What Does “Dog-Friendly” Mean?
The short answer is any person, place, or thing that is accommodating to dogs and dog owners alike. In the case of a major US city, the term dog-friendly can be applied after consideration of all the factors that influence the dog and dog owner experience. This includes but is not limited to public facilities and awareness programs for dogs, local retail, entertainment, and housing establishments with pet-friendly policies, and access to affordable health care.
Overall, the US is a dog-friendly country. Dogs are the most popular pets, outnumbering cats by a wide margin. Meanwhile, our canine friends perform various functions in society as law enforcement and service animals.
Some of the most beloved American icons are dogs, but some cities are more dog-centric than others. We set out to determine which cities have the best of everything for you and your dog.
How We Came Up with Our Rankings for Most Dog-Friendly Cities in the US
Another short answer is we did the research and compared the cities using a purposeful set of criteria, and then we started asking questions.
- How many off-leash dog parks does the city have?
- How many people live there?
- What are the leash and licensing laws?
- How many dog-friendly restaurants and cafes are there?
- How many dog-friendly hotels are there? Do they charge a fee?
- Does the city have a dedicated page on its website about dog parks?
- Do rental properties have a bias against pets?
- Is there ample access to health care? Is it expensive?
- What’s the weather like?
…and so on…
Making Good Use of Our Rankings
We also considered the difference between visiting a city with your dog and living in a city with your dog—or dogs, as the case may be. Using search results from housing and hotel keywords, we developed a general metric for determining our Accommodation ratings.
Disclaimer: These numbers are rough estimates, and your search experience may vary.
Finding a dog-friendly hotel for a short stay in one of these cities is generally pretty straightforward. So, whether you’re on vacation or thinking about moving to one of these places, you and your dog will be better off knowing what to expect in terms of housing and accommodation.
Keep reading for quick summaries of our top 20 picks!
The Top 20 Most Dog-Friendy Cities in 2024:
1. Tucson, AZ 🥇
It might not be the first city that comes to mind, but if you have a dog, Tucson is perhaps the best place to live or at least to travel to and visit! Here, you’ll find hundreds of miles of winding trails you can hike with your best friend as long as you keep them on a leash. If you’re looking for a more social experience, you’ll find over 250 places to eat, drink, and mingle that will allow your dog to accompany you.
For travelers, the dog-friendly hotels in Tucson that don’t charge pet fees are attractive, particularly the ones that allow multiple pets and large breed canines. The real attraction of Tucson is the beautiful weather, which is sunshine more than 350 days of the year!
2. Las Vegas, NV 🥈
Las Vegas is rated as the second most dog-friendly city in the country. For most, the pictures of bright lights and casinos come to mind when they think of Sin City. But if you’re a dog lover, you might want to rethink those stereotypes since Las Vegas can accommodate dogs as much as people.
You’ll find over 10 off-leash dog-friendly parks in Las Vegas where your dog can run with other four-legged friends. With well over 200 dog-friendly restaurants, pubs, and cafes in Las Vegas that your dog can visit with you, you’ll never be left searching for a place where your pup is welcome.
Even the strip allows dogs, though you’ll have to keep them leashed, and they’re only welcome from 5:00 AM until noon. If you’re traveling, there are several dog-friendly hotels in Las Vegas. Many top-of-the-line Caesar’s hotels even provide dog-specific accommodations in their PetStay rooms with dog bowls, pee pads, and food mats.
3. San Diego, CA 🥉
San Diego has no shortage of dogs and no shortage of dog-centric amenities for you to enjoy with your best friend. There are dog-friendly beaches in San Diego and 17 off-leash dog parks. With more than 500 dog-friendly restaurants, pubs, and cafes in San Diego, you’ll never be short on entertainment.
If you feel stifled by your city’s pet restrictions, you might consider moving to San Diego, where you can keep up to six dogs in a single household. They all must be licensed, but licensing is more affordable than in many major cities. However, pet care, pet food, and living accommodations with pets are much pricier than in other places, so expect to pay a substantial amount in pet rent, especially if you have six dogs!
4. Portland, OR
Portland is known for its laid-back, outdoorsy feel, and it should come as no surprise that it makes the list of the most dog-friendly cities. There are 24 off-leash dog parks in Portland, and even if you live in the middle of the city, you can take your dog somewhere to run and play. In fact, Portland has the highest number of dog parks per capita in the country!
There are almost 150 dog-friendly hotels and short-term rentals in Portland that accept dogs across the city and over 400 dog-friendly restaurants and bars that are happy to have dogs visit. The Labradoodle-loving Portlanders have worked to make a dog-friendly city with plenty of entertainment.
5. Austin, TX
Dog lovers enjoy Austin because of its dog-friendly amenities and environment. With 12 off-leash dog parks and dozens of popular dog-friendly parks with leash rules, there’s no shortage of fun outdoors. Lakes, ponds, hiking, biking, and picnicking can all be enjoyed with your canine pal by your side. If drinks and snacks are more your thing, Austin has over 500 dog-friendly bars and restaurants.
