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Tucson, Arizona
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The most dog-friendly cities in the USA

Not every city has jumped onto the doggy bandwagon, but the best cities for dog lovers in the USA make up for that.

Written by
Shoshi Parks

If you ask us, the ideal way to travel is with your best friend at your side. But when your best friend has four legs (and a serious case of bad breath), not every beautiful city will embrace them the way you do. Sure, you're apt to find a dog-friendly hotel and restaurant here and there, but only a handful of cities can be crowned the best in the USA for dog lovers.

For a city to earn the esteemed doggo title, it must not only have plenty of places for off-leash play, on-leash walks, and activities like swimming and boating but lots of restaurants, bars, and stores where dogs are welcome. Bonus points to those cities with unique offerings just for pups like canine bakeries and breweries with dog parks built right in. 

If you're thinking about leaving your pup at home, we've got some ideas about how to spend your time away. Looking for art and culture? Check out our list of the best art museums in the country. Prefer to let your stomach be your guide? Get a gander at our choices for the best restaurants in the USA. If you ask nicely, they may even give you a doggy bag to bring back home to Fido.

Best dog-friendly cities in the USA

1. Tucson, AZ

With an extensive list of dog parks, dog-friendly dining and shopping options, pet supply stores, and vets, Tucson is arguably the country’s best city for dogs. Pups are welcome almost anywhere in town, from the Tucson Botanical Gardens to the Pima Air and Space Museum, and just beyond its boundaries, the dog-friendly opportunities grow more adventurous. Hike together at Mount Lemmon or Madera Canyon, or visit the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. You can even take your doggo to admire the massive cacti at Saguaro National Park—just watch out for those spines.

2. Tampa, FL

Tampa is sunshine, good vibes, and dogs for days. The Gulf Coast city has more dog parks per capita than almost any other city in the country. That’s 16 green spaces and beaches where the four-legged can frolic to their heart’s content. Hike through Hillsborough River State Park’s seven miles of trails or cruise down The Tampa Riverwalk; the latter is just a short walk from downtown and its multiple pet-friendly stays, restaurants, and breweries, which include the Sail Plaza and the Tampa Bay Brewing Company. If you run out of things to do on land, you and your pup can hit the high seas on a sunset cruise with Shell Key Shuttle.


3. San Francisco, CA

It’s common knowledge that in San Francisco, there are more dogs than children. And with all those pups crammed together in seven square miles, you better believe there are going to be more than the average city’s fair share parks and services geared towards canine health and happiness. In addition to walks on San Francisco’s picturesque hills and through the iconic Golden Gate Park, the city has a selection of off-leash areas like Ocean Beach and Baker Beach and play spaces like Corona Heights Park. When you’re feeling peckish, there’s no shortage of dog-friendly restaurants, bars, and breweries—at last count, they numbered 193.


4. Portland, OR

The Emerald City has so many green spaces and dog parks that you and your four-legger may have trouble choosing just where to go. From the extensive trails of Forest Park to the sandy beach at Sellwood Riverfront Park, there’s beautiful Pacific Northwest scenery for you and plenty of sniffs for doggo. Off the trail, there are more than 400 dog-friendly restaurants and breweries across the city, including one with a menu that caters to the canine set, the Tin Shed Garden Cafe


5. Colorado Springs, CO

Outdoorsy and active, the whole state of Colorado is pretty much prime dog territory. But Colorado Springs, a small city at the foot of the Rockies, is one of its best urban-nature interfaces. Pups can swim in the lake at Stratton Open Space, walk the trails at Garden of the Gods and even play off-leash while you imbibe at Pub Dog Colorado (the first dog park/bar of its kind in the state). For an iconic dog-friendly stay, book a night at The Broadmoor, a five-star hotel that loves its four-legged guests.

6. San Diego, CA

Between the beaches, parks, and calm ocean waters, it’s hard to find a place in San Diego where doggos are not welcome. On Fiesta Island, your pup can ride in a pet-friendly kayak or get the zoomies on the beach, while at Quartyard, they can play with other four-leggers while you watch with a pint in your hand. And at Backyard Kitchen & Tap, they’ll be served a meal of their own. In San Diego, you can even take a ghost tour with your furry friend. Yeah, we told you it’s hard to find a place where dogs aren’t welcome.


7. Salt Lake City, UT

It’s a dog’s life in Salt Lake City. During the summer, there are leash-optional trails and creeks along the Freedom Trail and at Tanner Park, while in winter, doggo can trot at your side along the cross-country ski trails at nearby Round Valley. And any day of the year, puppers can go for a swim at Barley’s Canine Recreation Center. Around two dozen dog-friendly restaurants and brewery patios will welcome you both when it’s time for a bite or a pint. Join other pet parents at the Campfire Lounge or the Uinta Brewing Company for a barking good time.


8. Austin, TX

Austin is so hot right now, and not just for bipeds. Dogs love everything about Austin, from its doga (dog yoga) classes to its pet-friendly Zilker Botanical Gardens. Canines are welcome at food truck parks, restaurants, and breweries galore, including Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden, which has a fenced dog park and hot dogs made special just for your hot dog. And if you fall in love with the city and get the hankering to move, you won’t have too much trouble finding a new home both you and Fido will adore: Austin has more dog-friendly rentals than almost any other large city in the country.



9. Kansas City, MO

If you think humans are the only ones who love the Midwest’s barbecue capital, think again. Kansas City has enough dog-friendly activities to keep any canine content. Adventure around the 1,805 acres of Swope Off-Leash Dog Park or stroll along the urban Trolley Trail in the morning, run amok among the sculpture garden at The Nelson-Atkins Museum in the afternoon, then bed down in the art-filled 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City. Don’t miss Bar K Dog Bar, a restaurant-bar-slash-dog-park with a doggy jungle gym and a giant bowl full of tennis balls.


10. Denver, CO

The Mile High City has everything you and your dog could ever want, from dog-friendly shopping to around 250 dog-friendly restaurants. There are dog parks aplenty, including the Railyard Dog Park, and multiple large green spaces for walking, zooming, and fetch, including City Park, Denver’s answer to New York’s Central Park. Plus, just outside the city proper, you’ll find bigger, better, and more beautiful adventures, including hiking at the iconic Red Rocks State Park. After a hard day of play, reward your buddy for a job well done with pastries baked just for them at Three Dog Bakery.


11. Madison, WI

Madison has the highest concentration of pet supply stores and vets of any large city in the U.S. There are four dog parks per 100,000 residents here and abundant water for your pup to plunge into, including at the 213-acre Warner Park Dog Park, which has a lagoon and is fenced for safe off-leash play. Heck, the two of you can even get out on the water together in a tandem kayak from Madison Boats. After you’ve worked up a thirst, head to one of beer-loving Madison’s dog-friendly breweries or restaurants. Try Next Door Brewing, where they make dog treats from their spent barley and donate the proceeds to a local animal rescue.

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