The Dog-Friendly Chicago Guide For Windy City Pooches
From lounging at pup-friendly breweries to chowing down at pet bakeries, there are countless ways to enjoy this Midwest playground with your dog.
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Chicago is famous for many things: Its history, its architecture, its sports teams, Lake Michigan, and its residents’ hatred of ketchup on hot dogs. Chicago supposedly has as many as 200 neighborhoods, though Chicagoans share a lot in common — a love of pizza and cheap coffee likely at the top of the list. Although Chicagoans are historically friendly, if you catch anyone smiling at you and your dog is with you, they’re actually smiling at your dog. Dogs help make the frigid, all-around-terrible winters more bearable — even if you do have to walk them outside in sub-zero temperatures.
That alone is proof that Chicagoans will go through great lengths to make sure their dogs are happy and healthy. They organize dog parent outings at sports bars, make sure their dog’s Dog-Friendly Area (DFA) registration tag is up-to-date for beach season, and find ridiculously oversized tote bags to put their dogs in so they can bring them on the L train. Luckily, this dog-forward energy has pervaded plenty of city establishments that love celebrating all things canine. We found the places and services that not only tolerate your dog but go the extra (Magnificent) mile to make them feel welcome.
Cafe & Eateries
Chicago-style pizza (the real one, not Deep Dish), hot dogs, Italian beef, brunch — these are all staples of the Windy City. Your pup shouldn’t have to stay home while you get your requisite “hair of the dog” at Sunday brunch. The only thing you should worry about is if you can get a last-minute spot on Resy. The restaurants and cafes below not only allow dogs on their patios — and sometimes inside, shhh; it’s not exactly legal — some even have menus specifically tailored to your pooch’s palate.
65 W Kinzie St
If you’ve always felt a little guilty about your pup staring wistfully up at you (and your meal) while you chow down at brunch, Barrio, a popular Mexican spot located in River North, gives you the opportunity to enjoy a meal together. Order breakfast tacos from the human menu and help your pup choose from the Bark-io Puppy menu, which boasts three entrees and one dessert. Some of the proceeds from your pet’s meal gets donated to PAWs Chicago. Bottomless bloody marys for you and a skirt steak for your best friend — what more can you ask for?
Cosmicos Pet Bakery
Instead of trying to attempt to make your dog’s birthday cake this year, support a local business and get a stunning, custom, preservative-free treat instead. Offering colorful cakes, “barkuterie” boards, “dawgnuts,” seasonal goodies, and everyday staples like beef liver treats, Cosmico’s Pet Bakery has endless options for spoiling your pup. You can opt for pick-up in Pilsen or delivery within the city limits or suburbs. Order through their website here.
Fido To Go — Dog Food Truck
Claiming to be the first dog-treat truck in the world, Fido To Go offers a bevy of cookies and frozen treats for your fido. All the treats are corn, egg, gluten, soy, grain, and sugar-free. The truck, which has been operating for 12 years, shares where it’ll be posting up on Instagram every week. Just a warning: Your pup won’t want to pass by this bright yellow truck without getting a little something.
4151 N Broadway
Located near the Montrose Dog Beach (which also earned a spot on this list), Le Barkrey is a one-stop spot for your pup. It’s a bakery, a boutique, and a self-spa, so basically, it’s the post-beach frolic spot to pamper your pooch after zooming around Lake Michigan. Coax them into the bath with a treat or use one as an apology after. Bonus: You won’t have to scrub the sand out of your apartment or hotel tub later.
Park & Field
3509 W Fullerton Ave
Vintage sports club-inspired, this Logan Square spot boasts a 6,000-square-foot dog-friendly patio, an outdoor bocce ball court, popular lawn games like cornhole, boozy brunch, and a menu for your dog. They can choose from the Bird Dog or Pooch Patty for their main and enjoy a Perfect Pup Cup for dessert.
Pizza, Beer & Jukebox (PB&J)
205 N Peoria St
If your dog’s love language is quality time, then go down to PB&J in the West Loop on Wednesdays for Doggy Date Night on their outdoor patio. Your pup can get one pupwich, which is made of Wonder Bread and peanut butter, for free, and you can enjoy half-off on select drinks. What a cheap date!
4128 N Lincoln Ave
Watch the game, watch The Bachelor, or celebrate a holiday on The Rambler’s patio with your dog. Get your best friend something from the Howlin’ Ramblers Dog Menu, which consists of a beef patty, chicken breast, and large milk bone. Your dog will be howling with happiness.
