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Best U.S. Cities for Dogs

Want to move to a dog-friendly city? With tons of dog parks, pet-friendly businesses, and outdoor recreation spaces for your furry friend, these best U.S. cities for dogs should be at the top of your list!

Austin, TX

  • Population: 907,779
  • Home Price: $257,800 median purchase price; $1,106 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 14% of U.S. cities

Not only is Austin one of the best big cities in the U.S. and one of the best U.S. cities for jobs, but it’s also the Live Music Capital of the World, featuring more than 250 live music venues throughout the city! With friendly locals, delicious street food, and a trendy culture that’s all about keeping it weird, it’s no surprise that the Texas capital is a hot spot for young adults looking for a fun place to live—especially those who want to bring their dogs along, too! Austin has nearly 20 off-leash dog parks and a variety of pet-friendly restaurants, bars, and shops that make the city ideal for pet owners.

Things to Do with Your Dog in Austin

Spend some time playing with your dog in the water at the off-leash Red Bud Isle Dog Park. Take your four-legged friend on a hike through Barton Creek Greenbelt. Practice your Downward Dog pose along with your pup at the dog-friendly yoga studio, Austin Doga. Walk with your pet through themed gardens like the Taniguchi Japanese Garden and Hartman Prehistoric Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden. Sip on Altstadt Lager or Meanwhile Pilsner while your pup explores the off-leash dog park at Yard Bar. Enjoy lakeside views while sipping down cups of Bottomless Coffee with a Blueberry Lemon Scone on the pet-friendly patio at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters. Listen to live music in the outdoor space and chow down a famous sausage at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer with your dog in tow. Or play pickleball and snack on food truck eats like Baby Back Rib Wings while your furry friend roams the fenced-in dog park at Bouldin Acres—one of the best dog-friendly restaurants in Austin.

Chicago, IL

  • Population: 2,714,017
  • Home Price: $225,200 median purchase price, $987 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 5% of U.S. cities

Want to live in a big city with your four-legged pal? You can’t go wrong with Chicago! More affordable than coastal competitors like NYC and LA, this enormous Midwest metro frequently tops the list of best cities in the U.S. because of its world-class arts and entertainment, high-end shopping, ever-expanding culinary scene, and thrilling nightlife. And with tons of pet-friendly bars and restaurants, as well as several dog-friendly parks and beaches, it’s no wonder why Chicago is among the best places for dogs in America!

Things to Do with Your Dog in Chicago

Go for a run or play in Lake Michigan with your furry friend at Montrose Beach Dog-Friendly Area. Witness incredible Chicago skyline views and waterways with your pup on Mercury’s Canine Cruise. Run your dog through agility equipment or let them explore in off-leash areas when you head over to Wiggly Field—named after Chicago’s famous Wrigley Field. Spend an afternoon strolling through the open spaces or enjoy outdoor programs and weekly jazz concerts with your pup on your lap at Navy Pier. Sit at a pet-friendly outdoor table while enjoying Fried Chicken Tacos and margaritas at Broken English Taco Pub. Or meet up with friends for a drink at one of the many dog-friendly bars in Chicago, like Ludlow Liquors and DryHop Brewers.

Colorado Springs, CO

  • Population: 448,759
  • Home Price: $222,100 median purchase price, $958 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 10% of U.S. cities

A crossroads for historians, architects, and artists, Colorado Springs is also one of the best places to live for veterans or if you’re hoping to buy a home in the U.S.! Located near Pike National Forest, residents get incredible views of the mountains—including the well-known Pike’s Peak—and have a wide array of outdoor recreation opportunities with hiking trails, ski resorts, and camping destinations all close by. This also makes Colorado Springs an amazing place to live for adventurous dogs and owners who like to be outdoors!

Things to Do with Your Dog in Colorado Springs

Explore Pike National Forest with your dog along Hilltop Mine Trail or challenge yourself to the 8.5-mile trail known as Devil’s Playground from the Crags. Enjoy a picnic with your furry friend at Red Rock Canyon Open Space, or swim after a long hike at Stratton Open Space. Take your dog out on one of the best hikes in Colorado Springs while you breathe in scenic views at Garden of the Gods. Check out ancient architecture with your dog in nearby Manitou Springs at Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Let your dog loose to romp in the enclosed play area while dining at dog-friendly restaurant Pub Dog Colorado. Or grab a Dos Lunas or Box Car craft brew while hanging out on the patio with your pet at Phantom Canyon Brewery.

