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Traveling can be tough when you’re leaving behind your four-legged friend — whether you’re paying for help or relying on friends to pet-sit, you know that no one is going to show the little fur-ball as much love and affection as you do yourself. Luckily, there are plenty of pet-friendly cities around the U.S. — and that, combined with pet-friendly airlines and points hotels, means that it’s easier than ever to take Fido or Whiskers along for the journey.
1. Portland, Oregon
It’s lush, it has a great culinary scene and it’s about as obsessed with animals as you are. Portland has dozens of dog parks and pet-friendly trails, as well as 70 restaurants that allow pets. Give pup a cold bowl of water while you sip a local brew at Lucky Labrador Beer Hall or share a pork meatball banh mi at Lardo East. Then watch the sunset together 1,073 feet above sea-level at Council Crest Park, one of Stumptown’s highest points.
2. Provincetown, Massachusetts
The canine scholars at now-defunct Dog Fancy magazine named Provincetown, Massachusetts the most dog-friendly city in the U.S. well before taking your Goldendoodle to brunch became cool. Why? The tony seaside town boasts plenty of leash-free open spaces and parks, pooch-focused events and a cornucopia of animal-welcoming businesses — including a whale-watching cruise.
3. San Diego, California
Sure, your mutt knows how to catch a tennis ball. But can she catch a wave? Teach her how to surf at one of San Diego’s dog-friendly beaches. The city is so into canines, it hosts a dog surfing competition every summer. Plus, it possesses more dog-friendly restaurants (187) and shopping centers (seven) than any other city in the United States. The city is not just for the dogs, though; cat-lovers adore San Diego for its feline rescues (Friends of Cats is a world-class sanctuary), meetups and the annual San Diego Cat Show.
4. San Francisco
San Francisco is known as one of the best dining destinations in the country — and it also happens to be one of the most welcoming to pets. The walkable city boasts a whopping 174 dog-friendly restaurants, 183 animal-receiving hotels as well as ample dog parks, hiking trails and even a couple boat tours that are willing to entertain man’s best friend. If cats are more your cup of tea, head over to KitTea Cat Cafe, where the feline-loving staff offers kitten yoga classes, Happy Meowr and more.
5. New York
In 2016, the NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene finally loosened its dining-with-dogs regulations. The Big Apple, arguably the most walkable metro in the U.S., now has 141 restaurant patios that allow pups, along with dozens of dog parks — including Central Park before 9 a.m. — and ample shops that allow for browsing with pets in tow. The Big Apple also caters to cat fanciers with new feline-centric events such as Cat Camp, a cat portion of the Westminster Dog Show and multiple cat cafes.
6. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale took the No. 1 spot for Wallet Hub’s “2017’s Most Pet-Friendly Cities.” The desert town ranked high in per capita dog-hospitable restaurants (more than 100), first in animal health and wellness and second in “outdoor pet-friendliness.” You and your furry companion can hike past the towering saguaro cacti of McDowell Sonoran Preserve, then kick back together at Su Vino Winery while you sip a glass of house-made wine.
7. Asheville, North Carolina
Like a hippier East Coast version of Portland, Oregon, Asheville features lush mountain vistas, great food and killer beer. In fact, the mountain town has more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city, many of which allow pets. Sip Hefeweizen at Wedge Brewing Co. at Wedge Studios or a sour outside Wicked Weed Funkatorium as your pooch befriends the locals (canines and humans, of course). Dogs are also allowed at less boozy attractions, including Pisgah National Forest and summer concerts at the magnificent Biltmore Estate. And cats are welcome to stay at the trendy Aloft Asheville Downtown — one of the country’s pet-friendly points hotels.
8. Key West, Florida
Key West is known for its extremely chill vibe; after all, this is the town with a clothing-optional rooftop bar right on Duval Street. So it’s no wonder dogs are widely accepted here. Well-behaved pets are allowed at most restaurants and bars with outdoor seating — and inside certain spots too — as well as the Key West Aquarium, boat charters and the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, itself a polydactyl cat haven. (You have to carry your pet throughout Hemingway’s former home — but c’mon, still.)
9. Bozeman, Montana
This Rocky Mountain college town is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and their pets, offering 67 miles of pristine hiking trails, top-notch skiing (throw your pup in a K9 Sport Sack), fishing, rafting and more. The area also boasts a plethora of pet-friendly restaurants and hotels.
10. Aspen, Colorado
There’s no need to worry about your pet getting dehydrated from Aspen’s high altitude — there’s a dog bowl outside nearly every business establishment in this celeb-studded mountain town. Many of the hotels, restaurant patios (don’t worry: most are heated during the winter months), hiking paths and even cross-country skiing trails are open to furry friends.
Have you been somewhere awesome with your pet recently? Let us know in the comments!
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