The Best 15 Dog Parks in Chicago, Illinois

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Chicago is the most populated city in Illinois, with a population of almost 2.8 million people, and is known for its world-renowned tourist attractions like the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, and Millennium Park. What’s more, many of the city’s attractions allow dogs to visit with you, including these three. It is also known for its stunning architecture with skyscrapers, including some of the tallest towers in the country, like the Willis Tower at 1,450 feet high.  

Another thing that Chicago is known for is Lake Michigan, which is one of the five Great Lakes. Around the lake, you can find over 100 parks and beaches, including 35 state parks and at least a few dog parks, including the largest dog park in the city, Montrose Dog Beach and Park. The rest of Chicago also has plenty of off-leash pup parks to enjoy. We chose 15 of our favorite dog parks and listed them here for you to get you started.

Bosly’s Backyard Dog Park

In northern Chicago off Il-19, Bosly’s Backyard is the perfect place to take your pup when the weather is not cooperating. Although the name is a bit misleading, Bosly’s Backyard is actually an indoor pooch playground where your furry friend can play in a climate-controlled area, and it is not really a dog park per se but a play space for you and your dog. It is great for cuddly canines that do not play well with others since it is a private one-on-one playroom for you and your fur puppy. 

If you are in from out of town and looking for a place to let your pup run free without worrying about his social anxiety, you will want to check out Bosly’s. You can book 30, 45, and 60 minutes and bring as many toys and treats as you want. But it is full of agility equipment and buckets of balls. They also have a “Bosly’s Buddy Pass” if you want to bring one of his furry friends. 

Challenger Park Dog Park

Right next door to Bosly’s Backyard, the popular Challenger Park also has a space for dogs to romp and play off the leash called Challenger Bark. On the eastern edge of the main park, you can bring your pooch to play with other pups. Although it is small, with less than an acre, it is long and wide enough to play a game of fetch or let the fur buddies chase each other around. There is plenty of seating, shade, a fountain, and waste stations with doggie bags for easy cleanup. 

It is right next to the train, so if your pup is not used to loud noises, it may take a while for him to adapt. But most dogs are okay with it after a while. They are having too much fun with the other fur puppies to worry about the train. Also, there is no small dog section. Everyone plays together here. During the summer, they have small kiddie pools you can fill with the hose so your pooch can cool off or get a drink. 

Fred Anderson Dog Park

Named after the owner of Velvet Lounge and Chicago Jazz musician, the Fred Anderson Dog Park is located in the city park that is also named after him. You can find it in the south loop just west of Soldier Field between South Michigan and South Wabash Avenues. It is not huge, but it is big enough to have a special area for small or timid dogs to play safely. The soft astroturf is easy on the paws and prevents mud too!

During the summer, the manmade climbing structures become interactive water features so your pooch can cool off while he plays. There is usually a pool in each section as well. The rest of Fred Anderson Park is pup-friendly for pups on a leash, but since the dog park takes up over half of the place, you may as well just play there. There are disposal bag dispensers, but you should bring your own, just in case. 

Grant Park Dog Park

In Grant Park, north of Soldier Field, Grant Bark Park is located in the southwestern corner of the park between the tennis courts and Chicago Skyline Sports. This is a hidden gem that will surprise you with how well it is laid out and taken care of. At about half an acre, the park is long and narrow, great for a game of fetch. And since it is next to the tennis courts, there are always plenty of balls. You will need a permit, but you can get it with just $10 and proof of shots. 

There are numerous benches, water fountains, and doggie bag dispensers here too. If you want to visit the other 312 acres of Grant Park, put your pup’s leash back on, and he is welcome to join you in most areas. Some of the dog-friendly highlights include Buckingham Fountain, playgrounds for the kiddos, picnic areas for everyone, and the Chicago Lakefront Trail, where you can explore up to 18 miles of waterfront.  

Horner Park Dog Park

Horner Park Dog Park is less than a mile from Bosly’s Backyard in Henry Horner Park. Like Grant Bark Park, Horner also requires that your dog have a permit to play. But this is beneficial to everyone since it helps ensure that all the fur puppies are healthy. If you have a dog under 30 pounds that has a fear of being stepped on by giants, you will be happy to know that there is a special section here just for the littles.

