Nestled in Pilsen in the Lower West Side of Chicago is a tiny neighborhood called the Heart of Italy. As the name suggests, the neighborhood is made up of Italian immigrants who have called the area home since the early 1800s. Because this neighborhood only spans a few blocks, you should head outside of it for dog walks and for all of your dog’s most in-demand treats and toys. There are groomers and veterinarians close by and if you are walking, you will find a smattering of small stores and places to get food and drink not far from home.
Weather in Chicago is hot and humid in the summer, cold and stormy in the winter, and temperate the rest of the year. Spring to fall walking is easily possible, but winter may make outings a bit more difficult with freezing temperatures, wind, snow, and ice. You'll want to pack the appropriate gear whenever you venture out during these times.
If you are a bit out of shape or your dog is elderly or overweight, you will be happy to know that the terrain in Chicago is all flat. This makes taking leisurely walks a pleasure and is much easier on your old friend’s joints. If you want more of a challenge, you have an entire city in front of you, and long walks are not only possible but advisable. The walking in the area is urban and you will be walking on concrete sidewalks. There are some trees but that is about all of the greenery you are likely to see in public spaces along the streets. There are a lot of old buildings in this historic area to check out but this tiny neighborhood does not have any parks of its own and there are not a lot of parks in the immediate vicinity, so outings to green areas will likely need to be planned.
Heart of Italy has no greenways of its own, but that is not surprising given how small this neighborhood really is. A couple of blocks to the west, you will find Washtenaw Park which has a small green space and a block further west, there are large lengthy green spaces along S. California Avenue and going up to Marshall Blvd. If you are looking for a bit of grass close by, the 4-block walk may be worth it.
About 3 blocks east is Barrett Park with a small greenway. For those living on the north boundary of the Heart of Italy, this might make a nice diversion. Those along the south edge of the neighborhood can also go down to the Western Avenue Riveredge Park which is a large greenspace down along the canal. This is only a couple blocks off of the southern border of the Heart of Italy.