Back of the Yards is the area of Chicago immortalized in Upton Sinclair's book 'The Jungle' in which he described the area as one of poverty, squalor, and pollution. While his description of the 'Meat Packing Capitol of the World' may have been a bit over the top, it was very much a working-class community. Following the closure of the Union Stockyard back in the 1950s, the area fell upon hard times and crime became a major issue. In recent years, endeavors have been made to attract more industry and the community is starting to enjoy a rebirth. Where once a walk in any direction would have led to restaurants serving Eastern European dishes, much of the food to be found today has an incredible Hispanic flair. Best of all, you are only a short drive from several pet stores and, of course, Burnham Park and the shores of Lake Michigan.
The terrain in Back of the Yards closely resembles the back of a cast iron skillet. In other words, there is no way it could get any flatter. Fortunately, most of the residential areas feature wide sidewalks for you and your pup to go walking on. The northern part of town is mostly industrial with a large railyard and several different large businesses occupy the area. Most of the streets are separated from the sidewalks by grassy strips that offer your pooch a softer, cooler place to walk when the sidewalks are too hot in the summer. While not quite as proliferate as in some spots of the Greater Chicago area, there are still plenty of shady trees for you and your pup to hide under when you need to get out of the sun's glare in the middle of summer or when the rains come in the spring.
Back of the Yards is blessed with several large dog-friendly parks, plenty of grassy strips along the streets, and many vacant lots resulting from previous hard times. The largest park in the community is Sherman Park. Covering almost 61 acres, the park has a couple of gyms, a fitness center, an auditorium, and more for human use. For the canine world, there are acres and acres of grass to roam around on, walking trails that go all the way around the park, and Sherman Park Lagoon and island to explore.
Cornell Square Park offers a pool, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, a soccer pitch, and a walking trail you and your pup can take a stroll on. All the way around the park, there is also plenty of grass for the two of you to play on and shady trees for when you finally decide you need to take a break.