8 Pet Friendly Places for Dogs in San Diego

San Diego is a pup paradise, with year-round mild weather and limitless outdoor options.

Jul 8, 2023By Kelley McFarland
pet friendly places for dogs in san diego

There is plenty to keep you and your dog active while you're in America's Finest City, where the sun shines over 300 days a year.

Here are 8 pet-friendly places to take your dog in San Diego.

8. Take Your Dog to the Beach

dog beach

Beaches in the City of San Diego allow leashed dogs beach access during early morning and late evening hours. Use this time to walk along the Mission Beach boardwalk or collect shells along the shore.

For the best off-leash beach day, head over to one of California’s best dog friendly beaches, Ocean’s original Dog Beach. Your dog will have the time of his life playing in the sand and the waves with new doggie friends. Bring along a life vest to keep your new swimmer out of trouble in the water. Don't forget the water bowl, waste bags, and extra towels to dry off your dog after you shower him off after frolicking in the sand. Pack a lunch or walk over to OB Surf Lodge for dog-friendly dining.

7. Stroll Through Balboa Park

balboa park

North of downtown, Balboa Park is 1,200 acres of gardens, museums, trails, and open parkland. Dogs are not permitted inside the museums, but there is still plenty to explore if you spend a day at this crown jewel of San Diego.

Walk through the arches of the Spanish colonnades, admire the gardens, and go off-road on one of the many trails that connect the park to one of the nearby neighborhoods. Pack a picnic or plan to visit Food Truck Friday on the Plaza de Panama.

Your dog can run off the rest of his energy for the day at Nate" s Point Dog Park, just south of the Cabrillo Bridge.

6. Grab Some Grub in Little Italy

little italy

San Diego's premier Little Italy neighborhood prides itself on being a dog-friendly haven. Take your pick of restaurants and outdoor patios that line Kettner Boulevard and India Street, serving up everything from classic Italian cuisine to celebrity chef delights.

Stop by the heart of Little Italy, Piazza della Famiglia, a European-inspired piazza that often hosts live music while you're enjoying a gelato from Bobboi Natural Gelato located in the food hall.

Finish off your tour of Little Italy at Amici Park. Your dog can run free at the Little Italy Dog Park while you spectate a casual game of bocce ball at the adjacent courts.

5. Explore Old Town

old town

Known as the birthplace of California, San Diego's Old Town is the site of the oldest European settlement in the state. Dogs are welcome on leash at the outdoor historical areas that will give you a taste and appreciation of the Mexican American heritage that influenced the region.

Enjoy an authentic Mexican meal at Casa de Freds Tacos y Tequila. You'll want to savor every bite on your plate, so be sure to order something for your pup off their designated doggy menu.

4. Take a Hike at Mission Trails Regional Park

dog hiking

Your dog will love to take in the natural beauty, sites, and sounds of Mission Trails Regional Park. There is indeed a hike for all skill levels at this inland preserve. Once home to the Kumeyaay Native American tribe, these well-maintained dog-friendly trails and historic lands offer endless expiration for you and your furry hiking buddy.

If you and your dog are feeling ambitious, head up the 3-mile climb that is the popular Cowles Mountain trail. Go for a more casual outing and enjoy the paved pathway that leads to the Old Mission Dam along the San Diego River.

3. Hit the Mall

dog patio

More than your ordinary mall, University Town Center or UTC is an open-air entertainment destination just north of La Jolla that is a fun and unique San Diego location that you and your dog will love to visit. Window shop at the luxury brand stores or sit by a bubbling fountain on your way to the off-leash Bark Park behind the ice skating rink entrance.

2. Catch a Ballgame at Petco Park

petco park

The popular pet supply store might sponsor Petco Park, but dogs are generally only welcome to cheer on the Padres from the stands during specified games. These popular Bark at the Park events take place a few times throughout the MLB season and have rules that must be abided by to ensure the safety of four and two-legged baseball fan alike.

If you would like the opportunity to take your dog to more games than are offered through Bark at the Park, consider a membership to The Barkyard. This exclusive dog-friendly package will allow access to a backyard-inspired viewing area in left field that features artificial turf and shade umbrellas to keep your pup cool and comfortable while you're watching the game.

1. Stay the Night at Hotel Indigo

dog in bed

Whether you're visiting from out of town or enjoying a staycation, you and your dog are welcome at Hotel Indigo. This chain of boutique hotels boasts the heart of the Gaslamp District as home to their San Diego location.

Take in the breathtaking view from the Level9 Rooftop Bar before retreating to your plush bed for the night in one of their dog-friendly rooms. You're sure to sleep like a dog after exploring everything San Diego has to offer!

Kelley McFarland
By Kelley McFarland

Kelley is a life-long animal lover who has experience caring for goats, alpacas, chickens, and dogs on a 3-acre hobby farm. Since moving to the Dallas suburbs, she enjoys exploring the neighborhood with Finn and Cody, her chocolate Labradoodle and spunky Boston Terrier Pug.