Navy Pier, Yorktown mall among many dog-friendly Chicago-area spots

Looking for a dog cafe or other activity with your furry friend? Chicago has plethora of options
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago tends to be a dog-friendly city; so if you're looking for some fun things to do with your four-legged friends, here are some exciting and unusual suggestions.

Coming out of the COVID pandemic, when a lot of time was spent at home with pets, having a little summertime fun with your furry friends could lessen separation anxiety.

Pet expert and radio host Steve Dale joined ABC 7 Chicago's Roz Varon in exploring dog-friendly Chicago.

There's nothing like that special bond between you and your pup.

"Neuro-chemicals in our brain do a happy dance when we're with our dogs, and, for most people, that's true even by looking at a dog," Dale said.

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Dale joined Lola, Sassi and Varon, as they discovered some dog-friendly places on and off the beaten path.

"There are so many wonderful landmarks in Chicago, historic places - where can you bring a dog to enjoy the nature and the landmark at the same time?" asked Nick Pullia, with Navy Pier. "Navy Pier's about it, right?"

And it's not just the pier.

"These Seadog boats behind us are dog-friendly," said Grace Fuller, general manager with City Cruises Chicago. "We love having people bring their dogs; dogs always ride free, always have. The crew gets really excited; we love having them on board, dogs love it. It's such a unique experience to have with your pet!"

From boating to shopping, Yorktown Center in Lombard has been named the No. 1 dog-friendly mall in America by the pet travel website Bring Fido. Most stores display a paw, letting you know it's OK to shop with your pup. You can dine with your dog at restaurants with outdoor patios, and then chill at the dog lounge.

"It's a space where dogs and their owners can come to hang out, take a quick break from shopping and to get a little bit of energy out, while on their leashes," said Emily Barack, marketing and business development manager with Yorktown Center. "We do have some bridges and some other fun activities for the dogs to take part in and mix and mingle with each other as well."

And don't forget about food: The Perch Kitchen and Tap in Wicker Park has a spacious patio that really caters to your Perch pup.

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"We do have our dog menus, our hefe-woof-zen, which is our doggie beer, made with chicken stock and water. We also have the power bowl and the pupsicles," said Makenzie Monastero, assistant general manager at Perch.

They also do themed puppy photo shoots every couple of months.

You can even participate in America's favorite pastime.

"Years ago, I talked to the Chicago White Sox," Dale said. "I had this idea: You can attract more people to come to what was then Comiskey Park, if you let people bring their best friends with four legs."

And the rest is history.

One final stop: Next time you go to Starbucks with your pooch, don't forget to ask for a Puppuccino. The Puppuccino is really just a cup of whipped cream, and it's free.

There are many restaurant in Chicago and the suburbs that allow dogs, as long as they have outside patios. Just ask when you make reservations.
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