September 14, 2017

So you joined the masses and got a dog.

September 14, 2017

So you joined the masses and got a dog.

Dogs live the good life in San Francisco. Walk down any street and you’ll see a pooch happily trotting along, catching crumbs under cafe tables, or chasing tennis balls in one of the many off-leash neighborhood parks.

In addition to plentiful outdoor spaces for the four-legged to roam, many local restaurants and businesses allow you to bring your furry companions along for happy hour or a three-course meal. Pair that with miles of canine-friendly beach and tons of pet-friendly workplaces, and it’s no wonder we rank as one of the best cities for dogs every year.

A new proposal, however, seeks to limit dog-friendly locations in Golden Gate National Recreation Area (including Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, Land’s End, and Fort Funston). Dog owners are currently fighting to keep many of the spaces listed below dog-friendly. Check them out while you still can.


Baker Beach

Enjoy a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge and watch the waves roll in at Baker Beach. Dogs are allowed on all of Baker Beach, and are allowed to roam off leash north of Lobos Creek. On a sunny day, your pup will have lots of companions to play with. Note: With all beaches west of the Golden Gate Bridge, riptides can be dangerous, so it’s best to use your judgment and keep dogs close to shore. // 1504 Pershing Dr. (Baker Beach),

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach provides 3.5 miles of uncrowded space for dogs to run, dig, and play in the water. They can go off leash from stairwell 1 – 21, and need to be on leash south of that (however, you’ll see dogs off leash on the entirety of the beach). It’s a great place to walk or run along the beach while your pup explores. Note: Even on calm days, the current can be unpredictable. // Point Lobos Avenue (Ocean Beach),

Crissy Field

Crissy Field offers a close-up view of the Golden Gate Bridge and an off-leash beach area where dogs and kids play in the water. Bring a blanket, a book, your camera, and a picnic, and plan to stay for awhile. Within the safety of the SF Bay, the calm waters allow dogs to swim out far to fetch toys. // 1199 E Beach (Crissy Field),

Fort Funston 

Fort Funston is the best place you can go with an active dog. Enjoy beautiful views of the Pacific from the cliffs, then veer right and hike down through the forest to the beach. Turn left when you reach the beach and walk until you hit the stairs. The full loop is 2.2 miles and quite the workout (the climb back up is steep). It’s a fun place to watch hang gliders take off from the cliffs, and you can see whales off the shore during migration season. // Fort Funston Rd.,


Bernal Hill

Bernal Heights Park (aka Bernal Hill) is basically a giant dog park. It’s completely off leash and a great place to go for a short hike on a clear day with panoramic views of the bay and downtown. There’s plenty of dogs, kids, and picnickers to keep you company. // Bernal Heights Blvd. (Bernal Heights),

John McLaren Park

This 312-acre park in Excelsior features seven miles of trails that run through wispy tall grass and green hills. Enjoy a nature hike with your pup or let him run wild with the pack in one of the two designated dog play areas. They can even swim in the duck pond. McLaren is the second largest park in the city, but far less crowded. // 100 John F Shelley Dr. (Excelsior),

Mt. Davidson

Mt. Davison Park is one of the best hikes in the city. It’s also the highest natural point in San Francisco, and has great panoramic views. It’s know for its large, dead tree and a gigantic metal cross. Most people stop at the tree, but if you continue on, there are smaller dirt trails that wind through the forest with much less people on then While it’s not an off leash park, you’ll see dogs walking the trails sans leash. // Myra Way (Mt. Davidson),

Dolores Park

On a sunny day, Dolores Park is packed with dogs, hipsters, and pot-smokers. It’s a great place to people watch and let your dog make friends. Bring a picnic and a blanket, and some tennis balls for your canine. Dogs are allowed to go off leash—hooray. // 19th & Dolores St. (Mission),

Land’s End

All San Francisco residents need to hike the rocky northwest coast of the city at least once. Dogs on leashes are welcome on this 3-mile hike, on which you’ll see beautiful views of the rugged California coastline, wildflowers, and possibly some wildlife. Make sure to explore the Sutro Bath ruins, go in the cave by the baths, and check out seal rock. Keep dogs on the path, as there are some steep drop-offs. // 680 Point Lobos Ave. (Lands End),

Golden Gate Park

GGP features over 1,000 acres of land with a myriad of walking trails for you and your best friend to explore, along with four separate dog runs where canines can go off leash. The park at Fulton & 38th (by the bison fields) is a popular choice since it’s fenced and features a very large open space, which usually hosts tons of dogs every day. It’s mostly sand, so meant for owners who accept the fact that dogs love to get dirty. If you’d like to exercise with your pooch, try a run around Stow Lake. // Golden Gate Park,

Duboce Park

Much loved by neighborhood folk, Duboce Park caters to both humans and four-legged creatures. The off-leash dog play area is roped off, but not fenced. The owners are friendly and like to chat while their dogs chase their tails and each other. // Duboce & Scott St. (Duboce Triangle),

Upper Douglass Dog Park

The Noe Valley dogs all come to play at this park with great views of the city. There is lots of room, and even a short, steep hiking area the runs up the cliffs on the park. The grass is plentiful, great for dogs who enjoy rolling on their backs for hours. The park closes down for a few months every winter and every Wednesday to allow for regrowth and maintenance. // 26th & Douglass St. (Noe Valley),



