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Family & Pet Friendly Destination Guide Chicago Illinois

The "Windy City"

At nearly 10 million people, Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States.  Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago is the second most visited city in the United States, attracting 50m visitors annually.

Public Transportation Pet Policies

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates mass transit services in Chicago and some of its surrounding suburbs, including the Metra commuter rail system and CTA bus service.

See full up to date Public Transportation Pet Policy at the end of this article.

Looking for a pet-friendly place to stay?

Choose from a wide range of pet-friendly properties catering for every taste and budget, including several where pets stay free!

Pet Friendly Hotels Chicago

Pet Friendly Hotels Chicago

Main Attractions

Navy Pier
Located in the Streeterville neighborhood on the shore of Lake Michigan, the 3,300-foot-long Navy Pier encompasses 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants and family attractions, making it one of the top destinations in the Midwest.

Navy Yard Chicago

                            Navy Pier Chicago Illinois

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is renowned for it’s state of the architecture, landscape design and art, including the Frank Gehry–designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, home of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the Grant Park Music Festival.  All of this provides the backdrop for a huge range of free cultural programs including concerts, exhibitions, tours, and family activities.

Millennium Park Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Millennium Park Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Millennium Park App

Discover hundreds of free events and exhibits hosted at Chicago's Millennium Park. Explore, favorite, and save events to your own calendar, including Film, Music, Family, Art, and Sport.

The Millennium Park App also includes a visual index to the key sights and locations within the Park.

The Loop District Shopping
The Loop is the central business district in downtown Chicago. The best Loop District Shopping can be found on The Magnificent Mile (The Mag Mile), an upscale section of Chicago's Michigan Avenue, and State Street, which runs from North Avenue (at the south end of Lincoln Park), through Downtown Chicago, ending at the southern city limits.

Chicago Loop District edited by wUserTonyTheTiger

The Loop’s Theater District

Chicago’s Theater District boasts a huge choice of arts and cultural activities covering Theater, Dance, Opera, Ballet, Fine Arts, Cinema….

Chicago Theater District

Chicago Theater District

The Loop District Galleries & Museums

Chicago is home to dozens of Museums and Art Galleries including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, the Volume Gallery, the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and may more.

Chicago Museums and Art Galleries

Chicago Museums and Art Galleries

The Art Institute of Chicago

Located in Chicago's Grant Park, The Art Institute of Chicago is the country's second-largest art museum and welcomes 1.5m visitors annually.

Hot Tix

Hot Tix offers half-price tickets to a wide variety of Chicago theatre productions for the current week as well as future performances.

Dog Friendly Areas

Dog Friendly Areas are designated sections within Chicago parks or beaches, where dogs are allowed to run and play off-leash, the only areas in the city where this is allowed.

Many of these sites provide features such as doggie drinking fountains, separate areas for shy dogs, dog owner bulletin boards, trash receptacles and extra doggie bags.

The owner or other responsible person bringing any dog into a dog friendly area must have a permit and tag issued by a participating Veterinarian for each dog.

Chicago Dog Friendly Areas

Chicago Dog Friendly Areas

Some Free Things To Do In Chicago

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is located off Lake Shore Drive at the Fullerton Parkway exit, just minutes north of downtown Chicago.  Open 365 days, with free entry, the main entrance to the Zoo is via the Searle Visitor Center at the Zoo's East Gate entrance. CTA bus routes 151 or 156 both serve the zoo.

Chicago Children’s Museum

Chicago Cultural Center

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago Festivals - there are lots of free festivals in Chicago including:

  • Grant Park Music Festival
  • Chicago Blues Festival
  • Chicago Jazz Festival
  • Grant Park Music Festival
  • SummerDance
  • Chicago Air and Water Show

O'Hare International Airport

Chicago is served by O'Hare International Airport (IATA: ORD, ICAO: KORD, FAA LID: ORD), typically referred to as O'Hare Airport, Chicago O'Hare, or simply O'Hare, is an international airport located on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Illinois, 14 miles (23 km) northwest of the Loop business district, operated by the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Major League Baseball Teams

Chicago is home to two Major League Baseball Teams: the Chicago Cubs who play in Wrigley Field on the North Side; and the Chicago White Sox who play in Guaranteed Rate Field on the South Side.

NFL: Soldier Field is the home of the Chicago Bears.

Public Transportation Pet Policies USA

Check out our up to date guide to Public Transportation Pet Policies for 20+ cities, holiday destinations and transport operators across the USA.

Public Transportation Pet Policies Chicago

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates mass transit services in Chicago, Illinois and some of its surrounding suburbs, including the trains of the Chicago "L" and CTA bus service.

Service animals (animals that provide assistance to people with disabilities) are permitted on CTA at all times.

Only small pets in protective carriers are allowed on CTA buses and trains. Carriers cannot take up seats, seating areas or obstruct pathways on buses, trains or in stations and must be able to be carried on by a single person.

Chicago Rail System Map

Metra is a commuter rail system in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Service animals are allowed on all Metra trains at all times.

Small pets in enclosed carriers are permitted on non-peak period weekday trains arriving in Chicago before 6:31 a.m. and after 9:30 a.m., departing Chicago before 3 p.m. and after 7 p.m., and on all weekend trains. However, there is no guarantee that pets can be accommodated. Train crews have the right to refuse pets in the event of overcrowding.

There is no additional charge for passengers with pets.  Only small pets in enclosed protective carriers are allowed.  Carriers will not be allowed to take up seats, seating areas or obstruct pathways on trains or in stations and must be small enough to be carried on by a single person. They must fit in a passenger’s lap or under the seat at all times.  Metra reserves the right to remove passengers with pets that are noisy or disturb other customers.

During special events, there is an increased likelihood that pets cannot be accommodated due to overcrowding. Such events include St. Patrick's Day Parade, Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, Air and Water Show.

South Shore Line
Police dogs, small animals transported exclusively in small carry-on travel cages stowed under the seat, and service animals accompanying trainers or passengers with disabilities pursuant to federal law are the only animals permitted on trains. Animals must not occupy seats.

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