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Photograph: Shaina Fishman

The best things to do with a dog in NYC

Join our canine pal Hank as he shows you the best things to do with a dog in NYC

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason
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NYC is as much a playground for pets as it is for people. With dog-friendly restaurants, pet-friendly hotels and awesome dog parks, your furry friend will never be bored in the city. You can even take your very good boy or girl out for some well-deserved pampering. To show you how it’s done (and make your best pal a little jealous), we recruited our friend Hank, a former foster at Social Tees Animal Rescue, to check out some of the best things to do with a dog in NYC.

If Hank’s adventures give you all the feels but you don’t yet have a four-legged friend of your own to experience a doggy day like this, check out these places where you can adopt a dog in NYC. We promise, you won’t regret it!

Things to do with a dog in NYC

There are plenty of dog-friendly restaurants in New York, but not many boast a full-page menu dedicated exclusively to your four-legged companion. If yours has been extremely good, reserve a table at The Wilson and spend a leisurely morning enjoying brunch prepared just for the two of you. (Yes, there’s also food for humans.) Hank hopped up to the table, made himself at home in one of the comfortable chairs and barely fidgeted. (What a star.) Then, he went to town on two dishes off the dog’s-only menu: the 16-oz grilled ribeye steak and the grilled chicken breast, both served with baby vegetables. Dessert (a pupsicle) is available, but Hank is watching his figure.

One of the top canine daycares in the city, New York Dog Nanny offers plenty of the services that you’d expect (walks, healthy meals). It also offers some more esoteric options. For instance, as part of its holistic approach to pet wellness, it provides healing reiki sessions for dogs. Typically lasting for 20 minutes, this Japanese technique involves laying hands on your furry pal’s body to balance his energy centers, relaxing the dog and purportedly helping to restore his immune system. (Note: This treatment is usually reserved for dogs weighing 35 pounds or less.) Hank relaxed, that’s for sure. He sprawled out on the floor during the session and let out some big yawns.

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If all dogs really go to heaven, then paradise may look a lot like Boris & Horton in the East Village. Patrons can bring dogs to chill with them while they work, socialize and snack. In this petopia for pups, they can sit with their humans at a table, walk around on their own or interact with their floppy-eared brethren. Hank immediately keyed into the social energy and sat down right in the middle of the room as yappy dogs and hard-at-work owners bustled around him. In addition to the daily menu of coffee and small bites—we recommend the grilled cheese sandwich—the café offers a full lineup of events, including adoption nights, meet-ups for specific breeds and even pet-portrait evenings, when an artist will create a likeness of your four-legged partner in crime.

Of all the dog parks in New York, the oldest and largest dog run is still one of its best. Tompkins Square Dog Run features a state-of-the-art running area with granite sand, runs for both large and small dogs, and even small, bone-shaped pools that pups can splash in during the summer. For the non-dog visitors, there’s plenty of seating and picnic tables. But its main draws are its sheer size and the leafy surroundings that provide both sunny and shady areas for dogs to explore. Though the park was packed when we stopped by, Hank was still able to find a lovely dark corner to relax in—apparently he got his fill of socializing at the café.

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When it comes to splashing around in water, NYC dogs have a few places to choose from. The underground pool Water4Dogs in Tribeca, for example, provides water therapy for dogs that may benefit from the low-impact exercise, especially those recovering from surgery or who have arthritis or mobility issues. Hank was a little nervous in the pool—possibly because of his obscenely large breakfast—but calmed down a bit as long as he was being held. And he definitely loved shaking off to dry. If your dog would prefer to swim outside, you two may want to visit the Prospect Park Dog Beach, where eager swimmers can run right into the water and dog-paddle to their heart’s content.

To cap off Hank’s big adventure, we stopped by one of New York’s coolest dog-friendly bars, Do or DiveThe unique space has loads of dog-themed memorabilia on the walls, murals of badass canines, an excellent watermelon-mint margarita on tap and an expansive backyard patio. Our canine critic seemed like a regular in no time, happily easing into one of the comfy red banquettes. If you’re looking to bring your dog here, take advantage of the cheap 18 drafts on tap and the noon–7pm happy hour Monday through Friday. It’s a perfect way to end a doggone lovely day out in the city. Hank agrees.

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