The 13 Best Dog-Friendly Activities in Dallas-Fort Worth
Your little buddy deserves an adventure too.
We live in amazing times. Not only does new tech come out every day to make our lives easier, but more and more places around town—and the world—now welcome our four-legged best friends for delightful dates. Whether you want to make memories dining on a patio with your pooch, playing with your pup at a park, hiking with your hound, or mingling with your mutt over margaritas, we’ve got you more than covered. In total, we’ve created a list of 13 things to do with your dog that will increase your bond while exponentially increasing the amount of attention you receive from strangers who might be almost as impressed with your little buddy as you are.
Take your dog time traveling
Stepping into Old City Park is like taking a quick trip back to 1876 when it was founded. Currently, it’s home to a variety of historic buildings and furnishings, some dating back to even earlier in the 19th century. Dogs are welcome in all outdoor spaces (and service dogs inside the buildings). So, if you want to learn a little bit about Dallas’ history and your pooch wants to mingle with wilder beasts (including at any given time horses, donkeys, mules, chickens, sheep, and llamas) this is your place.
Frolic with Fido in the fresh air
Now that triple-digit weather is almost behind us, fall is one of the best times to explore all the natural wonders around Dallas-Fort Worth without breaking into a clothes-soaking sweat. Not every outdoor venue welcomes dogs, but you’ll always find Big Dog Energy on the Katy Trail and nearly every square inch surrounding White Rock Lake, including on the lake thanks to White Rock Paddle Co., where dogs under 50 pounds can tag along with you on your rented kayak. To truly get out of the hustle and bustle of the city, head to the Cedar Ridge Preserve or the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, where an endless array of creatures will keep your dog thoroughly engaged as you comb the trails.
Explore downtown’s dog-friendly escapes
Whether you’re a downtown resident or you’re looking to explore the area with a furry pal in tow, it’s easy to find plenty of dog-friendly urban spaces throughout the neighborhood. Pacific Plaza, Main Street Garden, and West End Square each allow leashed pets. So does Klyde Warren Park, which has recently debuted an expanded, cooler-than-ever new park across the street from the original location.
Book a cozy playdate for your pooch
Even as the weather starts to improve, sometimes life gets too busy to take your furry friends on the kind of walks they deserve. Thankfully, top-notch doggie daycares abound. With indoor facilities for those not-so-nice days and dedicated outdoor spaces for playtime, your pet can get tons of exercise and canine bonding while you’re at work, the gym, or running errands (or simply taking a well-deserved nap). Barking Hound Village, Dallas Pet Den, Dog City, Dogs Unleashed Daycare, and Pooch Hotel are a few of the best places for a little day play (or overnight adventure).
Engage in some retail therapy with Rover
Most shopping centers only allow service animals, but numerous businesses at the Shops at Park Lane proudly welcome well-behaved beasts. That means you never have to shop alone at Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, Bloomingdale’s The Outlet, or Eddie Bauer, in addition to more than a dozen other spots in the development, ever again. Half Price Books welcomes dogs inside to help you pick out that next big novel. And when you’re jonesing for the freshest fruits, vegetables, and meats in town, skip the supermarket and ready your pooch for a trip to the Dallas Farmers Market instead.
Pamper your pupper with a doggie massage
We’ll do just about anything for our dogs, often treating them better than we even treat ourselves. So, even if it’s been years since you last got a relaxing rubdown, you might just consider one for your four-legged BFF because it’s true—he is such a good boy. Massages are especially beneficial to older pets, but they can also help soothe and calm hyperactive dogs, too. Schedule a consultation and discover the benefits of doggie spa treatments at Paradise 4 Paws, Pure Temple, Tamarah Wild Canine Reiki and Massage, or Peaceful Paws Pet Massage. Just try not to get jealous when you see that contented little soul staring back at you from behind those big brown eyes.
Unleash your canine’s inner party animal
Sometimes we all need to let loose and have some unbridled fun. For dogs, that means going off-leash and having a little booty-sniffing party with other pets in a safe, fenced-in environment. Several dog parks around town meet those needs, led by destination-worthy standouts White Rock Lake Dog Park, with its views of the water and separate small and large dog play areas, as well as the mural-laden Bark Park Central in Deep Ellum. Of course, watching puppies play is only made better with a refreshing beverage in hand, so you might as well head to either the Fort Worth, Allen, or Uptown Dallas locations of Mutts Canine Cantina. There, you can enjoy burgers and cocktails while the tail-waggers snack on pupsicles and bite-size beef franks between ball-chasing and dips in the wading pools.
