, leashes, collars, placemats, poop bags, and bowls. If your pup isn’t feeling spoiled yet, wait until they see the room service menu created for pets.
The Top 3 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Chicago
If you’re bringing your dog to Chicago during the hot summer months, you can plan to give them a place to cool off at these popular doggie beach spots.
1. Belmont Harbor Dog Beach
2. Montrose Dog BeachThe Montrose Dog Beach, known as MonDog by the locals, is Chicago’s first legal dog beach. It’s a fenced, dog-friendly area on the corner of Montrose Beach in Uptown. The beach offers free poop bags but asks that you make a donation toward the supply costs. Don’t worry if your dog gets soaked and covered in sand — this beach has a dog wash area. This beach opens at 6 a.m. and can get crowded in the mornings. If you’re looking for a more relaxing trip, head there after the pre-workday rush.
3. Foster Avenue Dog BeachAt the northern corner of Foster Avenue Beach is the fenced Foster Avenue Dog Beach. This hidden gem in Edgewater is a designated dog beach with a great view of the Edgewater skyline. This beach has a dog wash station, so you can let your dog play in the sand and water as much as they’d like. The beach fills up quickly in the afternoons. Early mornings and evenings are the times to beat the crowds.
The Top 4 Dog-Friendly Parks in Chicago
Are you looking for a dog park where your pup can socialize, play, and run freely off-leash? Chicago has several dog parks where you can make sure your dog gets the exercise that they need, even in the middle of the busy city.
1. Lake Shore East Dog Park
2. Wiggly FieldWiggly Field, a dog park that has a double fence to prevent accidental escapes. This park has doggie drinking fountains, poop bags, and a kiddie pool for dogs to enjoy. The surface is asphalt, but there is a wood chip area for dogs to rest in. There’s a “quiet” or small dog area for small breeds that get overwhelmed by large dogs but still want to play.
3. Wicker Dog Park
Located in Wicker Park, the Wicker Dog Park is an asphalt-surface area with plenty of space for dogs to run and play. No food for dogs or people is allowed in the park. This area is fenced using wire mesh. There is plenty of seating, so you can rest your feet after a long day of walking while your dog burns off energy.
4. Jackson BarkJackson Bark is a dog park located near the Museum of Science and Industry and is named after Jackson Park. It’s made using 90% recycled materials and occupies the space of four abandoned tennis courts. It’s the largest fully enclosed dog park in the city, featuring an agility course, lights, water stations, wade pools, tunnels, and more. If your pup has never been on a teeter-totter, now is their chance!
The Top 3 Dog-Friendly Trails in Chicago
Now that you know where your dog can run and play, these trails will let you both get exercise together. Remember to keep your dog leashed at all times while you enjoy walking these beautiful paths.
1. Lakefront TrailLakefront Trail runs for 18 miles along Lake Michigan’s shore. It takes you through different neighborhoods, parks, and attractions while giving you a gorgeous view of the skyline. If you pass beaches, remember that dogs are not allowed on the sand unless the area is a designated dog park. If you’d like to make a day of the hike, there are plenty of places to stop for food and drinks along the way so you and your dog can refuel. This trail is shared by cyclists, rollerbladers, strollers, walkers, joggers, and plenty of other dogs.
2. North Branch TrailNorth Branch Trail starts in Chicago’s North Park neighborhood and ends 21.3 miles away in suburban Northbrook. The trail was originally made of dirt and used for horseback riding. It has plenty of curves, hills, and beautiful scenery to observe while you and your dog stroll along. Wildlife, especially deer, can usually be seen, so it’s even more important to keep your dog on a leash. There are bathrooms along the way for people. Be sure to clean up after your dog when they do their own business.
3. Chicago RiverwalkChicago Riverwalk is a dog-friendly waterfront hike around the Chicago River and through downtown that features the Riverwalk Gateway. This gateway is Chicago’s largest work of public art. A stroll through the illuminated tunnel shows you 28 panels that teach you about the history of the city. You can enter the Riverwalk Gateway from the Lakefront Trail. Dogs are welcome to stay on the trail as long as they are friendly and leashed.
