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Dog Parks's 3rd Annual

Top 10 Dog-Friendly Cities
To Visit in North America - 2005

Top 10 Dog-Friendly Resorts coming next month

Chicago from a Lake Michigan Boat Tour announces its 3rd Annual Top 10 Dog-Friendly Cities to Visit In North America has once again ranked the cities in the United States and Canada to determine its newest list of the Top 10 Best Dog-Friendly Cities to Visit - 2005. This year we are doing something a little different from previous years. We are separating out cities and resort communities into two separate lists. We feel that these types of places offer different environments with different expectations to the canine and human visitor.

At this time we are announcing our list of the top 10 cities and the list of the top 10 resort areas will be announced in the summer. This list consists of cities with populations greater than 100,000. The challenge for the person visiting a larger city with a dog is that these cities are more crowded, busier and in some ways more difficult to navigate with your four-legged friend. Dogs, especially if large, are rarely allowed on public transportation and at indoor shopping malls. People with dogs must often walk or use their cars to get around which can often be difficult in a city. However, we have found a number of cities that are quite interesting for people who visit with a dog. City ranking are also helped by nice weather, as people with dogs are usually more likely to be looking for outdoor recreation, cafes and attractions. However, a number of our top ten cities are in cold weather or wet climates, but are usually nice places to visit during the major travel season.

The Criteria used to rank the Top-10 Dog-Friendly Cities of 2005 are as follows:
- To find quality dog-friendly places.
- To find a complete package of dog-friendly places for travelers including lodging, attractions, outdoor restaurants, hikes, beaches and stores
- To find places that welcome well-behaved dogs of all sizes and breeds.
- To find cities that welcome both small and large dogs on public transportation (buses, subways, street cars, ferries, etc) or are easy to drive around and to park in.
- Find cities that do not unreasonably regulate well-behaved, leashed dogs in public places.

Below is our Top 10 list of cities in the United States and Canada. Click on any link below for detailed dog-friendly listings for each city.

1. Chicago, Illinois - We found that Chicago has many things to do for visitors who bring their dogs. Chicago offers upscale hotels that welcome dogs and for sightseeing, there are horse and carriage rides, as well as boat tours on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. The White Sox have an annual "Dog Day" baseball game each spring. Navy Pier welcomes leashed dogs. Add to this an excellent park system with Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain and the 18 mile Lakefront Trail as well as dog-friendly outdoor cafes and pet-friendly bars and Chicago is a top-rated place to visit with your pup. Room for Improvement - Dogs, even small dogs in carriers or on peoples laps, are not allowed on the public transit system.

2. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - Vancouver also has a lot to offer for visitors with dogs. This city has many outdoor restaurants and cafes. Check out Historic Gastown, Granville Island, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park. Translink, the ferry, train and bus system, allows small dogs in carriers. The other Vancouver ferries allow well-behaved, leashed dogs. Out of town nearby dog-friendly destinations include Victoria and the Hell's Gate Airtram. Room for Improvement - The rain (which we can't really blame the city for) and the Vancouver to Alaska Ferry System which only allow dogs in the cars (where people are not allowed) thus separating you from your pet for most of the 15 hour BC Ferry ride to Prince Ruppert and the Four day route run by the Alaska State Ferry to Alaska. (Please see the correction to the Translink information - Small Dogs in Carriers are allowed on Translink - we originally incorrectly wrote that dogs of all sizes are allowed on Translink).

3. Boston, Massachusetts - The public trains and subway cars (Boston T) allows well-behaved, leashed dogs of all sizes to tag along, making Boston one of the easiest cities to get around for people vacationing with dogs. An abundance of parks, including Boston Common, the Arnold Arboretum and Back Bay Fens give you and your dog an escape from the busy city. You can also hike the 2 mile city Freedom Trail with your dog (follow the red arrows on the sidewalk), visit the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, or take a horse and carriage ride together through historic areas. For swimming you can visit Carson Beach. Out of town nearby dog-friendly trips include Cape Cod and Bar Harbor. Room for Improvement - Restaurant pet policies seem to change quite often here.

