The Most Dog-Friendly Cities in The U.S.

The Most Dog-Friendly Cities in The U.S.For many people, their dog is the most important part of their family. We’ve no longer banned our furry-friends to the doghouse. These days, our dogs sleep in our beds with us, come with us when we run errands, and even eat dinner when we do. If you’re thinking about moving to a different part of the country, it’s important to think about how the move will impact your dog. Below are some of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States, where both you and your pooch are sure to have a great time.

San Francisco

With 27 dog parks, several dog-friendly restaurants and business, and even the ability to bring your favorite member of the family along with you on the famous trolley cars and ferries, it’s no wonder San Francisco is considered one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States.

Don’t Miss: Duboce Park with both on-leash and off-leash areas, this park is a favorite for dog-owners and dog-walkers. Duboce Park also hosts the annual Dog Fest, the biggest dog event in San Francisco where your dog can compete in Best Trick competitions as well as dog show competitions. There are many dog vendors at the festival as well as entertainment to make the festival a full-family event.

If You’re Visiting: Stay at Hotel Monaco, a pet-friendly hotel without size or weight restrictions, and even without an additional charge for your pet. All dog families staying at this hotel receive a copy of The Dog Lover's Companion to the Bay Area, a luxury dog bed (available in different sizes), a designer food and water bowl set, some doggie “clean-up” bags, a dog toy (you can take this home), and Bone Appetite menus for your dog.


184 veterinarians, a dedicated number of pet photographers, and even a food truck for dogs (Bow-Wow Chow) all make Austin an excellent city for dogs.

Don’t miss: Auditorium shores, an off-leash park with a view of the Austin skyline, as well as access to Town Lake if your dog likes to swim and play in the water. Also don’t miss the Austin Dog Fair at Brentwood Park featuring a dog obstacle course and a Fastest Dog contest.

If You’re Visiting: Stay at Hotel Driskill, recognized as the nation’s most pet-friendly hotel. Each dog staying at this hotel receives a custom Driskill pet bed, designer food and water dishes, bottled spring water, gourmet pet treats from 1886 Café & Bakery, a dog toy (you can take home as a souvenir), doggie “clean-up” bags, Driskill leashes and collars (for loan or purchase), and a map of Austin with marked pet-friendly areas.


This city boasts more households with dogs than household with children (granted, some of them overlap). It’s clear that Seattle considers dogs part of the family with a number of dog-friendly businesses, welcoming dogs on bus systems, the light rail, and ferries, not to mention that Seattle is home to the creators of, an excellent resource for dog sitters and traveling with dogs.

Don’t miss: Marymoor Park, also known as “Doggie Disneyland”, for its 40 acres of off-leash park and a creek. Seattle also hosts a 5K9 walk/run race for both owners and their dogs to raise money for the PetCo foundation.

If You’re Visiting: Stay at Hotel Monaco where your dog will be made a VIP (Very Important Pet) with food and water bowls for use in your room, bottle of spring water and doggie treats, and doggie “clean-up” bags. The concierge is also quick to refer dog walkers and sitters as well as a personalized doggie itinerary for the best pet-friendly places in town.

San Diego

San Diego makes it easy for both you and your pet to have a great day in the city with plenty of dog-friendly beaches, dog festivals, and an abundance of dog sitters near business for business that do not allow dogs (most notably, the Otay Ranch Shopping Center).

Don’t miss: Ocean Beach Dog Beach, the most popular dog beach in San Diego. This beach is incredibly accessible, which also makes it one of the more crowded dog beaches. Also don’t miss the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, which is, you guessed it, a surfing competition for dogs (and humans). This fundraiser for the Helen Woodward Animal Center is an exciting even to both participate in and to watch. If you or your pooch aren’t exactly surf-savvy, you can still participate in the costume contest, games, and of course delicious food.

If you’re visiting: stay at Hotel Palomar, which accepts pets without weigh limit, or extra charge. Your dog will receive a pet bed and food/water bowls, doggie “clean-up” bags, and a concierge, who is happy to arrange for dog walkers, sitters, and groomers as well as pointing out the best pet-friendly establishments.


Portland is almost unanimously considered the best dog-friendly city in the United States with 33 dog parks (most dog parks per capita), a plethora of pet professionals (from skilled Veterinarians to Pet Massage Therapists), as well as a number of pet-friendly businesses with menus for dogs—even a pet-friendly brewery tour!

Don’t miss: The Portland Pet Expo at the Portland Metropolitan Center with exhibitors, discounted vaccinations, free nail trimmings, entertainment, and adoption opportunities. Also don’t forget to go on one of the dog-friendly hiking trails around Portland.

If you’re visiting: stay at Hotel Monaco, host of the annual Portland’s Next Top Dog Model contest. Your dog will receive food and water bowls in the room, a bottle of spring water and treats, and eco-friendly doggie “clean-up” bags. Dog walking, dog sitting, grooming, and even pet psychic services are available as well.

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  1. Eileen says:

    For once I agree with the choice of dog friendly cities. Very few list San Francisco, although if money was not an issue, that would be my first choice for my pooches. The last time we were there, my pooch loved it. Didn’t matter where we were: beach, the piers, Golden Gate Park or even walking among with the down and out, she enjoyed them all. One city that is not on the list that my dog and I enjoyed immensely, was Asheville, NC. Lots of dog friendly hiking and enjoying Malaprops (cafe and all) with my pooch.


