Dog Friendly Activities for your Pet in Portland, Oregon

butterfly on dogs nose in portland rose test garden

Dog Friendly Places in Portland: Is Portland Really That Pet Friendly? (YES)

From Portland Dog Friendly Bars to Off Leash Dog Hikes – The Pacific Northwest is a must visit with your dog. There are so many dog friendly activities throughout Portland that we have visited multiple times.
Portland is a tried and true favorite – we keep coming back for more. Every time we visit, we are welcomed with great vibes from the locals and days full of activity.  We’ve been to Portland 3 times with Calvin and still haven’t even scratched the surface of what the city has to offer. We know we will be back but for now, we would like to share the highlights from our recent trips.

Pet friendly hotels Portland – Where to stay and when to visit Portland with your Dog

When to visit Portland with your Dog
Wet until the summer sun comes around

Our favorite time to visit Portland is after the rainy season – during our summer visits we have been graced with sunshine and good weather.

Where to stay in Portland with your Dog
Boutique Hotel or Budget Friendly AirBnb

Oregon is one of the more pet friendly places that we have visited and you’ll never have trouble finding lodging with fido in the city.
When we travel, we always check for a nearby Kimpton Hotel.  Kimpton Hotels are pet friendly at no extra charge. The rooms are always quirky and unique, and your pet will always be welcomed in a friendly manner. We have previously stayed at the Kimpton Monaco in downtown Portland but have also tried a pet friendly AirBnb when we were on more of a budget. AirBnb on a budget means no frills, but when we are out exploring all day, we are less inclined to spend a premium for a bed and a pillow. Fun fact:  On our first visit to Portland, we actually stayed at an AirBnb that didn’t even have a restroom (at least it was cheap).
dog under covers
dog in bed

Portland Map of Dog Friendly Activities:

Explore Portland with your Dog: Pet Friendly Things to Do

The Pearl District & