A One-day Itinerary for Visiting Chicago with a Dog

David, Ember, and I just returned from a fun trip to Chicago! We found it to be a very dog friendly area overall. Looking to visit Chicago with your dog sometime soon? Here are some notes from our experience to help you plan!

Dog Friendly Chicago Riverboat Cruise

We started off the day with an architecture themed Chicago riverboat cruise with Shoreline Sightseeing. They are the only tour company on the river that allows dogs on all of their departures. Ember received a warm welcome from the Shoreline Sightseeing crew and fellow passengers. We departed from the Michigan Avenue dock. She seemed to enjoy the ride, sights, and smells of the city. Our boat had bench seating around the perimeter, which was perfect for traveling with a dog.

Chicago Architecture Boat Tour with Dog
Chicago architecture river cruise with dog

Walking the City - Chicago Riverwalk with a Dog

After the boat tour, we shook off our sea legs and took a stroll in the city. The Chicago Riverwalk is a 1.25 mile long dog-friendly walking path that runs along the river all the way out to Lake Michigan. The riverwalk offers great views of the river and famous city architecture. It is lined with multiple eateries that have outdoor seating so your dog can join you getting a bite to eat. After walking the length of the riverwalk, we headed down past Millennium Park to Buckingham Fountain. Note that Millennium Park allows only service dogs, so we walked the perimeter of that park only on our way to Buckingham Fountain. Ember was welcome at Buckingham Fountain, one of the most iconic locations in the city!

Visiting Buckingham Fountain in Chicago with a dog
Walking Chicago Riverwalk with Dog

Doggy Daycare in Chicago

We visited the Museum of Ice Cream on our day in Chicago. They don't allow pups there, so Ember visited one of the many doggy daycare facilities available in downtown Chicago. Many were closed since we visited on a holiday, but we had a great experience at the Wag Dog Hotel in West Loop.

Other Dog Friendly Activities in Chicago

Looking for more fun things to do with your furry friend in Chicago?

Dog Beaches

Belmont Harbor Dog Beach and Montrose Dog Beach offer opportunities for you to relax by the lake while your pup enjoys some joyful splashing and frolicking in the water.

Navy Pier

Navy pier allows dogs on the boardwalk (though not inside) so you can enjoy a breezy summer day, walk the pier, and dine outdoors.

Packing List for a Day Out with Your Dog

Want to make sure you pack all of the essentials to enjoy a day on the town with your dog? Here are some of my favorites:

  • Doggie Water Bottle
  • We love that this one is a water bottle and a bowl all in one! After trying several doggie water bottles, this one is our go-to!
  • Collapsible Food Dish
  • This collapsible dish is our favorite because it has a lid!
  • The Perfect Harness
  • Our puppy was super picky about harnesses. We tried several and this was a favorite for both the pup and the humans. It has a minimalist design without extra restrictive fabric, yet the front clip option for the leash discourages pulling.
  • Car Hammock
  • This doggie car hammock is a must have for road trips with your furry friend! It protects our carseat and gives her freedom in the back seat, buckled in of course!
  • Doggie Waste Bags
  • These are inexpensive and get the job done!

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Happy exploring!