Red June Cafe
2020 N Leavitt St
It’s a given that you’re going to take your pup on your coffee run. It’s a much-needed caffeine boost for you and an opportunity for them to stretch their little legs, but wouldn’t it be great if they could propel your tired or hungover body to the coffee shop a little faster? Well, Red June Cafe makes that possible by providing your pal with a treat. Motivation!
Scooter’s Frozen Custard
1658 W Belmont Ave
Move over Starbucks Puppuccinos; there’s a local option that you and your dog will want to check out when warmer weather finally hits Chicago. Claiming to be Chicago’s oldest frozen custard shop, Scooter’s Frozen Custard has many tasty treats for you to choose from, including shakes, malts, and custard, of course. When you purchase a human cone for yourself, you get a free pup cone. Ice cream for all — the way life should be.
51 W Kinzie St
If you’re on the hunt for a more upscale meal for you and your pup, this Italian eatery is the perfect option. Boasting the largest dog menu (adorably dubbed “Puppy Ciao”) we’ve seen, your hungry buddy can pick from two entrees and a whopping four desserts, including dairy-free gelato and “Pawsibly the Best Sundae Ever.”
155 W Van Buren St
While you’re chomping down on “Le Cheeseburger Royale” at Taureaux Tavern in the Loop, your pup has the option of scoring three scrambled eggs, chopped chicken breast, or their very own chopped hamburger patty from the Canine Menu. Saturdays are for the dogs, after all.
Dogs are technically allowed inside bars, but it is up to the bar owner’s discretion. Instead of taking your dog on the world’s longest walk to find a spot that will allow you and your pup inside or on the patio, we’ve found them for you. Soon, everyone will know your dog’s name at these pup-loving bars.
Archie’s Iowa Rockwell Tavern
2600 W Iowa St
Founded in 1943, this Chicago dive bar is helpfully named after its cross streets, and it’s one of the only bars in the city that allows four-legged friends indoors. Choose from a selection of beers, shoot some pool, and hang out with your dog and the bar’s regulars.
Big Star Chicago
1531 N Damen Ave
Hanging out on an outdoor patio any time other than the summer can be a little bit of a gamble. That infamous lake effect can make things quite chilly, but luckily, you and your pup can stay comfortable in Big Star Chicago’s Wicker Park location. Dogs are welcome to escape the wind, rain, and snow in the bar’s covered, heated tent.
Chicago in Recess
838 W Kinzie St
Chicago in Recess is basically a playground for adults, which we think both dogs and humans can get behind. They claim to have Chicago’s largest patio, so there’s plenty of space to play nostalgic board games both indoors and outdoors. If indulging your inner child happens to bring out your competitive side and if you think your pup is so awesome that they deserve city-wide acclaim, you can enter your pooch in Recess’ Best in Show competition. There is a $25 entry fee, but 100 percent of the fee goes to the MCP Rescue. This event is the precursor to the bar’s “Pup of the Year” competition, which kicks off Labor Day weekend.
Cody’s Public House
1658 W Barry Ave
A beer for you and a treat for your sweet pup. Cody’s Public House is another one of those rare gems that lets your pupper inside (though they do also have a beer garden). For holidays, such as the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, they often set up a photo booth, so you can fill your phone camera with even more dog photos. They also have a Dog of the Month contest.
The Corner Bar
2224 N Leavitt St
Located in Bucktown, The Corner Bar is a reliable spot with staff who will greet your pup like a regular. This dive is a friendly neighborhood spot that won’t hurt your wallet.
1846 W Division St
This place has bespoke cocktails and a fancy food menu to match. Although your buddy might not know why you are pointing your phone and squealing at a shimmery cocktail in a diamond-shaped glass, they’ll probably be happy for you anyway (or give you some sassy side-eye) on Machine’s heated patio. We can also personally confirm that these drinks are delicious.
Midwest Coast Brewing
2137 W Walnut St
Have your next doggie social hour at Midwest Coast Brewing. The furry friends can sniff each other while you catch up with your human friends over IPAs. It’s the 2023 (Chicago) version of Friends. Midwest Coast Brewing also hosts Dog-Friendly Markets, where your dog can beg you to pick up some treats and cute outfits.
1913 W North Ave
Must love dogs (and pizza). Assuming you can answer “yes” to both, you’ll want to check out Paradise Park in Wicker Park. This heated patio will keep you and your creature warm, so it’s a great place to post up. Don’t leave without snapping a pic of your pet underneath the “@ pizza I heart u” sign.
Pilot Project Brewing
2140 N Milwaukee Ave
If you go to a brewery’s patio on a balmy Saturday afternoon, you will see people drinking beer, at least one dog, and at least one baby. Pilot Project, located in Logan Square, is a little more unique in concept (though it still has all of the above). Pilot Project is a brewery incubator, which helps launch small brewers in an increasingly competitive industry.
