Columbus Park in Chicago's Austin neighborhood arose from the vision of landscape architect Jen Jensen, whose love of the Prairie School can be found throughout this furbulous green space. Its 135 acres contain both passive and active recreational opportunities, many of which you can enjoy with your pup by your side. Besides basketball and tennis courts, and athletic fields, Columbus Park's nature area and gardens provide several features that are dog-friendly. The park has been listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Columbus is surrounded by a series of created berms fashioned after sand dunes that flow downward toward the flat center of the park. Along these berms is a multi-use path paved with stone that encircles the entire perimeter. Designed as a bike path, walkers and their pooches are welcome to share it with bicyclists, but please remember to keep your fur-pup firmly leashed and walk to the side to allow faster users to pass. Also remember to pick up after your dog!
Other walking paths loop around the park's large lagoon and through gardens and natural prairie-like meadows. Five sidewalks connect to W Adams Street and the neighborhoods beyond. One of the paths loops around the lagoon where you can fish while Fido relaxes by your side. The shady canopy of trees attracts many species of birds who will serenade you while you walk or sit. Two small streams that feed the lagoon cascade down two manmade waterfalls formed by stacks of stonework.
An outdoor theater informally named “Players’ Green” is dog-friendly, and Fido can sit beside your lawn chair or share your blanket while you watch an offering by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater or a concert. Or sit on the council ring, a circular stone bench near the playground, and watch your kiddos play. Native plants surround the grassy meadows, where you and your fur-baby can also enjoy Movies in the Park together.
Columbus Park is the sort of space that you can visit with your pooch over and over and do something different each time. This pastoral oasis in the middle of the city is a woofderful find!