Dogs like fancy Sunday brunches, too. Or at least, hanging out under one of Outerland’s sidewalk tables. Dine on Eggs in Jail or a (sweet or savory) Dutch baby pancake, then walk it all off on Ocean Beach, just a few blocks away. // 4001 Judah St. (Outer Sunset),

Harmonic Brewery

Drinking beer with your best friend is encouraged at Harmonic Brewery. Regulars frequently bring their dogs, and the chill brewery even provides water bowls for them. They’re not restricted to a patio or outdoor area either; they have the full run of the place (since it doesn’t serve food). Would you expect any less from a brewery in the Dogpatch? // 1050 26th St. (Dogpatch),


A wide selection of craft beer (at affordable prices), laid-back atmosphere, and the option to bring your dog make Toronado a favorite watering hole for many. Enjoy a Pliny the Elder at this no-BS bar in the Lower Haight, while your companion chills under one of the pub tables. The bartenders may be surly to you, but generally like dogs just fine. // 547 Haight St. (Lower Haight),

The Sycamore

Enjoy your bottomless mimosa brunch with your dog in tow. Sycamore features a large back patio where dogs and humans are both welcome. Come to this Mission dive bar for brunch, stay for their great beer selection. // 2140 Mission St. (Mission),

Kitchen Story

This Castro brunch and dinner hot spot features spectacular dishes, cool décor, and outdoor seating. Bacon lovers, don’t miss out on the Millionaire’s Bacon, or better yet, go all in for the Millionaire’s Benedict. If you can’t finish all your bacon, you probably know a four-legged friend that could help with that. // 3499 16th St. (Castro),

Chloe’s Cafe

If you’re willing to brave the lines, this no-frills breakfast place in Noe Valley has plentiful dog-friendly outdoor seating, so you’ll never have to enjoy your omelettes without your dog by your side ever again. //1399 Church St. (Noe Valley),

21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant

Breweries and dogs go together so well. So while the weather is warm, enjoy a Hell or High Watermelon out in the beer garden of 21st Amendment. // 563 2nd St. (South Park),

Hops & Hominy

Bring the hounds—This Deep-South-meets-California restaurant has a quaint patio where you can enjoy one of their handpicked microbrews and mac and cheese to start, followed by Southern classics such as shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings, or a pulled pork sandwich. // 1 Tillman Pl. (Union Square),


Pet’s Corner

This much-loved neighborhood pet shop in the Richmond is family owned with the friendliest dog-loving staff around. In addition to a variety of healthy food—raw, freeze dried, canned, and kibble—they also have Warrior’s gear for pups, as well as toys, grooming supplies, and leashes. // 3701 Geary Blvd. (Richmond),

Mission Critter

This small shop curates the best quality ingredients, and the staff is always willing to make recommendations. It’s a go-to food, toy, and treat shop for Mission doggies and their owners who are looking to avoid big-box pet stores. // 2959 Mission St. (Mission),

fit BERNAL fit

You’ll never feel guilty about leaving your pup home alone while you hit the gym again. The gym offers doggie playtime in an outdoor space, as well as dog walking services for gym members. So while you get your sweat on, your canine will be playing with friends and getting properly worn out so you can both chill when you get home. // 701 Cortland Ave. (Bernal Heights),


For all of your messenger bag and backpack needs, this much-loved local store offers “tough-as-hell” products that were designed by a former SF bike messenger. This Hayes Valley shop is dog-friendly, so you can stop by during your next Hayes hangout session. // 506 Hayes St. (Hayes Valley),

Alley Cat Books

Dog-owning bookworms, rejoice. Alley Cat allows well-behaved pups in their bookstore so you can stop in and browse during your walk. The space is cozy and quirky, with an interesting art wall. This Independent bookstore sells used and new books, in Spanish and English, and has a killer graphic novel section. // 3036 24th St. (Mission),


The Mission’s Stuff store does not disappoint. It’s literally 17k square feet of random stuff, mostly vintage furniture, clothing, and trinkets. Your dog can help you pick out your next mid-century table or eclectic décor piece. // 50 Valencia St. (Mission),



For dog owners without cars, Muni is your best bet for getting to places not on the BART line, including most of the beaches and parks. Pets are allowed at all times except peak hours, which are Monday – Friday, 5am-9am and 3pm-7pm. During non-peak hours, dogs have to be leashed and muzzled (or in a closed carrier) and require the same fare as their owners. //


Dogs in transport carriers are allowed on BART for no charge at anytime. However, this pretty much limits you to only bringing small dogs onboard. //

Uber and Lyft

Both car services have the same policy: It’s completely up to the driver. Once you request a car, you can call the driver and ask if they allow dogs in their car. Lyft will refund any charges if you have to cancel the car. //


Critters of all kinds are allowed in this car sharing service, as long as they’re in carriers. The car must be clean upon return. //

Blue and Gold Fleet 

Take in views of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge with your best friend. Blue and Gold Fleet allows on-leash dogs to board to vessel for their one-hour Bay Cruise. //

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