Top 10 Dog-Friendliest Cities In America

If you’re a dog lover looking to move to the big city, pet-friendliness is a probably a big part of what you want in a new town. Even if you find a landlord who allows dogs, you’ll need to find things to do with your pup in your city. Dog parks, walking trails, events, and dog beaches all make for fun outings with your pooch. The cities on this list have plenty of ways for people and pets to play together. Here are the 10 dog-friendliest cities in the United States of America.

1. Portland, Oregon

A man walks his dog to a waterfall in the woods.

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Portland has 33 dog parks, more dog parks per capita than any big city in the country. It even has its own social network for dog lovers! It’s also home to the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company where you can have a beer and hang out with your pup at the same time. Speaking of grabbing a drink with your dog, Portland is one of the few cities outside of France where you can take your dog into a pub. There are also plenty of meetups like the Pug Crawl and Pit Bull Parade for like-minded fans of specific breeds to gather and celebrate.

2. Seattle, Washington

A man on his skateboard skates with his dog in front of the Seattle skyline.

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If your dog doesn’t like the rain, maybe Seattle isn’t the town for you. But if you don’t mind the wet climate, you’ll be in good company as there are more dogs in Seattle than children. There’s even an indoor dog park if you don’t want to pack the umbrella and rain boots, and you can get there nice and dry as dogs are allowed on city bus lines, light rail, ferries, and even seaplanes. There are over 32 meetup groups for dog lovers, and plenty of dog-friendly businesses for you to visit with your pup.

3. San Francisco, California

A dog runs in the water near a beach with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

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San Francisco has the lowest average pet deposit for dog owners looking to rent. Pups are allowed on trolleys, in several restaurants, and a few gyms if you want your pooch to spot you while you work out. San Fran is also home to DogFest, an annual festival that celebrates dogs and raises money for a local elementary school. There are also more than 50 different dog meetup groups, so get social.

4. Austin, Texas

A man paddles a paddle board with a dog sitting by his feet.

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If you love pictures of your dog, Austin may be the place for you, as it’s home to 35 pet photographers. Bow-Wow Bones is a local food truck that serves up plenty of natural treats for pups out on a walk. Most restaurants welcome dogs to join diners on the patio, and the temperate climate is perfect for eating outside. If your pup is looking to cool off, you can stop by Red Bud Isle, which is a swimming spot for dogs only. Or you can find your inner peace with Austin Doga, a yoga class you can take with your dog.

5. Chicago, Illinois

A dog walks in the water at a beach with the Chicago skyline in the background.

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As this is my home town, I may be a bit biased. But Chicago is very dog-friendly, down to the local restaurants and bars that leave big bowls of ice water out on hot days so pups on walks can stop and hydrate. Chicago’s Montrose Dog Beach is a great place for pups to play in the waters of Lake Michigan, and the Chicago White Sox baseball team holds a Dog Day every year for dogs to join their owners for the great American pastime. There are tons of scenic walking paths along the lake and through Chicago’s neighborhoods, including The 606, a new elevated path just for walkers and bikers.

6. Colorado Springs, Colorado

A Golden Retreiver lies in front of the Garden of the Gods park.

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Nature may seem like a distant fantasy to city-dwellers, but not for dogs and humans who live in Colorado Springs. Not only are there plenty of dog parks, there are places like the Crags Trail through Pike National Forest, or Seven Falls, a canyon filled with beautiful waterfalls. Or you can hike through Garden of the Gods Park, a Registered National Landmark, and one that I’ve visited personally. It’s absolutely incredible and should be on your list of places to visit with your dog before you die.

7. Boston, Massachusetts 

A woman walks her dog in front of Joe's restaurant in Boston.

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Boston is a fun town for pups and owners, as many local bars offer “Yappy Hours” where patrons can bring their dogs along while they grab a pint. Dogs are also allowed to ride the first subway built in America during off-peak hours, as well as dog-friendly cruises of Boston Harbor, so it’s a perfect place for pups on the go. There are plenty of dog-friendly neighborhoods and apartments, too, so you can rest assured that your neighbors probably share your affinity for canines. 

8. San Diego, California

Dogs play in the water at a San Diego beach.

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San Diego may be the only city on this list where you can take your dog surfing. In fact, it’s home to the annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon. Restaurants have patios where pups can join owners. There are plenty of dog parks and dog boutiques for fashionable west coast dogs who want to strut their stuff on the boardwalk. Not to mention all the dog themed events, like Paw-micon--the canine answer to San Diego’s Comic-Con–where pups can engage in “paws-play” rather than “cosplay”. 

9. Tucson, Arizona

A dog stands on a dirt road in the desert and looks toward the setting sun.

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With sunshine 350 days of the year, Tuscson is a great place if you’re the opposite of a Seattle person. For dry-weather-loving breeds, it’s a paradise. Local parks and trails provide scenic desert views to enjoy with your best friend. And Tucson is home to Pitbulooza, a festival celebrating Pit Bulls for National Pit Bull Awareness Day. No need to worry about breed specific legislation here!

10. Albuquerque, New Mexico

A couple sit with their dog on a rock looking at the sunset over the mountains in the distance.

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Also on the dry side, though not quite as dry as Tucson, Albuquerque has 33,000 acres of public parks. To put that in perspective, that’s a quarter acre for each dog, cat, and bird in the city. And since it only rains about 60 days out of the year, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. You can walk along the Rio Grande, or take a hike in the Sandia foothills. There are plenty of dog parks available, but you might not even need to go to one considering how many dog-friendly places there are to go with your pup.

Is your city dog-friendly? What cities did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!