Chicago Stories and Tips

Summer Is for the Dogs in Chicago, Literally!

Chicago Dog Photo, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is not only a great place for humans in the summer, it’s also a pretty good place for dogs. There’s nothing better than getting outdoors when the weather is nice and spending a little time with your pooch. In Chicago, there are plenty of options, from dog beaches to cruising to outdoor dining with dogs.

Pooch Parks
Chicago’s canines can enjoy a romp in the park (with permit) at no less than 9 urban doggie parks and at least 3 in the suburbs of Evanston, Crystal Lake, and Des Plaines. In the city, dogs rule at Noethling (Grace) Playlot Park, also known to the 4-leggeds as "Wiggly Field." Playlots on Irving Park and Damen also make good gathering spots for dogs and humans alike.

Dog Beaches
Montrose Beach in the city of Chicago and Evanston Dog Beach are two popular summertime spots when the weather gets steamy, and all that fur just gets to be too much. A little Frisbee in the sand and a dip in Lake Michigan helps a dog keep cool.

PAWS Annual Beach Party
Usually held in July and emceed by US 99.5’s Lisa Dent, this event, sponsored by PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving), helps raise money to continue to fund care and adoption of local pets.

Each year, the PAWS Beach Party hosts some 500 guests, including more than 100 pooches dressed up in their best beachwear, at the Castaways at North Beach. The event features cocktails and a beach dinner for animals and humans alike, as well as a silent auction, and live music (with dancing) by a great local band.

Outdoor Doggie Dining
In 2008, the city of Chicago passed its own "Dog Friendly Dining" ordinance to allow dogs access to outdoor dining throughout the city. Three great restaurants that feature special doggie menus and welcome your pooch are Brasserie Joe on West Hubbard, Scoozie on West Huron, and Common Ground on North Clark. (Note that your dog must have proper license and shots, and servers are not allowed to pet animals, no matter how cute.)

Dog-Friendly Summer Festivals
Anyone living in the Chicago area knows that the best thing about summer in the city are its neighborhood events. Festivals (often more than one) seem to occur every weekend. Which ones welcome your pooch along? Dog-friendly events include the Wells Street Art Festival, Andersonville Midsommarfest, Custer’s Last Stand (in Evanston), and the Long Grove Strawberry Festival.

Canine Cruising
If you and your dog just need to chill, what better way to do it than sailing out on Lake Michigan? Mercury Skyline Cruise Company features weekly canine cruises (complete with dog biscuits) every Sunday morning during the summer. Humans pay $22, while dogs sail at the reduced rate of $7. This makes for some great photo opportunities, not only of the Chicago skyline, but your sea-legged dog as well.

No matter how you and your pet decide to spend the summer, there’s something great to share in Chicago. Whether you attend the annual beach blow-out or just another walk around the block, remember that summer is a favorite time for your pet as well!

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