Does your dog like running free, playing with other dogs or have a preference of park surface (e.g. asphalt, sand, grass, etc.)? Chicago is a very dog-friendly town, with public dog parks popping up in every neighborhood. And you’ll even find some parks with gated areas that let dogs run, leash-free.
Standard features of a great leash-free dog park tend to be a mixture of available surfaces, water fountains for your pup and a great space to run around. But the following go the extra mile, offering a few additional benefits that make them my favorite leash-free dog parks.
Grant Bark Park, The Loop
Located in the center of the well-known Grant Park, you‘ll find the largest leash-free dog park in Chicago. Larger than an Olympic-sized hockey rink, this park gives your furry friend tons of space to run around and to mix and mingle. It offers an asphalt surface, which tends to be gentler on your dog’s paws, as well as a small gravel area. For the humans, there is a ton of seating space and they provide doggie bags to clean up any messes. You can’t go wrong with Grant Bark Park.
Lake Shore East Dog-Friendly Area, Lake Shore East
Lake Shore East is surrounded by high-rises and provides the perfect setting for you and your best friend to sit and gaze in awe. What stands out the most about this dog-friendly park is that it was the first park in Chicago to use K9Grass, an artificial grass that is perfect if your dog has any allergies. You won’t find many more parks like this in the city. They also have a children’s designated play area right next to it, which is just perfect since dogs and kids seem to go together! They keep it well maintained and all breeds of dogs are welcome.
Ward Park Dog Friendly Area, River North
Recently renovated, Ward Park is a picturesque place on the river for you and your dog to play on the weekends or when you come home from work. What I love about this park is that it has all the bells and whistles, such as a doggy drinking fountain, dog height bowls, and hoses to rinse off any pup who gets a bit too messy. The park is a good size – about the size of the shopping area in a standard Trader Joe’s!
Anderson Dog Park, South Loop
Many dog owners care about their pup more than themselves. If that sounds familiar, check out Anderson Dog Park in the South Loop. The focal point of this park is the water sculpture that doubles as a doggie swimming pool area, perfect for those hot Chicago summer days. Anderson Dog Park park is divided into two separate areas – one for big dogs and one for little dogs, ensuring your pup can feel as comfortable as possible. This park is open until 11 pm and is well lit for those late-night play dates.
There is a perfect leash-free dog park for every dog out there. It’s just a matter of what you and your pup prefer. So grab your little buddy and let your him run free in some of Chicago’s best leash-free dog parks!
Grant Dog Friendly Area
Location: 951 S. Columbus Drive
Park Hours: 6:00 AM-9:00 PM
Park: Grant Park
Notes: .36 acres, located north and west of 9th St. Service yard south of Balbo. Doggie drinking fountain. Uses a double gate system for the safety of the dogs.
Lake Shore East Dog Park
Location: 450 E. Benton Place
Park Hours: 6:00 AM-11:00 PM
Notes: The dog park is rectangular in shape and takes up about .10 acres located along the southern edge of the park. There is a doggie drinking fountain on site.
Ward Dog Friendly Area
Location: 630 N. Kingsbury St.
Park Hours: 6:00 AM-11:00 PM
Notes: .16 acres, located on west side of Kingsbury south of Erie. It is the second largest leash free park in Chicago, about half the size of the Grant Bark Park.
Anderson (Fred) Dog Friendly Area
Location: 1611 S. Wabash Ave.
Park Hours:6:00 AM-11:00 PM
Park: Anderson (Fred) Park
Notes: 1.08 acre, located on the corner of 16th and Wabash. Omega style safety fencing and a dog-friendly drinking fountain.