San Francisco is a shining star of a city for pet parents with its highly walkable layout, barker-friendly businesses, and ample park space. Unsurprisingly, you can find countless dog-friendly activities within its borders. But which is best for you and your fur friend?
Below, we’ll share the best dog-friendly activities in San Francisco to enjoy with your floof, as well as a few etiquette tips to keep in mind when out with your pup.
11 Best Dog-Friendly Activities in San Francisco
1. Sightsee city landmarks with your sniffer.
The best dog-friendly activities get your dog’s brain and body moving – something a sightseeing walk in the city can do.
Best of all, you can adjust a sightseeing route to your pup’s needs, so if he’s a senior or deals with mobility concerns, you can opt for a shorter trek or stick with a challenging one if your pup has more stamina than the Energizer Bunny. You can’t walk across the Golden Gate Bridge with your barker, but there are still areas to visit for a day of furry fun.
As with any outdoor activity, pack water and plenty of dog poop bags. Check the weather in advance, too, and consider bringing extra layers, as San Francisco’s temperatures are notoriously chilly due to the near-constant sea breeze.
See which sites are a good match for you and your mutt to explore.
About: Perched high above the city, this lookout offers unprecedented views and fantastic selfie opportunities for you and your pup. You’ll have to navigate a short trail to the top with your pup, but seeing clear to the water is worth the effort.
Address: 501 Twin Peaks Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94114
- Open from 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM
- Bathrooms are open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
- This is a remote area, so remain vigilant for dangerous animals like coyotes and snakes
16th Avenue Tiled Steps
About: This landmark is often overlooked but deserves a stop with your sniffer if you want to avoid the crowds of some other sites. The beautiful mosaic stairs offer stunning shots if you want to put any dog photography tips to use, and scaling the steps helps tire out even the most active of woofs.
Address: On Moraga Street between 15th & 16th Avenue
- Keep your canine leashed and out of the flowers
- This is in a residential area, so please prevent your pooch from barking excessively
2. Chow down at a dog-friendly restaurant together.
Navigating such a hilly city sure works up an appetite for you and your woof. It’s good that the Golden City is also home to plenty of pup-friendly places to grab grub!
Dining out with your doggo offers a sensory smorgasbord, tempting his nose with savory scents and perking his ears up with a symphony of new sounds. You can even tempt his taste buds with dishes from a dog menu at certain restaurants.
Skip the risk of tummy troubles with your woof and refrain from giving him table scraps, as human food is fattier than doggy diets and may contain toxic ingredients for dogs. Opt for items from a doggy menu or bring snacks from home, like treats or a pig snout chew.
Get to know the best dog-friendly restaurants in San Francisco with our list.
3. Stop at a dog-friendly bar for a beverage with your barker.
Relax with your Rover and indulge in a refreshing drink at a dog-friendly bar.
Sitting at a pup-friendly bar’s patio lets your dog experience new surroundings relaxed, provided you’re not visiting during peak hours or in the middle of a big sports game where patrons may be rowdier than usual. It’s also a chance to mingle with other pawrents and pups.
And it doesn’t need to be an alcoholic beverage. You can sip soda or tea and have the same great bonding experience with your canine. If you have alcohol, drink responsibly and don’t overdo it, as you’re still responsible for your pup. Never drive tipsy, and don’t give your dog alcohol, either.
Browse our picks for the best dog-friendly bars in San Francisco and find your new favorite hound haunt.
4. Head out for a four-footed hike around a trail.
Set out for a stroll along one of the San Francisco area’s many mutt-friendly trails. From urban paved routes to remote, hillside paths, the city has something for every hound and hiker to explore.
Hiking is best suited for fit Fidos needing more than your average walk, but nearly any pup can come along with the right route plan and gear, such as a backpack carrier. Plan your route according to your and your floof’s fitness and hiking skill level, always erring on the side of caution. Nothing’s worse than overdoing it and realizing you must hike back to the car!
San Francisco is generally known to be on the cooler side, but during high temperatures, you’ll want to watch your woof for signs of overheating, especially if he’s a cold-weather or brachycephalic breed. Keep a dog water bottle on hand for hydrating your hound, and consider a dog cooling vest if your canine is known to run hot.