In fact, one of the off-leash dog parks in Austin is also a bar! Austin has over 360 dog-friendly hotels and short-term rentals, so you should have no trouble finding a place to stay, even if you have a big dog or multiple dogs.
If you’re moving to Austin with your dogs, you’ll be in good company. It’s estimated there are almost 200,000 dogs in Austin, with a human population of just over 950,000.
6. Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque is loaded with dog-friendly activities and accommodations that help to make it one of the most dog-friendly US cities. You’ll find 14 off-leash dog parks in Albuquerque, where dogs can run free with other four-legged friends. With at least 178 dog-friendly establishments, including restaurants, pubs, and cafes in Albuquerque, you’ll never have a hard time finding somewhere you can visit, hang out, or eat with your dog.
Additionally, the dog-friendly hotels in Albuquerque are spread across the city, making it easy to stay in town while traveling with your best friend. And if you want a little fresh air, you can visit any of the numerous hiking trails that are also dog-friendly, as long as you keep your canine on a leash that’s shorter than eight feet, in accordance with local pet laws.
7. Tampa, FL
Whether you’re looking for an idyllic travel destination to head to with your dog or carve out your slice of paradise and start a new life, Tampa is one of the best places to do it if your dog is a top priority. The city is full of places to take your dog and things to do, including two dog beaches and 236 dog-friendly restaurants, pubs, and cafes that allow your dog to dine with you.
While living in Tampa with a dog is great, traveling there with one is even better. You get all the great benefits of pet-friendly Tampa without the extra fees included when you rent with a pet. You won’t find it everywhere, but several dog-friendly hotels in Tampa allow multiple pets and big breeds without charging pet fees! If Tampa wasn’t on your list of travel destinations, it should be!
8. Chicago, IL
Chicago is a major urban center in the US, known for Chicago-style pizza, the Willis Tower, and Sue the T-rex, but it’s also a great place to visit with your dog! Chicago has a population of 2.71 people and around 610,600 dogs, meaning there’s 1 dog for every four Chicago residents.
There are 31 off-leash dog parks in Chicago, including beaches, and 131 dog-friendly hotels and rentals that accept dogs. The best part is that there are 558 dog-friendly restaurants and bars in Chicago, so you and your pup can enjoy a slice of Chicago-style pizza together.
9. Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix is the largest capital city in America by population and one of the country’s top 10 most dog-friendly cities! Despite the high summer temperatures that can exceed 110 degrees, it’s the perfect place for any dog-loving family to live or visit. Just be aware that some breeds built for cold climates won’t do as well in the hot Arizona summers.
Luckily, respite can be found a short drive north, where the temperatures are much cooler. You’ll find 168 dog-friendly establishments to eat and socialize at in Phoenix. You can also visit the 14 off-leash dog parks in Phoenix, where your dog can play with other canines while getting exercise.
Of course, this city is known for its outdoor activities, and there are many for you to partake in with your pup, including hundreds of miles of hiking trails, wilderness areas, lakes, and more.
10. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco may be known for its steep, curved roads and the Golden Gate Bridge, but the city loves dogs! There are more dogs in San Francisco than there are human children. It has 37 off-leash dog parks and several on-leash dog-friendly areas.
There are almost 200 dog-friendly restaurants and bars and over 100 dog-friendly hotels and short-term rentals in San Francisco, giving you a selection of places to eat and sleep. You and your pup can enjoy a dog-friendly, off-leash beach, visit a beer garden, or go on an adventure to the Golden Gate Bridge and have some professional pictures taken to commemorate your trip.
11. Minneapolis, MN
Just barely missing the top ten, Minneapolis is ranked the 11th most dog-friendly city in the US. There are 13 off-leash dog parks in Minneapolis, though they require a special off-leash permit to use. Still, at least 187 establishments will let your dog eat and socialize with you, making it a great city to visit or live in with your dog.
Adopting a dog in Minneapolis is simple and accessible, so if you don’t have a dog yet, don’t worry! You’ll undoubtedly be able to find one in Minneapolis. Pet care is also reasonably priced and easy to access.
The average cost of pet sitting is just $12.75 per hour. And if you need healthcare for your dog, there are dozens of animal hospitals and vets, so you’ll never have to drive more than a few minutes to find help.
12. Sacramento, CA
Sacramento has enough pet amenities to make it the 12th most dog-friendly city in America. Here, you’ll find 14 off-leash dog parks. Whether visiting or looking for a place to call home, you should have no problem finding dog-friendly accommodations in Sacramento.
Many hotels allow multiple dogs, with some even accepting big dogs. With just a little searching, you’ll find plenty of dog-friendly hotels in Sacramento that don’t charge pet fees.
