Check out events curator Jade Womack’s recs on adventure spots, bars, shopping locations and more — all perfect for a day out with your pup.
Plus, don’t miss our guide to dog-friendly public workspaces.
On the ninth week of working from home during spring 2020, I decided to adopt a dog. And on May 15, 2020, I became the proud owner of a Dobby-Baby Yoda-Meerkat creature (technically an Australian Shepherd American Staffordshire Terrier four-month-old puppy) named Luna. In the past two years, we have extensively explored what the D.C. area has to offer. Here are some of our favorite local hangouts and unexpected dog-friendly spots.
Skip the scroll: Check out the links below for specific dog-friendly recs.
Dumbarton Oaks Park
Made to create an illusion of country life in the city, this park is one of my favorite places to escape. There is tall grass, benches to catch up on favorite reads and a small little stream winding through. Luna loves the various flora and chasing the waterways on our way to Georgetown.
Soapstone Valley Trail
Not as well-known as Rock Creek or Theodore Roosevelt Island, this trail winds west toward Van Ness. It can get very muddy after it rains, which is a dog’s dream, but also a red flag because of the sewage pipes running along the trail. I like it because it’s a hidden trail not well-traversed and great for practicing recall with a long leash.
Western Ridge Trail
One of the most popular trails in D.C., it’s a great way to spend a weekend day. Make sure to bring a water bottle because once you’re out there — you’re out there.
Closest Metro: Van Ness-UDC
Map it: Ridge Rd. NW + Western Ridge Trail in Rock Creek Park
Learn more: nps.gov // @nationalparkservice
Map it: Various locations
As a general rule, stores that sell dog items are dog-friendly, including the various Ace Hardware stores in the area. Luna drags me to the store for the free treats behind the counter.
Most stores in Georgetown
I love going on a long walk with Luna through Dumbarton Oaks to Georgetown and perusing the dog-friendly stores like Apple, Free People, Lush, Paper Source, CB2, Sephora, J. Crew, Outdoor Voices, Lululemon and Anthropologie.
Located both at Metro Center and Penn Quarter, Nordstrom Rack is a great time suck and “cooling” spot on hot summer days. When walking home from the National Mall to Adams Morgan, we sometimes take a break for the air conditioning and look around the store, grab some water and impulse-buy some dog toys and candles. Various locations.
Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream
Tucked away in the charming Mount Pleasant neighborhood is a creative ice cream shop housing innovative flavors such as Girl Scouts gone wild or brigadeiro. The menu also includes a dog sundae which a small scoop of sweet cream or peanut butter ice cream topped with two homemade dog treats in a cup.
To my dog, the only cupcake store that matters in D.C. is Sprinkles and their pupcake. The pupcakes come sealed in plastic (so no mess if you need to grab a few to go) and are made with vanilla, buttermilk and yogurt.
Everyone loves smoothies. On longer days, Luna and I will walk from our home in Adams Morgan to Union Market for prime people watching. South Block (which is located in many places) offers puppy smoothies made of peanut butter and banana for dogs.
If you can find a spot, I love these popular neighborhood coffee shops located in Dupont Circle. Dogs are allowed inside, but do note it can be tight quarters between you and other guests.
The all-day restaurant located in Adams Morgan’s The Line DC hotel is a great coworking spot on early weekend mornings. Grab a cup of coffee and a breakfast bite from the restaurant’s coffee bar and head inside with your dog.
The hotel’s lobby hosts Mercy Me which boasts great cocktails for dog-friendly work meetups. Note: sometimes there isn’t public Wi-Fi available on the weekends, but the hotel does have water bowls.
Not only can you get beer at this classic German beer garden, but your dog can too. The Shaw and Navy Yard locations offer doggie beers on their menu.
One of my favorites, this Park View beer garden is welcoming and dog-friendly. The beer garden provides beds and blankets for dog guests to get cozy. Additionally, the beer garden will soon offer doggie ice cream. It’s a fantastic location for dogs that might be easily frazzled since the beer garden is a bit more spread out.
This beer garden boasts “yappy” hours regularly with doggie treat flights and puppacinos. In the wintertime you can find them hosting Santa meet-and-greets in partnership with dog rescue organizations in D.C.
Big Bad Woof
When I was a child, I would beg my mom to bring me to this pet store in Takoma Park just to look around. Even today, Luna and I are mesmerized by the variety of specialty food brand options, fine leather collars and chews.
The Dog Park
Luna’s collar is from this small, unassuming but knowledgeable shop in Old Town Alexandria. They have many baked goods, toys and preppy-printed collars. It’s a great stop to add when shopping in Old Town. While in the area, also check out Old Towne School for Dogs.
Hidden in Dupont Circle is a pet supply store stocking all your dog-friendly needs. For Luna’s birthday, I stocked up on specialty treats, a new antler, duck-stuffed animal and cookies.
Howl to the Chief
This unsuspecting pet boutique in Barracks Row has the largest selections of doggie baked goods and treats in D.C. If you’re looking for peak-D.C. toys (think Biden plushies and political party bandanas), you’re in luck.
There are many Loyal Companions in the DMV, but my favorite location is the one near Clarendon beside Sweet Science Coffee. When Luna and I are in the neighborhood, we stock up on unique treats and chews like duck feet. Various locations.
Known as a dog bar, this bar has many dog-friendly events such as paint your pets, puppy bowls and mutt mixers.
Capitals Canine Club
Offered by the Washington Capitals, this exclusive canine membership program provides a swag-filled membership kit, invites to Caps’ canine events and exclusive ticket offers.
HRA Agility Classes
Mainly known as D.C.’s major rescue organization and clinic, the Humane Rescue Alliance also has a variety of recreational courses for dogs including agility, scent training and reactive dog training classes.
Pups in the Park
During the National’s season, you can bring your dog to a few events by purchasing a “dog ticket.” The park has dog watchers who will look after your dog if you need to use the restroom, and even has grass patches for your pet to relieve themselves.
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