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Exploring Museum Campus With Your Dog

Ruby’s a Chicago dog and loves being out and about with us. But she startles easily and sometimes this makes her a bit reactive. We have worked hard to build her confidence by including her in adventures but always in a way that’s comfortable and not too overwhelming. This usually means going places in off hours and avoiding high traffic times with lots of dogs, people, bikes, cars, etc. We are introverts so this strategy works for us as well!

Chicago has some fun dog friendly options and over the coming months, we are going to share some of our favorites. Hopefully, they will be interesting and useful to both residents as well as those traveling to Chicago with their dogs. If you don’t live in Chicago (or plan on visiting) and just want to enjoy cute photos of Ruby, that’s fine, too! 

Visiting dog friendly Chicago's Museum Campus with your dog

Exploring Chicago’s Museum Campus with your Dog

First up, Museum Campus, a 57-acre park in the south loop that surrounds three of the city’s museums: the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum. The campus borders Lake Michigan to the east, Grant Park to the north, and Northerly Island to the south, offering spectacular views of the Chicago skyline and lakefront, lots of green space, paved walking and bike trails, a public beach as well as food and drink options. It is also close to public transportation, offers metered street parking and several parking lots, public bathrooms, and free Wi-Fi. Obviously, the museums are not dog friendly, but they are all amazing and definitely worth a trip.

Exploring dog friendly Chicago's Museum Campus with your dog

The map shows our route, which took us about an hour (Ruby is not super speedy). You can click on the markers for more information on locations mentioned in this post.

If you are visiting Chicago and staying downtown, you can walk through Grant Park to Museum Campus. If you are driving, there is limited street meter parking along East Solidarity Drive and paid lots near the Adler Planetarium and the North Garage just south of the Field Museum.

In hopes of avoiding the crowds, we arrived mid-morning. We have visited the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium many times, but this was our first time exploring Museum Campus with our dog. We ran into a few summer camp groups, but otherwise it was a great time for a low stress walk. If your dog doesn’t do well with kids, you might want to avoid the central area between the Shedd and the Field Museum. Ruby is a smaller dog and easy to pick up and remove from situations that freak her out. Chicago is a big city with lots of noise, people, cars, etc. – please use caution when visiting new places with your dog and always be considerate and aware of their comfort level, temperament, tolerance, triggers, etc.

Walking around Museum Campus with your dog

We started by heading east along the Lakefront towards the Adler Planetarium Skyline Walk (1). The path is paved and has two levels; no inclines but some steep steps. The lower (water) level is slippery and should only be attempted if you are wearing shoes with good traction, especially on windy days. The loop around the Planetarium boosts some spectacular views in all directions and is usually not as crowded. While we were walking we met another dog named Ruby who also fancied herself a Chicago spokesdog!

dog friendly Museum Campus in Chicago

Make your way around the Adler (5) by following the shoreline. Once on the south side (2), head right towards the 12th Street Beach (3). There you will find bathrooms, first aid, and refreshments. Dogs are not allowed on the beach, but they can enjoy the views from the walkway above. At the far end of the 12th Street Beach is Northerly Island, a 91-acre peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan. Northerly Island is a lovely natural area that features strolling paths, play areas, a field house, and a concert venue. It’s also a nesting point for migratory birds so dogs aren’t allowed.

Ruby at 12th Street Beach Museum Campus with your dog

At the 12th Street Beach, you will also find Del Campo’s Tacos (4), which offers tasty treats (including vegetarian options), alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, live music a few nights a week, and a cute dog friendly patio. Dogs must be leashed and are not allowed on the tables (the owner told us they have actually had issues with dogs on tables). It’s perfect place for a lunch break or night cap with your dog!

Ruby visits Chicago's Museum Campus

After grabbing a snack, retrace your steps back around the planetarium and follow the path back to the Shedd (7). At this point, you can either take the lower, less congested path or switch to the Lakefront Trail (6), a narrow, two lane path popular with bikers and joggers. Both paths wrap around the back of the Shedd and along the lake. The advantage of the Lakefront Trail is that you will pass a small picnic area (9) and garden (8) with native plants and lots of butterflies. If your dog is anxious, I would stick with the lower path.

As a side note, the Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile stretch that extends north to Peterson and south to 71st Street. So, if you and your dog are super athletic, you can keep going! Ruby is many things but athletic is not one of them!

