Forest Park is a 2,000-acre neighborhood that surrounds the park of the same name in the city of Springfield. Within the neighborhood is the smaller 195-acre section of the Forest Park Heights Historic District. This is an older, affluent, established neighborhood with mature trees and landscaping setting off private homes. Bordered by Main Street, Belmont Avenue, Sumner Avenue, and Longhill Street, it is the setting for some of the area's oldest and most beautiful 'American Craftsman' style homes. Although mostly residential, outdoor tables at Antonio’s Grinders on Longhill and Family Pizzeria Europa on Sumner both welcome our four-legged companions.
While the historic district does end at Sumner Avenue, the incredibly large Forest Park is right across the street and stretches for 735 acres. You will get all four seasons in Forest Park with cold, snowy winters, hot and humid summers, with spring and fall coming in on the mild side.
Forest Park Heights is an established residential neighborhood with sidewalks and mature trees for shade. It is a nice blend of artificial and natural turf with the natural usually being residential yards. You will want to be courteous in removing any waste produced during your walk.
The terrain is more rolling than hilly, but it can still be a workout for under conditioned dogs. Sidewalks abound in the neighborhood so be cautious with sensitive dog paws. While you might encounter other pedestrians, this will be more of a personal walk with your canine friend.
Designed by Frederick Law, Olmstead Forest Park falls just outside the historic district. If you decide to take a walk into the park, be vigilant with how far you walk as every step you take into the park away from the neighborhood, you have to take those steps back. Be mindful of the journey or you might end up carrying a pup home!
An established neighborhood, Forest Park Heights proper has many mature green spaces that are planned through the area. There are green medians on many of the roads that can provide a softer path for dogs. If you choose to walk these medians, be aware that automotive traffic uses both sides and keep your dog close and on the leash at all times.
Forest Park begins just on the other side of Sumner Avenue and is a beautiful planned park with 735 acres of green! This is not an off-leash experience for your pup, so keep them controlled and plan to clean up any messes. Overlooking the Connecticut River in places, there are trails, a pool, a zoo, aquatic gardens, an outdoor amphitheater, and much more. It is a walkers dream come true with some surprising views. Small wildlife is also prevalent in the park so be in control of breeds that may have hunting or stalking instincts.