If you’re traveling to Austin with your pup, you’re in luck: it happens to be an incredibly dog-friendly city with lots of activities that both of you can enjoy. From its massive green spaces to off-leash bars slash dog parks, there’s plenty to do. Since it can be difficult to know exactly where to go, we’ve gathered a list of the best places to eat, drink, and play across the city. Read on for our guide to a fun-filled dog-friendly trip to Austin.
Where to Eat and Drink
As its name suggests, this north Austin spot is basically a dog park that also sells drinks. You’ll find a variety of local brews, craft cans, cocktails, wines, and even mocktails on the bar menu. What makes Yard Bar even better though is that they have “Bark Rangers” on staff to keep an eye on the pups while you sit back and relax. Entrance fees are $9 per dog, and be sure to check out their rules and requirements before heading in.
Nestled in a food truck park in east Austin is Desnudo Coffee, which works directly with small family-run farms by teaching them new techniques and encouraging sustainable practices and regenerative agriculture. Our founder Shannon is a regular herself and loves their specialty lattes. Be sure to say hi to her and Rishi if you spot them there!
South Austin brewery the ABGB has a spacious patio space where dogs are more than welcome. (There are plenty of watering stations and dog treats to go around.) Here, you can expect a diverse range of the ABGB's own award-winning brews on tap. They also have wine and cider for the beer-averse, and a full menu of food options from salads and small bites to pizzas and sandwiches. Plus, they donate 10 percent of their annual profits to the Hell Yes Project, which partners with Austin Pets Alive and other nonprofits.
If coffee’s more your speed, be sure to swing by Neighbors. This dog park slash coffee shop has plenty of room for your dog to run around, and “Pup Wranglers” are there to keep watch. It costs $12 for a day pass, and they provide a handy rules guide on their website.
For a good all-in-one spot, Cosmic in south Austin offers specialty coffee, cocktails, beers, and local food trucks in a wide open space. The patio is dog-friendly, with Cosmic offering complimentary water bowls and dog treats. During the day, you might find folks working or studying (since they offer free Wi-Fi), and at night, it’s a popular hangout spot.
Where to Play
Nestled between Westlake Hills and Austin is Red Bud Isle. The off-leash friendly island is truly a pup’s dream, with lush tree-lined trails and a lake for doggy paddling. Just be sure to bring a water bottle with you to keep them hydrated.
Zilker Park, where Austin City Limits is held, is another off-leash friendly green space. (Just note that it’s not fenced in, and it’s not far from a road.) There’s plenty of room for your pup’s zoomies and for you to set up a picnic blanket. Enjoy the view of the city’s skyline while your dog plays.
If you’re more into hiking, then be sure to check out Barton Creek’s trails. Here, your pup can enjoy the scenic route off-leash — just be sure to be careful of any bikers, since it is a popular spot for mountain biking. You’ll feel totally disconnected from the city here: It's teeming with trees and cliffsides. And, if you go soon after it rains, you might be lucky enough to swim in the creek bed.
What to See
While technically this is a bar slash coffee shop, Radio is also a great place to check out live music. Just take a peek at their calendar, and you’ll see they have a regular Bluegrass Night on Mondays. When the weather permits, musicians are known to perform on the patio, so you can enjoy the performance with your pup, too.
Again, this is technically a place to grab some great beer, but St. Elmo’s Brewing Co. also hosts tons of fun events. On their Facebook page, you’ll see their calendar’s full of Trivia Tuesdays, Bluegrass Thursdays, and more. And, dogs are welcome on leash on their patio, so you can both enjoy the festivities.
Austin’s full of fun wall murals that are the perfect photo ops for you and your dog. Downtown on Brazos and 2nd St., there’s the tallest mural in the city: Tau Ceti. You can’t miss the 10-story high, multicolored marvel. If you head south on Congress St., you’ll find a whole slew of classic wall art. Next to Jo’s Coffee (an Austin staple), you’ll see the iconic “I love you so much.” Just be ready to wait for a photo, since it is a popular stop. About two blocks south on the side of STAG Provisions, you’ll find the “Willie for President” artwork with a rendering of Willie Nelson. And lastly, be sure to make a pit stop to see the “Greetings from Austin” mural. The life size postcard is on the side of Roadhouse Relics on south 1st St.
Do you have a favorite dog-friendly spot in Austin? Let us know on Instagram and tag us @springerpets!