The park provides water and doggie bags, but it is a busy place, so pack your own anyway. Also, the ground is mostly mulch, but there is an awesome dog washing station in case your cuddly canine gets dirty. In the park, you will also find fake fire hydrants to mark, trees to run around, and during the summer, there are kiddie pools! If you put your pup’s leash back on, you and he can visit the rest of Horner Park too. 

Jackson Bark Park

Less than 10 miles to the south of downtown Chicago, Jackson Bark is located in the northeast section of Jackson Park, which was named after Andrew Jackson, who was the 7th president of the United States. Right next to the tennis courts, this large bark park has one section for small pups and one section for large dogs. Both sides are equally fantastic, with ramps to climb, tunnels to zip through, weave poles to maneuver, and tires to jump through. 

During the hot months, there are pools to play in, too, and the dogs love it! They also love the new giant fire hydrant automatic watering machine that keeps the bowls full of fresh, clean water to drink. Another cool item is the doggie-sized police car that the pooches can sit in. It is so nice to have a free public dog park where everyone can play, and the city has creative ways to make dog equipment from recycled tires and road signs.

Lakeshore East Dog Park

Right in downtown Chicago, just north of Millennium Park between the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, Lakeshore East Dog Park is in the southwestern corner of Lakeshore East Park. This popular little hidden gem is like a shaded garden with tons of trees, synthetic grass to prevent muddy paws, and even a water fountain that is also like a wading pool. The pups love to splash around in it during the warm months and drink out of it the rest of the year. 

The park is quite popular with those who know about it, so even though they have doggie bag dispensers, you should go ahead and bring your own. There are lots of places for pet parents to sit and relax while their cuddly canines chase each other around. It is not really big enough to play fetch or frisbee, but there is plenty of room for the fur babies to roam around. 

Larrabee Dog Park

In northwestern Chicago at Mongomery Ward Park, the pup popular Larrabee Dog Park is right next to the Chicago River. At this pooch playground, all the dogs play together no matter what their size so if you have a small pup who is scared of the bigger dogs, you may not like it here. But it is a fun place for all who visit, including the pet parents who love the fact that it is asphalt instead of mud or grass because it keeps their canine companions clean. 

And there is lots of space to run around here too. You can even play fetch if you do not throw the ball too hard. It is mostly large and medium breeds here, but sometimes there are small dogs that like playing with all of the others. You will find a hose and water fountain for cooling off your dog when it is hot and doggie bag dispensers for picking up poop. 

Mary Bartelme Dog Park

Take your pup to Mary Bartelme Dog Park in western Chicago between West Adams and West Monroe Streets. You can find the small fenced pup playground in the northwestern section of Bartelme Park, where you will also find many of the local dogs and their humans. Being in the city, it is often crowded, especially on the weekends, but the people and pups are friendly so everyone will have a great time. 

If you have a small dog that is not used to playing with bigger pooches, you may want to choose a different place to play because all dogs play together here. During the summer and other warm months, there are usually kiddie pools for the pups and hoses to fill them and keep them clean. If you want to explore the rest of the park, put the leash back on, and your canine companion is welcome to join you. 

Montrose Dog Beach and Park

During the summer, this is where to go if you want to take your dog for a swim. Montrose Dog Beach is an off-leash beach on Lake Michigan that is fully fenced to keep your pooch safe. However, the water levels and sand can change the ability to keep your fur puppy contained, so it is best that you keep him on a leash if he is not voice-controlled. Like some of the other dog parks in Chicago, you will need a tag to bring your pup to play. 

Right up the hill, there is a fenced park, also known as West Loop Dog Park. This is where to go if it is too crowded or too cold at the beach. The park has astroturf for clean puppy paws and water features to hydrate you and your pup. Part of the ground is sand, too so your cuddly canine can dig in the sand if he wants to. 