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Denver, CO

golden retriever puppy sitting on a corner in Denver, CO photo by Instagram user @st.iggy.smalls

Photo via @st.iggy.smalls

  • Population: 663,303
  • Home Price: $292,700 median purchase price; $1,035 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 3% of U.S. cities

Love Colorado, but want to live somewhere a bit busier? Denver is about as perfect as they come among other best big cities in the U.S. With an affordable cost of living, a huge craft beer scene, plenty of pro sports, and a continuously-growing job market, Colorado’s capital city is the go-to place for entrepreneurs, young professionals, and mountain-lovers. To make it all better, Mile High City is a great place to live for dog owners, thanks to it being one of the best cities for outdoor recreation.

Things to Do with Your Dog in Denver

Catch a Colorado Rockies (MLB) baseball game during Bark at the Park—a dog-friendly event held every summer at Coors Field. Play with your pooch and meet other local dog owners at one of Denver’s 12 off-leash dog parks. Support a local animal shelter and attend the annual Furry Scurry charity walk hosted by Dumb Friends League. Enjoy a Campus Lounge Burger and a Guinness with Fido by your side on the patio of one of Denver’s best dog-friendly restaurants, Recess Beer Garden. Or try the Princess Yum Yum Raspberry Kolsch or the Graham Cracker Porter with your dog by your side at pet-friendly Denver Beer Co.

Kansas City, MO

  • Population: 471,767
  • Home Price: $135,900 median purchase price; $826 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 2% of U.S. cities

Kansas City, MO is an excellent place to experience the Midwest lifestyle! This rapidly-growing city offers low-cost housing, healthcare, and transportation, making it one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S. Not to mention, the city is chock-full of beautiful art, culture, and outdoor recreation spaces. KCMO has 220 parks and over 100 miles of trails, so there’s no shortage of dog-friendly areas to enjoy all four seasons with your best friend.

Things to Do with Your Dog in Kansas City

Play fetch with your four-legged friend in the heart of KCMO at Penn Valley Park. Swing through five acres of off-leash space at the beautiful Swope Park. Let your pup exercise and socialize while you relax under the sun at West Terrace Dog Park. Give your dog a challenge on the agility course, suitable for both small and large dogs, or head down the trail at Waggin’ Trail Park. Marvel at sculptures while walking your dog through Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Try rotating animal-themed craft beers like the Chaos Monkey and Fluffle Kerfuffle at the indoor dog-friendly brewery, Casual Animal Brewing Company. Order your furry friend a Doggo Burger in the beer garden at Brewery Emperial. Or take your pup down to enjoy a Straw Dog or Doggie Pile cocktail while they run through an enclosed dog park at Bar K.

Las Vegas, NV

  • Population: 613,295
  • Home Price: $184,900 median purchase price, $985 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 18% of U.S. cities

Like most Southwestern cities with warm weather, Las Vegas is a favorite among snowbirds, retirees, families, and young professionals seeking a place to live where there’s plenty to do and see year-round! And while Sin City might be better known for its casinos and shows on The Strip, it’s a top dog-friendly place to live in the U.S.! What makes this Nevada city a great place for pooches? It’s the beautiful weather, pet-friendly businesses, and the number of dog parks per resident!

Things to Do with Your Dog in Las Vegas

Bring your pup with you to experience a fantastic outdoor art installation at Seven Magic Mountains. Find a slew of Las Vegas trails fit for you and your four-legged pal at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. Spend some time in the dog run at Desert Breeze Dog Park—or pop over to the indoor play area at Barx Parx if it’s too hot for their paws. Wake up in the morning with a Butterbeer Latte while your dog snacks on treats at Sunrise Coffee. Take your dog with you to chow down burgers on the outdoor patio at Park on Fremont. Or sip a Leglifter Light or Tailwagger Wheat and enjoy some quality time with your best friend outside at Big Dog’s Brewing Company.

Madison, WI

  • Population: 246,034
  • Home Price: $217,000 median purchase price; $959 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 27% of U.S. cities

Madison is one of the best places to live in the Midwest, thanks to an affordable cost of living and a growing economy. Known as “The City of Four Lakes”, Madison encompasses several bodies of water, including Lake Mendota, for an unmatched mix of outdoor recreation for you and your dog. The city’s many pet-friendly state parks are perfect for playing fetch under the morning sun or going on late-night walks. Even when the weather’s frozen over, there are countless ways to partake in wintertime diversions outdoors with your snow pup.