4. San Francisco, California - The City by the Bay is an excellent choice for a dog-friendly vacation. Many of the upscale and less expensive hotels welcome your dog. Dogs are allowed on the public transportation which includes the Cable Cars, Muni buses, trains and some of the ferries. This helps you avoid driving your car, which will save you a fortune in parking fees. You can spend the day shopping near Fisherman's Wharf and share some vanilla ice cream with your dog at Ghiradelli Square. Although off-leash policies in the cities parks and beaches have gotten stricter lately, San Francisco still offers more off-leash areas than most other cities. Leashed dogs are allowed in most park and beach areas. The major league baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, have an annual Dog Day at SBC Park usually held in August. Room for Improvement - Driving and parking in San Francisco is nearly impossible at times for visitors. BART (the regional subway trains) and Caltrain (the train from San Francisco to San Jose) do not allow dogs at all.

5. Seattle, Washington - Seattle offers your dog some of the most pet-friendly places available. Well-behaved leashed dogs of all sizes are allowed on the buses and trains throughout the city as well as the Washington State Ferries which is the state's number one tourist attraction. 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 Sculpure Garden in Seattle Center. Room for Improvement - The rain (like Vancouver, we can't blame the city) and dogs are not allowed in some outdoor marketplaces such as Pike Place Market.

6. Salt Lake City, Utah - A newcomer to our top 10 list, Salt Lake City has some beautiful parks for people and dogs. Take in Ensign Peak Trail for a spectacular view of the city below. Liberty Park, a large downtown city park, is very dog-friendly and dogs are allowed in most areas of this large park which offers several large playgrounds for kids and hosts many outdoor summer events that welcome dogs. In the park there is also a small amusement park that your kids will love and your dog can accompany you, just not on the rides. Don't forget to take a horse and carriage ride around the Temple Square in the heart of Salt Lake. For a nearby getaway, try visiting Park City for the day. Room for Improvement - Dogs are not allowed on public transportation but driving and parking in Salt Lake is not too difficult. There are not a lot of outdoor restaurants where dogs can join you.

7. San Diego, California - Dogs love San Diego's off leash parks and especially the beaches. Dog Beach and Fiesta Island offer your dog off-leash beaches second to none in California. Many other beaches allow your well-behaved leashed dog to accompany you. In San Diego you and your pup can ride in a carriage together, or rent a boat or kayak for the afternoon. You can stroll around Old Town State Historic Park with your dog and dine at an outdoor cafe. San Diego has a lot of outdoor restaurants for you and your dog to choose from. Sea World San Diego has day kennels for dogs at a minimal price of $5 per day and they lend you a pager just in case they need get in touch while you are in the park. Nearby attractions include the mountain town of Julian and the wine country of Temecula. Room for Improvement - The San Diego Zoo doesn't allow dogs or have a kennel for dogs to stay in while you visit the zoo. It makes visiting this landmark difficult while traveling with a dog.

8. Tucson, Arizona - Stay at one of the many nice hotels in Tucson that welcome dogs. The Westward Look Resort, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and the Sheraton Tucson are just a few to consider. You can take your dog for a jog along the Rillito River Trail. Old Tucson Studios and Pima Air and Space Museum both allow your well-behaved leashed dog. For an out of town excursion visit nearby famous Tombstone. Room for Improvement - In the summer it will be really hot which can be a problem for people traveling with dogs.


Important: Warning about Traveling to Ontario Province with Dogs 

10. San Antonio, Texas - The Alamo City offers a Texas charm for both you and your dog. It is relatively easy to drive or walk around downtown. You and your dog can visit the Market Square marketplace for some shopping and a meal. Don't forget the Alamo where your dog can view it from up close with you from the outside, but not inside the Alamo. And you can stroll with your pooch along the Riverwalk that meanders through the heart of San Antonio. There are a number of dog-friendly outdoor restaurants and parks throughout San Antonio. Room for Improvement - Lack of off-leash dog parks (we are aware of one in the city). Also most of the upscale hotels in San Antonio don't allow dogs, although there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels in the city.




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 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., 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 that we may 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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