Traveling with your four legged friend? Many cities do a great job of welcoming furry travelers with open paws. Here’s six cities we (and our dogs) love…Now go back your bags. And your squeaky toys.
Paris loves its pooches, that’s for sure. The city of museums and galleries even allows them in to check out the art, if they’re small – and in a pet bag. Well, a designer carrier. It is Paris after all!
A city of Parks too, Parisian dog walkers can let their dogs enjoy the flowers, promenades and fountains of the Left Bank, along the Garden du Luxembourg, the Versailles Gardens and the Tuileries. And when your four legged friend’s a little footsore? No problem – hop on a double decker sightseeing bus: dogs welcome here too! Grab a coffee and sandwich at, Folks and Sparrows, and your dog will be enthusiastically offered a bowl of water (14 rue Saint-Sébastien) and enjoy a memorable dinner at Les Deux Magots (6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés) in Saint Germain. A famous hangout of writers and philosophers and now, your pooch can soak up all that culture. Paws for thought: Once a year, in November, Saint Rita Church opens its door to bless the animals. The city’s unique pet friendly mass has been led by Archbishop Dominique Philippe of the Gallican Church and has blessed every creature from alpacas to zebras!
Lovely, free-spirited Austin was one of the first cities in the US to positively encourage dog owners to dine with their best friends. The Dog House Drinkery has a fenced off play area, and the Shake Shack offers a Poochini Sundae – frozen custard with homemade dog biscuits. Ortiz is just as pet-friendly. Every third Monday of the month, Banger’s hosts Mutt Monday from 5 – 7 pm. Expect free training sessions, grooming and pet toy giveaways for them, and half-off all pints for you! Shops from Urban Outfitters to Dragon’s Lair comics (West Anderson Plaza) welcome your doggy companions, as does the great Hope Farmer’s Market (412 Comal St). Or go glitzy at the upscale Domain shopping mall (11410 Century Oaks). How’s your dog’s golfing skills? There’s only one way to find out: take them to Top Golf! (2700 Esperanza Crossing)
Paws for thought: Austin’s fallen for Doga in a big way. That’s yoga for dogs. Featuring massage and gentle stretching for dogs and their human partners, it’s said to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
The city of a thousand fountains, Rome even lets your furry friend take a dip in many of them. And drinking fountains are everywhere for both of you! Head to the shallow Barcaccia Fountain to dip those hot paws! The best thing about Rome is that the great sites are free, just waiting for you on the streets. The city’s an open air museum after all. So you can visit Hadrian’s Column, the Trevi Fountain, the Via Veneto, the Spanish Steps and much more, without worrying whether dogs are allowed And yes, that includes the mighty Piazza San Pietro, the great circular atrium of the Vatican City. Dogs are even welcomed by the Pope himself! But, perhaps, before your best friend takes a walk around the Vatican, you might consider giving him a good wash and groom-up at BauBau (Via Leonardo da Vinci, 4), the city’s best-loved dog grooming parlor. Villa Doria Pamphilj, the largest park in Rome, is a great space and it’s very dog friendly! Your best friend will meet lots of new Roman acquaintances here!
Paws for thought: There’s an entire room crammed with antique sculptures of pet dogs in the Vatican Museum. The Jennings Dog, based on a second century BC Greek statue, is one only a few animal sculptures surviving from antiquity, and dates from the 2nd century AD.
With the highest number of dog-owners per capita of any capital city, it’s safe to say Budapest loves dogs. And, happily, its version of dog-friendly comes with an extra wag of its tail. And it’s something that’s not gone unnoticed. One of the city’s best respected online sites, Kutyabarat.hu, runs a yearly ‘Best Dog-Friendly Places’ list. And it’s always a hotly contested affair, so you can be sure those that make the list are worthy of your cuddly companion’s approval. Your first port of call has to be the all-venues in one hangout that is Telep (Madách Imre út 8). Part art gallery, part urban meeting point in the heart of Budapest, Telep melanges film club, performance space, coffee shop and ice cream parlor. And dogs are welcome in them all! Then you could visit Restaurant Larus (Csörsz utca 18/b) in Buda, the softer side of the river. Its large terraces, great views and fabulous flavors are reason enough to visit. That it actively encourages dogs to sit and soak in the views too gives it the double thumbs up from us. People take the time to train their dogs in Budapest, so you’ll mostly encounter pooches of the friendly variety in lovely parks such as the green and leafy XIV district.
Paws for thought: Naspolya Nassolda ( Káldy Gyula u. 7) is a Budapest gem. Part bakery, part restaurant, part confectioners it’s a raw-food joint that doesn’t actually cook anything. But the results are delicious – for you, and your pooch! Bikers, skaters, dog-walkers and hipsters love it!
It’s official. The Twin Cities loves dogs. From the waterfalls of Minnehaha Park (4801 Minnehaha Ave S) to the ponds and grassy meadows of St Paul’s Battle Creek (outdoor concerts in summer), this outdoorsy city welcomes dogs off and on the leash for a leisurely afternoon’s stroll in the sun. New to the city, Gateway’s a rather cool doggie play area, with water bowls, benches and plenty of space for them to let off steam (1001-1099 4th Ave S). Adjacent to Minnehaha Falls, River Dog Park is a park aimed fairly and squarely at marauding mutts with broad woodland trails, a sandy beach along the Mississippi River and sunny lawns for picnics (54th St. & Hiawatha Ave). Browse the native American literature, and art, of the brilliant Birchbark Books, owned by acclaimed local novelist, Louise Erdrich (2115 West 21st Street), enjoy great seafood at Tin Fish (3000 E Calhoun Pkwy), and grab a beer and some seriously great new American fare at spirited beachfront joint, Sandcastle. Dogs aplenty here. (4955 W Lake Nokomis Pkwy). And don’t forget the super dog friendly Radisson RED calls Minneapolis home.
Paws for thought: Few cities do outside art as enthusiastically as Minneapolis. Sculpture, especially, is close to the Twin Cities’ heart. The Minneapolis Sculpture Park features over 40 sculptures by world-leading modern artists. Fortunately, there are no lampposts or fire hydrants amongst them, so dogs are very welcome. After extensive renovation, the park reopens this June.
Your dog might love trees, but we bet not as much as Tokyo loves its cherry blossoms. When the trees burst into bloom, predicted to be late March/early April this year, the entire city comes out to coo at the delicate pinks and whites of the ethereal blossom – which hangs, tentatively, from boughs for no more than a day or two. Ueno Station is one of the best places to witness the natural spectacle. A gorgeous urban oasis replete with temples, shrines and lakes, the park is very doggie friendly. Dogs are everywhere at the sprawling Grandberry Mall, just west of Tokyo. It’s got the usual suspects – big name fashion, cafes and cinemas – but its reputation as a dog-friendly weekend spot attracts dog owners for a social stroll and pet-watch! And don’t think you can’t visit Tokyo’s DisneySea Resort – because you can! The resort offers a service where you can drop your pet off while you enjoy the rides (Mihama Urayasu-shi, Chiba). Then shop for cool clothes, and enjoy a fabulous lunch at Snobish Babies, (2-10-28 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo) a fashionable, pet-friendly hangout with its own dog menu. And human one, of course!
Paws for thought: Not travelling with a dog? No problem! A visit to Tokyo’s Dog Cafe’s enough to get your canine fix. With its regular roster of up to 16 toy poodles, beagles and a lone golden retriever, you can pat and pet to your heart’s content. And, if you choose the “dog rental” option, take them for a walk in the nearby park (Tomigaya 1-45-2, Y’s Park Bldg 2F)