Dog Friendly Chicago: Ten Chicago Adventures for your Canine Companion

Dog Friendly Chicago: Ten Chicago Adventures for your Canine Companion
The newest member of our family, Sam. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago

In the last four weeks, since Sam arrived at our household at the age of eight weeks, I have been undergoing a crash course on dogs. What I learned is that it is important to "socialize" your puppy from the time they are very young so that as they age they will be comfortable in public.

I've always wanted a dog that I could bring anywhere--restaurants, parades, bars, coffee shops--whatever.   Upon Sam's somewhat unplanned arrival--what can I say, I was "just looking" then I caved--canceling my vacation that had been in the works for a year.

Instead "my dog days of August" were devoted to exposing our new arrival to the laundry list of sounds, places and people that the ASPCA says is important to do in the first 12 weeks of your puppy's life and after 18 weeks, according to ASPCA, it's curtains.

Whether it's true or not that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, I'd rather not wait to see.  So, in honor of  Sam and National Dog Day (today) here is a list of some of our "go to" places that are good for dogs of any age:

1.  For Fresh Produce and Lottsa Love

Outdoor Farmer's Markets provide a heady mix of attention and new experiences. Sam has been the recipient of cuddling along with an interesting variety of healthy treats (including carrots and pickled cucumbers) from the farm stands as well as the patrons.  The welcome mat and often a bowl of water is out for dogs at most farmers markets (we ought to know as we've been covering markets all around town almost daily for the last four weeks). Click here for city market times, days and dates.

dogboat2. Doggone fun on the Water

The Seadog offers three unique adventures on Lake Michigan for your canine. Dogs ride free with fare paying adults on all three of these seaworthy cruises.

  • The 30-Minute Lakefront Speedboat tour offers a view of Chicago's skyline with a brief narration and music.
  • A little more leisurely and probably the best choice for big dogs and puppies is the 75-Minute River and Lake Architectural Tour that transverses the Lake and the Chicago River on a fully narrated and humorous adventure.
  • Hold on tight if you decide on the Seadog Extreme ride that is like a rollercoaster on water. Prepare to get wet as this Seadog twists and turns along the Lakefront.  This ride should probably be reserved for lap dogs.

3.  For Loud Music and Large Crowds

If you want to get your pup used to loud noise it's hard to beat any of the City, Neighborhood or Suburban Festivals for this kind of "socialization." Click here for a list of summer festivals which are winding down with the summer calendar but stay tuned to Show Me Chicago for a slew of Fall Festivals and Oktoberfests. Other good choices to ramp up the decibel level are under the "L" at Lake and Wabash or at any airport.

4. For a Carnival Atmosphere

Navy Pier has gone to the dogs. So what better place in this dog-eat-dog world to go for a stroll, meet other dogs and people from Chicago and around to world than at Illinois' number attraction, Navy Pier. The variety of sights, sounds and smells are hard to beat at this dog-friendly venue.

5. Shop 'til he drops

We were surprised to find out how many stores besides pet stores welcome dogs including Nordstroms and Crate and Barrel. Or you can take your furry friend to any outdoor shopping mall.  dogtreats

For the Haute Dog "Tails in the City" offers gourmet treats and designer fashions from the likes of etote, Little Lily, Juicy Couture, Poochee, Animals Matter, Kwigy-Bo, Bella Bean Couture, Chrome Bones, Haute Diggity Dog, Fifi & Romeo, Ruff Ruff Couture, Haute Pooch, Hedy Manon, UGG Australia, Emre NY--to name a "few." One East Delaware Place — just steps from the Mag Mile.

6. Restaurants

Especially on good weather days, it is easy to find dog-friendly restaurant patios in every Chicago neighborhood.  Harry Caray's Tavern is just one of many eateries that will welcome you and your pup and even provide a souvenir water bowl and treat for your pooch while you enjoy your Holy Cow burger.

7. A walk in the park

There are dozens of free Dog Parks around the Windy City where your dog can socialize with other dogs while you can meet and greet other like minded people. Click here for a list of City of Chicago Dog Parks. All dogs that use the dog parks are required to have an annual permit.

 8. A Day at the beach

Both the city and suburbs have a boatload of dog-friendly beaches. Some are free, some are only for residents with dogs and others charge a fee. One of our favs is the Montrose Harbor Dog Beach which is free and even has a restaurant. Dogs can run leash-free on the beach but your dog must be on a leash between the parking lot and the beach or get ready to pony up $75 if your are caught.  Lake Shore Drive
 and Montrose.  
(312) 742 7529.

9. The Cell

Did you know that you could take your dog to a White Sox game? Chicago White Sox Dog Day used to be once a year in April but this year they've added a second dog day on Friday, September 27. The bad news it is already sold out--so it looks like wait until next year. According to a White Sox spokesperson, "Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis. Tickets usually go on sale early in the year once we announce the promotional schedule. Best place to get info and updates on Dog Day is"

10. Pet Bakery

The Happy Husky Bakery in Evanston is one of many spots where you can take your dog and reward them with something special and healthy. You can sit at their sidewalk cafe and choose from a variety of treats including their "Snow Dog Sundae" that is a frozen soft serve that comes in a waffle bowl with a choice of toppings.

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