Take a four-footed adventure with your pup at one of these San Francisco trailheads.
Golden Gate Promenade
About: Stretching 4.3 miles, this wide waterside path is a flat mix of dirt and pavement, making it a good choice for walking a woofer. From it, you’re gifted photo-worthy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay. The area isn’t shaded, but with the near-constant wind, you’ll likely appreciate any warmth the sun can offer.
Address: 1199 E Beach, San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone Number: (415) 561-4323
- Pups must be leashed at all times
- Watch for cyclists
- Park for free at Crissy Field East Beach
Coit Tower Loop Trail
About: This trail isn’t the longest, but don’t let that fool you, as you’ll work up a sweat navigating this half-mile looped path up Telegraph Hill. Starting on the flower-lined Filbert Street steps, you’ll work your way up with your woof, likely asking yourself how much trail is left sooner than you’d think.
Address: 202 Filbert Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
- All dogs must be leashed, preferably on a short lead, as the trail is narrow
- Landmarks visible atop the hill include Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Crosstown Trail
About: Amateurs turn back now; this grueling hike is not for newbies! If you have serious hiking experience and a conditioned canine athlete at your side, this trail spanning over 17 miles around the city may be your perfect match. Start at Candlestick Point and work across the town, weaving through parks, shopping districts, and more, seeing all sides of the area until ending in Lands End. Bring lots of water and snacks, and make sure that you (and, most importantly, your pooch) are ready for a 7-ish-hour hike.
Address: 500 Hunters Point Expressway, San Francisco, CA 94124
- The varied trail is a mix of paved, gravel, and dirt terrain
- Use caution hiking on hot days when paved portions can be too hot on pupper paws
5. Go shopping with your schnauzer.
What’s better than snagging a deal? Snagging one with your doggo, of course!
San Francisco has many dog-friendly shops, making getting a dose of retail therapy with your Rover easy.
Now, shopping is one of those dog-friendly activities you wouldn’t necessarily consider at first, but when you factor in that it combines walking around and encountering new scenes, it makes perfect sense as a paw-friendly adventure. Add in that your dog can score goodies along the way, and it’s a fun way to pamper your pooch, too.
Visit one of these dog-friendly shopping sites with your leashed sniffer and make some memories.
About: Leashed dogs can walk around this popular area with dog-friendly restaurants and shops. Offering a classic boardwalk-style experience and unforgettable water views, it’s an excellent outdoor venue for getting fresh air and exercising with your floof while browsing deals.
Address: 100 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: (415) 673-3530
- Among the busiest tourist areas in the city, so crowds can be overwhelming sometimes
- Pack a jacket, as it can get chilly
- Check the social events calendar for special gatherings
About: While this outdoor shopping mall is north of the city, it’s still worth the quick drive up to explore with your dog. Proudly pup-friendly, this space includes umbrella-capped outdoor seating at various restaurants and an assortment of fun shops to explore, though always double-check that individual stores welcome woofs.
Address: 800 Redwood Highway Frontage Road, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Phone Number: (415) 388-4460
- Open 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday to Saturday and 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Sunday
- Occasional live music can be bothersome to some barkers
Mishka Dog Boutique
About: Grab some tasty treats for your pooch at this barkin’ good bakery and boutique. They specialize in never-frozen handmade dog treats and cakes featuring human-grade ingredients free of preservatives. Also, whenever possible, organic ingredients are used.
Address: 2124 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone Number: (415) 796-6444
- Open 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday to Friday and 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Saturday and Sunday
- Another San Francisco location is at 1 Ferry Building
6. Pop over to a park for a hound-friendly hangout.
San Francisco’s park system has plenty of pupper-positive green spaces to explore, whether you’re after a waterfront area for a woof walk or a quiet place for a pooch picnic.
Parks are a versatile setting for dog-friendly activities, as some feature off-leash areas for frolicking four-footers while others allow for solo treks in remote areas, letting you escape the hustle of city life with your doggo. Depending on a park’s hours, you can pack a blanket and relax watching the stars with your woof at night.
