Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dog-friendly in San Francisco: A few of our favorite places!

As mentioned in a previous post, San Francisco has more dogs than children: so thinking "dog-friendly" for your business is going to make a difference. On a recent trip to Ohio, I realized that while the Midwest has plenty of dogs, they stay at home. It was a stark contrast to the dog-friendly environment in San Francisco.

If you are visiting SF with your furbaby, here are a few of our Fuzzbutt approved places.

Eating / Drinking:

Elite Cafe - Sunday brunch is a favorite here, and reservations are not taken. If you want the outside tables (heat lamps are provided), get here early. This is a heavy dog area - it seems like everyone is walking a dog here. If they aren't, they love dogs and will stop and admire yours! Try the habenero-infused vodka bloody mary for a kick and the deviled eggs are yummy!

Absinthe - The sidewalk tables are small and the sidewalk area isn't very broad. So make sure to keep tails well out of the pedestrian walk area. The staff are great with dogs and welcoming. No heat lamps, but this is Hayes Valley which tends to be a tad bit warmer than other parts of the city. Try the burger and the deviled eggs. And the fries. And the cheese. Oh heck - try it all!

Park Chalet - Dog heaven. Hang out on the lawn with your best friend, order food, listen to music. In the summer, it is super crowded here so stake a claim on your spot early!


Corona Heights - Fenced in dogpark! Fuzzbutt is not an off-leash kind of dog, so this place is fantastic for us. The dogs here seem to be generally well-behaved and many of the pack walkers and dog walkers come here in the afternoons. After playing in the park, you can climb to the peak and have amazing 360 views of the city. The downside is the park gets super muddy and takes some time to dry out. In the summer, it can get dusty, though parks and rec have made an effort to add more mulch to control the dust factor.

Fort Funston - Since we don't do the off-leash thing, I cannot speak personally to this one. But EVERY dog owner I speak with loves this park. This dog beach is a top spot again and again. It is huge! The NorCal beaches are not known for being warm, so bring layers - and watch your dog in the surf. The Pacific Ocean can have some funky currents in this area.

Golden Gate Park - There is an off-leash and fenced dog park around 38th and Fulton Street. On-leash, the park is dog-friendly and huge. There are cool paths through the woods as you get closer to the ocean end of the park. Stow Lake is very entertaining, especially if your dog likes to chase birds (which is frowned on, but still funny). Do not let your dog in the lakes to actually EAT the ducks and geese - this is seriously bad form. Stow Lake has Strawberry Hill in the center which is a great climb and fun to explore.


Fillmore Street - From about O'Farrell all the way up to Sacramento Street, Fillmore Street is a homage to consumerism. It is also a very dog-friendly area. Every store we've walked in, except for the food stores, has been welcoming of dogs. We always ask first, but have never been denied. One block over at Steiner and California is ... park. More fun for your best friend!

Union Square - We took Fuzzbutt here often as a puppy to help socialize him. It is absolute chaos, so if you have a timid dog, I wouldn't recommend this area. There is only one good green area for potty breaks, located on the Post side of the Union Square green area. The cable car lines in the streets can freak out some dogs also and there is just so much foot traffic that you really have to keep your dog close to you to avoid them being stepped on. The stores are nearly all dog-friendly: Macy's, Tiffanys, Barneys, William-Sonoma, Banana Republic, Lush - all have been tested and are good with dogs coming in. Outdoor dining is limited, but if you go over to Belden Place you'll find plenty of outdoor seating.

Happy Travels!

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