What makes a city dog friendly? Is it a plethora of dog parks, restaurants that let you dine alongside Fido, or a neighborhood filled with wagging tails? If you’re looking to move to a community that loves dogs as much as you do, consider the following five cities. They’re sure to make you and your puppy feel equally welcome.
San Francisco, California
If a furbaby is the only kind of baby you’re interested in having, you’ll appreciate the fact that there are more dogs than there are children in San Francisco. The California city boasts all sorts of amenities for your dog, including dog parks, dog-friendly restaurants and plenty of progressive offices that allow employees to bring their pups to work. Highlights of living in beautiful San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area include dog-friendly beaches, like Baker Beach, which offers great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on a cruise with your dog. Even if he doesn’t know what you mean when you point out Alcatraz, he’ll appreciate the fresh air.
Austin is the largest no-kill city in the country, which means that the city works to ensure that 90% of shelter animals are saved. You can bet that that dedication to the health and happiness of dogs is felt citywide. From dog-friendly bars, shops and workplaces to beautiful green spaces where you and your tail-wagging companion can both run free, it often feels like Austin was created with four-legged friends in mind. After hitting up a food truck, take your dog to popular off-leash spots like Red Bud Isle or Barking Springs, the dog-friendly swimming area near the iconic Barton Springs Pool. And of course, don’t forget to swing by Zilker Park. If you’re lucky, local celebrity Alex Hopes will snap your pup’s picture for his aptly named Instagram account, Zilker Bark (get it?).
You might think that the only animal allowed in Orlando, Florida is a certain mouse by the name of Mickey. However, the city is actually incredibly dog-friendly. Orlando boasts 20 dog parks, more than 100 dog-friendly hotels and plenty of restaurants where you can soak up the sun with your best friend by your side. Imagine winding down on a wine bar patio without having to leave your pooch at home. On the more practical side of things, the city offers great veterinary services and other essential resources for dog owners. There are also numerous dog-centric events, like the annual Dogfest which raises money for an organization that provides service dogs to people with disabilities. Factor in year-round warm weather (aka perfect dog walking weather) and Orlando has truly got what it takes to make your dog feel at home.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Believe it or not, Sin City is just as welcoming to dogs as it is to gamblers. Las Vegas has one of the highest rates of dog parks per capita, meaning that whatever neighborhood you choose to live in, you’re sure to find a spot to safely let your dog off-leash. You and your dog will both appreciate the year-round sunshine which is perfect not just for dog park outings but for Sunday brunches at dog-friendly restaurants, some of which even offer chef-prepared meals for your pup. The city also offers numerous dog-friendly hiking spots like Red Rock Canyon plus swimming at nearby Lake Mead which will certainly come in handy during the—pardon the pun—dog days of summer. Additionally, many hotels on the famous Strip have dog-friendly rooms, and if you’re ever heading out of town, you can book Spike a room at a luxury dog hotel, where he’ll have a private suite, personal television and access to spa services like doggie massages and fur-conditioning wraps. Only in Vegas.
Perhaps the most dog-friendly city in the country, Portland has a growing number of dog parks, more than 100 dog-friendly restaurants and plenty of dog-friendly craft breweries, which just might be the most Portland thing ever. When it comes time for you and your dog to burn off some of those calories, you can choose from an impressive array of parks and hiking trails. And best of all, dog ownership does not relegate you to the suburbs in Portland like it does in so many other cities. If you choose to live in a more urban neighborhood, like the hip Pearl District, you’ll have an easy time finding pet-friendly housing, even in high rise apartment buildings. And if you have dog loving friends in town, they’ll have their choice of hotels that accommodate their pets. Numerous no-frills and luxury options are available to make dogs feel like honored guests. There’s even a social networking site for Portland dog owners, where you and your pet can both meet your neighbors.