San Francisco has some of the best urban playgrounds for dogs in America today. There are more than 1,000 acres of green space and several off-leash dog areas within the city. Not only is there an abundance of places for your four-legged best friend to run around in, many neighborhoods have shops and restaurants that are dog-friendly as well!
San Francisco pup Cooper and his mom are active outdoor explorers and love to find new areas to explore together. Here are their five favorite dog-friendly places in San Francisco:
1. Crissy Field
Crissy Field is hands down one of the loveliest places to spend a day with your pup! It is a former U.S. Army airfield that’s now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Right next to the West Bluff picnic area is a large open field where your dog can be off-leash and get a panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge with the Marin Headlands in the background. The beach is also right there and guess what? Off-leash romping is allowed!
When you and your pup are done enjoying the view and playing at Crissy Field, head on over to Chestnut Street or Union Street to do some shopping around the neighborhood. There are a plethora of dog-friendly shops and restaurants along these two streets. The Palace of Fine Arts is also right next door and it boasts a fantastic place for a photo opportunity!
TIP: Go to Crissy field during sunset hours – it’s calmer and a lot less busy at that time of day. When it’s not foggy in San Francisco, you can get a glimpse of a beautiful cotton candy sunset with the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge.
2. Lands’ End
Just off the coast of San Francisco in the northwestern corner lies a series of trails where you can stroll along through cypress trees and wildflowers galore. It’s right next to the Sutro Baths ruins where you can see views of shipwrecks and the Pacific Ocean.
Lands’ End makes for a fantastic hike on a clear, crisp morning. The hike isn’t strenuous at all and there are a few hidden gems as you make your way along the trails. Try to find the labyrinth and get a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge on the bluffs! This area is delightful and more enjoyable when you have your dog with you (off-leash allowed), and you can easily spend two hours or more here. Parking is extremely easy and there’s a cafe in the parking lot in case you want to grab a quick coffee or a small bite.
TIP: Make your way to Baker Beach, another dog-friendly beach that allows off-leash play, at the end of the Lands’ End trail. Careful, there may be some nudists on a warm sunny day!
3. Dolores Park
One of the most iconic and popular spots in San Francisco is also dog-friendly! The park recently finished renovation in the early half of 2017 and offers one of the most stunning views of the San Francisco skyline. On hot days, Dolores Park is often filled with humans basking in the sunshine. There are two designated areas at Dolores Park that dogs can be off-leash, but on-leash dogs are welcome everywhere. Just be sure your pup doesn’t go stealing picnic food! It happens more often than you think.
The great thing about Dolores Park is that it’s right at the heart of the Mission District (Dolores St. & 19th St.), which makes playing in the park and doing window shopping afterwards easy. You and your pup can make your way toward Valencia Street where there are a ton of dog-friendly shops and restaurants with outdoor seating. At almost every shop, there are water bowls set out for any thirsty pups passing by. Some shops even also offer yummy treats for your visiting pup. For lunch, head to Beretta for some delicious pizza! Then grab yourself a sweet drink at Boba Guys on Valencia and 19th St.
TIP: Go to Clarion Alley to see some amazing murals! It’s a small alley that sits right between Valencia St. and Mission St. near 17th Street and 18th Street. Clarion Alley is notable for their ever-changing murals created by local artists. Find your favorite artwork and snap a photo with your pup!
4. Alta Plaza Park
Alamo Square is a popular destination within the city but it’s often way too crowded during the daytime. Instead, head on over to Alta Plaza Park for an equally amazing view of the city while also letting your dog off-leash for some fun time activity. Alta Plaza is a large hilltop park that sits on the western edge of the Pacific Heights neighborhood. The neat thing about it is the location where you can see Alcatraz Island from a distance on the north side. Not too far from Alta Plaza is Fillmore Street. Similar to how dog-friendly the Mission District is, Pacific Heights is also welcoming to dogs. There are many shops that your pup can accompany you into, as well as plenty of outdoor seating restaurants to enjoy.
TIP: The south side of the Plaza has a huge set of stairs that will give your and your pup’s legs a good workout!
5. Fort Funston
Saving the best for last, Fort Funston is known as heaven on Earth for dogs here in San Francisco! It’s located on Skyline Blvd and has a plethora of open space where dogs are allowed off-leash roam and play. It also has plenty of trails, beach areas, and happy dogs to keep any four-legged canine satisfied. Just make sure your dog is well-behaved and responds well to voice commands.
TIP: Fort Funston has free parking and there are many different trails you can explore that will take you along the bluffs or down to the shore. And if you’re looking for a panoramic view of the coast, next to the parking lot is a platform with a gorgeous view up and down the shoreline!
All in all, these are some of the most dog-friendly place to be when visiting San Francisco! You and your dog can look forward to lots of fun explorations and adventures – plus many smiles and happy wags!
If you have any suggestion(s) on other dog-friendly places to visit in San Francisco, feel free to leave a comment!
About the author: Kim is a dog lover and avid outdoor explorer. She lives in Northern California with her corgi, Cooper, and when they’re not traveling, they enjoy a good urban hike within their eclectic city.
Find her on Instagram: @littlecooperbear