Things to Do with Your Dog in Madison

Take your furry friend to run and play at the open Warner Park. Bike down the trail and let your pup get some exercise at Sycamore Park. Spend time camping and hiking with your dog at the Capital Springs Recreation Area. Keep your pup leashed while you shop at a selection of Madison boutiques at the Hilldale Shopping Center. Take your dog for grooming or let them socialize while you enjoy a cold Pumpkin Blend and live music at the Boneyard. Sip on a Stateline Vodka or Gin while eating Stuffed Grilled Cheese in the dog-friendly outdoor seating area at Alchemy Cafe. Or try a bowl of authentic Wisconsin-Style Cheddar Mac or Chicken Pot Pie at the pet-friendly Great Dane Pub.

Minneapolis, MN

  • Population: 404,670
  • Home Price: $212,800 median purchase price; $898 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 2% of U.S. cities

Minneapolis, also known as the “Mini Apple,” offers diverse job opportunities—from tech to healthcare—and a selection of safe, affordable neighborhoods to settle down in. Dog lovers will appreciate that the city is home to a high number of dog-friendly local green spaces. In fact, 98% of Minneapolis residents live within a ten-minute walk from one of the 274 parks scattered throughout the city. Not to mention, the abundance of pet-friendly restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops make moving to Minneapolis worth it for both humans and their beloved canines!

Things to Do with Your Dog in Minneapolis

Admire limestone buffs and river overlooks while playing fetch or wandering the trails at Minnehaha Regional Park. Go for a jog with your furry friend near the beach at Bde Maka Ska Park. Appreciate world-class Contemporary art while your dog socializes at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Walk with your pup while checking out specialty retailers at Seven Points, a renovated shopping center. Attend Pups & Pizza Date Night or shop at the MLPS Pet Market at Unleashed Hounds & Hops. Taste locally roasted organic coffees, teas, and smoothies while your friend gets homemade dog treats at In The Loop Coffee Co. Or sip a Wonderstuff Pilsner or Guavatron Pink Guava Gose beside your best friend at Bauhaus Brew Labs.

Portland, OR

  • Population: 620,589
  • Home Price: $319,400 median purchase price, $1,025 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 10% of U.S. Cities

Portland is one of the best places to live on the West Coast! With its thriving startup culture, trendy coffee shops and food trucks, a huge array of outdoor activities, and no sales tax to worry about, it’s no surprise that this hip Oregon city is popular among young adults and outdoor enthusiasts. And with its wide range of off-leash dog parks, pet-friendly restaurants and bars, and pleasant year-round weather, this Pacific Northwest hot spot is also ideal for dog owners and their best friends!

Things to Do with Your Dog in Portland

Get out for an afternoon and hit the trails with your dog at the Forest Park Conservancy or Mt. Tabor Park. Run with your furry friend in grassy fields or let them explore the off-leash dog park at Sellwood Riverfront Park. Play frisbee and run around a designated dog area at Wallace Park. Take your pup to one of Portland’s best off-leash spots located along the Willamette River at Willamette Park. Experience some of the city’s best street food scattered throughout the Portland area with your pup when you spot Portland Food Carts. Go for a weekend stroll and pick up fresh produce at the dog-friendly farmers market, Portland Saturday Market. Or treat your pooch to canine cuisines like Fido Food and Doggo Desert while relaxing outdoors at Tin Shed Garden Cafe.

San Diego, CA

  • Population: 1,374,812
  • Home Price: $488,600 median purchase price, $1,427 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 33% of U.S. Cities

Sunny San Diego has everything you could ever want for living a West Coast lifestyle—year-round mild weather, outdoor recreation opportunities, ocean views, and beach access—alongside a diverse dining and nightlife scene, and plenty of arts and entertainment to check out! But this California haven isn’t just paradise for humans. San Diego is also a top pet-friendly city thanks to its variety of canine-friendly activities, businesses, parks, beaches, and more!

Things to Do with Your Dog in San Diego

Take a dip in the Pacific Ocean or attend the annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon competition at Del Mar North Beach, also known as “Dog Beach.” Get some energy out for non-swimmers at San Diego dog parks like Nate’s Point and Canine Corners—both of which have large open areas for your dog to play. Go kayaking or head off to Fiesta Island‘s dog beach through the Paddle with Your Pup program at Aqua Adventures. Sit on the patio and enjoy margaritas while your dog samples dishes from the Doggie Menu at Casa de Freds. Soak up the sun and try out a Coral Reef Cocktail while your pup enjoys Surf & T-Arf at Sally’s Fish House & Bar. Or check out the monthly wine specials and treats for your pup on the dog-friendly patio at The Wine Pub.

