21 Best U.S. Cities for Dogs & Dog Owners

Posted by: | Posted on: | Posted in:

Whether you’re planning a vacation or a move to the big city, pet-friendliness is a key factor to consider. Pet owners consider their dogs members of the family now more than ever, so you want to make sure the city you choose will be just as appropriate for your canine companion as it is for you.

Not only do you need to consider the availability of pet-friendly housing, but you’ll want to make sure there are plenty of things to do with your pup. Walking trails, dog parts, even dog-friendly restaurants can make a city much more livable for you and your dog.

The cities on this list offer plenty of ways for people and pets to spend time together. Here are the 21 best U.S. cities for dogs.

1. Portland, Oregon

Boasting one of the highest numbers of dog parks per 100,000 residents, Portland is one pup-friendly city. With nearly 6 dog parks per 100,000 residents (including 30 with off-leash areas), you and your dog will never get bored. If you’re looking for woodsy trails and waterfront views, try Sellwood Riverfront Park. For off-leash time, try the Fernhill Park off-leash area.

When you get hungry, enjoy dog-friendly restaurants and breweries like the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company or Cycle Dog, an earth-friendly pet company tavern and dog park. Considering a move? You’ll be glad to know that about 62% of Portland apartments allow pets and only about 50% charge pet fees.

2. Seattle, Washington

If you don’t mind the rain, Seattle is a very dog-friendly city. In fact, you’ll be in good company because Seattle is home to more dogs than children. It’s no wonder so many of the city’s services are pet friendly. Dogs are allowed on city buses, ferries, light rail, and even seaplanes. Grab a ride over to the Warren G. Magnuson lakeside off-leash park or, if the weather isn’t cooperating, try the K9 FunZone indoor dog park.

Looking to meet some like-minded pet lovers? Seattle has over 30 meetup groups for dog lovers and an abundance of pet-friendly businesses. The Barking Dog Alehouse is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and sip some craft brews. Enjoy a sunny day in the Urban Beer Garden or share a pizza at Fiddler’s Inn.

3. San Francisco, California

The City by the Bay is a great place for pet owners. Not only are dogs allowed on certain forms of transportation (like trollies) but San Francisco has the lowest average pet deposit for rental units. Here you’ll find more than 50 different dog meetup groups and the city is home to DogFest, an annual festive that celebrates our canine companions and raises money for the local community.

San Francisco is a foodie paradise, and your dog will be welcome all over the city. Try Rose’s Café for a relaxed Italian fare on an outdoor terrace or go for Southern-Caribbean soul food at The Front Porch. When it comes time to burn off the calories, you can hit up one of dozens of dog parks like the Lafayette Park Dog Play Area or the Golden Gate Park dog training area.

4. Austin, Texas

Whether you love the nightlife or prefer to spend your time in nature, Austin is the place to be. Plus, with 35 pet photographers for hire, you’ll be able to document all of it for social media. Most Austin restaurants welcome dogs on their outdoor patios and because the weather stays warm almost all year-round, you’ll never have to leave your pooch at home.

Looking to get away in the great outdoors? Try the dogs-only swimming area at Red Bud Isle. Spend some time finding your inner peace with Austin Doga, a dog-friendly yoga class, or work off some energy with off-leash time at Great Northern Dog Park.

5. Phoenix, Arizona

Popular among retirees, Phoenix is also a great place for dog owners. This desert city is packed with pet amenities and with 85% precipitation-free days, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy them. Take your dog to the ball game with the Arizona Diamondbacks during their annual Bark in the Park event or do some outdoor shopping at Biltmore Fashion Park.

If your dog is a fan of the great outdoors, you’ll be glad to know Phoenix is home to numerous dog parks including the Echo Mountain Off Leash Arena at Grovers Basin and the Rose Mofford Sports Complex Dog Park. For outdoor time at home, the average lot size for Phoenix homes is a generous 8,977 square feet. That’s plenty of space for training and play!

6. Minneapolis, Minnesota

With over a dozen dog parks to choose from, Minneapolis is a top contender on this list. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden on the campus of Walker Art Center features more than 40 works of art spread out across 11 acres for you and your dog to explore. Your dog will have plenty of space to run at the St. Anthony Parkway Off-Leash Recreation Area or, if you’re looking for a fenced-in play area, try Carlson Dog Park at Cedar Knoll Park.

In terms of food and drink, Minneapolis is not short on options. Your dog can accompany you to Lakes & Legends Brewing Company or Modist Brewing Co. For food, try Stray Dog for classic American fare or branch out with craft beers and cocktails on the dog-friendly patio at Lake & Irving Restaurant & Bar.

7. Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City is incredibly dog-friendly. From local restaurants that keep big bowls of ice water out on hot days to dog-friendly beaches, Chicago is a doggy paradise. Play in the waters of Lake Michigan at Montrose Dog Beach or bring your dog to the field for Dog Day with the Chicago White Sox. Here you’ll find plenty of opportunities for scenic walks, including The 606, an elevated path for walkers and bikers.