The Top 3 Dog-Friendly Stores on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago
If you’re visiting the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, there’s no reason to leave your pup behind. You can enjoy shopping and outdoor dining at several dog-friendly stores and restaurants. Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile is part of Michigan Avenue that runs from the Chicago River to Oak Street Beach. There are more than 460 stores, 275 restaurants, and 60 hotels, along with various attractions and entertainment options packed into this 13-block stretch.
1. Shops at North BridgeOn the Magnificent Mile, you’ll find the Shops at North Bridge. This popular shopping and dining spot is six blocks long and features four levels. At the heart of the center is Nordstrom, but there are over 50 retailers in this space. Dogs are not only welcome but also have their own Pet Comfort Stations on the first two levels that provide treats, poop bags, and water.
2. Tails in the CityTails in the City is a luxury boutique featuring toys, beds, designer carriers, clothing, treats, and more. Anything that your pup needs can be found here. Dogs are welcome in the store, so your pooch can choose their own souvenir to take home with them.
3. Bloomingdale’sA few blocks from the Shops at North Bridge is Bloomingdale’s. This iconic building on Michigan Avenue welcomes dogs. Since the store sells pet clothing and products, there’s bound to be something for both of you. The popular retailer only allows in well-behaved, leashed dogs or those in carriers.
The Top 3 Dog-Friendly Attractions in Chicago
Once you’re done eating, hiking, playing, and shopping with your dog, you can enjoy these activities and attractions together.
Navy Pier is a popular tourist spot in Chicago, and it’s also dog-friendly! There are a few places where dogs are not allowed, like the Chicago Children’s Museum. But many of the restaurants have outdoor dining where dogs are welcome. You can also enjoy a stroll along the pier with incredible views of Lake Michigan. Dogs are also welcome at movies and concerts at the pier, and they can even join you on the SeaDog Cruises that leave from the pier. Be sure to call first to confirm that your dog is allowed on the cruise that you want to take.
2. Kayak ChicagoKayak Chicago is located at Montrose Beach. After your pup plays in the sand, reward them with a kayak adventure. Dogs can sit or stand in these stable boats. You’ll need to attend an orientation and learn the rules of the water before you head out. Bringing a doggie lifejacket is encouraged.
3. Baseball GamesAre you in town for a ball game? Check your team’s website to see if dogs are allowed at the park that day. Certain dog-friendly events invite you to bring your best friend with you. You can only bring one dog per person and must show proof of current vaccinations. These events only happen occasionally, so you’ll have to make sure your dog is allowed at the park when you’re in town.
The Top 4 Dog Walkers and Daycares in Chicago
As dog friendly as Chicago is, sometimes bringing your dog with you around the city just isn’t convenient. Leaving them behind at your hotel can be stressful because you may be gone all day. To avoid worrying about your dog or having to cut plans short to rush back to them, consider hiring a dog walker or bringing your dog to a daycare instead. Dog walkers can have access to your hotel room if you make prior arrangements with the front desk. Daycares will keep your dog for the day but require you to pick them up before they close.
1. Pets-Chicago Dog WalkingPets-Chicago has been in business since 2003 and is owned by a certified dog trainer. If your pup needs a potty break, meal, or medication when you’re not there, Pets-Chicago will provide a personal touch to your dog’s care based on their needs. You should schedule a walk, call, text, or email at least a week in advance to make sure there is availability.
2. Let’s Walk ChicagoLet’s Walk Chicago offers convenient online scheduling. They strive to provide the same walker each time you use their services. Their trained employees provide attention to detail to ensure that your dog gets the care that you want them to have in your absence. Before you need these services for your dog, contact the company to check availability.
3. Stay Dog HotelStay Dog Hotel will gladly accept them! You’ll need to schedule a meet and greet with the staff first to make sure your dog is a good fit. If you require overnight accommodations for your dog, they can provide that too. You can choose the boarding room that your dog stays in and even make an appointment for a paid grooming session while they’re there.
