Dogs are more popular than ever in America, with almost 70 million in homes throughout the country (AVMA). While you’re sure to find a dog in almost every city in America, some places are more dog-friendly than the rest. Where does your city rank?
We’ve gathered a list of the most dog-friendly cities in America, including a few new surprises. Everyone knows San Francisco is a dog lover’s paradise, but did you know Houston is fast on its tail? With acres of parkland, plenty of patio dining, fun pet-friendly events, and more, these are the best places to be a dog (and dog person) in America.
If your dog’s a hiker, then the mile high city is their heaven. The Denver area is full of amazing trails, many of which welcome well-trained, off-leash dogs. Check out 303 Magazine’s recommendations for some of the best dog-friendly hiking in the area!
Back in the city proper, don’t pass up the dog-friendliest spot in town, the Watering Bowl, aka “your best friend’s bar.” At the Watering Bowl, you can enjoy an adult beverage and tasty snack while your dog romps around the pub’s 7000 sq ft fully fenced private dog park.
Nashville’s famous Centennial Park houses an off-leash area and a replica of the Greek Parthenon, so you and your dog can burn off steam and take in culture all in one place. Centennial Park also hosts dog-friendly music, movie, and art events throughout the year. We’re not saying you should move to the city for one park, but, well, it’s a pretty swell park!
It may surprise you to learn that Houston is a swell place to be a dog! How’s this for a perfect Sunday: start by escaping the sun in the cool shade of the Houston Arboretum, where you and your leashed dog can explore over five miles of trails winding through forest, pond, wetland, and meadow habitats. Then, refresh with a drink and meal at one of the many dog-friendly restaurants in town.
Texas is so big, we have to include more than one city! In Dallas, your well-behaved dog is welcome on the McKinney Avenue Trolley, which will transport you back in time (okay, and also downtown) on a restored trolley car from the early 20th century.
If you and your best friend prefer walking to riding, be sure to hit up the Katy Trail, which runs through the Uptown and Oak Lawn part of town. Don’t forget to stop for a burger and a beer (plus a bowl of fresh water for Fido) at the Katy Trail Ice House.
They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but we can let you in on a few of the dog-friendly secrets Sin City has to offer. Locals love the Sunset Park dog area, which boasts separate, fenced play areas for large and small dogs. If you roam about half an hour east of the city, you can check out beautiful hiking trails and wildlife at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area (but be sure to take plenty of water—this is the desert, after all).
Of course, Vegas isn’t Vegas without a trip to the strip. Your leashed dog is welcome to stroll the strip with you, and if you’re looking for a place to stay, check out the Caesars’ Palace DogStay program.
If you’re a dog person in Atlanta, you know all about Piedmont Park, a beautiful 3-acre dog park that hosts an annual 5k run and “Doggie Splash.” Out-of-towners might want to schedule their visits around another hometown favorite, the Atlanta Braves, who host an annual “Bark in the Park” ballgame for well-behaved dogs and their people.
Visit Atlanta Magazine for more ideas for things to do in HOTlanta with your dog!
Does your dog hang ten? In addition to its natural beauty and idyllic climate, San Diego is home to the SoCalSurfDogs, a group promoting the fun and bonding of surfing with your dog. New to surfing? The Helen Woodward Animal Center is a no-kill animal rescue and educational organization that offers periodic dog surfing lessons.
If extreme sports aren’t your thing, don’t worry: San Diego also has countless dog parks, dog boutiques, and dog-friendly breweries to keep you and your best friend busy.
New York City
New York is a huge, bustling metropolis, but nestled in the midst of all that activity are plenty of dog-friendly spots to relax with your best friend.
On the Upper West Side, locals and tourists alike love Fred’s, a cozy neighborhood bar and restaurant featuring dog portraits on the walls, and a dog-friendly patio where you and your pooch can spend a sunny afternoon. From Fred’s, you’re just a few minutes’ walk from Central Park, where you and your best friend can spend the whole day exploring on- and 0ff-leash (view the Dog Owner’s Guide to Central Park for more info).
Of course, a day in New York isn’t complete without some shopping, so be sure to hit up Wag Wear, a chic dog boutique.
Whether you’re a local looking for something fun to do at home or a traveler searching for a new place to explore, America’s got you covered. Did we miss a dog-friendly city on our list? Tell us about your favorite town in the comments!