If summer is the best thing to happen to Chicago every year, then being a dog owner is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. And the two go together like mustard and the other kind of Chicago dogs.
Here are just a few of our favorite Fido-friendly places in Chicago:
Where to eat & drink with dogs
Daily Grill: Sidewalk patios are nice, but when you want to make sure your big dog isn’t eye level with your neighbor’s burger, opt for an open patio like the one at Daily Grill in Lincoln Square. Waiters are quick to bring dogs a pan of water and the pub food is a rung above the standard fare. The Honeymooner and the Chopped Chicken Salad are on point. And of course, the Tater Tots.
Parson’s Chicken & Fish: Yep, this place is busier than any fried chicken spot in the city and part of the reason is the picnic-table-filled outdoor space and the negroni slushies. Get here early to get a prime spot for Spot…and always go with the spicy fried chicken.
Mash: The old home of Bad Dog Tavern is now called Mash, and the patio thankfully remains open to dogs. Plus, the beer and food menu have taken a step in the right direction adding loads of smoked meats and craft beers.
Where to play:
Montrose Dog Beach (MonDog): If you have not taken your pooch to revel in the pleasure that is this giant, fenced in beach with wide open access to Lake Michigan, then it’s time you change your plans tonight.
Top Dog Tips: bring poop bags, toys and treats (to call your dog back). Since you will want to keep your eyes on your dog, this isn’t the beach where you lay out a towel and relax (unless you want it to be peed on by every passing dog). Also note, the city requires a dog-friendly area license to enter. Although I rarely see them check, they can issue a ticket if your dog doesn’t have appropriate tags and paperwork.
Mercury Canine Cruise: If your dog loves feeling his ears flap in the breeze and aren’t lucky enough to have friends who own a boat, check out Mercury’s Canine Cruise. Departing every Saturday and Sunday from July through September, this is a great way to experience the big lake with your best friend.
Dogs ride for a bargain $8 and water bowls and newspaper-lined bathrooms are of course included. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new some new bitches and check out the new doggy life vest trends this year.
Bark in the Park: A long-standing walk benefitting for Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago (my dog and cat’s alma matter), Bark in the Park relocated to Soldier Field this year and due to huge crowds, will probably return there again. The event is usually in mid-May, and it’s the perfect way to kick off summer season for a good cause.
PAWS CHICAGO Beach Party: July 14 is the date for this summer’s beach party benefitting PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving), another charity close to our hearts. The party takes place at Castaways at North Avenue Beach and dogs are always welcome (for a ticketed price of course). The event is definitely more charity than party, so plan to stay for an hour or two, but probably not all night.
Maifest/Oktoberfest: Having lived in Lincoln Square for 13 years, I love kicking off festival season with Maifest which is usually the first week of June, and closing the season with Oktoberfest in late September. Like a lot of festivals, they don’t have a consistent pet policy, but most years, dogs are welcome. To avoid the crowds overwhelming your pooch, come in the late afternoon and leave before people get too drunk.
Top Dog Tips: Bring cash, avoid ticket lines by buying them earlier in the day, and get the Bratwurst Dinner with sauerkraut.
Midsommer Fest: Andersonville is an LGBTQ-and family-friendly neighborhood that loves their dogs almost as much as their gays. This fest features great food and live music like the rest, but also a published dog-friendly policy which is both rare and wonderful.
West Fest: The West Town area on Chicago near Damen has put together a dog-friendly summer festival that is one of the best. In addition to a good live music line up, Pet Fest inside features dog-friendly vendors, obstacle courses and more.