The weather has definitely cooled down, so for many of us that means it's finally time to get outside and explore some of the great dog friendly spots downtown Austin has to offer. After being cooped up at the house for a few hot months, your doggy no doubt wants to get out and stretch his legs a bit, so enjoy a relaxing day out with your best friend and take him or her on a doggy date!
First thing first: burn off that extra energy! There are several dog parks conveniently spaced throughout the local downtown Austin area. Zilker Dog Park, located at 2100 Barton Springs Road, is a 46 acre dedicated off-leash area bounded by Stratford Drive, Barton Springs and Neff Road. Being the largest park in the area, it is not fenced….so if your dog has a tendency to wander off, be sure to keep a watchful eye out.
If Zilker’s unfenced park has you concerned about your dog running off, not to worry….Norwood Estate Park has a fully enclosed, double gated area and even a separate enclosure for shyer or smaller dogs and puppies. The park is located on the north end of Travis Heights at the northwest corner of Riverside Drive and IH-35.
If you prefer a smaller park allowing you to keep a more careful eye on your dog, resting in the middle of the historic Clarksville neighborhood is the West Austin Park at 1317 West 10th Street. This location also has a fenced, off-leash area in a tranquil wooded setting.
Not so much into public dog parks? No problem……how about communing with nature and going on a nice long walk or jog instead? Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail is a popular spot for people and leashed dogs alike. The loop extends 10.3 miles from Zilker Park all the way out to the Longhorn Dam.
If you are interested in getting some exercise while also learning a bit more about Austin and satisfying the history buff in you, be sure and check out Austin Guided Walking Tours at 11th Street and Congress Avenue at the south entrance of the Capitol building. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome on all three tours from March through November. Choose between the Capitol Grounds, the Victorian era Bremond Block or Congress/6th Street tours.
The historic Congress Avenue/6th Street tour begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday and at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. on Sunday. Bremond Block is on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and requires a 48 hour advanced reservation. If you prefer site seeing that fits your own time schedule, you can pop into the Austin Visitor Center to pick up a self-guided tour brochure. For full tour information contact the center at 866-Go-Austin.
After some exercise it might be a good time for moms & dads to think about stopping some place for a bite to eat and a refreshing drink. Luckily Austin has loads of restaurants and bars that happily welcome dogs, so finding a great spot should be no problem at all.
Don’t forget about a yummy treat for your date….no doggie date downtown would be complete without stopping by the Woof Gang Bakery on 1204 N Lamar for a well-deserved special gourmet dog treat. In addition to unique snacks, they carry a variety of supplies, accessories, spa products and toys sure to get any tail wagging.
Looking for an upscale lunch with some good people watching? Check out the Trace outdoor patio at the W Hotel at 200 Lavaca Street. Enjoy local-sourced menu items or one of their fresh, daily specials and a refreshing cocktail while lounging on their Las Vegas style patio. The servers there are more than happy to bring your pup a water bowl.
If you want something a bit more casual with an innovative take on classic American comfort food, stop in the Moonshine Bar & Grill at 303 Red River and enjoy their shaded, pet friendly patio while sipping on a Silvermoon Margarita.
After all of your running around, no doubt you might be thinking a nice hot shower at home is in order. Why not make it an extra special day for your furry date and stop by Midtown Grooming on 1207 Baylor Street for a milk & honey or rainforest spa shampoo doggy bath? Each bath comes with ear cleaning, a nail trim, a towel dry and brush out. Prices vary according to dog and an appointment is needed, so you’ll need to plan ahead for this one.
If you prefer a do-it-yourself bath experience with no reservation needed, stop by the Dirty Dog self-serve dog wash on 710 West 5th Street inside the Austin Urban Vet Center. Parking is free and they provide everything you need…just bring your dog and be ready to get a little wet. Prices range from $7-$17 depending on your pet’s size….very reasonable considering there is no mess to clean up at home!
There is nothing quite like coming home and seeing the contented look on your dog’s face after a fun-filled day spent together exploring the city. It may take just a bit of planning ahead, but the effort is so worthwhile for our furry friends that give us such unconditional love.
Article written by Leah McArthur.
Leah has lived in Austin for 7 years and is the Marketing and Design Manager for a Real Estate Development Company. Two of her three pets are shelter rescues and she has been a volunteer with APA! since August 2014.