This year, Trust for Public Land ranked Pittsburgh as 13th out of the biggest cities to have the most dog parks per 100,000 residents. Though Pittsburgh doesn’t have the most dog parks, it has approximately 2 dog parks within reach for any given resident living in any of the neighborhoods without even counting the suburban parks.
But Pittsburgh also has plenty of places and activities that make it more dog-friendly than the average person would know. We’ve listed only a few of the many parks, restaurants and events available to Pittsburgh dog owners. Maybe they’ll spark some owner-pet time inspiration?
Far northeast of the Downtown area is Hartwood Acres, a 629-acre park that is also home to the Hartford Mansion. Dogs are free to run on off-leash trails and inside fenced dog parks offered by the estate. The park hosts events such as the Free Summer Concert Series and the Allegheny County Music Festival.
As Pittsburgh’s largest regional park, Frick spans 644 acres between Squirrel Hill and Point Breeze. Sections of the park reach so far that they even border Regent Square and touch the Monongahela River by Nine Mile Run. Despite its inner-city location, Frick Park has plenty of wooded areas that are perfect for hiking and off-leash walks with your dog.
Nearby Regent Square is “Hot Dog Dam,” a creek in an off-leash area where your dog could frolic and swim during warm-weather days. Hot Dog Dam is also surrounded by grassy park areas that are both play and picnic-friendly.
One of Point State Park’s claims to fame is its location at the intersection of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. Downtown locals and visitors come to entertain their dogs within view of Pittsburgh’s iconic skyscrapers and bridges. Keep in mind that your pets need to be on a leash! As an urban attraction, Point State Park features flat green grass and paved walkways for easy strolling.
Because of nearby universities, students often choose Schenley Park for their running routes and outdoor hangout dates. The terrain features mostly solid paths for both you and your pup to enjoy. But you’ll still need to share the park with those student intramural sports teams!
Highland Park’s greatest historic feature is its reservoir, which was built to provide water to the Highland borough residents. The park is a popular choice for pet owners because of both the beautiful landscaping and the flat paths that make it easy to maintain pace alongside your canine companion.
If you’re interested in a challenge, Riverview Park is known for steep inclines and heavily wooded trails--perfect for hikers and ambitious joggers with their dogs. There’s a designated off-leash area as well so that your dog could run freely in an open space. Other notable sites in the park include Allegheny Observatory and the Chapel Shelter.
Olympia Park is one of the three parks that make up Emerald View Park, which also includes Grandview and Mount Washington parks. Olympia holds the off-leash park, so it’s a common choice for those looking to let their dogs loose during a walk around Emerald View. The uphill location offers picturesque views of the Downtown area.
The Three Rivers Heritage Trail System already allows leashed dogs on their paths, but Bernard Dog Run is a section along the system that contains large and small off-leash areas for dogs to play. The off-leash areas are accessible from an entrance under the 40th street bridge. If that’s too far for you, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail itself reaches many Pittsburgh boroughs and features paved urban paths that make it easy on the feet for both owners and their dogs.
Like the name suggests, Double Wide Grill serves grilled entrees from burgers to BBQ ribs as well as diner classics. The restaurant also offers a doggie menu upon request. During warm weather seasons, the patio is open for owners to dine with their dogs outside.
Coca Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and everything in-between--and by that, I mean that their changing weekly brunch menu has been a popular Lawrenceville staple for years. The cafe allows dogs in their sidewalk seating and offers outdoor water bowls.
Just because Nine on Nine is an upscale bistro doesn’t mean they’re above having dogs on their patio. Expect treats! While you’re downtown, you may even be able to visit some famous attractions like Point State Park.
Just so you know, Grist House Craft Brewery isn’t a restaurant. The brewery allows pets both inside and outside of the taproom--but the food often comes from the surrounding food trucks. The brewery provides an all-season outdoor deck and beer garden (biergarten, if we’re being technical) where guests could enjoy their food. Dogs could go where they please so long as they stay behaved and on a leash.
Square Cafe’s trendy brunch and seasonal menus separate it from your typical breakfast and lunch eatery. They even offer gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options! On a fair-weather day, consider bringing your dog out on the patio and enjoying your meal together. Water bowls are also available.