On the other hand, pet rents and deposits at apartments and rental homes are pricier than in other cities. The licensing fees are cheaper, and for big families, Sacramento allows up to three dogs and seven cats per home.
13. Seattle, WA
Seattle is a beautiful city with something for every dog and dog lover. It has 354 bars and restaurants that allow dogs, and some restaurants even allow dogs indoors. There are 14 off-leash dog parks in Seattle, including one with beach access on a lake.
Seattle has large parks with hiking in the city, and you don’t even have to leave the city for exercise with your dog. The public buses in Seattle allow well-behaved dogs, so even if you don’t have a car, your dog can join you!
14. Boise, ID
Idaho leads the country in dog ownership, with 58% of households in the state owning a dog. Boise, the state’s capital, is considered one of the nation’s most dog-friendly cities, and some residents say that it feels like it was built for the dogs.
There is no shortage of entertainment for dogs in Boise. There are at least 15 off-leash dog parks, and you’ll never have to walk far to find one. From November to February, all the parks allow off-leash dogs.
You will need to keep your dog licensed in this city, however. This requires a small annual fee, and your dog will need to display the license at all times. Should your dog get separated while you’re out visiting the more than 80 eating establishments that allow canine companions, the license will also ensure that they get returned to you.
15. Denver, CO
Denver is famous for its mountain views and laid-back way of life, but it’s also one of the top dog-friendly cities in the US. The most popular breed in Denver is the Australian Cattle Dog, which shows how much the people of Denver love high-energy dogs that hike and play outdoors.
With 12 off-leash dog parks in Denver and no shortage of outdoor activities, it’s a dog-loving outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Denver has 248 dog-friendly restaurants and bars, many of which provide clean water for dogs and dog-friendly snacks. There are 117 dog-friendly hotels and short-term rental properties in Boise, so finding a place to stay won’t be an issue.
16. Madison, WI
Wisconsin may be known for beer and cheese curds, but there’s so much more to it than that. Madison is one of the top dog-friendly cities in the country! Dogs are welcome in businesses all across Madison, including bars, restaurants, shops, liquor stores, and even TJ Maxx.
There are 9 off-leash dog parks in Madison and plenty of on-leash parks and hiking trails. There are more than 40 dog-friendly hotels and short-term rentals, and you shouldn’t have any problems when it comes to visiting the area. There’s even a short-term rental in Madison that allows dogs and offers a pottery class that your dog can attend with you.
17. Cincinnati, OH
For a city with just over 301,000 people, Cincinnati is fond of dogs. With 40 dog-friendly hotels and short-term rentals in Cincinnati, you’ll have plenty of places to rest your dog’s head at night. There are 9 off-leash dog parks and 123 dog-friendly restaurants and bars in Cincinnati, ensuring your pup can burn off some energy after you enjoy a big meal together on a patio.
The Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, has four dog days annually that start with a pup parade around the field before everyone grabs a drink and a hot dog and enjoys an MLB game. It only seems appropriate for a city with its own MLB team that the most popular dog in Cincinnati is the Labrador Retriever.
18. Long Beach, CA
Long Beach is the quintessential beach town, with rollerbladers, surfers, and plenty of dogs. It’s small enough to feel welcoming while maintaining the air of drama and fame that comes with the Los Angeles area.
There are only 46 dog-friendly hotels and short-term rentals in Long Beach, which doesn’t sound like many places until you realize that Long Beach is only around 80 square miles. Even more impressive is that there are 11 off-leash dog parks in Long Beach. The top dog in Long Beach is the Maltese, which exemplifies the showy playfulness across the city.
19. St Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg is also known as the Sunshine City, and for good reason. It’s sunny and warm, with year-round temperature highs in the 70-90°F range, but this spot may not be the first that comes to mind when you think of dog-friendly cities.
However, St. Petersburg has rapidly become more dog-friendly by adding more dog parks and dog-friendly businesses over the last few years. There are 5 off-leash dog parks in St. Petersburg and 118 bars and restaurants that allow dogs to visit. Don’t forget the beaches all across the area! Finding a place to stay is no trouble with 78 dog-friendly hotels and short-term rentals in St. Petersburg and the surrounding area.
20. Pittsburgh, PA
On the surface, Pittsburgh doesn’t appear quite as dog-friendly as some other major cities, but it is one of the top 20 dog-friendly cities in America for some good reasons. There are amenities for dogs you might not find elsewhere, including a dog water park with a big swimming pool for your best friend.
Though the city has just seven off-leash dog parks, dogs are welcome in the numerous other parks throughout the city as long as they stay on leash. But Pittsburgh is a great place for dog fanatics since it allows you to own more than twice as many dogs as most cities in the US. Without special permits, you can keep up to five dogs in one household. Each dog must be licensed, but thankfully, multi-year licenses can be purchased, so you can get one and not think about it again for another 12 years.