The major downside of park excursions is the bugs that may bother your barker, including fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. Fortunately, flea treatment, tick preventatives, and ongoing heartworm prevention can keep your canine more comfortable and safer.
Visit one of these San Francisco parks with your pup for your next pawesome adventure.
About: This 3-acre recreation space isn’t the largest, but it’s one of the oldest parks in the city and a fun place to unwind with your pooch. Relax in a shady spot or toss a frisbee to floof on the patch of green grass. Just keep him leashed for safety’s sake, as this park isn’t fenced.
Address: Filbert and Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
- Open 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM daily
- Check the events calendar for potentially noisy gatherings
Corona Heights Park
About: This park’s mixed terrain of sandy, stone, and wildflowers is a nice changeup from what most people (and pups) are used to seeing about San Francisco, while the designated dog area is a win for woofers. There’s also roughly a mile of trails to navigate with your floof, though use caution, as there are several staircases and a few step portions on loose gravel and dirt terrain.
Address: Roosevelt and Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114
- Open daily from 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM
- Keep an eye out for wildlife like coyotes and snakes since this is a more rural area
About: This Pacific Heights spot is an excellent place to crash with your canine for a few hours of rest or fun, depending on your floof. With over 11 acres to explore, you can find paved paths, open green space, and beautiful shrubbery within its borders.
Address: Gough Street & Washington Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
- Open from 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM
- Check out the on-site dog park for some off-leash fun
7. Board a boat with your pooch.
Imagine cruising across the water and seeing your pup sniff the fresh air with his ears in the breeze. What a vision!
Water-wowed woofs and catlike canines alike might find a boat trip enjoyable – depending on the wet factor involved. Some dog-friendly boat outings see doggos remain dry from start to finish, while others risk a splash – something certain pups just won’t like. Choose wisely, or your terrier might be ticked off!
San Francisco is home to both kinds of barkin’ boat excursions, so there’s something for every sniffer. You can also set sail with your gear, whether it’s a larger vessel you already have or you try your hand at kayaking with your dog. Just remember dog boating safety to keep your pooch protected.
Browse these dog-friendly boating adventures in the San Francisco area.
Blue & Gold Fleet
About: Your canine can come along on this San Francisco Bay boat tour, but he must always remain leashed and be friendly to others. All tour boats have restrooms, and food and drinks are sold onboard, including alcohol, to keep you refreshed as you take in sites like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz from the sea.
Address: Pier 41, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: (415) 705-8200
- There are 7 boats to choose from, though some are more accessible to wheelchair users than others
- Boats have indoor and outdoor seating areas
Happy Dog Sailing
About: Choose from four or six-hour sails at this dog-friendly boating business, whose rates start at $175 per person with a minimum of four people per outing. There are a maximum of two dogs per boat, with complimentary treats and small dog life vests for petite pups. For large Rovers, you’ll have to bring your safety jacket.
Phone Number: (408) 690-4085
- Wine and appetizers or dinner will be served on the cruise, depending on which cruise package you select
- Afternoon, sunset, and special event cruises are available
Lake Merced Park
About: Motorless boats like dog-friendly kayaks and rowboats can be used on Lake Merced if you prefer paddling around with your pupper. Lake and pond outings are best with a doggo, as the Bay’s notoriously choppy, risking a tip-over.
Address: Skyline Blvd and Harding Road, San Francisco, CA 94132
- Paved paths available nearby for a pre-or post-boating woof walk
- Boats with a gas or electric motor require a permit
8. Dash out to a dog park with your social butterfly floof.
Dog parks combine exercise and social time – two things many pooches lack, especially in a busy city like San Francisco. If your dog’s a friend to all things furry, visiting one of these pupper play zones could be his new favorite activity.
Now, dog park statistics are a mixed bag, with reports finding them beneficial to communities but acknowledging issues with canine injuries. That said, millions of doggos visit dog parks daily without problem. Provided you’re following the basics of dog park etiquette, you’re more likely to have a fun day with your floof at the park than a problem.
Still, if you’re not comfortable taking your canine to one of these off-leash spaces or your dog doesn’t tolerate strange pups, check out dog park alternatives that may better suit your sniffer.
