Dog Friendly Spots
by Chelsea Pennington, Writer and Animal Enthusiast
As the days get longer, we’re not the only ones who want to get out and have fun—our dogs want to come too! Luckily, the Arlington and D.C. areas are full of parks, restaurants, and businesses that love your dog almost as much as you do. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular so you’ll have plenty of adventures to choose from this spring.
Tucked away into a wooded area in Arlington, Glencarlyn Park offers access to nature for dogs and owners alike. Dogs are free to go off leash, although it’s not fenced in so make sure your pup is well-trained. The area includes access to a small creek shallow enough for even small dogs to splash in without worry. The surrounding trees also provide shade for owners while their dogs play, as well as some paved trails you and your pup can spend time drying off on before heading back to the car.
A hidden gem right outside of D.C., Theodore Roosevelt Island provides amazing views of the surrounding areas as well as a network of trails criss-crossing the island. Try the Woods trail that leads to the Memorial Plaza, featuring a statue of the island’s namesake, or the Upland trail that covers the length of the island and connects to many of the other trails if you feel like extending your walk. Perhaps best of all is that both access to the island and parking are free. The parking lot is relatively small, however, so be sure to go at off hours or arrive early to get a spot.
If you need a fenced-in area for your dog to enjoy, check out Shirlington Dog Park. There are separate areas for small and big dogs with plenty of room for running. There is a river nearby, although be careful about letting your dog swim in it as there is a potential for debris at the bottom of the river or bacteria in the water. If your dog gets messy, there’s even a dog washing station near the middle of the park available for a small fee. It’s a well-kept area popular among nearby dog owners.
If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat but don’t want to leave your dog behind, consider visiting Texas Jack’s Barbeque on Washington Blvd in Arlington. With a menu that boasts beef brisket, beef short ribs, charro sausage, and fried chicken or pulled pork sandwiches plus a spacious patio where dogs are welcome, this is a great spot to hang out with friends, both human and canine.
Want to give your dog a chance to get outdoors, but still need to get work done? Grab some coffee and pastries at The Java Shack in Arlington. Their outdoor patio welcomes dogs, and also has electrical outlets and free wifi so you can stay as long as you need. The staff is happy to bring out water bowls for dogs, and it’s even located next door to a pet shop if you want to pick up a treat for your pup while you enjoy your coffee.
On the first Monday of every month, bring your pooch and enjoy Yappy Hour at Tysons Biergarten. Tysons Biergarten carries some of Germany and Belgium’s finest beers plus American craft beers and a menu with the perfect pairing for any drink you choose. The pub also offers a variety of games from Connect4 to cornhole. Dogs are welcome anytime, but once a month Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance hosts Yappy Hour to bring in adoptable dogs and offer doggie treats for all pups.
If you’re looking for a calm indoor place to hang out with your dog, try East City Bookshop near Capitol Hill. In this two-story independent bookstore, dogs are welcome to come hang out as you browse the shelves or cuddle up with a good book. The staff loves dogs and your dog is sure to love all the attention!
If you’re too busy with work or school but your pup still needs to burn some energy, Bark + Boarding is a great alternative to let your dog get some exercise and socialization. At our doggie daycare, we consider your pup a part of our family, and do everything to ensure they have a fun and safe time. We have distinct play zones that allow for spaces to give dogs a calm break or give special attention to dogs with extra wiggles. Your dog will receive outside playtime and potty breaks in our outdoor run, constant professional supervision, as well as feedings and medication given at no additional charge.
No matter what works for you and your pup, be sure to take advantage of the sunshine and nice weather after a long winter!