Best Dog-Friendly Activities in New York City: 9 Ways to Bond With Your Best Fur Friend

Lifestyle By Kelsey Leicht 16 min read September 11, 2023

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things to do with dog in NYC

New York City is home to hundreds of thousands of dogs, so it’s no surprise that it offers plenty of mutt-friendly ways for pet parents to enjoy the area.

From wooded trails to downtown shops, the city that never sleeps has a range of venues to discover with your doggo.

We’ll explore the best dog-friendly activities in New York City and share the etiquette basics to know before venturing out with your floof below.

9 Best Dog-Friendly Activities in New York City

4 dogs on leashes

Despite its size and reputation for running at a break-neck pace, New York City is one of the best cities for dogs, as shown by the sheer number of excellent canine enrichment activities within its borders. Let’s see which might work for your woofer.

1. Stroll through a park with your pupper.

People walking dogs on sidewalk

Sure, much of New York is concrete and metal, but there are still pockets of greenery to explore with your four-footer. 

Park trips are great for stretching your dog’s legs and relaxing for an afternoon pup-friendly picnic. Why not do both and pack some DIY recipes, like crockpot dog food or pumpkin treats, to refuel after a stroll?

Ensure your canine is always leashed unless in designated off-leash areas to comply with local laws. You’ll also want to pack more dog poop bags than you think you’ll need, just in case a poo-mergency happens.

Central Park

About: The paved paths of New York’s most famous park make it a must-visit destination for every walk-loving woofer in the city. There are plenty of benches to sit down and rest with your Rover, plus ample open lawns and shaded areas for a picnic.

Address: 59th Street to 110th Street, New York, NY

Phone Number: (212) 310-6600

Website: https://www.centralpark.com/ 

Special Notes:

  • Dogs must be leashed in most areas between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM
  • Some areas have off-leash hours between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • All dogs must be current on their rabies vaccination
  • Dogs are banned in some regions of the park, including all ballfields, recreational courts, playgrounds, bodies of water, and fountains
  • Check the social calendar for event information, as some plans transform the park into a crowded conundrum, which isn’t ideal for doggos

Hudson River Park

About: This riverfront recreation space has several off-leash dog parks, walking trails, and open areas to enjoy with your doggy. Occasionally, you can find pup-focused events to attend at the park with your pooch for a community connection. Check the park’s social calendar for details!

Address: 61 Chelsea Piers, New York, NY 10011

Phone Number: (212) 627-2020

Website: https://hudsonriverpark.org/ 

Special Notes:

  • Open from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily
  • All visiting doggos must be leashed at all times

Prospect Park 

About: From a pooch picnic to yapper yoga, this Brooklyn park’s the perfect place for dog-inclusive activities with your woof. It has a dog park and paths for walking or jogging, including paved and wood-chipped walkways.  

Address: 95 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Phone Number: (718) 965-8951

Website: https://www.prospectpark.org/ 

Special Notes:

  • Special swimming spot for dogs available within the park
  • Dogs are allowed to be off-leash between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM and 9:00 AM and 1:00 AM in Long Meadow, Nethermead, Peninsula Meadow, and the Dog Beach areas

2. Visit a dog park with your play-happy hound.

2 dogs running off leash

Chances are, your doggo would love more off-leash time, especially if he doesn’t have regular access to a fenced-in yard. Fortunately, New York City has a ton of dog parks, including manicured lots with artificial grass for mess-free fun. Some even have built-in obstacles or seasonal water features like dog splash pads and pools for keeping canines engaged.

Dog park statistics are a mix of ups and downs, but if you follow dog park etiquette and only visit with a dog-friendly, trained pooch, you’ll likely have a great time. Your dog will get ample exercise, and both of you might meet new friends.

That said, dog parks aren’t the right fit if your dog is anxious or selective about people or other pets. Consider dog park alternatives, like visiting a nature trail for a leashed hike. 

Browse our list of the best dog parks in New York City and see which would work for your woof.

3. Dine out at a dog-friendly eatery.


Food smells and potential eats? Sounds like a doggone dream outing for most dogs!

New York City is a mecca of amazing restaurants, many of which now offer dog-friendly dining experiences at patios or sidewalk seating areas. Some also have mutt menus serving up eats gentle enough for doggo tummies, like grilled chicken breast or homemade dog cookies.

