Washington Square Park is a small, historic area that dates back to the 1800s. In fact, it's the oldest existing small park in Chicago, at 3 acres. Polished and neat, this is a favorite dog-walking haven and it's rare to not see any dogs here. Some people admit that, although they don't have a dog, they come to Washington Square Park to get their quota of wiggling pups and doggy pats.
Laid out in a rectangle with a beautiful large, old fountain in the middle, there are several paths that intersect and provide access at 6 entrances at West Delaware Place, North Clark Street, West Walton Street and North Dearborn Street. The fountain with its surrounding flower garden and ringed by benches under the trees is a common destination for folks and is the park's centerpiece. While you and your pup can't get close to the fountain, surrounded as it is by plantings and a wrought-iron fence, its falling water provides a gentle, calming atmosphere for people-watching, conversations and picnics.
The park is nicknamed Bughouse Square, because in its early years it was a place where free speech reigned and soapbox orators tried to sell their ideas and political leanings. (At the time, "bughouse" was a not-too-kind word for a mental health institution.) If you happen to be in Chicago the last week in July, you can attend the Bughouse Square Debates, which provide a forum for anyone who wishes to participate or watch.
Lots of open lawn and mature shade trees fill the spaces between the paved walks that are lined with period street lamps, so bring a blanket and hang out with your fur-pup! A piano sits in the park in the summer, and you can often hear someone playing, which makes this place even more charming! Also bring along water and clean up bags, and help keep the park clean.
Neighborhood folks, as well as tourists, visit Washington Square Park, and you and Fido will see a wide array of people and activities here. It's never the exact same place twice!