12 Most Dog-Friendly Towns in the West
Whether you’re looking to relocate or simply want to travel with the entire clan, you won’t have to sacrifice anyone’s creature comforts in these hospitable, bark-friendly cities
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Bozeman is home to West Paw Designs, which recently celebrated 20 years of supplying pet families with sustainable toys and beds. Hiking options in this outdoorsy community range from the easy, downtown Pete Hill trail to the longer (but shaded) Sypes Canyon in the Gallatin National Forest. Get some patio time in at Sola’s Cafe Market or Bozeman Brewing. And if you’re looking to spend some time on human-only activities like the biking or horseback riding, you can comfortably leave your buddy at the reputable Dee-O-Gee animal shop, which offers half and full-day camps, as well as socials, where mutts can mingle.
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Colorado Springs, CO
Over the years, this athletic hub has consistently ranked among the most liveable towns for dogs thanks to its abundance of outdoor offerings perfectly suited for energetic adventurers and their furry friends. Reinforcing that accolade, the city became the first in the state to allow a restaurant to let dogs inside. The Pub Dog Colorado owners chose the locale for its convenient proximity to Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Bear Creek Dog Park, and the luxe Broadmoor Hotel—all pup-hospitable spots.
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Many Albuquerque restaurants have followed in the pup-inclusive steps of local chain Flying Star, which offers leash posts and snacks on all its self-dubbed “petios.” Although Kelly’s Brew Pub in Nob Hill goes as far as putting dog food on the menu (don’t worry, it doesn’t come in the same servingware), Canine Cafe leads the pack. Here, diners can sip and nibble while bonding with adoptable rescues. The team aims to change the landscape of shelters by creating a more personal model for animal care and adoption. What’s more, Duke City has 13 designated dog parks, five pet-centric radio shows, and animal benefit events year-round.
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Portland has more than 30 off-leash parks and a ton of pup-welcoming restaurants: Lucky Labrador Brewing Beer Hall is a local favorite for its patio and pooch-inspired brews and Tin Shed Garden Café offers free treats during its Tuesday Doggie Love Night. Moreover, the City of Roses is one of the only places where you’ll find a public art installation intended to serve the paw class. Designed by a photographer in 2002, the cast-bronze Water Bowl sits in North Park and supplies a constant stream of fresh water for passing dogs. When it’s too hot or cold to chill in the parks, take the party to Go in Bark, one of a few indoor playgrounds in the region.
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Dog sledding reigns in Alaska, where the locals have a special respect and appreciation for man’s best friend. Port city Anchorage has eight off-leash parks, in addition to hundreds of miles worth of trails, on which leash laws vary but are communicated through charming signs translated for dogs and humans. Husky lovers would be wise to visit in March when the iconic Iditarod Sled Dog Race kicks off and kennels are open for tours.
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It’s not just the roster of pet-friendly hotels—from the Hotel Monaco to the The Curtis—that makes the Mile High City an ideal locale. As Denver continues to grow, it also looks out for its furry residents by having designated parks throughout the city (the beloved Cherry Creek State Park has an 107-acre, fenced-in yard and a lagoon where your pooch can hydrate). To take advantage of the Rocky Mountain views, head to Biscuits & Brews, a rooftop bar-meets-dog run in the Santa Fe area. Dogs aren’t allowed inside anywhere that serves food, but you’ll find pet pals hanging with their owners on just about every patio in town—especially Bark Bar and Watering Bowl.
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In a city that has more dogs than kids, the canine population is a legit part of the community, as evidenced in the roster of local paw-approved business, from local bakeries (we love Seattle Barkery’s roving treat truck) to major brands (like dog-sitting matchmaker Rover.com and Blue Dog Bakery). Many places don’t discriminate between pooch or person: Norm’s Eatery & Ale House allows dogs inside; Green Lake Boat Rental provides paddleboards and kayaks for all; Kimpton Alexis Hotel doesn’t charge a pet fee; even the bus allows dogs. Though there are a good amount of parks throughout the city (including one Amazon just opened downtown), Seattle is working on a plan to expand off-leash options for the growing pup community.
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San Francisco, CA
SF’s pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods make it ideal for daily walks, and the city boats some great pet-friendly hotels to boot. If you’re visiting, check into the Hotel Nikko—the 30-year-old hotel reopened after a lofty renovation and has a rooftop run (a blessing when Fido wants to go out in the middle of the night)—or the Galleria Park Hotel in the Financial District, where dogs stay free. With more than 25 designated areas spread out across the city, your brood won’t want for space to play, but it’s worth the drive across the Bay to check out Richmond’s Point Isabel Regional Shoreline. It has stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge for you and 23 acres of off-leash running for them.
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Arizona doesn’t restrict any breeds and has a high percentage of no-kill shelters, making the state one of the most dog-loving places in the country. In Scottsdale, it hardly ever rains, so Spot gets plenty of time to jaunt through parks like the 30,200-acre McDowell Sonoran Preserve (pictured) or the leash-free Chaparral Park—though you’ll want to limit your bud’s sun exposure in summer when temps creep well into the 100s. For those times, there are still plenty of options among the city’s many dog-friendly hotels and eateries: The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has a resident lab and offers plush amenities for four-legged guests, while the Canyon Suites at the Phoenician whips up gourmet puppy meals.
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Sun Valley, ID
Dogs are a part of this mountain town’s culture. Rather than a strict leash-law, Sun Valley abides by the “common sense law.” Dock dogs will appreciate the access to lakes and rivers, while canine hikers benefit from the extensive trail system that’s open to all. Four-legged guests need a pass in the winter, but it’s only $5 and allows them to go snowshoeing and skiing with you. For a quick trek try the 1.5 mile Trail Creek loop, or push yourselves on Bald Mountain (about 10 miles round-trip), where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of charming Ketchum.
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San Diego, CA
San Diego, with its super-accessible beaches, is dog heaven. More than 15 off-leash beaches and parks give you plenty of space to roam. Spend all morning on the sand, then catch a Padres game from left-center field at Petco Park’s The Barkyard. (We hear homo sapiens might enjoy tagging along too.) The water here is home to some serious talent. More than 60 “surFURs” shred waves at the annual Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition. Cruise Old Town together and take in the sights of some of California’s best-preserved mission-era architecture. After you've worked up a thirst, stop by Green Flash Brewing Company for brewing-grain dog biscuits and a pull of their most recent release. Need a little encouragement to get back home? A locally-made grain-free duck and cherry training cookie from The Honest Kitchen’s Nuzzles will do the trick.
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The Front Range city is a paradise for pups (and people) who love wide-open spaces and pine-scented air. With 87 miles of off-leash trails (special “voice and sight” tag required), it's not hard to find a place to play with your pooch. If you're looking for something a little closer to town, walk the Pearl Street Mall, Boulder’s funky, bustling, restaurant-flanked pedestrian paradise. Stop by Gunbarrel Brewing Company for a treet – a cold pint for you and an Old Mother Hubbard for your friend – on the patio or grassy lounge area. When the temperature dips, MountainMuttDogCoats Boulder will keep you going strong with warm coats made for dogs of every size.