When it’s time to chow down, you’ll find classic pub fare at the Four Moon Tavern with plenty of space for your pup on their outdoor patio. Check out the beer garden at O’Donovan’s nearby or grab a pint with your pup at family-owned Midwest Coast Brewing Company.

8. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Looking to make a move but not thrilled about the urban life? Colorado Springs is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors without giving up those creature comforts. Hit the trail with your dog at Seven Falls or wander Crags Trail through Pike National Forest. Garden of the Gods Park, a Registered National Landmark, is a location that should definitely be on your dog’s bucket list.

After spending a day in the sun, you and your dog will be ready to relax with some good food and a cold brew. Pub Dog Colorado is a dog-friendly restaurant with a dog park on site. You can grab some casual fare at Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar’s outdoor patio or sample craft beers at Storybook Brewing.

9. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Love heat but not humidity? Albuquerque might be the perfect place for you and your pup. This beautiful New Mexico city boasts 33,000 acres of public parks – that’s roughly ¼ acre for each dog, cat, and bird in the city. Albuquerque only sees about 60 days of rain per year, so you’ll never have to worry about a hiking trip getting unexpectedly rained out. Spend the weekend exploring the Sandia foothills or take in the views along the Rio Grande.

While there are plenty of dog parks to be found, there are many more options to enjoy. Check out more than 130 stores at the pet-friendly Cottonwood Mall or sit back and enjoy a narrated tour aboard an open-air trolly with ABQ Trolley Co. Looking for something a little more interactive? Grab a couple of friends and try the Quirky Burque Scavenger Hunt, a pet-friendly Airbnb experience.

10. Boston, Massachusetts

Everybody loves a good happy hour and your dog should be invited! Boston is full of local bars that offer dog-friendly “yappy hours”, and your dog can even ride the subway with you during off-peak hours. Take a dog-friendly cruise of Boston Harbor before heading home to one of the city’s many pet-friendly neighborhoods or apartment complexes.

If your pup loves the water, Castle Island Beach is the place to be. For dogs that prefer grass, Peter’s Park offers 13,000 square feet of outdoor space, including a 3,000 square foot area specifically for small dogs. Joe’s Waterfront is a great place to enjoy a dog-friendly meal, as is the Five Horses Tavern. If you’re in the mood for a pint, Dorchester Brewing Company is very dog-friendly.

11. San Diego, California

While many cities on this list offer dog-friendly beaches, few of them offer opportunities for your dog to catch a wave. The annual Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon in San Diego offers a surfing contest for experienced surfers and dog surf lessons for those just getting started. For dogs who prefer to keep all four feet on land, Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve offers miles of walking trails through streamside forest, freshwater marsh, and scenic canyons.

After a long day at the beach or on the trail, relax on the patio at Pier Café for a tasty surf-and-turf dinner or keep it casual at Station Tavern & Burgers. Looking for a craft beer? Try Stone Brewing World Bistro at Liberty Station where you’ll find plenty of dog-friendly outdoor seating.

12. Tucson, Arizona

Does your dog love laying in the sun? With 350 days of sunshine per year, Tucson is the place to be. It’s an absolute paradise for dogs who love outdoor time but don’t particularly like the rain. Here you’ll find plenty of dog-friendly activities, even for breeds that don’t often get a lot of love. Pitbulooza is an annual festival that celebrates Pit Bulls in honor of National Pit Bull Awareness Day.

Take advantage of all that sunshine in one of Tucson’s many dog-friendly parks like Rillito River Park or hike the Agua Caliente Hill Trail. Your dog can enjoy some off-leash time at Smiling Dog Ranch before you head into town for a bite to eat at LaCo Tuscon

13. Richmond, Virginia

While it may not be the biggest city on the list, Richmond has a lot to offer dog owners. Barker Field at Byrd Park is a large, fully-fenced off-leash dog park with bench swings and plenty of shade. If your dog needs a little more space, he’ll fine 30 acres of dog-friendly space at Church Hill Dog Park in Chimborazo Park. When you’re done, swing by the Richmond SPCA Gift Shop to do a little shopping that directly benefits local community shelters.

If you love beer, Richmond has plenty of places you can grab a pint with your pup. Downtown you’ll find Legend Brewing Co. or you can head to the Museum District to hit up Bingo Beer Co., Black Heath Meadery, and Blue Bee Cider. For food, both Sheppard Street Tavern and Southern Railway Taphouse offer dog-friendly seating and classic American fare.

14. Henderson, Nevada

Heading out west? Check out Henderson, Nevada where over 91% of rental units allow pets. You’ll see a higher percentage of rentals that charge pet fees, but nearly 30% of rentals include pet play areas and 8% have pet grooming stations. Henderson is home to 19 dog parks like Bark Park at Heritage Park where you’ll find walking trails, doggie runs, and even an agility course.