4. Dog Hotel & DaycareDog Hotel & Daycare will accept your pup all day or overnight, depending on your needs. Dogs must be up to date on vaccinations. They’ll have to go through a first-day trial before they’ll be allowed back again, but the trial is free of charge. A grooming session can be added for an extra charge. Reservations are required, so contact the place when you know that you’ll be needing its services.
- Toto from The Wizard of Oz was played by a female Cairn Terrier named Terry, even though Toto is male in the movie. Terry was a Chicago resident and she made appearances in 16 movies in her lifetime.
- The Chicago White Sox hold an annual dog day where dogs are invited to attend a baseball game with their owners.
- A survey of 5,000 dog owners in 10 major US cities ranked Chicago dog owners as the “most indulgent”, meaning they’re willing to spend the most on their dogs. Chicago dog owners ranked second as “most obsessed” with their dogs.
- PawsChicago, a non-profit focusing on no-kill shelters and animal rescue, had over 84,000 volunteer hours, 4,100 adoptions, and a 98.17% save rate in 2020.
- In Chicago, it’s illegal for pet stores to sell dogs and puppies unless they were obtained from a shelter, rescue, or a USDA registered breeder who does not have more than 5 breeding females. This keeps puppy mills from being able to sell animals in Chicago. These rules also apply to cats and rabbits.
- Currently, you can own up to 100 dogs in Chicago. There are specific laws and ordinances related to the care of those dogs to protect them from neglect and abuse.
Leash Laws & Licensing
In Chicago, dogs must be kept leashed and under the control of the handler at all times except in spaces where it’s posted that they may be off leash. This applies to dog parks and certain private properties. This protects people and dogs from each other, and it protects dogs from the hazards of urban living, like vehicles and close encounters with strangers. All dogs over the age of 4 months are required to have a rabies vaccine and to be registered with the city. The vaccine must be administered by a veterinarian and the registration can be done through the city’s animal control or with most veterinarians. Currently, only around 5-10% of the estimated number of dogs living in Chicago are registered with the city. However, there are fines associated with an unregistered dog, especially if found running loose or involved in a bite incident.
Average Cost of Ownership
Owning a dog in Chicago will likely cost you around $1,000-1,200 annually for basic care including preventive vet visits, food, and city registration. When it comes to dog ownership, though, there are other costs that may apply. Doggy daycare runs $100-200 weekly per dog, although some businesses may offer discounts for multiple dogs. A dog walker will likely cost you $25 or more per visit for one dog, and most dog walkers charge a per dog fee of $5-10 or more for each additional dog. It’s important to keep your dog leashed and under control in all required areas since an unleashed dog at large can cost you a $300 fine. If you don’t pick up after your dog, you could be looking at a fine up to $500. There are also fines associated with vicious dogs, which are dogs with proven aggressive tendencies, such as dogs with a history of biting, as well as fines for improper tethering, not providing shelter and water, allowing pet waste buildup on your property, and more. While veterinary care can add up quickly, especially with a sick pet, there are multiple low-cost vets in the Chicago area. There are also grants and discounts available for low-income residents. This can help with things like vaccines, spay/neuter, and emergency care.
Shelters & Rescue Centers
Animal control in Chicago has pet adoption availability with application approval. They adopt out a few thousand animals per year, so this is a good resource for dog adoption. PawsChicago is another great resource that has multiple adoption locations available. They are a non-profit organization that focuses heavily on no-kill rescue and education. They require application and approval for adoption of pets, but their goal is to get pets into safe, happy homes. Since you can own multiple dogs in Chicago, many shelters and rescues will be willing to adopt a dog out to you, even if you own others. However, these organizations will likely require you to show proof that your other pets are well cared for, up to date on vaccines and routine veterinary care, and that you are providing a clean, safe home environment for them.
Chicago is packed with things for you to enjoy with your dog. If you’re considering a visit to this city but don’t want to leave your dog behind, you don’t have to! With so many options for dog-friendly entertainment and activities, your dog is sure to have as wonderful a time as you do. Even if you have to leave your dog in the hotel while you head out for the day, the available accommodations will keep them comfortable, and there are options for their care while you’re out. Enjoy exploring everything that Windy City has to offer with your adventurous pup!
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Featured Image Credit: Rudy Balasko, Shutterstock