The most important part of dining out with your dog is not to offer table scraps from your plate, as human food is typically too high in fat for four-footers, leading to digestive upset. It may even contain toxic ingredients for dogs. Stick with mutt menu items or bring goodies from home, like DIY dog cake pops or jerky treats.

Discover your next doggo dining destination with our list of the best dog-friendly restaurants in New York City.

4. Bounce over to a barker-friendly bar.

Dog at table looking at glass bottle

Sitting down with your sniffer to enjoy a drink is a great way to unwind after a long day of dog-friendly activities around New York City. It also allows your dog to calmly take in new sights, sounds, and smells and may aid in desensitization training

Many dog-friendly bars feature sidewalk seating, while others permit pooches inside. Knowing the seating arrangements in advance is a must, as New York winters can be frigid and snowy.

Dog-friendly bars are a good fit for calmer canines with excellent manners but can be too overwhelming for nervous doggos or puppies still learning basic commands.

Discover your next hangout for a houndtastic drink with our picks for the best dog-friendly bars in New York City.

5. Check out must-see city sights with your sniffer.

Happy brown poodle standing on pavement

The Big Apple is home to spectacular landmarks, ranging from soaring skyscrapers to stunning sculptures. All are worthy of at least a walk-by of you and your woof. Some may even invite you inside!

Exploring the city on foot provides vital physical and mental exercise to your floof – two areas of daily canine care that many dogs (especially in the city) may lack. While a stroll around a new site may seem too bland, it provides your pooch with countless fresh scents and sights, plus lets him work on his loose leash walking skills.

Navigating these areas may require a bit of walking, so it’s not the best option for mutts with mobility concerns or puppies that tire quickly. It’s best for active dogs (and pet parents) with stamina.

Check out these New York City sites with your puptato.

The AKC Museum of the Dog 

About: OK, so this mutt-focused museum isn’t everyone’s first thought when it comes to landmarks, but for pupperoni parents, it should be! Your dog is welcome to come along on designated Furry Fridays while you take in the doggerific exhibits. 

Address: 101 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10178

Phone Number: (212) 696-8360

Website: https://museumofthedog.org 

Special Notes:

  • Open 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Wednesday to Sunday
  • Closed Monday and Tuesday
  • Check the social calendar for a host of dog-friendly events

Brooklyn Bridge

About: This walkable suspension bridge offers the chance to exercise your pup and appreciate the city skyline from a new angle. When you’re done, you can explore the nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park for walking trails and open areas of land to relax with your ruff.

Address: Washington Street and Prospect Street, New York, NY

Phone Number: N/A

Website: https://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/infrastructure/brooklyn-bridge.shtml 

Special Notes:

  • Free to walk across
  • Traffic noise can be an issue for some pooches

Times Square

About: One of the world’s most famous sites is the perfect place to walk your dog for an authentic Big Apple experience, provided he can handle the sensory tsunami of this busy space. Street vendors dot the area, offering epic eats like hotdogs, though not all foods are dog-friendly, so use caution.

Address: Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 42nd Street, Manhattan, NY 10036

Phone Number: N/A

Website: https://www.timessquarenyc.org/ 

Special Notes:

  • Crushing crowds at times 
  • Live music at times can be too loud for doggos

6. Take a sniffer stroll on a NYC trail.

Dog laying on grassy ground

Conquering a new trail with your canine is one of the best dog-friendly activities in New York for burning off energy, though it’s also entirely customizable for you and your doggo’s needs, as you can plot the course that works best. Stick to shorter routes with senior pups, and go for longer trails with more challenging terrain if your pup’s an active, experienced hiker.

Before heading out, consider what gear you may need on the go, such as ample water for you and your woof and a hiking harness. Don’t forget your poop bags, either.

Travel to these trailheads for a fun four-footed trek.

Owl’s Head Park

About: At nearly 25 acres, this park might not be the biggest, but it’s home to paved trails that make for mess-free walking rain or shine, plus amazing water views, earning it a spot as a top hiking destination with a doggo. There are plenty of shaded areas to relax, too, though the pavement can be too hot for paws during the summer.

Address: Colonial Road & 68 Street &, Shore Road, Brooklyn, NY 11220

Phone Number: (212) 639-9675

Website: https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/owls-head-park 

Special Notes:

  • Open daily from 6:00 AM to 1:00 AM
  • There’s also a dog run for fun with other floofs if your Fido’s a fan

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

About: Stretching over 12,600 acres, this open space is a natural oasis for animals, including doggos navigating its trails. This is a bigger area, best suited for active floofs needing time away from the city center. While visiting, please keep your canine leashed, scoop his poop, and don’t let him harass any wildlife.

