Chicago is a great dog-friendly city. During my recent visit I discovered many reasons why it constantly gets ranked in the top ten best cities to take your dog (dogfriendly.com). My daughter recently moved into an apartment in downtown Chicago and will be dog sitting our family puppy Brinkley while the rest of the family continue to globetrot. I am sure we will be researching this subject even further over the coming months. But here are my top 5 reasons Chicago is a dog-friendly city.
Chicago has a number of off-leash dog parks. Sadly these are unsuitable for visiting dogs to use, as they require owners to have a permit. However, don’t let that deter you as there are plenty of open spaces where the dogs can have fun. There are dog friendly areas designated within the Chicago parks and along the beach. Many of the sites also provide features such as separate areas for shy dogs, doggie drinking fountains, trash receptacles, and extra doggie bags. The Chicago Park District website provides a full list of locations.
BringFido.com offers a list of 38 dog friendly attractions that you can enjoy while in Chicago. This list provides information about shops that allow dogs to enter such as Nordstrom and Crate & Barrel, companies such as Kayak Chicago that welcome pets to join in the fun, and the Seadog Cruises that offers a variety of tours to view the windy city from the water.
When we researched pet supplies near to our apartment in the River North neighborhood we were a little surprised at just how many options we had. We have visited two so far and I must say they were amazing, but could prove very dangerous for our bank accounts. Both stores were clearly owned by complete dog lovers who were knowledgeable on their product offerings, extremely enthusiastic to help us make selections, and eager to meet our puppy.
As it was recently Brinkley’s birthday we decided to buy the birthday girl a few treats. We began with a doggie birthday cake, a party hat, and a Chewy Vuitton squeaky toy. We took simply ages to decide what to pick as the shop was just filled with so many fun items. For Dogs Sake had a huge selection of dog food and treats on offer plus the largest wall of dog collars ever. Tails in the City had an adorable selection of doggie clothes and I’m sure Brinkley will be sporting something warm from this store once the Chicago winter rolls in.
While some restaurants have been happy for owners dogs to tag along to their outdoor seating area for sometime, restaurants are actually able to make it legal now and file for a permit to allow dogs in their outdoor areas. As you walk around the city you will notice some restaurants even offer special doggie menus. We recently enjoyed a meal at Freestyle Drink & Food where we noticed a $10 menu complete with doggie treat, bed, and water bowl.
I would suggest that if you are planning on taking your dog to a restaurant then call ahead and check that the rules have not changed at that particular establishment. But if you are looking for a few good options, then check out this article on BringFido.com for their best selections.
While Brinkley has enjoyed a little socializing with other dogs while out for walks in Houston, (usually growling or cowering away actually) nothing prepared us for the sheer number of dogs that are out and about in Chicago. The 4 or 5 block walk to the nearest park from my daughters apartment can take quite some time due to the number of other dogs we run into.
Once at the park, Brinkley has the best time running around with all shapes and sizes of dogs. This also proved quite good exercise for my daughter as she held tightly to Brinkley’s lead as she dashed around the park. Dog owners stopped to chat, threw balls for the dogs to chase, and were happy to share doggie water bowls – it all reminded me of a scene from an uplifting family movie. Dog owners sure seem friendly in this city. Might I suggest that if you are in need of meeting people, then get a dog.
If visiting Chicago and in need of a hotel that is pet friendly, then check out this list of the Top 10 Pet Friendly Hotels in Chicago compiled by TripAdvisor. While there are many hotels on offer, some go one step further to ensure their four legged guests thoroughly enjoy their stay. Packages can include doggy room service, doggy beds complete with a range of toys, and special doggy menus. Dog friendly hotels can also find you a pet sitter if needed.
If you are renting an AIRBNB that is dog friendly, then check with the owners about what facilities they have on offer. I was impressed how the high-rise apartments have become so pet friendly with many providing specific dog areas. One apartment complex we visited even had a dog washroom built in the basement area complete with doggie hairdryer that rivaled any groomer I have seen.
Is your city pet-friendly? If so, what are the best features? Please share your comments in the section below.
Happy travels for you and your four-legged friends.
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