The Illinois Medical District is a neighborhood in Chicago located just south of the Near West Side. It lives up to its namesake by having many medical facilities within its borders, including University of Illinois Hospital, Jesse Brown VA Hospital, John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County, and Rush University Medical Center. Though the neighboring communities of Little Italy and Near West Side have many commercial attractions, the Illinois Medical District is mostly a professional space, with hardly any residential or casual spots. It is a pleasant atmosphere, located close to many popular areas of the city.
Summers in Chicago can be beautiful for walking a dog, but the colder months are harsh. Biting winds coming off of Lake Michigan make the autumn and winter seasons bitterly cold. If you choose to walk a dog during these times, it will be important to take proper precautions for both you and your dog.
The terrain in the Illinois Medical District is similar to much of Chicago: flat and mild. There are no steep hills, inclines, or dramatic changes in elevation in the neighborhood which can be an issue if you're looking for challenging walks or hikes. The sidewalks and streets have a good amount of trees and green space mixed in with the concrete and most streets appear very friendly for dog walking.
Though it isn’t the busiest part of town, there will be a large amount of foot and street traffic, especially during rush hour times. With many medical professionals coming in and out for work, the streets can get busy quickly. In fact, there are roughly 50,000 daily visitors to the district and more than 29,000 people are employed there alone. However, most of the major foot traffic can be avoided by walking in the quieter sections of the neighborhood, of which there are several.
There is only one major park in Illinois Medical District, Livingston Field Park, which is located in the upper northwest section of the neighborhood. It is a popular spot for Little League practices and games, but it also has green space and walkways for people and their dogs. There are also several small fields and trails on the south side of the Illinois Medical District, but they aren’t formally designated by the city as parks.
There are several parks near the district that offer great dog walking opportunities as well. Adams/Medill Park, located in University Village and directly east of the district, is a larger park with athletic fields, green space, and multiple walkways that loop around its inside and perimeter. Further to the south, there is Harrison Park, which is 17 acres and has multiple athletic facilities and fields. The areas surrounding the district will provide you and your dog with better alternatives for walking.