8 best dog parks in Chicago

March 15, 2021 - 3 min read
Dog on the green with toy

Designated dog-friendly areas, or dog parks, are the only public areas where canines can legally run off-leash within the Chicago Park District’s 600 parks. Most are located on the North Side, with three official parks on the South Side, two in the South Loop and another in Calumet Park.

Dog-friendly areas are approved by the city but constructed and maintained by dog-loving neighborhood organizations. While Chicago dogs require a $10 annual permit (available at participating Chicago area veterinary offices) to gain entry, consider joining your local organization’s efforts to keep your park clean and barkin’.

Before you head out the door to one of these parks, be sure to grab the essentials — a leash, ball, water bottle, collar with an ID tag, waste bags, and a towel — and enjoy!

Nico, a 6-year-old German shepherd plays in Calumet Bark

Calumet Bark

Address: 9801 S. Avenue G

Social: Facebook

This spot opened in 2019 and is the first official dog-friendly area south of 18th Street. After you hit the park, take a walk along the lake and then head inland for some freshly-smoked (and delicious) seafood at Calumet Fisheries.

Fred Anderson Park Dog Park

Address: 1629 S. Wabash Ave.

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This new South Loop spot is a hip and contemporary addition to the dog park scene, with slanted concrete blocks and ledges for a new take on an agility course. The .44-acre park is well-lit at night, features separate play areas for small and large dogs and has both concrete and artificial turf.

Grant Bark Park

Address: 1000 S. Columbus

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For downtown dogs, this off-leash oasis is just a stick’s throw from the South Loop high-rise buildings. Tucked behind the tennis courts at the South side of Grant Park, this dog run features a double gate entrance, dog drinking fountains, asphalt and pea gravel surfaces, and several mature trees.

Jackson Bark Dog Park

Address: 6000 S. Lake Shore Drive

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This unofficial space, built by volunteers using materials salvaged from construction sites, features handmade agility equipment and kiddie pools. It’s well lit, making it safe for dogs to play after dark.

Dogs Running in the Water at Montrose Dog Beach

Montrose Dog Beach

Address: 601 W. Montrose Ave.

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Fetching top honors on many “best-of” lists of dog parks to visit in the United States, the only legal dog beach in Chicago gives you unobstructed city views, plenty of space for your dog to roam and a cardio workout (swimming or running) for both of you.

Norwood Dog Park

Address: 5899 N. Avondale Ave.

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Meet new friends and explore the North Side at this top-rated city dog park. While it’s a good idea to bring your own supplies, park amenities include a dog fountain, waste bags and benches, as well as the holy grail of city life: ample off-street parking.

Pup Town

Address: 4900 N. Marine Dr.

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Located in Margate Park at the corner of Lawrence and Sheridan, this space is near the lake and features a mix of asphalt and gravel. The Puptown membership association hosts an annual Howl-O-Ween costume contest and fundraiser and encourages members to volunteer for park cleanups every other Saturday during the spring, summer, and fall.

Wiggly Field Dog Park Meet Up

Wiggly Field Dog Friendly Area

Address: 2645 N. Sheffield Ave.

Social: Instagram, Yelp

Officially known as the Noethling Playlot Dog Friendly Area, Wiggly Field holds the honor as the city’s first dog park, established within Grace Park in 1995. It’s entirely enclosed, with a double-gated entryway, and features a canine-sized fountain.