By Jessica Ferrigno
All dog parents know that their slobbery companion is more than just a pet and if you are traveling this summer and don’t want to leave them behind you’ll want to know which cities are the best to visit with your four-legged friend (and live if you are moving). SmartAsset, a personal finance technology company, and WalletHub, a personal finance website, created extensive lists of the most dog-friendly cities in America. SmartAsset looked at housing values for general information and also dog-specific issues, such as walkability, weather, the number of dog parks, dog-friendly shopping areas and dog-friendly restaurants. WalletHub reviewed pet budgets, pet health and wellness and outdoor pet-friendliness. We scoured both lists and crunched the scores and compiled from them a Top Ten guide for the most dog-friendly cities in America.
1. Las Vegas
While it came in second on SmartAsset’s’ list and 10th on WalletHub’s list, we give Las Vegas first because of how well it does in outdoor pet friendliness. According to both lists, Las Vegas has many dog parks and dog-friendly restaurants and shopping areas. It is also noteworthy to mention that Las Vegas only receives about 15 days of precipitation annually, which means you and your pup have a lot more outdoor time. One place your dog would love is Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar located on Festival Plaza Drive. There is even a special dog menu that you can order a meal off of for your pal.
2. San Diego
With 187 dog-friendly restaurants and 7 dog-friendly shopping areas, San Diego excels in outdoor friendliness. Also, according to WalletHub, it is second in most pet businesses per capita. When picking among the best restaurants a good place to start is The Patio on Lamont Street. The waiter will bring your dog a bowl of water and a few treats.
Scottsdale would be a great home to your dog because of its outstanding score in the pet health and wellness category, meaning it has an impressive amount of veterinarians, caretakers, pet businesses, pet-friendly restaurants, etc. In fact, Scottsdale has the second most pet-friendly restaurants per capita. First stop on your list should be Chaparral Park on N. Hayden Road. It is a 4-acre park with separate areas for passive dogs and energetic dogs, water fountains, play structures and seating for owners.
Orlando proves to be very dog accessible. It has the fourth most veterinarians per capita and the most pet-friendly restaurants, according to WalletHub. WalletHub also gave Orlando fourth place for pet health and wellness. Known for its human entertainment centers, it features great canine parks as well. Be sure to stop by Dr. Phillips Dog Park on Buenavista Woods Boulevard. There are separate sections for small and large dogs and water fountains and hoses for your dog to cool off and wash off.
Denver did well in all categories presented by both SmartAsset and WalletHub. It also has average weather so your four-legged companion isn’t taking any rain checks on their playtime. If you’re planning on traveling to Denver, check into the La Quinta Inn & Suites Denver Airport located on Tower Road. They allow you to bring three pets up to 50 pounds for no extra pet fee.
Sacramento is a great place for dogs to accompany their owners to restaurants, parks and shopping areas. Also, the average annual precipitation is on the lower end at 40 days, which makes it part of the top ten. Enjoy a treat in sunny Sacramento with your pooch at The Shack on Folsom Boulevard. A bowl of water and treats will be delivered to your pet as soon as you sit.
Albuquerque is a triple threat. Not only is this city 11th on dog parks overall, but it is also has an above average number of dog-friendly restaurants and shopping areas and has an annual average precipitation on the lower end at 28 days. Treat yourself to a little bit of Mexican food at Sadie’s of New Mexico on 4th St NW, Los Ranchos De Albuquerque. You can enjoy the covered patio while the waitstaff pampers your dog.
Austin may not have the most dog parks, but it does have a large number of dog-friendly restaurants and shopping centers, which means there are plenty of places to bring your pal. You can even bring your pooch with you to run some errands at The Domain on Century Oaks Terrace, an outdoor shopping center. Some stores will even give your pet a bowl of water and a treat.
Tampa won’t hit your wallet too hard, because it is 10th on the pet budget rank list on WalletHub. Also, your dog can travel with you to numerous dog parks and restaurants. One place your dog will surely appreciate is Lettuce Lake Park on E. Fletcher Avenue. There is a $2 entrance fee and your dog must be kept on a leash, but they can enjoy a long walk with you through the wooded picnic areas, jogging trails and fitness course inside the 240-acre area.
10. San Francisco
San Francisco will stand out in your pup’s eyes, because of its high walkability score. If your dog doesn’t want to walk, then they will certainly play in one of the many dog parks or sit with you at one of the 174 dog-friendly restaurants. You’ll also appreciate one of San Francisco’s many dog-friendly hotels, The Marker San Francisco on Geary St. Both big dogs and little dogs are welcome with no extra pet fee and the hotel will even offer you pet amenities such as treats, bowls and pet beds.
Jessica Ferrigno, a journalism major at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, is a Friends of Animals summer intern.