In the heart of the Strip District, Osteria offers casual Italian dining with meals made from locally sourced ingredients. Outside, you can appreciate the historic scenery of the Strip District alongside your meal. Dogs are welcome on the patio and treats are available for 50 cents each.
Walnut Street isn’t just known for its upscale retail and boutiques--it’s also got its fair share of fine dining. Along the main street is Cappy’s Cafe, where they allow dogs on the patio and provide water bowls. Fun fact: Even though it’s a pub, Cappy’s Cafe doesn’t fry any of their food. Everything is baked, broiled or grilled.
Sun Penang offers outdoor seating during sunny, warm-weather days. You could could eat stylish Asian fusion meals with your dog outside on the patio. The restaurant focuses on Malaysian, Thai, and Chinese-inspired meals, but also incorporates dim sum carts.
Outdoor seating and cool treats are a perfect warm weather combo. Family-run Antney’s offers homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbets. Their ice cream flavors can range from simple vanilla to inventive stracciatella. However, Antney’s offers more than a place for you and your dog to sit and stay--they also offer homemade dog treats! The “Pup Cup” gives you the option to treat both yourself and your dog.
Like the name may suggest, Big Dog Coffee is dog-friendly. You can bring your dog inside or outside the shop, and sit with them wherever you like. The menu keeps things simple by listing categories online rather than specific items (you have to check those out for yourself!).
Because of how widespread Primanti’s is in Pittsburgh, most dog owners have access to at least one. Each Primanti Bros. location will allow dogs on their outdoor patios. So, next time you’re thinking of enjoying one of their signature sandwiches, consider bringing your pup along.
During the summer months, Lucky Paws opens its doggie swimming pool to the public. Because of the safety reputation and massive size of the pool, it has become a crowd pleaser for Pittsburgh dog owners. The resort also features an indoor and outdoor dog park, and offers salon and spa services as well as boarding, daycare and training.
Up in the hills of Franklin Park, Misty Pines offers a place where dogs could romp in outdoor playgrounds, swim in a pond, or even hike in the nearby trails. The outdoor playgrounds even have options for larger and smaller dogs as well as puppies. While the outdoor attractions are the main hype, Misty Pines also provides many amenities to its guests. As a pet company, Misty Pines offers friendly, professional service in grooming, daycare, and training for owners who want to seriously treat their dogs.
The Dog Stop has several locations, only some of which are in Pittsburgh but are generally closer to the center of the city than Misty Pines and Lucky Paws. Jesse Coslov and Chris Kane started the chain after years of studying pet care to best ensure a place where owners could confidently leave their pets in high-quality care. They provide grooming, daycare, boarding, and even education or training for their clients. The well-kept, off-leash park areas also offer dogs plenty of freedom and playtime.
In contrast with other major league baseball teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates hold Pup Nights at PNC Park all season long rather than one or two times a year. Pup Nights are on Tuesdays, when dog-friendly vendors provide snacks for both owners and dogs throughout the game. Be sure to get advanced tickets to ensure a seat with your pup!
Venture Outdoors occasionally helds a program called the Doggie Day Trek, which features a 5-7 mile hike in Forbes State Forest. For those of you who aren’t very outdoorsy or athletically inclined, be aware of the trails’ moderate ratings. Off-leash play is included in the event time. If you’re interested, make sure to check the calendar for upcoming treks!
Shadyside shopping spree, anyone? Shadyside, especially Walnut Street, is lined with upscale shops, boutiques and fine dining--but some of these places are actually quite dog-friendly. Every year, Bark Shadyside holds their annual Pup Walk to fundraise for the Animal Rescue League. Bark Shadyside also has a list of dog-friendly businesses in the neighborhood, all of which have been provided with complimentary treat jars and water bowls. That way, they could best cater to their dog-loving customers. Additionally, Walnut Street, Ellsworth Avenue, and South Highland Avenue have one or more doggy bag dispensers to pick up after your pets.
Dog-related Pittsburgh activities aren’t always calendar consistent (yearly, monthly, etc.), so there are a few that may pop up depending on how free instructors are to host the events. Animal Friend’s website, Think Outside the Cage, is just one of the websites that keeps track of upcoming pet-friendly events as they come.
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