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DogFriendly.com's 2006 Top 10 Cities to Visit with a Dog in the
United States and Canada

DogFriendly.com has announced its fourth annual Top 10 Cities to Visit in the United States and Canada . In determining the Top 10 Cities to Visit, Dogfriendly.com's researchers used the following criteria:

- Is the city an appealing vacation spot and appealing for people traveling with dogs?
- Are there suitable pet-friendly hotels and lodging in the city?
- Can one get around the city easily? Does the public transportation system allow dogs? 
- If you can't go on the public transportation, can you get around fairly easily by car? 
- Are there attractions, such as boat and carriage rides, tours, tourist sites, and side trips that welcome your dog? 
- Where can you eat wtih your pooch, other than in your hotel room? Are there outdoor cafes that welcome pets, or local dog-friendly parks where you can bring a picnic lunch?
- Can your dog visit any of the local beaches or parks?  Are there any off-leash dog parks in town?
- Is the city supportive of the more than half  of the population who own pets and the over twenty million people annually who travel with them? Does the city regulate or over-regulate what you can do with your dog? Has the city helped create more dog-friendly areas or has the city limited and restricted access to people with dogs, including travelers? 

This criteria is focused on what a city has to offer travelers with dogs in tow. While the criteria does not include rating a city based on local pet ordinances for residents, sometimes travelers with pets are affected by such ordinances. For example, Toronto was removed from the 2005 list because a law went into effect in Ontario in which Pit Bulls or dogs that may look like Pit Bulls can be confiscated by the local government. The dog does not have to be exhibiting any kind of bad behavior, it just has to look like a Pit Bull. We did not want an unknowing traveler to have their dog taken away and therefore removed Toronto. More information about breed restrictions is available at this link.

In addition to the Top 10 cities, DogFriendly.com has also listed five cities that deserve honorable mentions as places to visit with your dog. Some of these cities might make the Top 10 list in the future.

DogFriendly.com's Top 10 Cities To Visit in the United States and Canada:

1. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - Vancouver, British Columbia  is our top city in North America for 2006. Visit Historic Gastown, Granville Island and the Capilano Bridge and Park with your pooch. Many ferries allow leashed dogs of all sizes and the city's public transportation allows small dogs in carriers. The city has many outdoor restaurants and cafes and quite a few of the stores allow you to shop inside with your dog. When in Vancouver consider taking a dog-friendly trip to the Hell's Gate Airtram and to Victoria on Vancouver Island. While on Vancouver Island  be sure to see the beautiful  Butchart Gardens. There are numerous beaches and parks that welcome you and your dog. Last fall, Vancouver removed its requirement that certain breeds be muzzled in public.

DogFriendly.com's U.S. and Canada Dog Travel Guide Book - 3rd Edition  - The Only Dog Travel Guide for dogs of all sizes! Includes Dog-Friendly Accommodations, a Beach Guide, More City Guides than ever with attractions, restaurants, parks & more. Dog-Friendly Highway Guides  for 25 Major Interstates and Highways, a New Dog Park Guide and a National Park Guide. Travel With More Than One Dog? This book tells you which hotels allow multiple Dogs.   Look here for details

2.  San Francisco, California - For an upscale vacation with your dog, consider the City by the Bay.  There are many first class hotels as well as economy hotels that welcome you and your dog. Try the W Hotel, the Serrano Hotel or the Palace Hotel. Dogs are allowed on the public transportation, including the famous Cable Cars, Muni buses, trains and some of the ferries. Small dogs are allowed on the regional BART trains that run to the East Bay. Most parks and beaches in the city allow leashed dogs and many allow off-leash dogs. If you  visit San Francisco in August, you can attend the annual Dog Day at a San Francisco Giants major league baseball game.

3. Chicago, Illinois - The Windy City  has many things to do with your dog while visiting. Stay at the pet-friendly Loews House of Blues Hotel, W or Hilton in the downtown area. Take a horse and carriage ride, a boat tour on the Chicago River, or take your leashed dog to Navy Pier or to visit the world famous Buckingham Fountain. Chicago ranked number one on this list a year ago. While still very dog friendly, over the past year, Chicago enacted a $35 annual fee and requires health  records for use of its dog parks and dog beach. While this may work for locals (we are not sure that they really like this either) it makes these parks difficult for tourists to use. The city offers no options for pay as you go use of their dog parks.

4. Boston, Massachusetts - Getting around Boston with your dog is easy as the Boston T (subway) allows leashed dogs of all sizes during non-rush hours. An abundance of parks, including Boston Common, Minute Man National Historical Park, the Arnold Arboretum and Back Bay Fens give you and your dog an escape from the busy city. You can also stroll the 2 mile Freedom Trail with your dog (follow the red arrows on the sidewalk), take a ferry boat ride together, visit the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, or take a horse and carriage ride through the historic areas. While in Boston, visit nearby Cape Cod (which you and your dog can get to by ferry) or Salem for  some spooky fun.

