There are a few dog parks here in Chicago that, to me, are like hidden gems; they are an oasis to the often overcrowded and sometimes chaotic well known parks. These parks are nestled throughout the city and are often relatively empty, peaceful, well maintained and in my opinion under appreciated. I’d like to use this second blog post to put a soft spotlight on them, just enough to let you know they exist, and if you want to check them out, by all means, they are hidden enough that they’ll never be well known.
We’ll start with my favorite. This dog park is at the end of Blackhawk Street in Noble Square, kitty-cornered from Pulaski Park. For some reason, whenever I have visited this dog park, it’s almost always empty. When there have been dogs there, the space is big enough that they all have room to maneuver and run free without feeling crowded. The terrain is mostly wood chips, regularly changed and maintained by a few volunteers who frequent the park. I’ve heard some folks complain that it’s a dirty park, but I’ve visited many times and have never found it to be dirty or out of the norm. I call this Pulaski Dog Park and it is numero uno on my list of Chicago’s hidden dog parks.
Second, I would’ve included Walsh Park on my list, but it is sadly no more, at least for the time being. Construction along the Bloomingdale Trail has rendered this park obsolete. It was a friendly, narrow, yet spacious park that rarely held more than four to five dogs at a time. Usually it was empty and provided an excellent space for dogs to stretch out, run and explore. Not to say a crowded dog park is a bad thing, but at times, especially for the little ones, a packed dog park can be overwhelming and at the least, unpleasant for some dogs.
The official number two is downtown. It’s located next to the on/off ramp to I-94, behind the Office Depot off of Grand Ave. and Kingsbury St. I’m always amazed this is not a more utilized spot. It’s HUGE! The one downside to this park is the long stretch of pavement, while great for walking, is not so hot for high energy running as dogs sometimes come back with blistered paws. However, a little Musher’s Secret and they’re good as new. This space, the Kingsbury St.. Dog Park I’ll call it, has tons of space, plenty of trees, great spots for exploration and adventure and usually very responsible owners with friendly dogs. Highly recommended as a well-maintained, under-utilized space, especially for downtown. Parking can be tough, but if you’re determined, you’ll find a spot in no time.
Lastly, this is not an official dog park, but it too is a sweet little oasis. This is the park directly across from the Parc Chestnut on Franklin and Wells. Parc Chestnut maintains the park and is generous enough to open it to the public. There is a small dog run in the back right corner and while it is small, tiny really, it does offer some great off-leash time for small dogs who want to romp together. The whole park is clean and pleasant and is normally stocked with poop bags for easy cleanup. This is a highly recommended spot if your dog needs to take a break from walking and just get some romping time in.
That’s it. My top 3 “Hidden Chicago Dog Parks”. There are many I haven’t been to and I’m sure there are other hidden spots that need to be on my list. I’m looking forward to seeing the completion of the new Logan Square Dog Park. Word is construction will officially begin soon and this is sure to be a fantastic spot in that dog friendly neighborhood.
Thanks for reading and feel free to let me know about other spots I may have missed!
Dana Palmer, Super Dog Walking