The 12 Best Dog-Friendly Fall Activities in Dallas

From doggie paddling around the lake to beers with Benji at Canine Cantina.

Hints of autumn surround us with each passing moment, from the slightly shorter days and cooler temperatures to the Halloween decorations that started prematurely appearing on September 1. Fall in North Texas is all about getting outdoors, whether it’s eating and drinking on a patio or hitting one of the area trails for a little exercise and an extra dose of Vitamin D. Of course, the only thing that makes so many of these experiences even more enjoyable is being able to take your four-legged friends along for the ride (or leisurely stroll).

Check out these 12 dog-centric activities perfect for fall fun, including a few that your beloved barker can enjoy any time of year.

White Rock Lake
White Rock Lake | Photo by Steven Lindsey

Frolic with Fido in the fresh air

Now that triple-digit weather is (hopefully) 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 at 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.

Parks For Downtown Dallas
Parks For Downtown Dallas

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 closed its dog park at the end of August to prepare for the debut of a new, expanded, cooler-than-ever new one across the street this October. Get excited.

Dog City Daycare - Spa - Boarding
Dog City Daycare - Spa - Boarding

Book a cozy playdate for your pooch

Even though autumnal weather across North Texas tends to be mild and dry, we do get a few big storms or temperature-drops that make afternoon dog walks no fun at all. Thankfully, top-notch doggie daycares abound. With indoor facilities for those not-so-nice days, your pet can get tons of exercise and canine bonding while you’re at work, the gym, or running errands (or just taking a well-deserved nap). Barking Hound Village, Doggie Den, Dog City, Dogs Unleashed Daycare, and Pooch Hotel are a few of the best places for a little day play (or overnight adventure).

The Shops at Park Lane
The Shops at Park Lane

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. Over at Mockingbird Station, there’s even a dog park for a pre- or post-shopping treat. 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.

MUTTS Canine Cantina
MUTTS Canine Cantina

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 or Uptown Dallas locations of Mutts Canine Cantina (coming soon to Allen). 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.

HALL Arts Hotel
HALL Arts Hotel

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.

AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria features a monthly “yappy hour” in addition to its everyday dog-friendly accommodations. 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. And at HALL Arts Hotel, dogs can lounge on their very own beds with treats, then hit the town with many nearby dog-friendly spots (including Klyde Warren Park and Bark Park Central) stashed just a short walk away.

Grub Burger Bar
Photo courtesy of Grub Burger Bar

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, Up On Knox in the Knox/Henderson District, Woodshed Smokehouse in Fort Worth, and Son of a Butcher on Lowest Greenville.

Toller Patio
Toller Patio

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 and up in The Colony both 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 three local locations.

ArtPark Trinity Groves
ArtPark Trinity Groves

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 fur blowing elegantly in the breeze.

Jack Russell Terrier

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. 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 the fall weather with your furbuddy.

pug puppy
LightField Studios/Shutterstock

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.

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Steven Lindsey is a Thrillist contributor.