The picturesque Chicago Lakefront Trail begins near the Indiana border with Illinois and travels along the shore of Lake Michigan for 18 miles. Perfect for walking, biking and rollerblading, the nearly flat, paved surface meanders beside gardens and grassy knolls and winds through the western part of downtown Chicago.
The southern trailhead is beside the South Shore Cultural Center, and the northern trailhead is near the intersection with West Ardmore Avenue and North Sheridan Avenue, and parking is available on the street. Along the trail's route are many parks and other attractions, including several off-leash dog parks where you can stop and let your pup romp free for a bit before moving on. An especially interesting spot is Promontory Point, at the end of a small peninsula, which features pawsome views of the city skyline. The Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium are on the trail as well, as is Grant Park, a popular gathering place for locals and visitors that provides access to the Navy Pier's restaurants, shops and amusements. Pooches are permitted in all outdoor Chicago venues on their leashes.
Lake Michigan's beaches are dog-friendly, especially the North Avenue Beach, Montrose Beach, Foster Avenue Beach and the Kathy Osterman Beach at the northern end of the trail. In the summer, these lovely beaches can be crowded, so it's important to keep the pup firmly leashed to avoid any mishaps.
There are many restrooms and water fountains along the Chicago Lakefront Trail, and lots of concession stands, where you can re-energize with a snack and beverage. Picnic tables, benches and grassy spots to stop and rest abound as well, and because the trail passes many cross-streets, there are paths for venturing deeper into the city to explore.
Chicago's Lakefront Trail is busy in spots, quiet and tranquil in others. Whichever part of the trail you choose to travel with your fur-baby, there's plenty to see and do along the way!
The downtown sections of this trail require a little extra caution to avoid mishaps at traffic intersections or with other trail users. Many bicyclists, walkers, rollerbladers and strollers use this trail for pleasure or commuting. Stay aware of your surroundings and keep a firm hand on your pooch's leash.