Altgeld Gardens is a Chicago Housing Authority project that is on the far south side of Chicago on the border of Chicago and Riverdale. The community was built in the 1940s and consists of mostly two-story apartment buildings situated in rows across around 200 acres. The federal government built this community in order to provide housing for African American veterans who were returning from World War II. It was one of the first public housing developments built in the United States and is largely considered to be a historic area.
This area is known to be polluted due to the many factories that existed here as well as landfills that were and still are unregulated, so it is not wise to swim or fish in the water around this neighborhood. This restriction can be frustrating, especially on hot Chicago days, since this neighborhood is bordered by the Little Calumet River.
Altgeld Gardens is made up of two-story brick apartment buildings that are situated around central courtyards with paved paths. You can travel throughout this neighborhood without needing to walk in the road since there are plenty of paths between buildings and sidewalks. This means that you will be able to walk your dog on a loose leash throughout most of the area.
There is minimal tree cover throughout most of this neighborhood, so on hot Chicago days, you will feel the heat. There is lots of green space both within and around this neighborhood, especially at the west side where there is a large grassy lot and at the southeast side where there is a large ball field.
Where the neighborhood borders the river, there is natural shoreline and extensive natural forest. This forest does not have much in the way of paths, but is great if you want to practice hiking through a wild forest with your dog.
There are lots of green spaces within Altgeld Gardens, but for more extensive natural exploration, you don't have far to go.
Just across the river from Altgeld Gardens, Calumet Marsh is a lovely marshy area that provides diverse exploration for your dog.
There is thick natural forest between Altgeld Gardens and the river and if you follow the water down, you will find even more wild exploration areas. The Beaubien Forest Preserve offers miles of forested wilderness with a lovely little lake called the Flatfoot Lake in the midst of it. Grassy fields are sheltered by thick tree cover, so you can enjoy the sunshine even on the windiest Chicago days.
Across the river, the exploration can continue with the John W. Needles Park which offers lots of thick forest along the river and across the railroad tracks with easy-to-navigate paved trails and lots of grassy areas to enjoy.