425 W Armitage Ave
The River Shannon, established in 1946, is “Chicago’s Dog-Friendly Irish Pub.” Pop your pup up on a barstool at happy hour, mute Slack on your phone, and let the day’s worries wash away with the help of a beer. Your dog will turn you into a River Shannon regular when they realize that the bartenders have treats.
Rizzo’s Bar and Inn
3658 N Clark St
You (and even your pet) likely know what to expect at this long-standing Wrigleyville sports bar. Rizzo’s Bar and Inn also hosts a number of seasonal dog-friendly events, but there’s one that you absolutely will want to mark your calendars for: The Chicago French Bulldog Rescue’s Pup Prom. Just follow the theme and make sure they’re dressed to the nines — they’ll have, to quote an ’80s prom hit, “the time of their lives.”
The SoFo Tap
4923 N Clark St
Go on doggie dates at SoFo Tap on Saturdays afternoons. You can discuss your mutual grievances (not enough walks, too much barking at squirrels) or meet other dog and human friends over free treats and half-off drafts.
Places to Play
Who says dogs can’t appreciate new experiences? The smells alone in the Windy City are incredibly compelling. On a more serious note, if you want to take your dog to any beach or dog park in the city, they will need a DFA permit tag from a participating Chicago veterinarian’s office. You can find more info here.
Belmont Harbor Dog Beach
Watch your dog frolic through the sand and surf of Lake Michigan. This freshwater dog beach, which is located in Lincoln Park, is fenced in, so you can relax a little on a beach towel while your pup explores the shallow water.
1430 W Willow St
Send your best friend to Doggie Paddle to become the Katie Ledecky of dogs. This doggie daycare also offers swimming classes for beginners, for fitness, and for wellness for pups of all ages. Just prepare yourself for the wet-dog smell.
Mercury Canine Cruises
Cruise around Chicago’s rivers and waterways with Mercury Canine Cruises while getting the best possible view of the city skyline — with your pup, of course. While you learn about the city’s varied architectural styles and famous buildings, like the Tribune Tower, Willis (ahem, Sears, for the real Chicagoans) Tower, and the Wrigley Building, your dog can enjoy all of the sights and smells.
Montrose Dog Beach
Zoomies on the beach? That’s guaranteed to happen when you let your pup off-leash and allow them to temporarily escape from life as a city dog. Just keep in mind that this beach is busy during the summer, so sometimes it’s better to go during odd hours and weekdays.
Navy Pier Boardwalk
Pretend to be a tourist for the day by hitting Navy Pier with your pup. Dogs are allowed on most parts of the boardwalk — but not inside. Navy Pier also has Dog Days of Summer and dog-friendly cruises through Seadog Cruises.
Noethling (Grace) Park, a.k.a. Wiggly Field
“Wiggly Field” is the informal name of this dog park, but no one would complain if they officially changed it (certainly not us!). In the summers, there are a plethora of mini pools for cooling off after a long round of fetch.
Get your pup some enrichment time or training at Rockstar Pets. Pet parents will feel like they’re sending their pupper off to school, thanks to Rockstar Pets classes: preschool, puppy kindergarten, and enrichment program.
You might not spend much money on yourself, but you can’t walk out of a pet store without getting an extra special treat for your pup — especially when they’re pleading with you using those very effective puppy-dog eyes. Lean into it, and support Chicago’s local pet-centric businesses. There are also stores for humans on this list that allow your dog inside, so they can politely sniff around while you browse.
Aeslin Pup Hub
1448 W Chicago Ave
If you come into this pet boutique, expect for your dog to leave with a toy in their mouth and a few treats in their bellies. You won’t be able to resist going on a shopping spree. The Ukrainian Village location is just for shopping (for now), while the Noble Square spot provides grooming and daycare services, and the Bucktown location provides daycare and boarding.
2023 W Division St
Support a small business while your dog begs for some seasonal treats. Doggy Style has everything you need to look dog park-ready, including grooming services.
The Magnificent Mile
If it’s your goal to hit the iconic Chicago spots, the Magnificent Mile should be on the list. Many stores are dog-friendly, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Patagonia, and Tails in the City.
Tails in the City
55 Leroy St
3251 N Broadway
Founded in 1980, this bookstore is known for its thorough staff book recommendations and large selection of LGBTQ+ literature. They also will let your leashed pup accompany you around the store while you browse for your next read.
3337 N Broadway
Get your pup essentials from Wigglyville, which has been around since 2005. If you’re lucky, you’ll be greeted by Braith the Bengal cat at the original location in Lakeview.
