Here's Why Dog Owners Love San Diego
March 27, 2019
The active, outdoor lifestyle and super-agreeable climate of SoCal’s sunny San Diego make it an ideal place for pups and their owners. With plenty of spots that welcome furry friends, it’s easy to take yours with you when you head out on the town—or to the beach, the hiking trails, and even the office.
Whether you’ve already got a four-legged friend or you’re considering adding one to the family, San Diego definitely ranks high as one of the best cities to do life with a dog at your side. After all, its emphasis on getting outside and staying active means that you and your loyal pal will have no shortage of spots to check out—and that number seems to only be growing. Read on to discover just how dog-friendly San Diego really is, and find the next fun adventure for you and your pup.
San Diego Has Plenty of Pet-Friendly Apartments
First things, first. You and your furry friend need a place to post up. If you already live in San Diego and have a dog, you know that you’re far from alone—you probably frequent the same walking route with your neighbor and his pup, and swap head scratches and belly rubs with the cute canine that lives down the hall.
But if you’re in the market for a dog-friendly place to make your home, you’ll be glad to know that San Diego has plenty of apartment buildings that welcome pets. In fact, a quick search of currently available lodging in the San Diego area shows that over 4,000 places up for rent accept dogs. So, whether you’d like to set yourself and your pup up by the beach in La Jolla or in the heart of downtown, you’ve definitely got options. (Just know that some spots may charge additional monthly rent for Rover, or require a pet-deposit to cover any potential damage).
Go Out To Eat with Your Four-Legged Friend at These Dog-Friendly Restaurants
So the weather’s glorious (what’s new) and your friends want to grab a bite to eat outside to enjoy the sunshine—sounds like the perfect opportunity for your pooch to tag along, right? Luckily, you’ll find plenty of pup-friendly eateries in just about every neighborhood in the greater San Diego area.
For brunch, bring your buds (with two and four legs) to places like Baja Betty’s or The Prado at Balboa Park. The former is famed for its bottomless mimosas, so you’re guaranteed a good time. Or, head to The Patio on Lamont in Pacific Beach where your pup actually helps save you money, with half off certain cocktails (aka “Dogtails”) so you can load up on an extra order of chilaquiles or shrimp and grits. And the Lazy Dog in Mission Valley obviously welcomes pups of all kinds on its outdoor patio; come for a late brunch, stay for the cozy outdoor fire pit.
Looking for a local brewery that’d love to welcome your pawed pal? Green Flash Brewing Company offers lots of space for your canine companion to tag along, especially in its outdoor beer garden. Similarly, Societe Brewing Company serves up craft beers and communal-style high tops with plenty of room for your dog to hang out. In Oceanside, Bagby Beer Company’s compound boasts an indoor tasting room, rooftop patio, courtyard, and expansive outdoor area, all with tons of tables to kick back at with your pup by your side. Or, Ocean Beach’s small batch-focused Kilowatt Brewery serves up inventive craft beers in a funky setting full of local art, providing pup owners a seriously cool place to hang out.
Get Your Workout in at One of These Dog-Friendly Spots
If you’re a dog lover living in San Diego, it’s probably safe to assume that you like to spend a lot of your free time outdoors. Lucky for you and your pup, there are plenty of outdoor activities you can do together to stay fit. Whether you prefer to run along the beach, hit some hilly trails, or play with other pooches in a top-notch dog park, the SoCal city is a great place to get your sweat on alongside your pet. No need to log miles at your gym—get outside and give your dog a workout, too.
Here’s something that proves just how dog-friendly San Diego actually is: All city-operated beaches accept on-leash pups in the morning before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m., so feel free to take your leashed friend along for your pre- or post-work beach run. Same goes for the beaches in La Jolla and Mission Bay Park—as long as your pooch is leashed during morning and evening visits, it’s all good. Imperial Beach, Del Mar, and Solana Beach have some options for on-leash dogs, just be on the lookout for signs that show where you should go.
Dog beaches, of course, are best for really letting your pup run loose. To let your dog roam off-leash, head to one of San Diego’s dog-centric beaches: Coronado Dog Beach, Del Mar Dog Beach, Fiesta Island on Mission Bay, or Ocean Beach’s Dog Beach. There, your pooch will be able to play with other pups, splash freely in the water, and run wild until they’re completely worn out. And since your canine will be running up and down the coast nonstop, you’ll get your workout in, too, chasing your pup down. Bring a Frisbee or your furry friend’s favorite ball to strike up a good game of fetch—and don’t be surprised when some of the other four-legged beachgoers decide to join in.
San Diego’s Best Dog Parks and Dog-Friendly Trails
If you live in San Diego proper and you’re looking to take your pup for a quick run-around in a park, you’ve got a couple of good options for off-leash dog parks. The Grape Street Dog Park and Nate’s Point Dog Park in Balboa Park are the most popular—they’ll be filled with other playful pooches on the weekends for your dog to romp with but should be less crowded on weekdays.
Rather take your tailed companion out on some dog-friendly hiking trails? The Sunset Cliffs Park Trail isn’t too far from central San Diego and offers stunning ocean views to take in while you trek with your pup (just keep him on-leash). Same goes for the Fiesta Island Trail in Mission Bay Park. For more of a challenge, the Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail near Escondido serves up a 7-mile out-and-back hike for you and your pup to conquer together. Bring enough water for the two of you, because this lake view trail doesn’t have a surplus of shade.
Wanna Bring Your Pup to Work? Apply to a Dog-Friendly Office
Every dog owner knows the puppy-eyes look your pooch gives you each time you leave home without them. If you really can’t stand to step out sans-doggy, even for work, why not find a 9-to-5 that’s canine-friendly? As it happens, San Diego is a great spot for dog lovers who don’t want to part with their pups—plenty of the city’s employers allow dogs to come in daily. It's no surprise that Petco’s corporate headquarters in San Diego happily welcomes tail-wagging companions for its workers, and lots of the area’s smaller businesses are equally open to dogs. Job listing sites like LinkedIn or Glassdoor allow you to adjust your search settings to include “dog-friendly” as a requirement, making it easy to find the best workplace for you and your pup.
In the event that you can’t bring your furry buddy to work, plenty of pet-loving people in San Diego will walk your dog for you while you’re at the office. Check out Wag!’s dog-walking app, for example, which connects you with reliable dog-walkers in your area.
San Diego's Gone to the Dogs
The verdict is in: There’s never been a better time to own a dog in San Diego. The city’s canine-friendly spots seem only to be growing, so it’s incredibly easy to live a doggy lifestyle no matter what’s on your schedule. From a pup-friendly office to your favorite local happy-hour haunt, you’ll never have to head out without your four-legged best friend.
Written by Zoe Ward for Knockaround.