Browse our picks for the best dog parks in San Francisco and see which belong on your doggo’s fun schedule.
9. Try a new canine sport.
Have a high-flying floof with energy to burn? How about a brainy barker in need of a challenge? Consider canine sports!
There’s a sport for every doggo, whether your woof has the moves for agility or the nose for tracking. With San Francisco being a trove of dog lovers, you can hop into many of these activities locally with your pup.
Sports aren’t just for puppies and adults, either, with some seniors loving movin’ and groovin’ still.
Check out these San Francisco sports facilities for doggos.
Golden Gate Dog Sports
About: Your pooch can learn from the experts at this indoor training facility, with classes and private lessons held year-round for beginner and advanced agility, manners, recall, and more. You can also rent the indoor agility field to hone your hound’s talents.
Address: 1305 Carroll Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124
- Schedule lessons, facilities rentals, and more online
- Must schedule in advance; not a drop-in facility!
Palo Alto Dog Training
About: While this training group is based a decent drive from the city center, it’s one of the few around offering K9 Nose Work, a rewarding sport that’s a top-notch choice for dog breeds with the best sense of smell, like bloodhounds and beagles. They also hold sessions throughout the Bay area, so you may find a class closer to home. If your dog enjoys nosework games at home, this is worth looking into for added enrichment.
- Offers several classes at varying difficulty levels, including Intro to Nose Work, Intro to Odors, and Continuing Nose Work
- Lessons range from one-on-one to group sessions of 4 to 6 doggos
- Get class information and schedule through their website
10. Visit a dog-friendly beach with your barker.
Water-loving pups will surely appreciate a romp around one of San Francisco’s many dog-friendly beaches. From chasing waves to rolling in the sand, a beach trip is a gold mine of fun activities for canines, delivering quite the bang for your buck.
Young, active dogs are most likely to enjoy a beach day, but more mature mutts with a love of water may love feeling the sand between their toes, too. The good news is that the beach lets your dog swim, run, or just relax at his discretion, so your canine can cater his fun to his needs.
Still, whenever water is present, you must constantly monitor your mutt. If he’s not a strong swimmer, a dog life vest is a good idea. It’s also recommended to check the water conditions before heading out, as strong currents can be dangerous for even the strongest of sniffer swimmers.
Give your doggo a day he’ll remember at one of these amazing dog-friendly San Francisco beaches.
About: Found within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this dog beach is a mile of sand, water, and usually wind for your woof to zoom around. The water here is cold, and the current is strong, so it’s best to keep your canine tethered on a long leash in the water for safety’s sake.
Address: Near 25th Avenue Gate
Phone Number: (415) 561-4700
- Open 24 hours
- Not entirely fenced; not for dogs with poor recall
- Picnic tables and restrooms are available nearby
- There’s a nearby nude beach, so it is not ideal for human kiddos or sensitive eyes
About: Let your doggo take in the sun, sea, and breeze at this San Francisco area gem north of the Golden Gate Fields. Unfenced, this is the ideal spot for a dog who consistently comes when called and has excellent manners.
Address: 24 Buchanan St Albany, CA 94710
Phone Number: (510) 981-6700
- Nearby trails for hiking with your hound
- Kayakers and kiteboarders frequent the area
- Parking lot fills up fast during peak hours
11. Sleep at a dog-friendly hotel.
Extend your four-footed fun into tomorrow and beyond by staying at a dog-friendly hotel with your honey hound.
Staying the night sure beats battling traffic, right? Plus, you and your woof can add more dog-friendly activities to your plans, like savoring a tasty dinner at a canine-friendly cafe or picnicking at a local park.
Dog-friendly hotels are an excellent match for confident, healthy pooches, but they can be an issue if your dog is prone to anxiety or struggling with health issues. Hotels also aren’t ideal for doggos who aren’t house-trained or struggle with nuisance barking.
Check out these pooch-positive spots in the city.
Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square
About: Feeling fancy with your floof? Why not stay at this luxury hotel with your pooch for some pampering? The area is dog-friendly and not far from waterfront walking paths, letting you and your pup enjoy a sunset (or sunrise) stroll waterside.