Sometimes, you just need to take a break from your apartment (and job) and have a relaxing staycation. Delete the email app from your phone, pretend Zoom doesn’t exist, play tourist in your own city, and take advantage of all of the hotel of your choice’s amenities — without having to leave your pup with a dog sitter. Hey, they must want a change of pace, too, right?
Or, if you’re visiting town, you want the option of bringing your pup so you can play frisbee by Lake Michigan (a dog’s dream come true). After they’re all tuckered out, they’ll want a comfy place to sleep — preferably beside you. Here are some options.
201 E 87th St
Your pup will get the royal treatment at chic boutique hotel Claridge House. This hotel has a “Pampered Pup” package, which includes a late check-out at 2 p.m. for your sleepyhead, a pup cup at check-in, a gift bag, and a Claridge House bandana. We always knew our dogs’ lives were better than ours, but Claridge House really confirms it.
Kimpton The Gray
122 W Monroe St
“Kimpton the Gray” might sound like a wandering knight from the middle ages, but this hotel provides a bespoke experience that the hotel compares to a Saville Row suit. Ask and your pup shall receive. Upon check-in, dogs receive a loaner water bowl, mat, a plush dog bed, and an invitation to the nightly wine reception. You’ll get complimentary waste bags and a list of pet-friendly places to go in Chicago. That’s all the convincing you’ll need to come back as a dog in your next life.
230 N Michigan Ave
If you’re a fan of Art Deco style, you can’t miss the chance to stay in the 1929 Art Deco Carbide & Carbon building, which is now Pendry Chicago. The green-and-gold opulence of this 37-story building is reminiscent of a champagne bottle and the last gasp of a booming decade. Your pup might not appreciate the building’s history, but they will love Executive Chef Jeff Vucko’s homemade treats and the “doggy dining” menu.
The Talbott Hotel
20 E Delaware Pl
Within walking distance of Oak Street Beach, the Talbott Hotel’s location is ideal for beach bums during the summer. Soak up the sun, admire Lake Michigan, and do some retail therapy in the Gold Coast district. It’s right across the street from the doggie-designer store Tails in the City, so your pup could have an entirely new wardrobe by the end of your stay.
19 E Ohio St
If you can’t get enough of swanky hotels, then you’re going to want to add Freehand to your list. Located in River North in a 1927 Art Deco-inspired building, this lushly decorated hotel will welcome both you and your pup for a staycation. For a fee of $75 per private room, the hotel allows guests to bring one dog, as long as they weigh 75 pounds or less.
The Guesthouse Hotel
4872 N Clark St
Find your home away from home at The Guesthouse Hotel, which is located in the Andersonville neighborhood. Your pup is treated like family here — dogs of all shapes and sizes are allowed, and there’s no extra fee. Soak up the sun on the Rooftop or feel fancy in the Clubhouse. This boutique hotel offers extended stays, so you might be tempted to move in.
1 W Washington St
This whimsical and fun hotel will provide some much-needed rest, relaxation, and fun for you and your four-legged companion. If you’ve always been all about the amenities, Staypineapple boasts a fitness center, pineapple (human) treats, bikes, and unlimited bottled water for excursions. Some of these perks are only available if you pay the daily amenities fee of $15, but they seem worth it. The boutique hotel also offers a Pineapple Pup Package. You can bring up to two dogs for an additional fee of $25 per night. There is no weight restriction, but per BringFido, dogs must not be left unattended in the room.
Chicago Athletic Association
12 S Michigan Ave
Big Chicago history buffs need to hit up this hotel, which used to be a private club, with your pup. The building is circa 1893 and in Venetian Gothic style. It operated as an exclusive playground for Chicago’s celebrities for 122 years before it was transformed into a hotel. Revel in the history, get beautiful views of Lake Michigan, check out Milk Room (which used to be a speakeasy), dine at Cindy’s, and relax with your pup in this pet-friendly establishment. There are a few rules: only two pets per room (but they can be any size), and guests must sign an animal-waiver form upon check-in. All service animals are exempt from those rules.
Whether you’re brunching, barhopping, or looking for a place to crash in NYC, your dog deserves to come with you. Here are all the spots ready with bowls of water, treats, ear scratches, and open-door policies for your best pal.
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Alicia Kort is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She’s currently the senior commerce editor at Apartment Therapy. She’s been published in StyleCaster, Electric Literature, Newsweek, Interview, Brooklyn magazine and more. In her free time, she runs, reads, and spends time with her dog-nieces, Maya and Lady, and her cat-niece, Pepper.