  2. Stephen says:

    Louisville, KY, has a great, and growing, dog park system.


  3. joe says:

    Santa Monica has 4 dog parks.Two are small and two are larger not to exceed 45 dogs at one time.Dog’s are not allowed on any part of Santa Monica beaches,in fact it wasn’t until the early 90’s when I and several other dog owners petitioned city hall and spoke out in favor of dog owners being allowed to walk their dog’s in a city park without being fined. Lately, another obstacle has surfaced,the city is allowing residents to plant vegetation along the park way between the curb and sidewalk,that is where you generally allow your dog to relieve themselves and now you find yourself in a argument with dog haters when Fido pees on the tomatoes.It appears to me a 30 year resident and a 37 year dog owner/trainer that this city is becoming anti-dog as well as anti-car .Also a construction rampage is also affecting the environment.I also took part in having the muzzle ordinance removed in Santa Monica in 1990 which targeted the American “pitbull” Terrier,Am-staff,Staffordshire bull terrier or any breed with that mix.I currently own a APBT and have owned the breed since 1986.


  4. Becky says:

    Annapolis, MD is the most awesome dog-friendly city I have found so far. The historic part of town has restaurants with dog patios for lunch & dinner, many of the tourist-type stores leave water bowls outside their stores for the dogs and many even permit dogs into the stores with you while you shop! They have dog parks, people parks with wonderful walking trails, dog beaches and several hotels cater to people with dogs. The only attractions there that dogs cannot go into are the Naval Academy, and the State House. We even took our dogs on a site-seeing boat ride!


  5. Ken Blades says:

    Memphis should not have made it. for animals , it’s the most sorry city in the nation.


  6. Betty says:

    Before I would call a city dog-friendly, I would like to know if they have breed specific laws and about their shelter situation – do they have no-kill shelters, and are the law enforcement people trained to deal humanely with dogs.


  7. Evelyn says:

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I agree that we have many wonderful areas where Dogs are welcome. Many shops put out water bowls for passing four-footed friends,and many restaurants have outdoor patios where dogs on leash are welcome. Marin County, north of the Golden gate Bridge, is especially dog friendly.

    Another city not mentioned is Carmel, CA. This is one of the most dog friendly towns we have visited. There are several hotels and Bed and Breakfast Inns that welcome dogs, and even some of the art galleries welcome dogs. Almost every shop has water bowls and treats for passing dogs. Carmel Beach, at the foot of Ocean Avenue, is an off leash beach where dogs can romp in the surf and run on the sand. Consider adding Carmel to your list.


  8. amy says:

    Seems like most of your cities are on the west coast. Burlington, Vermont should really be on your list. We have at least four dog parks that I know of,one with lake access, tons of dog friendly businesses and you can take your dog right down the heart of the city on Church Street and see tons of dogs everywhere. The vets here are great and there are lots of doggie day care options. There are several dog friendly hotels and a ride on the ferry is a favorite for our basset hound who is welcome everywhere we go.

    Another great dog city is Salem, Mass. Everyone has a dog in Salem and their are tons of great pet stores, dog friendly shops and restaurants and parks. We visited last year and had a blast! Even took our dog into some of the museums… very fun!


  9. Warren Drye says:

    I would have been surprised if Charlotte HAD made the cut. If it isn’t political and liberal, Charlotte isn’t interested. We do have a few dog friendly parks (I don’t need them, I have acreage myself and am contiguous to 1200 acres of Wildlife Park. We have a very unusual situation in Charlotte too. The City is in charge of all Law enforcement in the entire county(not agreement with state constitution either) and county runs the Parks. We have 257 county designated locations as Park Land but not all of them used as Parks(just owned to keep from development). This is only reason I don’t object, at least they are preserving some land from development.


  10. pdxguy says:

    Portland used to be a very pet friendly city, not anymore… The city has cracked down on dogs, fining owners an absurd amount of $150 for spotting a dog off leash or for not picking up a dog pile. They have hired city park rangers to hide out and try to catch dog owners in the city parks, and the county animal control cruise the neighborhoods and schools looking to catch offenders. So literally if you walk your dog off leash out the front door of your home and around the block and they spot you it will cost $150. It has become a cash cow for the city and is only getting worse. Forget about throwing a ball for your dog in your local greenspace, you need to get into a car and drive to one of the designated dog parks and even there you better follow the rules for if you step out of the designated boundaries, they will be hiding somewhere nearby to ticket you. And no playing at a neighborhood school, in addition to the animal control officers patrolling, the Portland public school administrators have hired private security officers to cruise the schools looking for “law breaking” dog owners. Portland has just announced they plan on stepping up their crackdown on dogs in May, which ironically happens to be “National Pet Month”. Welcome to the new Portland.


  11. kim says:

    Good info, thanks–would really like to know about high quality veterinarian care, if there are any specialists and how many, the situation with canine oncology (I have golden retrievers) and background/education/energy and innovative care for dogs among canine medical professionals. Would love to find out this info. regarding any and all southern cities especially–Mobile, AL, Russellville Ark., Tupelo. MS,


    Minette Reply:

    Your best bet is to find a veterinary school. They are the leading in their field, as they are teaching current medicine and usually all vet schools have oncologist specialist. Auburn would be your best bet.


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