Kick back with your dog on a luxe staycation
Room service, a super comfy bed, and treats on your pillow each night—these are but a few of the perks of spending a few nights in a local hotel. And, little known fact, both you and your dog can enjoy them together if you book at a pet-friendly property. Thompson Dallas allows up to two dogs for free to enjoy your gorgeously appointed room or suite right by your side. Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown offers access to an adjacent dog park and gives each pet a welcome bag with treats and a plush toy, plus food and water bowls for the room. Virgin Hotels Dallas delivers signature Richard Branson swagger for you and your dog, with incentives that include a plush dog bed, food and water bowls, treats, and even a branded bandana so he can brag at the dog park. At Grapevine’s Hotel Vin, dogs are welcome in guest rooms as well as at The Junction, the hotel’s outdoor venue, and they also host multiple events throughout the year benefitting doggie charities. AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria features dog-friendly accommodations and your pet can stay for free through mid-November. And at HALL Arts Hotel, dogs can lounge on their very own beds with treats thanks to their Sit & Stay program, then hit the town with many nearby dog-friendly spots (including Klyde Warren Park and Bark Park Central) located just a short walk away.
Dine out with your dog
Being able to dine on patios with your dog in Dallas wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of chef Janice Provost, who campaigned to get the City Council to agree to the ordinance. Every grateful dog parent should definitely pay a visit to Provost’s Parigi and thank her in person. And while, sadly, not all restaurant patios welcome pets, a few of the top spots to take Spot around town include Trinity Groves, where all patios allow well-mannered mutts, as well as Urban Taco at Mockingbird Station, Terry Black’s Barbecue in Deep Ellum, Sloane’s Corner downtown, Al Biernat’s in Oak Lawn, and Smoky Rose in East Dallas, three locations of Grub Burger Bar, Knox Bistro in the Knox/Henderson District, Woodshed Smokehouse in Fort Worth, and Son of a Butcher on Lowest Greenville.
Belly up to the bar with your best buddy
If you’re simply looking to crack open a cold one with Buddy, you’ll discover several bars that would be thrilled to deliver a bowl of water along with your beer. Truck Yard’s locations on Lowest Greenville, up in The Colony, and coming soon to Fort Worth all have plenty of outdoor space for you and your dog to enjoy. Other places seamlessly blending cocktails and canines include the Burgundy Swine wine bar in Victory Park, Bar Louie at the Shops at Park Lane, Toller Patio in East Dallas, White Rock Ale House by the lake, Katy Trail Ice House in Uptown, and Lee Harvey’s in the Cedars. For non-alcoholic drinks with your doggo, check out Cafe Victoria in Victory Park where you can order up CapPOOCHinos, any of Houndstooth Coffee’s area outposts, or La La Land Kind Cafe’s area locations.
Pose your pup for a picture-perfect photoshoot
Your camera roll is already overflowing with candids of your beloved pet, so why not ratchet things up a notch by throwing in a fabulously colorful backdrop to show off those top modeling skills? Murals await your creative direction at ArtPark at Trinity Groves and throughout Deep Ellum, and you can always capture the spectacular Dallas skyline from the perspective of the Ronald Kirk Bridge. Pro tip: Bring along a portable fan to get that gorgeous fur blowing in the breeze Beyoncé-style. Better still, hire a professional pet photographer to capture the moments for you. Jenna Regan, Haute Dog Couture Pet Photography, Dog Biscuit Photos, Penny Whistle Photography, and Margaret Bryant Dog Photography all excel at their craft.
Cruise around Uptown in style with your pooch
Sure, they all love sticking their heads out of car windows to feel the wind in their faces, but some discerning dogs deserve something a little more original and memorable—not to mention safer. Next time you’re looking to roam around Uptown and the Dallas Arts District, leash up ol’ Bandit and hop aboard the dog-friendly McKinney Avenue Trolley. Bonus? You’ll find several bars, restaurants, and other businesses along the route that are perfect spots for enjoying some al fresco time with your fur buddy.
Make a difference in another animal’s life
Fall, winter, spring, summer—it doesn’t matter what time of year it is when it comes to helping dogs and other pets in need, and donating your cash or volunteering your time at a variety of nonprofit organizations around town are great ways to do your part. To get started, check out North Texas Giving Day’s list of animal organizations that can always benefit from the kindness of humans.