We think the essence of a great city, especially a great pet-friendly city like Chicago, is the diversity of its neighborhoods. The individual neighborhoods capture and highlight the different moods, traditions and attitudes of the city and offer an up-close look at the people who live there. The first thing we do when we hit a great pet-friendly city is get the leash on our dogs and hit the streets.
If you're visiting in the summer or early fall, the perfect way to kick off your trip and get to know the city is to take Mercury Cruises' Canine Cruise. The 90-minute boat ride takes you into the heart of Chicago on the Chicago River, then out to Lake Michigan for a panoramic view of the city. Water bowls and a newspaper-lined restroom are provided for your pet, along with plenty of seating.
Magnificent Mile is a favorite spot of ours; with its expansive, super-wide sidewalks, it's a great place to be out and about with your dog. Even better, there are a lot of pet-friendly stores lining those sidewalks allowing you to shop with your pet, including Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Urban Outfitters. Your pet is also welcome in all the common areas of the 50-acre Navy Pier, which extends out into Lake Michigan, including the outdoor eating areas. For riverfront dining, try Chicago Burger Company (301 East North Water Street). Dogs are more than welcome on the patio, with a special canine menu and complimentary bones.
This area of Chicago offers great diversity, from the verdant 1,208 acres of Lincoln Park, which includes lakeside trails, to the bustle of Old Town, and the art galleries and bars and breweries of Wicker Park and Bucktown. Our favorite old-school Irish pub is River Shannon (425 West Armitage), which has outdoor seating in the warm weather, with water bowls and treats available for your pup. We also love the patio menu Gemini in Lincoln Park; nothing better than eating their Thai red curry mussels with your pooch alongside.
If you're planning on being in Chicago in August, try to time it so you can attend the Chicago History Museum's annual Chicago Hot Dog Fest in Lincoln Park. More than 30,000 people attended and more than 35,000 hot dogs were consumed at last year's event. Be sure to visit the Pup Tent, where your pup can get a drink of water and snag a treat.
Get your multicultural groove on in Little Italy and the Latino neighborhoods of Little Village, Pilsen, and Humboldt Park. During the summer, the Italian restaurant Nellcote (833 West Randolph Street) hosts Bone Appetit happy hours on the weekend, offering free dog treats and donating a percentage of proceeds to a local dog rescue organization. In August and September check out the Randolph Street Antique Market at Beaux Arts Plumber's Hall (1340 West Washington Blvd.) in the West Loop. Dogs are allowed in the outdoor portion of the market.
Mostly residential, the South Side offers many opportunities to stroll with your pup and take in an incredible array of architectural styles. It's also home to numerous museums, including the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Museum of Science and Industry. In the African-American neighborhood of Bronzeville, you can check out the Monument to the Great Northern Migration; the Victory Monument, honoring the African American 8th Regiment, which fought in WWI; and the Bronzeville Walk of Fame, which honors its famous residents, who include Muddy Waters, Sam Cooke, and Gwendolyn Brooks. You can find more of these by browsing our list of pet-friendly places in Chicago.
We are currently showing 35 pet-friendly hotels in Chicago, Illinois, which we define as dog friendly or cat friendly.