Dog Friendly NYC: Bring your dog to New York City

dog in front of a new york yellow taxi

We love visiting NYC with our dog – its not hard to find Pet Friendly Hotels in New York City and there are plenty of dog parks to play in. We’ve traveled to New York City with Calvin during every season – I (humom) grew up in Manhattan and so we head back to the Upper West Side many times a year to see grandma and grandpaw.  To be perfectly honest, NYC is tough with a dog, especially a big dog. Be ready to do a lot of walking, and bundle up if you’re visiting during winter.  All in all, NYC is magical at any time of year but can be inconvenient if your pet doesn’t fit in a bag. Before visiting NYC with your pet, make sure that they are comfortable with the crazy sounds and crowds they will experience.  It can be extremely overwhelming if they are not used to being in such an environment.

Are dogs allowed on the NYC Subway?

NYC arguably has the best public transportation system in the country…..but pets are not allowed in the Subway unless they fit in a bag (strictly enforced). Your best option is to put on your walking shoes and explore the city by foot. Yellow cabs will sometimes allow you to ride but this is at the driver’s discretion – yellow cab seats are actually covered in plastic so shedding and seat damage is not a risk and easy to clean.  We take cabs when we go to the airport and lay a towel on the floor so that Calvin’s fur does not get onto the car.  Uber/Lyft is another great way to get around NYC but be sure to call the driver before hand to make sure they are ok with a dog getting into their car. We spend most of our time in NYC walking – sometimes 15 miles a day even in the dead of winter.

Pet Friendly Hotels in New York City

We wish we had recommendations, but we stay with family so we’ve never had an issue with accommodations. Our usual favorites are pet friendly AirBnBs and one of the many NYC Kimpton Hotels. NYC has a lot of cool boutique hotels – in general, we’d recommend staying in lower Manhattan (Chelsea, West Village, Greenwich Village) if you are looking to hit the town in the evening.

dog wearing a sweater on a bench in central park

Best Times to Visit NYC with a Dog

We are lucky enough to have visited NYC in all seasons – Our favorite visits have been in the spring and early fall.  In September, the heat has started to die down but you’ll still feel comfortable in shorts. In November, the weather starts to get chilly but the parks are painted in the most beautiful fall colors. We spent the Christmas Season in NYC last year and our California was showing terribly – We were NOT prepared for the blistering cold but once we got all the gear we needed, were able to enjoy ourselves.  Visiting in the winter can be especially beautiful if you are blessed with a magical snow storm. Central Park is breathtaking the morning after a snowstorm. The air is fresh, the snow is soft, and the dogs are allowed off-leash until 9am! The biggest issue with visiting in the winter is that outdoor seating is not available and so fido has to stay home during meal times. During the summer, NYC is brutally hot.  We visited in July and temperatures hit 100 during the day. We kept our walks to the early morning and evening and came prepared with all of Calvin’s cooling gear and water bottles.

dog on the steps of the met in NYC

New York City Dog Parks

Central Park is off leash before 9AM
Our favorite spots are Cedar Hill (79th St. East) and Great Hill (106th St. West).  Dogs will congregate off leash at these hills in the early morning.

Tompkins Square Dog Park

Madison Square Dog Park

Washington Square Dog Park

105th Dog Run (Riverside Park)

72nd Dog Run (Riverside Park)

Prospect Park in Brooklyn is off leash before 9AM

dog with bagels and mug in new york city. dog is wearing a red checkered bandana

Pet Friendly Restaurants in NYC

During the spring, fall, and summer you can certainly enjoy your time in NYC with fido by taking advantage of the outdoor patios.  You may melt outside during the midday summer heat, but at least the seating is available.  You’ll find that many parks have great outdoor food options available.

landscape view of NYC skyline from the great lawn of central park

Where to walk your dog in NYC

When we visit NYC, we walk all day. Please note that most of the indoor places are not pet friendly, so you will just have to enjoy them from the outside.  To be honest, the top of the Empire State Building is overrated anyway (coming from a native New Yorker). Here are some walks to check out:

Lower Manhattan East Village, West Village, Greenwich Village, Soho, Chelsea, Union Square, Madison Square Park.
The lower part of Manhattan is home to some of the trendiest spots.  You can start down at the East or West village and make your way up to Madison Square Park. Most of the cute restaurants and cafés have outdoor seating available. Madison Square Park has a great dog park (and an outdoor Shake Shack!).  If you want to get some food from the famous Eataly across the street, you can enjoy the food with your pup at the picnic tables in Madison Square Park.

