Best Places for Dogs in San Francisco

Photo by Daisy Barringer

Dogs are everywhere in SF. You see them brunch in fancy restaurants, ride bikes in backpacks, frolic in the waves of our many beaches, peek into expensive handbags, pose for photos atop the view and generally living their best life. In fact, if you feel like you see a lot more dogs than kids, you’re right. That’s because there are legitimately more dogs than kids in San Francisco. A few years ago that number was around 118,000 minors, compared to between 120,000 and 500,000 dogs (and let’s be real, as of 2020 there are significantly fewer kiddos and many more doggos). So it’s no surprise that SF has plenty of great places for pooches of all shapes and sizes (as well as their human counterparts) to really thrive. Here are some of our favorite parks, beaches, bars, restaurants, and boats to take our four-legged, three-legged, and sometimes even two-legged fur babies on.

Fort Funston
Flickr/Fido Postman

Edge of the lake
If you live in SF and have a canine companion, then Fort Funston is already on your radar, but considering that beach with 200-foot-tall sand cliffs and all sorts of hiking trails (which range from easy to legit strenuous, especially if you go all the way to the water) is probably one of the best dog parks in the whole country, obviously it has to be included in this list. Even if you don’t feel like breaking a sweat, it’s worth hanging on to the cliffs and watching the hang gliders soar overhead. Dogs are allowed off leash but must be under voice control (and keep in mind that you can run into horses).

Crissy Field
James Kirkikis/Shutterstock

Crissy Field has just about everything a dog (or human) could want: a waterside path with views of just about everything that makes SF iconic, grassy areas, beaches with water quiet enough for swimming and picnic areas with charcoal grills. For the most part, dogs are allowed off leash, as long as they are under voice control, but keep an eye out for signs as there are protected wildlife areas throughout.

Bernal Heights/Mission
El Rio should be on the list of places to hang out simply because it has a great vibe, invests in social change, local arts and music, and underserved communities, and allows pets company both in the indoor bar and in the large outdoor garden. Keep in mind that pets shouldn’t attend big parties where there will be loud music, large crowds and general chaos, but most dog owners wouldn’t want to subject their best friend to fur to this kind of chaos anyway.

ocean beach
Unsplash/Andreas Strandman

Ocean Beach isn’t San Francisco’s most scenic beach (though it does have wide stretches of sand, crashing waves, and pretty, stellar sunsets — it just happens to face some extremely tough competition. fierce because of the cliffs and bridges and stuff (lots of other beaches have them), but you know what your dog doesn’t care about? Views. Do you know what interests your dog? These vast expanses of sand and water, which are perfect for frolicking, digging, lounging and general fun on the beach. OB also tends to be the least crowded beach (not only because of the lack of “views”, but also because it’s 3.5 miles long), and your pup is free to roam almost anything off-leash ( except for Stairwell 21 at Sloat Blvd) year-round.

Lower Haight
The bartenders at this famous beer bar are notoriously surly (you know you’re ordering, have your cash ready, etc.), but how surly can someone in a bar that allows dogs really be? (We don’t recommend trying to find out, but you get the gist.) If you love beer, you’ll love Toronado because it offers over 40 beers on tap, many of which are popular but elusive. There’s also a good jukebox, outdoor seating, and not only can you bring your dog (inside and out) you can also bring hot dogs (like in the sausages) from Berliner Berliner next door – or whatever takes your fancy! Toronado can get very crowded on weekend nights, so if you’re planning to go on a Friday or Saturday and want to be inside, you better leave your furry friends at home.

Park Chalet
Photo courtesy of Park Chalet

Golden Gate Park/Ocean Beach
When the sun is shining, the Park Chalet’s back lawn is the perfect place to relax, drink a beer and eat fish tacos. It’s also a popular place to bring dogs as the lawn is spacious and has a super laid back vibe. (Good to know: It’s also a very popular place to bring the kids, so if your dog isn’t downstairs with toddlers, you’ll want to keep an eye out for them.) There are tables on the lawn, but if one is not available, you can also lay a picnic blanket or just find a spot on the grass. Go on weekends in the summer and chances are you can also enjoy live music.

Dolores Park
Photo by Daisy Barringer

A soccer field, tennis courts, a basketball court, vast green lawns, a children’s play area, amazing people watching and not one but two off-leash dog play areas… Needless to say There’s a reason Dolores Park is one of SF’s most popular green spaces, especially on a sunny Saturday or Sunday. The off-leash play areas are on the slope on the south side and the flatter (usually less crowded) part on the north side near the soccer field. Keep in mind that nothing is fenced off and Dolores Park is surrounded by busy streets. So you’ll either want to keep your dog close or make sure your voice commands are input.

Cole Valley
You can always bring your well-behaved dog to sit outside with you at this popular French-inspired bistro that has long lines for brunch, but if you bring Fifi or Fido to dinner on the back patio on Monday nights, you’ll also score $10 off a bottle of wine for you and endless goodies for them.

lands end
Unsplash/Mick Haupt

sea ​​cliff
Alright, if your dog really likes views (or if you really like photos of your dog with great views in the background), head to Lands End, which allows dogs to go off-leash all day long. ‘year. The winding path along the rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean is a bit narrow in parts and extremely steep in others, so you’ll want to make sure your pup is friendly or super good with voice control, but that’s the way to go. One of the best urban hikes you’ll find in town lots of cool stops along the way including turn-of-the-century gun emplacement, views of shipwrecks and the ruins of Sutro Baths. There is also a “hidden” beach (Mile Rock) where you can both sink your feet/paws into the sand and the Pacific Ocean, assuming you are both ok with a bit of a steep hike .

golden gate park

What dog won’t love roaming over 1,000 acres of pastoral meadows, winding paths and wooded groves? Golden Gate Park is a total no-brainer when it comes to human and dog fun, as there are seemingly endless areas to explore. Technically, your dog must be on a leash except in designated off-leash areas, but if you’re lounging on a picnic blanket, the chances of you being called for letting your pup sniff nearby places a bit are at pretty much zilch. If you prefer to follow the rules, the four off-leash areas of the park are an all-sand dog training area in the northwest corner of the park and playgrounds in the northeast corner of the park near Stanyan Street, the southeast corner. near Kezar Stadium and the South West Quadrant.

Blue and gold fleet
Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Fleet

San Francisco Bay
Okay, you know how every time you’re on a boat, you suddenly feel like you’re living your best life, or at least a pretty good life? Don’t you think your dog deserves to know what it’s like to feel his ears flapping and/or his tail wag in the wind while soaring across the bay? Good news: the Blue & Gold Fleet, which operates sightseeing cruises and ferry service to Sausalito, agrees. You just need to keep your dog on a leash at all times.

Bernal Heights
Spend a lazy day drinking hazy IPAs at this brewery and taproom known for its innovative beers and use of local ingredients. The SF location is also known for a pretty cool selection of games including Killer Queen, shuffleboard, ping pong, foosball, pinball, and more. Oh, and kids and dogs are allowed, although the rules for kids seem to be a bit stricter. Check the schedule to see which food truck will appear in the parking lot that day.

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Daisy Barringer doesn’t have any kids, but she does have a very adorable, very huge, very slobbery St. Bernard named Monkey, who can often be found walking around Cole Valley, Haight Street or the Golden Gate Park. (That’s when he’s not riding in the snow in Tahoe). Follow her on Instagram for pictures of her gorgeous floofer-nutter.

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