There are many advantages to living in the Windy City, but ample private space for your four-legged best friend isn’t one of them.
Fortunately, Chicago does have plenty of parks and open spaces to give your dogs the freedom they crave and need to run around.
While dogs must remain on their leashes in Chicago’s public parks, they are free to run around and socialize in many of the city’s designated dog parks.
We’ve rounded up the best ones for you below!
As per Chicago Park District’s regulations, dogs must have a DFA permit issued by their vet to allow them into the dog park.
Note that there is a fee for each permit.
Before visiting any of these DFAs (dog-friendly areas), keep in mind:
- You are obligated to stay and watch your dog at all times.
- Please clean up after your pets! You can face a hefty fine for failing to do so.
- Your dog must be up to date on his vaccinations, including rabies.
- Food is not allowed in Chicago’s DFAs.
- Each dog must have its own permit.
- Only dogs over four months old are permitted in the parks.
- An adult must supervise children under age 12.
1. Montrose Dog Beach
Montrose Dog Beach is Chicago’s first beach dedicated to off-leash dogs, and what a treat it is for them!
Enjoy the sand, water, and warm weather (we do get that at some point!)
You’ll find the DFA on the northwest corner of Montrose Beach.
There is a handicap-accessible ramp to get into the dog park and a dog-washing station to clean off your pooch when leaving the sand.
Although there is a fence around the dog-friendly area, keep an eye on your pet as they can get out. The water isn’t locked!
2. Portage Park
The Portage dog-friendly area is located within the beautiful and expansive Portage Park at 4100 N. Long, near the tennis courts.
The dog park is concrete but big, and there are water fountains for the dogs and benches along the sides for their human companions.
The Portage Park Dog Committee keeps the park clean, well-maintained and organizes occasional community events there too.
3. Wiggly Field in Noethling Park
Wiggly Field is one of the most well-known dog parks in Chicago.
You can access it at 2645 N. Sheffield Ave. The Lincoln Park neighborhood was the first area in Chicago to open an off-leash dog section.
The lovely tree-lined park is mostly paved, although there is a softer wood-chipped ground section.
There’s plenty of room for play at this park, with separate areas for dog training and play.
The park is double-fenced and kept clean.
Some of Wiggly Field’s great perks are the doggie bags and available water bowls, as well as the kiddie pools and hose for fun, play in the summer.
4. Grant Bark Park
Grant Park’s dog area, an 18,000 square foot island of freedom, is located northwest of 9th street at 951 S. Columbus Drive.
You can access it from the 11th street bridge.
Grant Bark Park is one of the largest dog parks in the area and features a double gate, drinking fountains for the four-legged, and benches for their handlers.
The ground is paved with some pea gravel areas.
There’s plenty of room for running and playing, and the area is clean and well-kept.
5. Wicker Dog Park
The Wicker Park dog area is small but is convenient for the canines living in the area and is quite popular.
The park is on 1722 N Ashland Ave in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Chicago.
Although the park doesn’t offer much shade, there are dog fountains, kiddie pools and a hose for the dogs to cool off in the heat, and seating available for the human folks.
6. Logan Square Dog Park
This dog park, located in Logan Square at 2526 N Western Ave, is small but clean.
There are balls for the dogs to play with, pools, and hoses in the summertime, although the grounds are concrete.
There are separate areas for large and small dogs, a nice feature for those dogs or owners who need it.
Enjoy the murals and artwork outside the park while you’re there!
7. Pottawattomie Dog Park
You can find the dog-friendly area at the north end of Pottawattomie Park, at 7340 N. Rogers Ave.
The expansive area features lots of shade, benches, drinking fountains, and a separate area for small dogs.
The ground is concrete and pea gravel, but there’s plenty of grass in the public park if you need a change of pace.
Just remember, you will need to keep your dog on its leash once you leave the designated dog area.
8. Belmont Harbor Beach
Lincoln Park boasts Chicago’s second DFA beach on Lake Michigan’s shore.
Belmont Harbor Beach is pristine and clean. It’s fenced in for everyone’s enjoyment and safety.
It’s a perfect place to spend a warm spring day.
Keep in mind that there isn’t much shade, and the beach does get hot.
There are no showers there to rinse off the sand, so prepare your car accordingly!
Puptown is a dog-friendly area in the Margate park, created and maintained by a private organization, the Puptown Dog Owners Group.
The park is clean and well-preserved by volunteers and offers over 16,000 square feet of asphalt and gravel running space.
There are kiddie pools and running water for their enjoyment, and the park hosts occasional events too.
10. River Park Dog-Friendly Area
The dog park in River Park, at 5100 N. Francisco Avenue, is admittedly relatively small, compared to some of the other dog parks here, and has paved ground.
However, the park has a drinking fountain, sprinkler, and pools in the summer, making it a welcome and convenient play spot if you live in the area.
Despite being a busy city, Chicago has not forgotten about man’s best friend.
Whether you’re a fellow windy-city pet owner, or are coming with your canine for a visit, enjoy Chicago’s many dog-friendly parks!