New York City is famous for its manic pace and its urban landscape. But, surprisingly, it's one of the most-dog friendly cities around. There are tons of fun things to do with your pet while you visit, and plenty of pet-friendly lodging and dining to be found. So if you're planning a visit, consider bringing your furry friend along.
Getting Around Town
Getting around with your dog in NYC is generally pretty easy. Petite pups - those small enough to be stowed in a lap-sized bag or container - are allowed on New York City subways and buses, and cabbies generally welcome them more than they do larger dogs. If you have a larger dog, or if you really want to take in as much of the city as you can, your best bet for getting around in the Big Apple is on your own six legs. Fortunately, New York's city blocks are short and set out in a clear grid pattern, so it's easy to get from place to place on foot.
Finding a Place to Stay
No matter what kind of lodging you plan to choose during your visit, NYC has many pet-friendly accommodation options for you. However, there are a couple of hotels that really go above and beyond for their canine guests. Located in the heart of Times Square, The Muse welcomes pets of all kinds, and even has its own Pomeranian "Director of Pet Relations." In Midtown, the Affina 50 provides food and water bowls for pets. What's more, you'll have the option to have your pet pampered with everything from grooming, to gourmet birthday cakes, to a visit with a pet psychic. The hotel even gives a pet goldfish to guests who don't bring pets, but could use some company.
In NYC, dog-friendly restaurants are everywhere. Some of the best and most well-known give away their dog-friendly nature right in their names. The Barking Dog at 94th Street - where the slogan is "Sit, Stay" - offers delicious, hearty homestyle breakfasts, lunches and dinners at great prices every day, along with a warm welcome for your pooch. Fetch Bar and Grill offers great food, as well, and gives back to the canine community by working with Animal Haven and the ASPCA to help deserving abandoned pets find homes.
Seeing the Famous Sites
While some iconic experiences - like visiting the top of the Empire State Building - aren't possible with your pet, most of New York's most sought-after landmarks, such as Times Square, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and Greenwich Village, can be viewed and enjoyed right from the street. The Brooklyn Bridge features a walkway that welcomes pedestrians and their dogs, and a nearby dog park with great views of the bridge. Dogs are also welcome in Battery Park, where you can easily catch a view of the Statue of Liberty.
NYC offers a wealth of entertainment that's literally designed with dogs in mind. Every fall, the city hosts the My Dog Loves Central Park Fair, where dogs can participate in beauty and obedience contests, fashion shows, and giveaways. The season also brings the annual Pups on the Runway Halloween Costume Ball and the Tomkins Square Halloween Parade (and really, what's better than dogs in costume?).
Each month, Central Park hosts Bagel Barks, a Saturday morning event where dogs can greet, play and enjoy dog treats, and their owners can get together for bagels, coffee and conversation. For an upscale taste of the club scene, pooches have their very own nightclub. Fetch offers dogs the best of VIP nightlife, as well as a spa and an indoor dog park. For some unique relaxation and exercise with your pup, you can try out "doga," or doggie yoga, at the ManhattanBideawee.
Touring the City
The website Zerve.com offers amazing guided tours of midtown, downtown and Central Park that allow both you and your dog to make the most of your NYC trip. You can have a great walk, discover everything there is to know about the city, and see a number famous landmarks - together.
Visiting Museums and Galleries
Unfortunately, there aren't too many dog-friendly galleries or museums in New York. However, one museum doesn't just welcome furry friends - it has literally gone to the dogs. Located on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the William Secord Gallery specializes in fine art dog paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. You can even commission a portrait of your own pooch.
Hanging Out at Dog-Friendly Parks
It may be the ultimate city landscape, but NYC offers plenty of open spaces for dogs to play. There are dog parks all over the city where dogs can socialize and exercise. Nearly every human park in the city accommodates leashed dogs - including Central Park - and many offer off-leash hours where pups can have some unrestrained fun.
Keep in mind that touring the Big Apple isn't the ideal trip for every dog. If your dog is nervous in crowds, dislikes new places, or likes peace and quiet, it may be best to leave him home. However, if your dog loves people, relishes new adventures, and knows how to behave himself, bring him along. New York is a one-of-a-kind city, and it's sure to be an unforgettable trip for you both.
TripsWithPets.com is an online resource for pet travel. Named best pet travel site by Consumer Reports, TripsWithPets.com's mission is to offer resources that ensure pets are welcome, happy and safe while traveling. The website features a directory of pet-friendly hotels and accommodations across the U.S. and Canada, as well as airline and car rental pet policies; pet-friendly restaurants, beaches and events; a user-friendly route search option;pet travel tips; pet travel supplies; and other pet travel resources.
Author Kim Salerno is the president and founder of TripsWithPets.com. She founded the pet travel site in 2003 and is an expert in the field of pet travel. Her mission is to ensure that pets are welcome, happy and safe in their travels.