Living in Chicago with pets

So I’m on the job hunt, and was recently contacted by an organization in Chicago that wants to talk about a job they have available. It sounds very intriguing - but I had not really thought about moving to Chicago, for two simple reasons. The job would be right downtown.

I know there are dog daycares all around the city. Does anyone have any idea what those cost? And on a more practical level, how far outside the city would I have to live before finding a house to rent that a single person can afford?

Why buy or rent a house for one person? :confused: There are plenty of pet-friendly apartment and condo buildings in the city and plenty of parks to walk a dog before and after work.

I see lots of people with dogs – full-sized dogs, not just sleeve dogs – in the residential areas at the heart of the city. Tons of dogs in Streeterville, just across the river from the Loop, for instance. (Of course, Streeterville’s not cheap.) Anywhere along Lake Shore Drive on the North Side would be an easy L or bus commute downtown with a huge park along the lake. There are several official dog parks in the park system.

Can’t help you on the price of dog daycare.

Here’s my recommendation for daycare:

The Barking Lot. I linked directly to their rates.

We use them just for playgroup if we are going to be really busy on a weekend day, and have a dog walker from a different company come at noon during the week (we walk him ourselves in the morning/afternoon/evening).

I really like the owners and they also sell some great high-quality dog food and toys and such. Plus, with the webcam you can check on your humper all day long!

I talked to a few friends yesterday, and it sounds like you’re right on the money. Thanks for the input.

The South Loop has a large number of dog owners and dog-friendly buildings, as well as two official dog-friendly parks and several other unofficial ones.

I know at least thinks three people who live in Rogers Park with one or more dogs. Rogers Park to downtown would be about 45ish minutes on the El. You’d be near the lake (with associated beaches/parks, including a dog beach IIRC), too. The people I’ve known who have lived in RP have been happy with it. I did consider moving there, but truthfully changed my mind after last summer where (no joke) every time I visited up there where I was out after dark, someone followed me. (This ranged from vaguely unsettling homeless guys begging for money even after I’d walked away – took them about a block to give up – to one incident where I had to start screaming to get this very inappropriately hostile man to get away from me – he was very angry at me for “not dating black men” even though we’d never met or spoken before, ever, I was on the El platform alone, and he didn’t know who the hell I was dating.) I’ve also known women who lived up there for more than a year and never had a problem, so YMMV.

Munch, your dogs are adorable!

There are fewer dog-friendly apartments than there are cat-friendly ones, IME, but not by that much. I know a lot of people with dogs and they’re all in apartments. My building is in East Rogers Park (right by the Loyola El), by a beach, and everyone has dogs or cats. It would be more a matter of you deciding what neighborhood you want to live in first, then worry about dog-friendly apartments to search for within that 'hood. You shouldn’t have a problem!

Chicago’s a very dog-friendly city. There are tons of doggie daycare places scattered around the city, and even some “pet taxi” services that will transport your dogs if you’re so inclined.

There is at least one (and I’m sure more) dog park in the city; specifically Wiggly Field.

A lot of bars and even some restaurants are dog-friendly, particularly when the weather gets nice and you can sit outdoors. The general rule of thumb is that dogs can’t come inside anywhere that serves food, but a number of places with sidewalk seating will welcome well-behaved dogs and have water bowls and dog biscuits available. We used to live near Southport and Addison, and there were a number of restaurants on Southport like this. There was also a pub there (the name escapes me) that welcomed any well-behaved dogs into the pub (our dog made friends with a couple of boxers that were regulars there; I’d swear he looked forward to going out to the pub more than we did).

In short, not difficult to do, although the size of your dogs will put some limits on potential living spaces; I remember a lot of places having a 25 lb upper limit on dogs. Still, you should have plenty of choices; just not quite so many as if you were pet-less.

Welcome, and enjoy!

I live a couple of blocks from The Barking Lot. It’s a neighborhood called Irving Park, and a one-bedroom apartment around here will be in the $750-900 range. It’s a pretty neat place, lots of families, lots of true diversity (not “diversity” as a euphemism for “black”), and a HUGE several blocks long park just outside my front window where dogs are welcome as long as they’re well behaved. ETA: There are also tennis courts, a softball field, an outdoor pool and all kinds of nice park districty amenities for humans there.

One thing you must be prepared for with a dog in this city is that you will have to carry disposal bags with you and clean up when your dog poops. Yes, we really mean it, and we really do it and we’ll really call the police if you don’t and they’ll really fine you a substantial sum of money if they catch you not cleaning up after your dog, even in a park.

Takes about 30 to 45 minutes, including waiting times, to get to The Loop from here on CTA. Totally doable for a daily commute. It’s about 15 minutes by car, but I wouldn’t suggest it unless your employer is willing to validate or compensate you for your parking fees.

WhyNot - GREAT info, especially the rent range. What about a 2-bedroom? I have some friends in Chicago, and I know one of them is dying to get out of the closet he’s living in. I’m already ahead of you on the poop bags. My backyard isn’t fenced, so these guys get walked to do their business. has several 2 bedrooms on right now from $725 all the way to $1275. Pretty wide market. I’m in a huge (for Chicago) 3 bedroom for $1100. There are several signs up within a block of me, but I’m afraid I haven’t looked to see if they have dollar amounts on them. I’ll try to keep an eye open.

One of the nice things about my immediate area is that there are no city parking permits ($$) required, and parking is pretty wide open, thanks to that park I mentioned (there are only residences on one side of the street, you see, so half the people trying to park when compared to other streets). Parking can be a huge hassle in some areas, and most apartments do not include a garage or reserved parking space - or they charge extra for it. My place in Roger’s Park (a neighborhood to the north of here) was a *nightmare *for parking. It’s a good idea to drive by your prospective apartment at about 8 at night and see if there’s any parking left. There might be a ton during the day, but when people start getting home from work…

Look for closets. Some of these old buildings have hardly any, and you’d be surprised how much you miss them! It’s pretty standard for a storage unit in the basement to come with your rental, but you still want a closet for vacuum cleaner and mops and things *in *your unit. The nice thing about many Chicago apartments is having a pantry, though. I heart pantries. My current place has a teeny pantry (but lots of closet space otherwise) whereas my other places in older buildings had barely any closets but huge pantries!

Check about heat. Electric heat is not too common, but it’s reason to walk away if you happen upon it. It’s *very *expensive to heat a place in Chicago winters with electric. Many places have radiator heat, which is actually kind of nice because a few ceramic crocks of water placed on the radiators make an instant and cheap humidifier! Very few rentals in this city include heat or utilities, but they almost all include water.

Check electrical outlets. You’d be surprised how many units don’t even have grounded (three plug) outlets! You don’t think about it until you go to plug in your computer… :smack: However, there are *never *enough circuit breakers, so expect not to be able to run your microwave, toaster oven and coffee pot all at once. It’s a pain at first, but you learn to adjust.

I know it can be daunting moving here, with all the neighborhoods which are almost like tiny cities within the city and the quirks that come with the territory. But it’s a wonderful place to live; there’s not another big city I could stand living in, honestly. :slight_smile:

My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment for about $900/mo, dog-friendly. We’re in the Logan Square neighborhood, which is a jog to downtown but very manageable by transit. Tons of dogs in the area, and lots of grass around for 'em.

Our building is a VERY dated early 20th century brick three-flat. Badly in need of a rehab, but we love it – tons of old woodwork and charm. The point about looking for closet space is very, very, very true, though. We have two VERY small closets (one in each bedroom) and a small utility closet that’s mostly occupied by the furnace.