Pets hold the keys to our heart. As owners, we hold the keys to not only the front door, but also to the world at-large. Summer often affords pet owners the time to travel and explore with the outside world with their pets, but it takes a bit of online research to figure out where the best destination would be to travel with your furry friend.
Research from SmartAsset analyzed cities based on metrics that focus on dog parks, weather to find the best dog-friendly cities in the United States. Collecting data from over 100 major American cities, the analysis focuses on six metrics separated into two categories. They include dog accessibility focusing on dog parks per 100,000 residents, the number of dog-friendly shopping areas, and dog-friendly restaurants. Quality of life was also determined by looking at walkability, weather, and housing costs.
Here’s a list of the best cities to explore this summer:
1. San Francisco, CA
All those hills in San Francisco make it a great area to walk, hike, and exercise with your pet. The city ranks in seventh for the most dog parks per 100,000 residents and holds second place in walkability. But after you burn off those calories, throw your dog a bone! The highlight of San Francisco for dog owners are the dog-friendly restaurants that both of you can enjoy. You’ll have whopping 174 dog-friendly dining options to choose from. Peruse the list of dog-friendly restaurants and bars if you’re planning your trip!
2. Las Vegas, NV
Sin City is a playground for gamblers, but also a great destination for dogs and their owners. You can find plenty of dog parks around town, ranking fifth in dog parks in the study. In addition, there are less than 15 days of rain per year giving the city a ranking of second place for best weather. This means you can also explore the parks surrounding Las Vegas including Red Rocks Canyon for a hike and Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Leashed dogs are also allowed near the lake, so it could be fun to camp out or rent a boat with your dog!
3. Denver, CO
Popular for its skiing resorts, Denver is a destination sure to get your dog’s tail wagging! Although often considered cold, it has an above average weather ranking and a bountiful amount of dog parks in the area including Railyard Dog Park which is a fenced, off-leash dog park that separates very playful and more subdued dogs.
4. San Diego, CA
San Francisco may have a lot of dog-friendly restaurants, but San Diego actually holds the top spot for the most dog-friendly dining areas with 187 restaurants where you can throw (or order) your dog a bone. It has an average amount of dog parks and an average score for walkability, but it offers seven shopping centers that allow you to stroll around with your pooch.
5. Albuquerque, NM
If you’re looking for an outdoor vacation with your dog, another great area in the Southwest to explore downtown district is Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ranking as the 11th in dog parks, the city has a high number of dog-friendly restaurants and shopping areas. With only 28 days of rainy weather, it’s a great city to indulge in a stroll. Petroglyph National Monument offers a stunning view for your and the pup, but also check out the Rinconada Canyon Trail, Tingley Beach for the botanical garden and zoo and Bookworks with your dog.
6. Sacramento, CA
Sacramento may seem like not the typical vacation destination, but it’s fun to explore a city with so many activities. You can find almost anything to do with your canine friend in this town. Offering numerous dog parks and restaurants it’s a great spot to play hard during the summer days and relax during the evenings. Dine at The Shack, a family-friendly restaurant that serves breakfast, brunch, and sandwiches. They provide a casual dog-friendly patio that your pup will enjoy. It’s also close to other state parks and adventures in the surrounding area. Paws and Pallette Dog Bakery, Healthy Hounds Kitchen, and FLOW Stand up Paddle are great excursions to take your pup on.
7. Chicago, IL
The weather is known for its cold and drizzle, but Chicago is ranked high in shopping centers and restaurants that offer pet-friendly options. It also scored well in walkability metrics. Chicago’s Chinatown ranked as the fifth best in dog-friendly shopping and restaurants. In fact, check out Eater’s list of 60 dog-friendly restaurants and bars. It’s a great place to visit during the summer when it won’t be a cold, and your dog will love the breeze of the river and the long walks throughout town.
8. Minneapolis, MN
Another great spot in the Midwest for your dog a four hour drive from Chicago. The quaint city is friendly for both people and dog lovers. With a high walkability score and a below average housing prices for residents the town offers a relatable and relaxing exposure for your pup. There are several lakes in the area you can explore with your pup, but check out Lake Calhoun to swim and play because it’s a popular spot for other dogs. Adults can check out four local breweries that allow dogs including Fulton Beer, Bauhaus Brew Lab, and Burning Brothers Brewery. And if you prefer a more family-friendly area, check out Minnehaha Park to walk and hike. Afterwards, take your pup to Black Sheep Pizza or Galactic Pizza. In the morning catch, catch a morning snack at Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar or Butter Bakery Cafe.
9. Tucson, AZ
If you’re looking to explore the Southwest deserts this summer, than why not go for a drive down to Tucson? A pet-friendly city, it’s also affordable for dog owners, with some of the lowest housing prices. 23 days of precipitation a year allow you to check out all the hiking trails like the Rillito River Park Trail. If you’re looking for a luxury vacation, stay at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort where you can bring up to two dogs for a $100 fee. Dogs receive a goodie bag of pet essentials upon arrival and special treatment during the vacation. They also offer a menu for pets. While in town, check out the Tucson Botanical Gardens which offers beautiful scenery and ample room to run and walk with leashed dogs from June to September. Fort Lowell Museum and Pima Air and Space Museum are also dog-friendly options. With a handful of excursions, dog parks, and 43 dog-friendly restaurants, you can’t go wrong with this vacation selection.
10. New York, NY
The only East Coast city that ranks in the top ten, New York is the go-to city for you and your dog. The city is incredibly walkable. In fact, the city scores number one in walkability, allowing dog owners to take their pups to many parts of town and explore. Why not go for a stroll in Central Park or look at the skyline while you’re on a paddle board on the Hudson River? You should also check out the dog-friendly shops and treats that the city has to offer. In a city that never sleeps, your dog will be joyful with so many activities at their paw tips.
Before the summer ends, why not try to plan a trip that is perfect destination for both you and Fido? It’s always good to check with your vet about your dog’s physical and emotional needs before you decide to take your pet with you. But once you get the green light, allowing an adventure for you and your dog can help bring them a sense of wonder and build an even stronger connection with the whole family!