Seattle, WA

  • Population: 668,849
  • Home Price: $484,600 median purchase price; $1,266 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 7% of U.S. cities

Seattle is Washington’s largest city and one of the best cities for singles, young professionals, and families. A vast number of community centers and outdoor recreation spaces make Seattle the perfect place to ride a bike, enjoy a picnic, or play fetch with your pooch. Emerald City is home to a 6,441-acre park system with over 489 public parks, so whether you’re admiring breathtaking views or taking advantage of hiking opportunities, there are countless ways to enjoy a day out with your four-legged friend.

Things to Do with Your Dog in Seattle

Let your hound prance around one of Seattle’s 14 off-leash dog parks—and be sure to hit the largest off-leash area in the city, Warren G. Magnuson Park Off-Leash Area. Hike down the trail and experience nature with Fido at your side at Seward Park. Explore dog-friendly walking trails and stake out scenic picnicking spots at Washington Park Arboretum. Sip a beer and meet up with friends while your pooch socializes indoors or outdoors at the Dogwood Play Park. Enjoy daily happy hour and pass your pup a Chicken Bow Wow Bowl at Norms Kitchen & Bar. Take your pick from beers, ciders, wines, mimosas, or hard seltzers while your pet wanders around the outdoor turf at Voff Dog Park. Don’t forget to celebrate your pet’s birthday and grab a custom Barkday Cake from The Seattle Barkery!

Tampa, FL

belgian malinois sitting down near the Tampa Bay photo by Instagram user @leozmalinois

Photo via @leozmalinois

  • Population: 361,477
  • Home Price: $172,100 median purchase price, $983 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 23% of U.S. cities

Tampa is a top destination in Florida, especially for retirees and their pups! But considering its wonderful tropical weather, affordable living, beach access, and popular attractions like Busch Gardens and The Florida Aquarium, the Tampa Bay Area offers a little something for everyone—including dogs! The city has a range of off-leash parks, pet-friendly beach spots, and dog-friendly businesses that allow people to enjoy Tampa life with their pets in tow.

Things to Do with Your Dog in Tampa

Get in some dog socialization time when you take your pick from Tampa’s local dog parks. Check out the beach and let your dog cool off in the water at Picnic Island Park Dog Beach. Get in some shopping and bring your four-legged friend along with you at Hyde Park Village. Go for a nice long walk with your dog on the Upper Tampa Bay Trail. Take a day trip to St. Petersburg for an unforgettable sunset cruise with your canine companion at Shell Key Shuttle. Order burgers, wraps, and sandwiches for lunch and even get your pet something from the dog menu at Sweet Sage Cafe. Find your new favorite dog-friendly hangout at The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille, which offers incredible pub food and drink specials. Or sit right on the water with cocktails during “Yappy Hour” on the pet-friendly patio at The Sail.

Tucson, AZ

  • Population: 527,586
  • Home Price: $132,200 median purchase price, $722 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 7% of U.S. cities

Want to live somewhere warm with your pet? Consider Tucson! This Arizona city was named the second-most dog-friendly city in 2022 thanks to its incredible year-round weather, number of dog parks, and wide range of local attractions, restaurants, and bars that allow dogs to tag along with their owners. Of course, living in Tucson isn’t just a good choice for pet lovers—it’s also a smart option for anyone seeking affordable housing, as Tucson’s cost of housing is 25% lower than the national average!

Things to Do with Your Dog in Tucson

Explore popular spots for locals and their dogs at one of the many Tucson hiking trails, such as the relaxing Catalina Canyon Loop Trail or the more difficult Agua Caliente Hill Trail. Bring your pup along for a stroll during the months of June through September at Tucson Botanical Gardens. Take your furry friend to burn off some energy in the dog park at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park. Bring your best friend along to sit on the patio for brunch in Tucson and taste dishes like Poblano Verde Beni and Cast Iron Duck Confit at Prep & Pastry. Set down a water bowl for your pet while you sip a Tucson Blonde Ale with a Plain Jayne burger at Barrio Brewing Co. Or sample local brews like a Golden Stout or Hops of Fury IPA on the dog-friendly patio at Arizona Beer House.


Moving to one of these dog-friendly U.S. cities? Extra Space Storage has convenient facilities throughout the country to help with your transition. Find available storage units near you!

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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.