Address: 175-10 Cross Bay Boulevard, Queens, NY 11693

Phone Number: (718) 354-4606

Website: https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/historyculture/jamaica-bay-wildlife-refuge.htm 

Special Notes:

  • Trails are open daily from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Campgrounds and certain beaches are off-limited to doggos

7. Spoil your pup with a shopping outing.

Dog on leash standing on brick street

Dogs and deals are two things you love, right? Why not combine them?

Bringing your doggo along for a shopping excursion provides mental and physical stimulation, and depending on what you’re buying, it lets you see if the dog toy you’re considering piques your pupper’s interest. What a win!

As with any woof outing, you must ensure a business is truly dog-friendly before venturing inside. You’re also responsible for preventing your pooch from damaging goods or lifting a leg on sale racks.

Venture to one of these dog-friendly shopping spots in New York City with your pup and make more amazing memories.

Love Thy Beast

About: Step into this sweet sniffer boutique with your barker for unique finds, like cool soft toys, woofer winter weather suits, and fashionable dog beds. Prices are on the higher side, though the cool factor of some of these items is well worth the premium price tag.

Address: 115 N 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Phone Number: (646) 630-4075 

Website: https://www.lovethybeast.com/ 

Special Notes:

  • Open weekdays from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM and weekends from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • There’s another location in Hudson, NY

Dog & Co.

About: Cute booties, warm onesies, and brain-teaser dog puzzle toys are fabulous finds at this dog-welcoming shop. It’s one of the city’s more varied sniffer supply stops, offering everything from cricket dog treats to pupper tents.

Address: 555 6th Avenue (between 15th & 16th Streets), New York, NY 10011

Phone Number: (646) 450-8518

Website: https://www.shopdogandco.com/ 

Special Notes:

  • Open Monday to Friday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • All visiting dogs must be friendly, well-mannered, and leashed

Union Square Greenmarket

About: Leashed, well-behaved pups are allowed to stroll this NYC farmer’s market, known for selling fresh produce grown right in upstate New York. Since local food is the focus, you may need to wait a while for your favorites to be in season. This is an open-air market, so weather may impact your visit.

Address:  Union Square W &, E 17th Street, New York, NY 10003

Phone Number: (212) 788-7900

Website: https://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/faq 

Special Notes:

  • Open year-round on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Check the weekly calendar to see what suppliers will be present, as it can be anything from mushrooms to baked goods up for grabs

8. Bring your barker out on a boat.

Dogs standing on docked boat

New York City is surrounded by water, so why not enjoy it in a whole new way with your pup?

No, we’re not talking about swimming. We mean boating!

Boating comes in many forms, from cruising with your canine on a large ferry to paddling around with your pooch in a kayak. That lets you pick the best activity for you and your doggo. Looking for pure leisure? Try a cruise or ferry ride with your Rover. Are you more interested in working up a sweat? Kayaking is for you and your canine!

Refresh yourself on dog boating safety tips and check out these pup-friendly boating opportunities in the New York City area.

Nautical Mile Cruises

About: Set sail with your sniffer on a 2-hour Doggie Cruise, a special boat outing where doggos ride free, and humans pay a reasonable fare. While not technically in New York City, this unique activity is worth the drive east for a memorable adventure with your mutt.

Address: 31 Woodcleft Avenue, Freeport, NY 11520

Phone Number: (516) 544-6698

Website: https://nauticalmilecruises.com/doggie-cruise/ 

Special Notes:

  • Book online to see current availability, as the schedule varies significantly by season
  • All dogs must be leashed and controlled by an adult at all times

Paddle With Your Best Friend at Manhattan Kayak Co

About: Would you prefer a more hands-on experience with the water and your woof? Check out Paddle With Your Best Friend, a 45-minute session held seasonally for novices by Manhattan Kayak Co. Choose from a paddleboard or kayak and head out onto the water for furry fun.

