Dog friendly New York parks
Bring the whole family—four-legged friends included!—for some fresh air at one of these dog-friendly parks in NYC.
Fri Oct 3 2014
Gotham may be a concrete jungle, but it's home to lots of great green spaces, many of which welcome your canine companions. At these dog-friendly New York parks for families, Fido can have a romp through the grass or make new friends in a dog run while the kids burn off some steam on the playground. Best of all, enjoying these these outdoor oases is totally free. You can only watch so many funny animal videos—step away from the screen and get some fresh air at one of our favorite al fresco spots. (Not a dog owner but thinking of adding a four-legged member to your family? Check out our list of 10 awesome places to adopt a dog in NYC.)
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From the riverside promenade of this Upper East Side oasis, families can take in stunning views of the East River, the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse and Gracie Mansion, the mayor's official residence. The park also has two dog runs, a playground with water features and a roller hockey rink.
- E 86th St, (at East End Ave)
The ultimate backyard might not have any official dog runs, but Central Park offers dogs and their families an abundance of grassy knolls and sweet spots for wandering. A number of park areas hold off-leash hours in the early mornings and late evenings (6–9am, 9pm–1am), and even boast ankle-level drinking fountains for thirsty four-leggers. Central Park Paws, a dog-focused branch of the Conservancy, sponsors a number of pet-friendly park events; its annual My Dog Loves Central Park Country Fair happens every year in October. The legendary green space is also chock-full of kid-friendly offerings, from Belvedere Castle to Ancient Playground.
- 59th St to 110th St, (between Fifth and Eighth Aves)
Located just off the West Side Highway, this renovated dog run features cement hills, a faux tree trunk and raised surfaces for dogs to play on, as well as running water and small pools for cooling off. Just a few steps away, kids have plenty of space to tire themselves out at Chelsea Waterside Playground, an outer space–themed area that matches the sleekness of the 'hood's taller riverside constructions.
- Eleventh Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts
Designed by landscape architect Ken Smith, this high-tech doggie heaven under the FDR Drive opened in July 2012, along with the rest of the newly extended East River Esplanade. Petite though it may be, this sanctuary has plenty to keep your pet busy: Dogs can scramble up a climbing bridge, frolic at the splash pad or lounge in a cozy doghouse. The run also offers creative canine playthings like fake tree trunks, bones and an oversize concrete squirrel.
- South St between Maiden Ln and Wall St
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., Fort Tryon Park is 250 feet above the Hudson River and boasts three landscaped acres that look as if they were transplanted from an English country estate house, with sloping and dropping elms. (It's also the site of the Cloisters, the reconstructed medieval monastery that houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's works from the Middle Ages.) The dog run boasts a gazebo to shelter owners from the elements, while in the northeast corner of the park, the Anne Loftus Playground features a large handicapped-accessible play unit, swings, animal sculptures, play houses and an open performance space.
- Margaret Corbin Circle, (Fort Washington Ave at Cabrini Blvd)
A serious renovation in April 2011 resulted in a new and improved J.J. Byrne Playground that includes a revamped dog run. The space features cool interactive panels by Brooklyn sculptor Julie Peppito that share a theme of the farming and Revolutionary history of the Old Stone House, the playground's esteemed Washington Park neighbor. State-of-the-art play equipment, swings, new game tables and gorgeous perimeter gardens are sure to create instant fans of neighborhood kids.
- Washington Park at 3rd St, (between 4th and 5th Aves)
This Brooklyn park is popular with area hipsters, and it continues to be a family favorite too. There are baseball, football and soccer fields, dog runs, tennis courts and a pool during the summer months. You'll also find a playground at Lorimer Street and Driggs Avenue.
- Bayard St to Nassau Ave, (between Leonard and North 12 Sts)
Mutts are welcome to take a dip at Prospect Park's Dog Beach, which features a small faux-sand cement beach that leads into a fenced-off pool for splashing or swimming (or striking up a game of doggie water polo). The paddle spot can get crowded, but feel free to take advantage of canine-friendly areas at nearby Long Meadow (off-leash 5–9am and 9pm–1am) while you wait for the pack to thin out. Meanwhile, the urban oasis offers plenty of kid appeal, including a zoo, a 101-year-old carousel, the Audubon Center and Lefferts Historic House.
- 9th St, (at Prospect Park West)
Boasting three dog runs and ample leashed rambling space, Riverside Park's got plenty of spots for Rover to get some exercise outside of your brood's cramped living quarters. The park's southernmost run at 72nd Street sits right on the Hudson River just a few blocks below the Boat Basin, offering dogs and their families a sweet view of the sunset during evening outings. The corral features a large pebbled off-leash space, along with a number of circular benches for families to sit and watch their pets romp around.
- Riverside Dr, (between 72nd and 158th Sts)
Dubbed First Run, the East Village park's off-leash dog area was a pioneer when it opened in 1990. Since undergoing a renovation in 2008, the pet spot features a sandlike surface, a wading pool, picnic tables, tennis balls and lots of room for dogs to ramble, with two separate enclosed spaces for large and small canines. The community-run Friends of the First Run organizes a number of dog- and owner-friendly events, including a Halloween Dog Parade that goes down in October (with prizes awarded for the top costumed pooches). Tompkins Square Park also offers plenty of attractions for your two-legged children, including playgrounds, basketball and handball courts, and a mini-pool open during the summer.
- E 9th St, (between Aves A and B)
- Critics choice
Though small in size, the central location of this park's dog run makes it well-trod territory (more than 1,000 dogs pass through its gates per week!). In 2003, the volunteer organization Friends of Union Square Dog Run revamped the grounds with a new surface, benches and burnished fences. North of the dog run, kids can scale the gleaming hemispherical dome of Union Square Playground.
- 14th St to 17th St, (between Broadway and Park Ave South)
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