10 of the Most Dog-Friendly Cities in the U.S.
Many healthcare travelers can’t imagine hitting the road without their pups in the passenger’s seat. Having your pet along for the adventure means you’ll already have a buddy in your new city and a friendly face to come home to in your new living space. But it’s not always easy finding a pet-friendly city.
Some cities are more welcoming to our four-legged friends than others. The most dog-friendly cities go beyond simply having some green spaces that may or not be meant to be enjoyed with pets. It’s not just about having places where dogs are allowed either – the best dog-friendly cities might have off-leash pup parks or beaches and even welcome them into restaurants and shopping centers.
So, what are the most dog-friendly U.S. cities for pet owners and their four-legged friends to enjoy? We’ve done the research and identified the top 10.
10. Seattle, WA
While some say dogs are the new babies, Seattle seems to take it more seriously than most. The city boasts an astounding 153,000+ dog residents. According to the Seattle Times, while kids have been making a comeback, canine residents still outnumber human children. One of the best dog-friendly cities to visit, you’ll find more than a dozen off-leash parks, including one at Lake Washington that includes beach access. Dogwood Play Park is an indoor/outdoor dog park where owners can sip wine, beer, or cider while watching their pups play. Seattle Barkery, a bakery specializing in pup goodies, even visits dog parks so that you can easily pick up a few gourmet dog treats, too. There are multiple parks, like Myrtle Edwards Park, where you can bring Fido or Fluffy for a leashed walk with spectacular views as well. And in the nearby suburb of Redmond, Marymoor Park is referred to as “Doggy Disneyland” by the locals, with swimming beaches and scenic wooded trails.
9. New York City, NY
You might be surprised to learn that New York City is one of the most dog-friendly cities but take a walk here, and you’ll discover just how much the Big Apple truly loves its dogs. In Central Park, you’ll see Balto, a statue of the dog sled hero Siberian husky, and in front of the NYU Children’s Hospital, there’s a massive statue of a Dalmatian balancing a taxicab on its nose, designed to give kids an emotional boost when arriving. There’s a Halloween dog parade where costumed dogs strut their stuff, and NYC has restaurants with outdoor areas where your four-legged friend can dine (and even order off a dog menu).
8. Denver, CO
If you’re looking for the most dog-friendly states to visit, there’s no doubt that Colorado is a top pick, and the Mile High City of Denver is the perfect place to land, with Rover and Zillow ranking it the No. 1 emerging dog-friendly city in the country. It’s a place that’s pet obsessed with many spots where dogs are allowed, including the city’s popular breweries. Denver Beer Company takes that up a notch by allowing them inside, too, provided they’re on a leash. There are plenty of trails that allow your furry friend to enjoy a hike with you, like the nearby Chatfield Dog Park. This park is the ultimate dog paradise with nearly 70 acres of pup-friendly fun that includes two ponds and miles of trails.
7. Huntington Beach, CA
Just outside of downtown Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, a.k.a. Surf City USA, is among the most dog-friendly cities, especially appealing to the pups who like to soak up the sun and the sand. This is where all the cool dogs hang out. In fact, they even ride the waves – yep, dozens of dogs compete annually in September to raise money for charity. Your canine doesn’t have to be a surfer to enjoy this area, though, as Huntington Dog Beach is a top spot for dogs to swim or stroll. Nearby at Top Dog Barkery, you can give your four-legged best friend a bath and pick up some pup pastries with everything baked from scratch.
6. St. Petersburg, FL
For more fun in the sun, St. Petersburg, Florida, has been ranked the No. 1 dog-friendly city with nearly 20 dog shops and dozens of dog-friendly restaurants. Dog Bar is often named the favorite place to hang out. It is a unique combination of a full-service bar and an off-leash dog park. There’s even a huge fenced off-leash area with a “Wooferee” supervisor during peak times, ensuring that both humans and their canines have a safe, fun experience.
5. Boston, MA
It’s easy to have an adventure with your pet in Boston, where leashed, well-behaved dogs of all sizes are welcome aboard the Boston T, the area’s public trains and subway cars. Many of this pet-friendly city’s most well-known parks welcome dogs, including Boston Common, the Arnold Arboretum, and Back Bay Fens. Need a dose of history? Take your pup for a walk along the 2-mile Freedom Trail through downtown, marked by red arrows on the sidewalk, to see Boston’s most significant sights and discover the rich history of the American Revolution.
4. Nashville, TN
Visit Nashville’s famous Centennial Park for some prime canine adventures! One of the top places for dogs and their owners in the city, it not only hosts an off-leash area but there’s a replica of the Greek Parthenon, so your dog can get a healthy dose of exercise as well as culture. The park also hosts concerts, outdoor movies, and art fairs throughout the year, and dogs are welcome. Need a caffeine fix? Visit one of Nashville’s many dog-friendly coffee shops and cafés, including Frothy Monkey.
3. San Diego, CA
Sunny San Diego is another paradise for dogs, with nearly 20 off-leash parks and beaches for you and your dog to enjoy. Dog Beach and Fiesta Island allow dogs to run freely through the sand and surf. You can also head for the hills with a number of scenic hiking trails. When you need a break, enjoy San Diego’s many pet-friendly outdoor dining options, including Lighthouse Ice Cream & Yogurt, which offers dogs a soy-based ice cream treat.
2. Portland, OR
Another one of the top dog-friendly cities to visit in the Pacific Northwest, Portland’s dedication to its pups is clear. With more than 30 dog parks, PDX has the second-most per capita in the country! But the adventures don’t stop when the leash goes back on. Many restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries welcome dogs, like the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company, where you can enjoy a local craft beer on their dog-friendly patio. Want to meet up with other fans of a particular breed? Portland has fun special events like the Pug Crawl.
1. Austin, TX
Rounding out the list of 10 of the most dog-friendly cities in the country is the Texas capital. Year-round warm weather means outdoor, pup-inclusive patio dining anytime in Austin. Leashed dogs are welcome on guided walking tours of the city, a great way to check out your new surroundings. You might even pass one of Austin’s many off-leash dog parks, a great social scene for those on four and two legs. Need to cool your paws? Check out Red Bud Isle, a popular dogs-only swimming spot. For another way to chill, visit Austin Doga, yoga for dogs and their humans!
Can’t imagine traveling without your pet? You don’t have to! Travel Nurse Across America will help you find the pet-friendly destination of your dreams. And, our housing specialists will make sure you and your best friend have housing options that are perfect for you both.
Want to know how to prepare for bringing your pet on assignment? We have all the tips for traveling with your pet.