DogFriendly.com’s 2009 Top 10 U.S. Cities to Visit With Your Dog

Great pet-friendly lodging, attractions, parks, beaches, shopping and dining. Visit one of these cities with your dog for a top-notch vacation.

[Editors Note: We have a separate list for resort areas and smaller resort cities. This list is for the larger cities only. The top ten resort areas list will be released in June. The last list for Top Ten Dog-Friendly Resort Areas is at this link.]

DogFriendly.com compiles this list for people who want to take their dogs with them on vacation. The rankings take into account the quality of dog-friendly accommodations, transportation, beaches, parks, attractions, stores, dining and things to do with your dog.


1. San Francisco – Luxurious hotels. Plenty of pet-friendly patio dining. Many off-leash beaches and areas. Ride the cable car, walk the Golden Gate.

2. Austin – Dine in outdoor cafes. Visit the Zilker Botanical Gardens. See the Congress Street Bats. Many off-leash parks.

3. Boston – Tour Boston harbor by boat. Walk the Freedom Trail and explore many National Historical Sites. Your leashed dog is welcome on the subway.

4. Northern Virginia – Enjoy a yappy hour or dine in dog-friendly Alexandria. Take the Canine Cruise. Visit outdoor monuments and nearby Washington.

5. Portland (OR)- Enjoy off-leash areas and the famous Rose Gardens. Visit the Saturday Outdoor Market. Have a drink at the Lucky Lab.

6. Charleston (SC) – Take a ghost tour or walking tour. See the grounds of the Magnolia and Boone Hall Plantations. Visit the beach.

7. Chicago – Visit Navy Pier. Ride the Canine Cruise. See Buckingham Fountain, take a walk in Oak Park. Many dog-friendly patio restaurants.

8. San Diego – Visit fabulous dog beaches. Shop at dog-friendly Otay Ranch with its dog park. Dine outdoors and hike many parks.

9. New York – Stay in a fine hotel. Take a walking tour of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. Shop at Time Warner Center. See the Balto Statue and Central Park.

10. Ann Arbor – Visit Nichols Arboretum, rent a dog-friendly canoe. Visit nearby gardens and farms. Visit many local parks.

Honorable Mentions: Dallas, Madison/Wisconsin Dells, Minneapolis, Salt Lake, Seattle

See here for DogFriendly.com’s Top 10 Resort Areas to visit with a Dog in the U.S.

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56 Responses to “DogFriendly.com’s 2009 Top 10 U.S. Cities to Visit With Your Dog”

  1. MuttsRule says:

    One more thing re: the fact that Kansas City is NOT dog-friendly and is openly hostile to dogs and people with dogs. I just wanted to say that I found this article because I was searching for dog-friendly cities as I research possible places for us (and our tax dollars) to move next year.

    I just would hate to see some poor person move to Kansas City because they think it’s dog-friendly because they’d be in for a rude surprise.

  2. MuttsRule says:

    Just ONE more thing – I promise. A few years ago, Kansas City’s City Market, which is the main farmer’s market in the city, banned dogs even though many people used to enjoy bringing their dogs and I never witnessed any problem. (In fact, watching the dogs was one of the highlights for me.) They cited health and safety reasons. I actually know of someone who was run off by a security guard just for cutting across the edge of the city market property while walking his dog.

    Just one more bit of evidence that Kansas City is a reactionary, draconian place to live that treats dog people like second-class citizens.

  3. Mary says:

    I Love your comment Mutts Rule…my husband, my daughter and our 3 Great Danes moved here from Colorado Springs, we have never been so unhappy. As soon as our lease ends we are also out of here. I had a male dog jump our fence and try to mate with our female in heat and when I called animal control I was ticketed for not having my dog confined to a metal building with a floor drain while she was in heat. Come on Give me a break. My dog was in our backyard, it is fenced, it is our property. I HATE Kansas City and it’s horrible attitude towards pet owners.

  4. Sun says:

    I have to agree with San Francisco at the No. 1 spot. I’ve lived here for 21 years (moved here from Hawaii), but didn’t get a dog until 3 months ago. I am astounded at the number of open, mixed-use parks that legally allow dogs to be off-leash all day, every day. I’m not talking a dinky fenced-in “dog park”, but huge areas with gorgeous vistas where I can let my baby run free and unfettered. And San Francisco is unique in its pet-friendly approach. The surrounding counties have stringent rules/laws about dogs being off-leash, although I’ve noticed that most of the locals ignore them. Plus, our weather allows many restaurants to set up sidewalk seating, where pets can dine with their owners. Just came back from a trip in Humboldt County (about 5 hours north of SF on the coast), and there was hardly any sidewalk seating to be had in Eureka or Arcata (the largest towns in the area). The park plaza in Arcata didn’t allow dogs AT ALL!

  5. I’ve never even traveled out of town with a take along my dog ​​because I thought they would interfere with my comfort while traveling. Moreover, we have people who really need attention babies. We just do not want to leave our baby to take care of dogs. Perhaps, after our child is old enough, we will bring our dog when we travel out of town in a long time.

    Thank you for valuable information that you write here. Ha I am sure this will be very useful as a guide for those who will now travel to bring their dogs.

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