Explore Grant Park and the Museum Campus with your dog

Once around the bend, you will have even more choices. You can head up to the Museum Cafe (14), between the Shedd (7) and Field Museum(12) for snacks, ice cream, trinkets, bathrooms and people watching. There’s also free Wifi courtesy of the Chicago Park District. Another option is to keep walking straight and follow the signs to dog friendly Grant Park (11) where you will find lots of green space and shade.

take a water taxi and explore Chicago's Museum Campus with your dog

If you are feeling adventurous, you could also treat your dog to a ride on the water taxi (10) to Navy Pier! Dogs are free and welcome as long as they are well behaved and on a leash. Water taxis are a fun way to  experience Chicago from a new perspective and are available at select locations on the lake and the Chicago River. Or follow the map and do all three options!

We are in the process of putting together a weekly calendar of dog friendly events in Chicago and ways to support local shelters and rescues. Have dog friendly suggestions, please let us know!  Follow us on Instagram for more photos from dog friendly Chicago adventures and and of course, lots of Ruby cuteness.

 

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22 Comments

  1. July 23, 2018 / 6:02 am

    oh that was super tour!!! you should get a docturs hat after walking along that big campus… you are a fabulous tour guide ;O)

  2. July 23, 2018 / 6:44 am

    That looks like quite the fun time sweet Ruby!

  3. July 23, 2018 / 8:01 am

    Have visiting Chicago many times, but not downtown recently! LURV the museums and Aquarium and Planetarium! Thanks for the tour!

  4. July 23, 2018 / 8:14 am

    Hari OM
    Ruby, I’s not so athletic either and I loved that there were plenty ‘pit stops’ along this beautiful route!!! To meet another Ruby who is a jewel of Chicago makes your city a very rich place, methinks! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  5. July 23, 2018 / 8:34 am

    Chicago sure has wonderful places for you to visit, Ruby, and imagine meeting another Ruby! That’s pretty special!

  6. July 23, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Ruby we are so looking forward to your new adventures and your mom’s commentary…she is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good a barking interesting things to us via your mind.
    Hugs madi your bfff

  7. The OP Pack
    July 23, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    We loved accompanying you virtually on that grand tour of Museum Campus. And you know we always love seeing photos of Ruby – and they are also always cute:)

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  8. Lee
    July 23, 2018 / 2:40 pm

    Oh a water taxi that welcomes dogs works for us, we love the water.
    Sweet William The Scot

  9. July 23, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    Ruby, it is so good to see you again and what a fantastic tour that was. Such a good post and very interesting. You all have a super duper day.

  10. July 23, 2018 / 7:27 pm

    Never been to Chicago, so it was interesting to take this tour with Ruby.

  11. July 23, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    The two Ruby’s look so cute together! Thanks for the tour
    hugs
    Hazel & Mabel

  12. 15andmeowing
    July 23, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    Looks like a for a pup.

  13. July 23, 2018 / 10:10 pm

    HEEEEY GURL!!! I FINALLY gots Ma to puts your bloggie in my blogroll!!! So nows I won’t miss any posties!!! Thanks for the heads up! I did find your email in my spam folder though…I hates that spam!
    Oh, and you look FABulous BTW!
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥
    (the OTHER Ruby…☺)

  14. ChristaV
    July 24, 2018 / 7:01 am

    That was fabulous, Ruby! And seeing Ruby 2 was amazing karma! We might need to try another stretch of our city’s beautiful lakefront thanks to your inspiration. Wags from Pearl & Odyss!

  15. July 24, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    What an inviting post….I’m putting Chicago on my “Road Trips to take with a Pup” list!

  16. July 24, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    While we will probably never visit Chicago, I love visiting places virtually. The cute Ruby photos didn’t hurt either (she’s a pretty good tour guide!).

  17. July 24, 2018 / 6:28 pm

    Wow, Ruby really handles the bustle of Chicago well! It looks as if it’s a super fun city for dogs!

  18. July 24, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    What a fabulous day ! I can’t believe there are 18 miles of walking pathways in that area, how wonderful. Ruby has gotten so adventurous in the last year, I’m really proud of her! Tweeted & Pinned. Thanks for sharing.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  19. July 25, 2018 / 11:45 am

    Two Rubys? Two times the cute and two times the fun! Looks like it was a wonderful adventure. Great photos, too!

  20. July 25, 2018 / 6:29 pm

    What a great tour! Thanks for sharing…we loving seeing Ruby enjoying the walk and sights and the other Ruby!
    Purrs
    Marv

  21. July 27, 2018 / 5:00 pm

    We’re so jealous! You get to do more fun things than our humans! It’s heartwarming to see you enjoying life, Ruby. And those ducks in the background (ducklings?!?) … how tasty! I mean … err … adorable. ~Bear Cat

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