While some cities impose breed-specific legislation, Nevada has banned dog breed discrimination. They’ve even proposed a bill to prevent pet insurance companies from banning certain breeds from coverage. In terms of dining and entertainment, Egg Works is an excellent breakfast spot and the CRAFTkitchen is the place to go for bites and brews.

15. Tampa, Florida

Soak up the sun with your dog in this oceanside city. With over 81% of apartments being pet-friendly, it’s a great city to relocate to – plus, only 44% charge pet fees. Just be mindful of breed-specific restrictions. About 17% of apartments have pet play areas but even for those that don’t, you won’t have to go far to find a dog park where your pup can play.

Looking for something you and your pup can do together? Tampa has plenty of dog-friendly restaurants, bars, and activities. Pup’s Pub is a full-liquid dog bar that’s completely off-leash. It’s a great place to book your dog’s birthday party! Spend some time on the beach at Davis Island Dog Beach then cool down with a craft beer at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company.

16. Nashville, Tennessee

If you’re making a big move, you want to make sure you can take your dog with you. Nashville is a great option for renters with pets given that 86% of apartments allow pets and 26% even have a pet play area. Over 10% of apartments also offer a pet washing and grooming station. When it comes to recreation, you’ll find plenty of dog parks including Centennial Park where dogs can run off-leash on trails and in large open areas.

For food, check out the Japanese-inspired neighborhood pub Two Ten Jack in East Nashville or take your pup to Edley’s Bar-B-Que to chow down on the city’s famous hot chicken on their outdoor patio. When you get thirsty, take your pup over to Harding House Brewing Company or East Nashville Beer Works.

17. Denver, Colorado

Home to the Purina dog food manufacturing facilities, Denver is a city gone to the dogs. Denver is the largest city in Colorado with a population over 5.75 million. Here you’ll find nine off-leash dog parks over 100 pet-related stores, and plenty of walking trails. If you’re just stopping in for a visit, Denver has plenty of dog-friendly hotels and Airbnb rentals.

Stop in to Skoops Ice Cream and More for a frozen treat on a hot day or grab a bottle at Golden Triangle Liquors (a dog-friendly store) before heading home to enjoy a sunny afternoon on the porch. Enjoy all-year entertainment at The Watering Bowl with its dog-friendly outside patio and heated covered area. And don’t forget about breweries! Denver is full of them, including dog-friendly establishments like Denver Beer Co.

18. Scottsdale, Arizona

Located in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is known for its spa resorts and great golf scene. This desert city offers plenty of dog-friendly activities whether you like hiking, dining, or even boating. The Bartlett Lake Marina & Boat Club reserves two eight-passenger pontoon boats specifically for pet owners and McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park offers plenty of outdoor space for Rover to romp around.

When it comes to food, you’ll find everything your heart desires. Grab a relaxed bite to eat at Old Town Tavern or sip on some craft brews at Scottsdale Beer Company. More of a wine person? Try a flight at Su Vino Winery on their dog-friendly patio.

19. Miami, Florida

For fun in the sun, it’s hard to do better than Miami, Florida. Whether you like to lounge on the beach or hit the waves, Miami has plenty of dog-friendly ways to spend your days. Head over to Haulover Beach Park for some off-leash play on the beach or go for a hike around Bark Beach at North Shore Oceanside Park. If sand isn’t your bag, Margaret Pace Park is a fenced dog park lined with Astroturf.

Looking for something tasty to satisfy your hunger? Indulge in a meaty ribeye at Boia De’s outdoor patio or grab a frozen treat at Cielito Artisan Pops where you’ll find plenty of pup-friendly popsicles. If you’re just in town for the night, you’ll be perfectly comfortable at Kimpton Epic Hotel or the Four Seasons.

20. Washington, D.C.

Not only home to the country’s government, Washington, D.C. is where you’ll find over half a dozen dog parks and ample public space to enjoy with your furry friend. In fact, Washington, D.C. has been named the 7th most walkable big city in America by Walk Score. It’s also been named one of Rover.com’s top 20 cities. If your dog has a sweet tooth, head to the Doggy Style Barkery, Boutique & Pet Spa. Here you’ll find plenty of tasty treats (including Doggy Ice Cream) and your pup can be pampered with their walk-in grooming services.

21. Cleveland, Ohio

This city located on Lake Erie may not have as many dog parks as other cities on the list, but dogs play a major role in Cleveland’s identity. Not only is a dog the mascot of the Cleveland Browns (Chomp) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (Moondog), but FirstEnergy Stadium has an entire bleacher section devoted to the Browns’ canine fans – the Dawg Pound.

Other notable dogs you’ll find in Cleveland include the taxidermied body of Balto in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. If you want to take your dog on an outdoor adventure, Holden Arboretum offers 20 miles of hiking trails, and there’s nothing better than spending a bright sunny day exploring Cleveland’s Metroparks.

Kate Barrington

Double-certified Pet Food Nutrition Specialist  & Expert Pet Writer

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.