Pottawattomie Dog Friendly Area

Only 12 miles north of Chicgo’s downtown district, the Pottawattomie Dog-Friendly Area is located in the northeast corner of Pottawattomie Park. Whether your four-legged family member is a tiny Toy Poodle or a huge Hound Dog, this dog park is perfect for everyone. With plenty of open space for romping around, chasing your tail, or chasing each other, all the local dogs seem to love it, and their humans seem to enjoy it as well. 

If your little one does not feel comfortable playing with the big dogs, you can let him play in the small dog area where all the fur babies are 30 pounds and under. Each side has a water fountain for pups and pup parents, waste stations with baggies, and several benches and other seating. You should bring your own doggie bags and water, though, just in case they run out or the water is off. 

Puptown at Margate Park

Puptown Park is a fun pup play area in Margate Park right next to Montrose Dog Beach and Park and just south of Foster Beach. In the southwestern corner of this nice family park, Puptown is fully fenced with a double gate for safety, and it has a separate area for big dogs so the little ones can play with their own size. It is not huge, with about a third of an acre, but it has enough room to roam around and play. 

It is mostly concrete, so pup parents do not have to worry about having to give their canine compadre a bath before getting back into the car. Speaking of baths, the park has a water hose and provides pools during the summer as well as fountains for humans and pups. Like the other dog-friendly areas in Chicago, your cuddly buddy will need to get a permit before coming that shows he has all his shots. 

Skinner Bark Park

Also known as Park 569 Bark Park or the West Loop Dog Park, Skinner Bark Park is just west of downtown Chicago in the northern section of Mark Skinner Park. Made with dogs in mind, this place has synthetic grass soft enough for pups and good to keep paws clean, open space for running around, and water fountains and bowls for staying hydrated. You will appreciate the waste stations with doggie bags to help you pick up after your pooch. 

You will also love being able to choose from so many places to sit. Whether you want to lounge on a comfy bench in the shade or take a seat in the sun to work on your tan, there is a spot for everyone. There are also plenty of pooch play items, from rocks to climb and hydrants to mark to pools to splash in during the summer. They even have fun events here sometimes, like Bark in the Park and visits from Santa Paws. 

Wicker Park Dog Park

In Wicker City Park, about 10 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, Wicker Dog-Friendly Area is a nice cozy dog park with just enough space for pooches to play. It is not a huge place, and there is no special small dog section, but the dogs who visit and their humans seem to love it. In fact, it is almost always full of fur buddies, so if your pooch is not a fan of crowds, you may want to go to a different park in the city, like Skinner Dog Park, about five minutes to the south. 

There are water fountains and doggie bag dispensers, but since it is such a pup popular pooch playground, you will want to bring your own just in case they run out. During the summer, there is also a doggie pool and hose to fill it or clean it. That way, everyone can cool off during the hot days. 

Wiggly Field Dog Park

Wiggly Field, sometimes referred to as Noethling Park, gets its cute name from the famous Cubs Baseball Wrigley Field Stadium, which is about a mile to the north. Whether you and your cuddle buddy are baseball fans or not, this park is the perfect place to spend some time playing off the leash. It was one of the city’s first dog exercise areas, opening in 1997, and it is a favorite for the locals as well as visitors from out of town.

In fact, Wiggly Field was featured on Animal Plante K9 to 5, Chicagoland Tails, and Bark Magazine. It was even named one of the top 10 pooch parks in the country by Dog Fancy magazine. It has all the usual amenities like water fountains, pools, doggie bags, and seating for the pup parents, but it also has a friendly and casual ambiance for everyone who visits. Stop by and see what all the hype is about! 

The Final Woof

Take your fur puppy shopping and get a bite to eat at Navy Pier along Lake Michigan. Many of the outdoor shops and eateries allow leashed dogs and even tours. Speaking of tours, take your perfect pup on a scavenger hunt tour with The Secret City Chicago Scavenger Hunt. This fun mystery trip is a great way to learn the area. If you want to get out on the water with your fur baby, try SUP with your PUP at Epic Yoga Flow. These hourly classes will get you and your pooch familiar with a paddleboard. Afterward, enjoy a brew at one of the dog-friendly breweries or pubs in Chicago. The Midwest Coast Brewing Company is one that lets your cuddly canine join you inside and out. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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