Address: Pier 84 Boathouse in Hudson River Park

Phone Number: (212) 924-1788

Website: https://manhattankayak.com/summer-splash-for-dogs/ 

Special Notes:

  • Book online for hours and pricing
  • Each session starts with a lesson on basic strokes, launching, and maneuvering your vessel of choice
  • Professionals monitor you continuously and can step in and help if needed
  • Dogs weighing 50 pounds or more must ride on paddleboards, while smaller pups may sit in kayaks

9. Spend time at a dog-friendly hotel.


Battling New York City is a full-time job in itself. Navigating the public transportation system with a dog isn’t much easier, either.

Why not stay the night in a dog-friendly hotel?

Sleeping at a dog-friendly hotel lets you relax after a long day of fun with your floof. It also leaves the headache of heading home for tomorrow, which is always a win.

While many dogs may enjoy sleeping in a brand-new bed, some may find the experience jarring, especially if they already have anxiety. If your dog is a worrier, aggressive, or noisy, skip the hotel plan.

Check out these dog-friendly hotels in Philadelphia.

Roxy Hotel Tribeca

About: Your pup can sit (and hopefully sleep) pretty at this luxurious Manhattan hotel. Not only will you get complimentary champagne at arrival, but your dog will also get access to the Soho Grand Dog Park, a private park for hotel guests and members only.

Address: 2 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10013

Phone Number: (212) 519-6600

Website: https://www.roxyhotelnyc.com 

Special Notes:

  • Dogs of any size are allowed with no fee
  • Maximum of 2 dogs per room

Off Soho Suites

About: This budget-friendly hotel permits your pup to stay with you and has no size limit, so even the mightiest mastiffs can stay, provided their manners are stellar. Rooms are apartment-style, but they don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Address: 11 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002

Phone Number: (800) 633-7646

Website: https://www.offsoho.com/ 

Special Notes:

  • Check-in is at 3:00 PM, and check-out is at 12:00 PM
  • Free WI-FI is available in every room
Prefer a pet-friendly hotel chain?

If you’re uncomfortable going with a local sleeping spot you don’t know, check out the best dog-friendly hotel chains for a more familiar feeling. Sometimes, these room rentals may be cheaper, saving your doggy dollars for more four-footed fun!

Dog-Friendly Activity Etiquette Basics

Dog lying outside restaurant's glass window

Going out with your dog is a privilege, not a right. All it takes is one misstep, and a business could cut sniffer-friendly services, leaving pet parents in a bind. That’s why knowing dog-friendly activity etiquette is necessary to ensure you don’t ruffle any feathers.

Before you head out with your fur kiddo:

  • Make sure your dog is well-mannered and friendly. Aggressive or anxious dogs won’t do well in social settings. Rather than risk your dog or another person or pet, opt for solo dog-friendly activities, like walking a remote trail. 
  • Don’t go out with a sick doggo. Taking an ill pup on the go isn’t just mean; it’s dangerous! For one, your dog needs all the rest he can get to recover. Secondly, your dog could be shedding contagious illness to others, which certainly isn’t fair.
  • Never enter a business with your dog without ensuring it’s dog-friendly first. Not every dog is super vocal about welcoming woofs. In these cases, we recommend calling in advance to ensure you don’t barge in on anyone who doesn’t permit pooches.
  • Follow all posted rules. Rules aren’t suggestions. They’re posted to keep you, your canine, and others safe. If there’s a curfew or leash law, follow them. If there’s a breed ban, swallow the annoyance and respect the business’s wishes.
  • Respect the space of others. Your dog shouldn’t be barking at, begging from, or jumping on other guests. These “nuisance behaviors” sometimes worsen or come out of nowhere in public, but with training treats, you should be ready to conquer them.
  • Clean up after your canine. Pick up your dog’s poop and dispose of the bag droppings in a secure trash can as soon as possible. Accumulating dog poop is a health risk you don’t want to take. Not only that, but it’s plain old rude to leave your dog’s doo behind.
  • Leash your floof. New York City requires all dogs in public spaces to be confined to a leash that is six feet or shorter in length. Leash laws aren’t meant to be mean or limit your pup; they’re to keep him and others safe.

Have you participated in any of the best dog-friendly activities in New York City that we mentioned? Is there another that your doggo enjoys? Share your experiences with us in the comments! We’d love to hear!

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Written by

Kelsey Leicht

Kelsey is a lover of words and woofs. She worked hands-on with dogs for several years at a boarding kennel as a shift runner and office manager before venturing into the world of writing. She lives in New Jersey with her crew of crazy canines.


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