Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dogs in the City: Three Pet-Friendly Chicago Destinations for Your Next Vacation

The hit new reality TV show "Dogs in the City" proves that most dogs actually can be conditioned to behave properly in dense urban areas, which gives pet owners more opportunities to share experiences with their furry friends. Although this conditioning is possible, it's important to seek out help from a trained professional if your dog happens to be one of those pets with a tendency to attack people they don't know. Anyone who has seen the episode with modeling agency owner Elli will know what I mean.

However, if your dog gets along well with others and has picked up a few crucial obedience skills, there's no reason you can't take him with you on an upcoming trip to check out the attractions in the bustling city of Chicago. To tailor your experience around fun for both you and your pup, consider the following top three best pet-friendly sights in the city.

1. Clarence Buckingham Fountain
One of the more refreshing Chicago attractions for a summer visit to the city, Clarence Buckingham Fountain features gigantic sculptures of sea horses shooting streams of water into a lagoon surrounding one of the city's most popular works of art. The fountain dates back to 1927 and features an identical design to one of the fountains at France's famous Versailles Palace. At night, the fountain is often illuminated so you and Fido can stroll through the area and enjoy the captivating brilliance of this awe-inspiring landmark during your daily walk.

2. Grant Park
Your best friend can enjoy some exciting social time with other four-legged furballs at Chicago's Grant Park, which is designated especially for families and their pets. This spacious 18,000 square-foot area offers a fitting destination for Frisbee, fetch and other pet-friendly activities in the great outdoors. Although the region offers plenty of freedom for playtime, it also features fences around the outer edge to ensure maximum safety for your pet. This allows dog owners to feel more comfortable taking advantage of the no-leash privileges in this area of the Windy City.

3. Navy Pier
A must-see sight of the Windy City, Navy Pier boasts more than 50 acres of attractions and shopping centers that are all pet-friendly. Although you won't be able to bring your pooch inside the shops, you can both walk along the boardwalk and enjoy the sights together. You can even take your furry friend on an architectural boat tour at Ogden Slip or one of the pier's famous Seadog cruises. After touring the city's breathtaking architecture and rich cultural history, you and Fido can chow down at the pier's pet-friendly food court with a wide selection of everything from pizza to sandwiches to Chinese food.

4. Riverwalk Gateway
Take your canine pal on a stroll through the Riverwalk Gateway, which crosses under Lakeshore Drive and the south bank of the Chicago River. A beautiful mural by Ellen Lanyon celebrates the history of the river’s important role in the city beginning in 1673 right up through the beginning of this millennium. You and your dog can enjoy an energizing walk while learning a bit about Chicago’s engineering and industrial innovations.

5. Horsedrawn Carriage Rides
If you’re looking for a real highlight for your trip to Chicago with your dog, consider a ride with man’s (or woman’s) best friend on a horse-drawn carriage. There are a few companies that offer these tours throughout various areas around the city, including the Loop and Lincoln Park. This could be the perfect excursion for you and your pooch on a sunny day at any time of year.

Although many public vacation venues may discourage bringing your four-legged friend along for the ride, Chicago is an excellent destination for fun that the whole family (your pet included) can enjoy together. Keeping the above pet-friendly attractions in mind can help you accommodate your furry friend throughout your experience in the city, without missing out on any of the most worthwhile sights Chicago has to offer.

Cameron Tyler is a pet enthusiast that loves pampering his pets, sometimes maybe too much. If you'd like to learn more about him check out his Twitter at @camerontyler87

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