10 Best US Cities for Dog Lovers

in Pets on by
A happy dog stands in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Changing residences, especially moving to a new state, boggles your mind with important considerations. The quality of schools, weather, cost of living, transportation options, etc. all need analysis to fit the most needs possible. If you own a dog, that “family member” whose health and happiness depends mostly on your choices, you must also seriously consider what the city you’re moving to offers for them, especially the general attitude toward dogs in the new location.

You’ll want to be sure the place you’re moving to not only has lots of parks and open outdoor areas for them to roam and frolic, but also a few bona fide dog parks. Most dogs embrace the freedom of running leash-free in fenceless areas with other dogs. That smile you see as they socialize is genuine, a sign of love and appreciation. A city that’s easy to navigate through long walks instead of driving is also healthier for both you and your faithful friend.

Above all the rest, these cities do a particularly great job of catering to dog lovers:

Austin, Texas

This city’s dog parks are awesome, with a few offering creeks and lakes for pooches to play in. It has a ton of dog-friendly restaurants and bars, too (almost 80 at last count), so socializing with your dog by your side is commonplace. While Austin isn’t the most walkable city in the country and can get hot as Hades, it still tops the list of pet-friendly cities — and you can always keep your dog cool with a canine cooling vest and ample amounts of drinking water.

San Francisco, California

Besides being ranked as the most beautiful city in the country by many travel experts, the City by the Bay loves dogs. It’s always in the top two of the most walkable cities in the US, and outdoor spaces abound around every corner. Golden Gate Park, the most famous in San Francisco, even has four separate off-leash parks for dogs. The weather here is also ideal for dogs, and yours will love the steady wind blowing through their coat. Cable cars welcome dogs, too, so you and your four-legged companion can easily explore outlying areas.

Denver, Colorado

Denver is famous for its laid-back attitude, and that approach extends to dogs. Dogs aren’t allowed inside most restaurants, coffee shops, and bars here, but a significant number let them lounge on the porch or patio while you dine. For now, there are only three local bars that let dogs come inside, but more may soon join that group. Walking to destinations in Denver is challenging and the weather can be cold, but the other amenities still make it pet-friendly on the whole.

Bozeman, Montana

If your dog is a rugged outdoor breed, Bozeman will make a heavenly home for them. The surrounding forests have miles of trails, many of which let dogs run free. But if your dog’s a hunter or just likes chasing wildlife, keep it on a leash while hiking. Once you return to the city’s more urban environment, you’ll find at least 27 restaurants that are dog-friendly, an astounding number for a city of only 45,000.

San Diego, California

If your dog loves water, San Diego will be like heaven to them. A whopping eight beaches welcome pets, and a few even let you let them run free to frolic in the surf. Walking isn’t big in San Diego but many bars and restaurants let dogs relax on porches and patios while you eat and drink. Plus, a few hotels here love dogs so much they offer dog happy hours with dog-friendly appetizers.

Portland, Oregon

Portland is known for being mellow and cosmopolitan, but a little-known fact is that it has the highest dog-park-to-person ratio in America. The 33 dog parks here let dogs run free and are often bordered by trails that let you explore nature with your pooch at your side. Many restaurants have patios for dogs, and one even provides a cozy heated and covered patio for your dog to hang out in.

Seattle, Washington

The mild year-round temperatures in Seattle are ideal for dogs. Lots of rain can be a problem, but there are always dog raincoats for protection. Inside the city limits and just outside those boundaries are over two dozen off-leash dog parks, one even boasting a beach that welcomes dogs. Many businesses also let dogs on patios or inside. Best of all, many areas of Seattle are walkable, and in those that aren’t, you’re always welcome to hop on a bus with your downy pal.

Boston, Massachusetts

New England cities generally welcome pets, but Boston stands out from the rest with pet-friendly parks, restaurants, and flea markets. Dogs can’t go inside restaurants, but many places have outdoor dining areas that welcome canines. City boat tour companies offer heated cabins for you and your pet, and several beaches allow dogs to accompany their owners. If you have a short-haired dog, just be prepared to outfit them with a coat, as Boston winters can be frigid.

New York, New York

Although New York City is known for being packed with people, it’s surprisingly friendly toward dogs. There are dog-friendly parks scattered throughout the city, and many of the public parks let dogs run free of leashes between 9 PM and 9 AM seven days a week. There are also over 500 pet-friendly restaurants here, so you never have to dine alone. Boston also uniquely offers small climate-controlled rooms where your dog can relax while you gad about town.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago has dog parks that all offer areas where your dog can run without a leash. The permit for that freedom costs $5, but your dog will be eternally grateful for your generosity. A number of these parks also offer dog-only pools where canines can dog paddle or practice their backstroke. Clothing and department stores welcome leashed dogs, and you can celebrate dog birthdays by taking a tour of Lake Michigan with your furry buddy on deck.

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