5. Austin, Texas - While in Austin you can stay at one of the numerous dog-friendly La Quinta Hotels, Red Roof Inns or Holiday Inns throughout the city. You and your dog can visit the Botanical Gardens, take a walking tour of downtown or let the horse do the walking for you and your dog on carriage tour. Austin has  a large number of dog-friendly parks as well as off-leash dog parks. Don't forget to show your dog the most interesting tourist attraction in town, the Congress Street Bat Colony. Around sunset from around March to November the bats all fly out looking for food. This spring, Austin clarified in the city code that leashed dogs may eat at restaurants that serve outdoors, removing the uncertainty of city regulation on restaurants that have been serving outside for years. 

6. Seattle, Washington - In Seattle, you can take your leashed dog with you on the cities buses and trains as they allow well-behaved leashed dogs. The Washington State Ferries, the state's number one tourist attraction, also allow leashed dogs. Take your dog to Bainbridge Island on the ferry for a great view of downtown Seattle. Your dog will love the parks throughout the city and the Sand Point Magnusion Park off-leash beach area. You can take a carriage ride through Pioneer Square or visit the Sculpture Garden in Seattle Center. 

7. New York City - The Big Apple has a large number of upscale dog-friendly hotels. Try one of the many W Hotels in the City, the Pennsylvania Hotel across from Madison Square Garden, or for a small dog, the Trump International Hotel. You may be able to get around the city with your dog by taxi as some, but not all, drivers will pick up people with dogs. There are also a number of Pet Taxi services in the city that you can call. You will see many dogs, some fully decked out in their winter outfits, walking around Manhattan.  Many of the famous stores and department stores in Manhattan will allow leashed dogs to accompany you. Take a walking tour of lower Manhattan, a carriage ride at Central Park or a ride on the Seastreak Ferry to New Jersey with your dog. New York has 30 off-leash dog parks and areas scattered throughout the city. While there are, unfortunately,  no dog-friendly beaches in the city there is now a man-made swimming area for dogs at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

8. Long Beach (Los Angeles Area), CA - On your next visit with your dog to Southern California, consider visiting new and improved Long Beach. Long Beach, the fifth largest city in the state, recently became home to the first off-leash dog beach in Los Angeles County in decades. The three acre "Dog Beach Zone" is the only legal off-leash beach for dogs in the approximately 70 miles of Los Angeles County's coastline. The beach was the result of the efforts of Justin Rudd and his Haute Dogs organization. Long Beach is the site of numerous annual, nationally-famous dog events including the Haute Dog Easter Parade and Howl'oween Parade, the Bulldog Beauty Contest, an Interfaith Blessing of the Animals, the Haute Dog Poetry Contest, Operation Santa Paws and Super Pet Adoption Fairs. Long Beach is also a central site between many  dog-friendly attractions in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach in Orange County and Los Angeles.

9. St Louis, MO - St Louis has a large number of attractions to keep you and your dog occupied for days. St Louis is home to the dog-friendly AKC Museum of the Dog, a Transportation Museum and Purina Farms in Gray Summit. In addition, you can take in a riverboat ride on the Mississippi, view the Gateway Arch from outside, and visit many nearby wineries with your dog. There are numerous pet-friendly hotels in the area. Of the dog parks in the city, only the Quail Ridge Dog Park in suburban Wentzville allows free access to visiting dogs. 

10.Northern Virginia (Washington DC Area) - During the summer months you may cruise the Potomac with your dog on the Potomac Riverboat Co. Canine Cruises.  Visit the outdoor areas of historic Mount Vernon, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island. Hike the Mount Vernon Trail from Washington DC to Mount Vernon or visit over twenty off-leash dog parks with your dog. In historical Alexandria you can treat your dog to a carriage ride or attend  the Doggie Happy Hour at the Old Town Holiday Inn Select during the summer months on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While in Northern Virginia you can visit the National Mall in Washington, where you and your dog can see all of the monuments from the outside and enjoy a visit to Georgetown and the C&O Canal.

Honorable Mentions - While these five cities did not make our top ten this year, they are also excellent places to take your dog on vacation.

- Charleston, SC
- Indianapolis, IN
- Philadelphia, PA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- San Diego, CA


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Before you visit an establishment or place, please contact them and verify that they are still dog-friendly and available, as policies and management change frequently. All places listed on DogFriendly.com require your dog to be leashed and under your direct control unless specified  otherwise by an establishments (including parks and beaches) management. Please be aware of local Breed-Specific Laws that may be in place where you are visiting. The information on this site is not a recommendation. DogFriendly.com, Inc. makes no warranties or representations of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of the site or the information, content, materials, or products included on this site. If you find an establishment that no longer allows dogs, please let us know so we can remove them from our list. For full Rules and Regulations for Use of This Site, including the legal disclaimer and copyright notices,  click here before using the site
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