Who knew that the city of brotherly love had gone to the dogs? Just a quick two hours from New York City, Philly is a dog lover’s dream. There are sprawling parks, a wide range of dog friendly restaurants, and incredible pet stores. Jump on an Amtrak (or take NJ Transit and transfer to the SEPTA in Trenton), and make way for this historical city with your pup in tow. Here are 10 dog friendly things to do in Philadelphia.
1. Climb the Rocky Steps
Known as the “Rocky steps” by Stallone and boxing aficionados, the landmark is actually the 72 stone steps leading up to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Climbing the steps is a rite of passage for any Philly visitor. Jog up the steps with your pup and then raise two paws at the top! You’ll get a good workout, and don’t forget to check out the bronze Rocky statue at the base.
Movie trivia: Did you know that Sylvestor Stallone’s original idea was to have Rocky carry his dog Butkus up the steps? That’s right, the giant Bull Mastiff was supposed to be in the iconic scene, but he proved too heavy to carry while running!
2. Visit a Dog Park
Philly has an array of dog parks sprinkled throughout the city. Walk around any neighborhood and you’ll see why: there are dogs everywhere! Our favorite? Schuylkill River Dog Run. Located right by the river, this dog park has k9 grass, a doggie fountain, and a separate area for small dogs. Bonus: there’s a bridge right above the park that gives you stunning views of both the waterfront and all of the dogs playing. It’s like having a front row seat to all of the action.
Location: 300 S 25th St.
3. Eat at Bennas Cafe
With free wifi, a bring-your-own-cup coffee deal, AND dogs allowed inside, what’s not to love about Benna’s Cafe? This quirky spot has great handmade sandwiches, delicious bagels, and piping hot coffee. There are also plenty of gluten-free and vegan options worth trying. Take a seat at the window and people watch with your pup, or sit at a cozy corner table. The baristas are friendly, and you’ll meet lots of neighborhood pups stopping in to get their humans a snack.
Location: 1236 S 8th St.
4. Take a Free Walking Tour
What’s better than a tour of Philly? A free tour of Philly! Luckily, there are a few companies that provide free tours and let you bring your dog along. Check out Free Tours By Foot or Free and Friendly Tours. Choose from historical tours, tours for foodies (ooh Philly cheesesteaks!), and even ghost tours. Be sure to send them a note when signing up. Want to go at your own speed? Check out this self guided tour.
5. Walk Along the River
The Schuylkill River Trail is a 30 mile scenic trail that runs along the Schuylkill River. Its wide paved road and grass shoulders are perfect for a jog, bike ride, or walk with your pup. Check it out, and be sure to walk on to the adjoining Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, a 2,000-foot-long pathway that includes four scenic overlooks. It’s the perfect way to marvel at the Philadelphia skyline and get some exercise.
6. Visit the Magic Gardens
In 1994, artist Isaiah Zagar started working on a large vacant lot in the South Street area of Philadelphia. He used found objects to sculpt multi-layered walls and colorful mosaics. Today, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a nonprofit art museum and gallery space that is open to the public. Take a guided tour, or wander around the outdoor sculpture garden solo. You’re more than welcome to bring your pup to enjoy the art and to take frame worthy selfies.
Location: 1020 South Street.
7. Take a Stroll on Passyunk
Named one of Food and Wine’s 10 Best Foodie Streets in America, Passyunk Avenue is lined with boutiques, bars, restaurants, and cafes. Take a walk down the vibrant street with your pooch, and check out all of the sites and sounds of Philly. Be sure to stop by the singing fountain, located at the epicenter of the bustling street in Passyunk Square (yes, it does sing!), and order a Cheesesteak from either Pat’s King of Steaks or Geno’s Steaks, two cheesesteak places that have been on opposite ends of the same corner for five decades. There’s always something happening on Passyunk – street fairs, discounts on the second Saturday of the month, and a farmer’s market every Wednesday.
8. Hang Out at Doobies Bar
This classic dive bar opened in the 70’s and was supposedly named after a love of….what else? Doobies. While it may not look super appealing from the outside, there’s an abundance of board games available, cheap beer, and a jukebox. Plus, the owners are big animal lovers, having saved hundreds of cats and raised money for rescue. Bring your dog, they’re not only allowed in the bar, they’re allowed on the bar. (They really are super pet friendly!).
Location: 2201 Lombard S
9. Shop at Doggie Style
This self proclaimed neighborhood watering dish is a locally owned pet store with eight locations in Philadelphia. They offer grooming, pet accessories and supplies, and run adoption events in store. Walking in was like entering pet heaven. There’s a variety of products and brands, and all at fair prices. It’s a great place to pick up a few items, or to bring your dog for some pets.
10. Get a Sweet Treat
After all of that activity, your dog deserves a treat! Head to Amelie’s Bark Shop, a natural pet boutique and bakery that sells homemade dog treats and eco friendly products. Pick up a dog cookie or cupcake! Don’t forget to check out their accessories, all made using sustainable and recycled materials, like bamboo food bowls and handmade toys. Has your pup been an extra good dog? Get them their own decorated cake to enjoy with dog park friends.
Location: 1544 E Passyunk Ave.