Address: 900 North Point Street, Suite D100, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone Number: (415) 268-9900
- 4:00 PM check-in; 11:00 AM check-out
- No canine size restrictions
- A flat fee of $75 per stay applies for pets, though it may increase depending on the length of your visit
About: Stunning water views and proximity to dog-friendly trails and parks make this hotel a great place to rest your head with your Rover. There are no size restrictions on pups, plus there’s a one-time $100 fee per pet per stay. An additional $100 cleaning fee will also be applied if you stay longer than seven days.
Address: 495 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone Number: (415) 563-0800
- Check-in is at 3:00 PM, and check-out is at 12:00 PM
- Pet registration is required when making reservations
About: If you’re more interested in the quaint feel of a mutt-friendly motel, this place delivers with its European air and cozy gardening. Featuring a lit dog run with artificial grass terrain, nearby walkable trails, and kitchen-equipped rooms to make mutt meal times easier, this motel is an excellent choice for pup parents.
Address: 2576 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone Number: (415) 921-3430
- Check-in time is between 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM, and check-out time is until 11:00 AM
- $25 fee for a dog for the first night, $10 extra fee per night for a second sniffer
- Maximum of 2 dogs per room
Pet-Care Pro Tip: Are you more comfortable going with a chain option?
Some people prefer the familiarity of hotel chains. Thankfully, several welcome woofs. Check out the best dog-friendly hotel chains and learn more about their fee structure, rules, and more.
The Basics of Dog-Friendly Activity Etiquette
Dog-friendly activities are fun, but things can quickly descend into chaos if you aren’t careful. Keep the canine craziness at bay by minding the Ps and Qs of dog-friendly activity etiquette.
When out with your pooch:
- Be sure the outing fits your pup’s personality. Active pups might love a jolly jog along the beach, while a senior would prefer lounging at a park for a picnic. Similarly, a social butterfly barker would love the dog park, and a persnickety pooch would not. Always pick an activity that fits your dog, and don’t push him into situations that don’t mesh with his temperament, especially if he’s anxious or displays aggressive behaviors.
- Never venture out with a sick canine. A public place isn’t the place for a woof who isn’t feeling his best. Crankiness is common in sick dogs, risking snappish behavior, and it isn’t fair to force your floof to walk around when he should be resting at home. Going out with a sick pup also risks spreading illness to other dogs. Let your Rover recuperate at home and plan your next adventure as he sleeps.
- Ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date. All San Francisco dogs must be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccinating against other infectious diseases in dogs is also ideal, including parvo and distemper. Contact your vet if you’re unsure which vaccines your dog needs.
- Respect the rules. Rules aren’t suggestions. If there are posted hours or restrictions, please keep the fun flowing for everyone and follow them, no matter how silly they may seem. One bad apple can ruin the whole batch of dog-friendly activities for everyone.
- Leash your woof. San Francisco law requires all dogs to be leashed or tethered in public areas. Luckily, there are many leash styles, so you can pick what works best for you and your barker, whether it’s a heavy-duty leash or rope lead.
- Don’t let your dog invade the space of others. Not everyone is a fan of floofs, and some may even be allergic! Rather than risk upsetting (or sickening) others, keep your canine at your side and don’t let him greet others unless invited.
- Don’t allow doggo destruction. Digging, shredding, and chewing shouldn’t be allowed in public spaces, as you want an area to be as good as it was when you arrived for the next pups and pet parents. This concept keeps dog-friendly spaces flourishing and open rather than down for maintenance or unsafe for other doggos.
- Scoop your pooch’s poop. Unscooped dog poop spreads bacteria and parasites, potentially infecting other dogs and even people with worms or giardia. Pack extra poop bags and clean up everything your pupper deposits, please.
Most importantly, the golden rule of dog-friendly activities is to have fun. You and your dog are venturing out to make memories and bond. Put your phone away and focus on your floof!
Have you enjoyed any of our picks for the best dog-friendly activities in San Francisco? Is there another you and your pup participate in? Tell us about your experiences in the city with your sniffer! We’d love to hear.