San Francisco's Baker Beach
San Francisco has a population of 805,000 in only 47 square miles. This makes it the second most densely populated city in the U.S. after New York. This is good for people visiting with dogs as it makes the city very walkable. To walk from anywhere to anywhere else in San Francisco you would not have to walk more than 7 miles. Most of the visitor areas are within three miles of each other, however. San Francisco is very scenic and has many hills some of which are quite steep with sidewalks made as stairs. There is a lot to do for a visitor with a dog in the City by the Bay.
San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods where you can easily walk to where you want to go. To get around town between neighborhoods you can drive (although parking can be expensive), take the famous cable cars or the MUNI buses or subways. Dogs are allowed on all of these, although they may require that you muzzle your dog. You should have a muzzle with you when using the public transportation with a dog. BART, the larger subway trains that connect San Francisco with the airport, Oakland, Berkeley and the East Bay only allow dogs small enough to be carried. Since most tourists to San Francisco want a cable car ride, that is the choice we would take if one is available.
One neighborhood where tourists inevitably end up is the Fisherman's Wharf area. There are little shops, patio dining and all kinds of tourist attractions here. Dogs will enjoy walking the area with you and can go in some shops and patio restaurants. Also nearby here is Ghirardelli Square, famous for chocolate and ice cream. The Ghirardelli Square Shopping Center also has a number of stores that welcome your dog and dogs are allowed in the common areas. Usually, there will be all kinds of street entertainment in this area as well as carriage rides. Next door is the Italian neighborhood with shops and restaurants.
You can visit San Francisco's famous Chinatown with your dog although it is a somewhat crowded area to walk. Also, there are very limited options for outdoor dining so you may need to get food to go here. Other activities in San Francisco for you and your dog are to walk the most crooked street in the world on Lombard St, view the city from the hill at Coit Tower, walk the 3.5 mile Barbary Coast Trail or drive the 49 Mile Scenic Drive where you can follow the signs. The 49 Mile Drive will visit most of the major sights in the city. Once or twice each year you can take your dog to a San Francisco Giants baseball game at AT&T Park but during every game there is a viewing gate where you can catch a few plays. There is also usually an annual Bark and Wine Ball where people and dogs can party it up.
San Francisco has many dog-friendly restaurants. Rogue Ales Public House has a dog menu as well as food and drink for the people in your party. Cuisine choices at dog-friendly restaurants range from organic and natural foods to hamburgers, smoothies, fish and steak. One of our favorites is ice cream at Ghirardelli Square. For dog-friendly shopping there are many choices including the world famous Union Square district especially around Christmas, Westfield San Francisco Center and Ghirardelli Square.
San Francisco has more off-leash areas for dogs than almost any city in North America. New York and Calgary may have more, but there are a lot in San Francisco. There are over twenty off-leash dog parks in San Francisco. For a large city, there are a lot of dog-friendly beaches as well. Baker Beach in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Funston and Burton Beach and Ocean Beach are all dog-friendly.
Pet-friendly hotels are mostly high-end, expensive hotels in San Francisco downtown and tourist areas. For a real bargain, you will have to stay in the suburbs. If you want especially dog-friendly accommodations try the Palomar, Argonaut , Serrano , Sir Francis Drake, Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf or the Hilton San Francisco. If you have an RV, the only place near town is the Candlestick RV Park near the stadium.
There are many nearby places to go for dog-friendly road trips from San Francisco. Day trips can include Napa Valley, Marin and Sonoma Counties just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is also Oakland, San Jose & Silicon Valley and Berkeley. For overnight trips, three hours north is Mendocino and four hours east is Lake Tahoe. Three hours south are Monterey and Carmel and two hours south is Santa Cruz.