Tribeca & Brooklyn Bridge – Ground Zero, City Hall Park, Rockefeller Park, Brooklyn Bridge Promenade. 
Pets ARE allowed at Ground Zero but not inside the museum or inside the Freedom Tower. From Tribeca, you can walk to the Brooklyn Bridge.  Start on the Manhattan Side and make your way over to Brooklyn.  When you get there, you can walk along the East River, get some food, and check out the Hillside Dog Park.

dog sitting in front of New York hot dog stand

Midtown – Bryant Park, Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center Times Square, Grand Central Terminal.
Although hectic, the famous Grand Central Terminal is pet friendly. Check out the huge clock and look up to see the decorated ceiling. Times Square and Rockefeller Center are crazy but part of the NYC experience.  Overall, Midtown has a more hectic vibe to it so if you want to get a feel of what it’s like to be a New Yorker, spend some time there but don’t drive yourself crazy.

Central Park South – Columbus Circle, The Plaza Hotel, The Apple Store.
Columbus Circle Shops AND the Apple Store are Pet Friendly! You will find Columbus Circle at the West side, and then can walk along the park to get to the Apple Store and the Plaza Hotel. Bouchon Bakery in Columbus Circle even has Foie Gras Dog Biscuits. You can even find dog accessories at all the high end shops (for a price).

dog sitting on a bench in pet friendly central park. dog is wearing a pin bandana and the sun is starting to set

Central Park – Loeb Boathouse, Bethesda Fountain, Bow Bridge, Balto Statue, Strawberry Fields, Gapstow Bridge, Central Park Carousel, Belvedere Castle, Alice and Wonderland Statues, Model Boat Sailing Lake.
A Central Park tour can easily take up an entire day.  Luckily there are lots of outdoor eateries, classic NYC hot dog carts, and water sources to stay comfortable. Central park is located right in the center of Manhattan so you can access it from almost anywhere between 59th-110th st. Check out all the spots from your favorite movie scenes and wander around until you get lost.  Dogs are allowed off leash before 9am, but watch for cyclists.

dog sitting on the street on riverside driver in new york city. dog is a labrador retriever wearing a pink bandana

Upper West Side – Family Friendly Neighborhood, Lincoln Center, Riverside Park, Columbia University.
This is the neighborhood where I (humom) grew up but also went to College. It is a very family friendly neighborhood but also has a college town feel as you get uptown towards Columbia University.  Start at 66th st and Broadway to check out Lincoln Center – home to the Opera, Ballet, and Philharmonic.  Walk uptown along Broadway to fully experience the UWS. Towards the West, you’ll find Riverside Park and the Hudson river.  The UWS is very diverse so you will find a wide range of ethnic cuisine – the UWS local favorite is Zabar’s (79th St. and Broadway), home to the best pastrami and more cheese than you could ever imagine. At the tip of the Upper West Side (technically called Morningside Heights), you’ll find NYC’s oldest University & Ivy League Columbia University.  Snap a pic in front of the famous Alma Mater Status and enjoy the massive library from Low Library Steps.

dog sitting on the steps of the metropolitan museum of art

Upper East Side – The Met Steps, Madison Avenue, Park Avenue.
Channel your inner Gossip Girl on the Met Steps and stroll down Madison Avenue to plan what you’ll be spending your cash on when you win the lottery.  Park Avenue is residential, but worth a stroll since most of the buildings are beautiful and well maintained.

Need more ideas? The New York Times has a great article about visiting New York with your pet.

City so nice, they named it twice!
-Your Pal Cal

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