18 Outdoor Activities To Do in Austin With Your Dog

Reward your canine companion with a day on the town.

Yard Bar's off-leash dog park provides a spot for humans to grab a cold drink with their four-legged pals. | Jasmin Porter
Yard Bar's off-leash dog park provides a spot for humans to grab a cold drink with their four-legged pals. | Jasmin Porter

It’s not an exaggeration to say that pets have gotten us through this pandemic. As we have adjusted to life without the usual glut of music, food, and fun, our furry friends have kept us moving, comforted, and (mostly) sane. Luckily, Austin’s an incredibly dog-friendly town, giving you plenty of opportunities to reward your canine companion and personal savior by taking advantage of the multitudinous bars, restaurants, breweries, and natural parks all around the city.

The Buzz Mill is the perfect pup-friendly place for sippin’ on locally roasted coffee, a cocktail made with infused booze, and/or checking out the vegan Plow Burger. We also love their community-minded extracurriculars — the Lumber Society, the Wednesday comedy show, the monthly Sunday market, and the Plow Burger’s metamorphosis into Plow Bao.

Winner of multiple “best of” awards, Cosmic Coffee’s permaculture gardens and extensive outdoor seating are an all-day go-to for dog lovers. Awesome barbecue from Leroy & Lewis, darn good queso via Pueblo Viejo, and innovative frozen cocktails (hello pickled strawberry sangria!) are the draw for the human half of the equation. 

Jasmin Porter

A huge shade tree overlooks this membership-based dog park where your dog can frolic with other (vaccinated, fixed) dogs and you can enjoy a craft cocktail. Come for a day (dog pass is $9, humans are free) or buy a monthly or year-long membership to ensure you always have a spot for Spot.

Gabriela’s is known for its bright colors, big drinks, a traditional Mexican menu, and lively weekly events. Plus, they’ve recently expanded and their South Austin location has a big enough patio for you, your dog, and several frozen Mangonadas to comfortably co-exist.

Stacked sandwiches, meat-and-cheese-boards, and well-appointed beer gardens have made Easy Tiger a favorite haunt for fur-kid parents. There’s lots of shade, water, and space for humans and pets alike. Make sure to keep an eye on their event calendar for dog-centric to-dos.

Courtesy of Dog House Drinkery

Worth the drive to Leander, this sprawling off-leash dog park-and-bar has several spaces for you to hang with your pup. And because they know that big doggies can be ruff-and-tumble, they have sectioned off a separate area for dogs that weigh less than 30 pounds. Multiple TVs, picnic tables, and a solid menu means you’ll manage to have some fun, too.

Twenty minutes away from downtown Austin, Jumping Jack Ranch’s bone-shaped pool is available for private rental. The aquatic adventure will run you $75/hour on the weekends, and $50/hour on the weekdays. Prepare to take a million snaps of your dogs living it up around the fire hydrant water fountain. 

String lights, giant trees, and lots of misters make Fresa’s dog-friendly patio a popular destination. Their menu features tacos, wood-grilled meats, bowls, plus lots of delicious cocktails, beer, and wine. And there are bags and treats for Fido.

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Pet parents know that weekend plans are better when they’re shared with your dog. And just like playtime in the park or running around a dog-friendly brewery strengthens your bond with your pup, so can mealtime. CESAR® Dry supports small dog health with 26 essential nutrients, has real meat as its first ingredient, and comes in a 100% complete and balanced dry kibble format for convenient feeding. Plus, with flavors like filet mignon and rotisserie chicken, your dog will get the gourmet treatment, every day.

Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden has been purposely dog-inclusive since they flung open their doors. Sample the enormous tap selection, artisan sausages, and sandwiches. Drop in for some weekly live music and treat your pup to a “woof wurst,” which benefits Austin Pets Alive! animal shelter. In post-pandemic life, they plan to re-open their on-site dog run.

Errich Petersen

Is there anything more Austin than an off-the-wall theater masquerading as a bar that also has an incredible Italian food truck? Butterfly Bar is a triple threat in that way — great food, fab atmosphere, and the right amount of theatrical weirdness.

This beer-meets-coffee-shop-meets-backyard-spot has lots of green space for your dogs to run and roll. Bi-pedal patrons can treat themselves to the extensive selection of wine and beer plus a huge variety of gourmet kolache offerings.

Award-winning beers, excellent pizza, and ongoing efforts to help out dog-related causes through their Hell Yes Project make ABGB one of the best spots to support. There are few things better than settling in at a picnic bench with your pup on their patio, especially when they have one of their Austin Pets Alive! Pale Ales on tap.

Andrea Calo

Housed in an old airplane hanger, Central Machine Works Brewery is definitely the dog-friendly joint du jour. Pretty people and their pups spend sunny Saturdays with a craft beer and a leash in one hand and a pizza in the other.

Just east of Barton Springs, the affectionately nicknamed Barking Springs is a smallish wading area where you can take advantage of the cold, refreshing waters with your pup in tow — as long as it’s safe to do so. (A recent algae bloom in Austin’s lakes poses an increased risk for dogs in the water, so be sure to check the latest guidance before splashing in.)  When you do visit, note that there’s no admission but there are also no lifeguards. Remember to bring a blanket and some water shoes to protect your paws (and theirs).

Plan a longer adventure at this off-leash dog heaven. Pack water and snacks in preparation for exploring the 106-acres of wooded trails, natural paths, and shallow streams made for Scout to splash around in. There are no rules here so prepare to meet other dogs, humans, and horses in this park.

Courtesy of City of Austin, Parks & Recreation Dept.

Smack dab in the center of the city, and abutting Ladybird Lake, is a stretch of green space where Austinites love to hang out, read, and play with their pups. This off-leash area is a hot spot at all times of the year for friendly dogs to get their wiggles out.

Rent a boat and load up your furry friend for a leisurely paddle on Lady Bird Lake. Zilker Boats, one of Austin’s original rental shops, will hook you up with a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board with your dog. They’ll provide the human ones, but BYO canine life vest.

Almost the entirety of this upscale outdoor shopping mall is dog-friendly. Green spaces, restaurants, and bars abound that are down to host you and Fido. If you’re taking a break, check the calendar at nearby Lone Star Court, a dog-friendly hotel, for weekly pet-centric events and yappy hours.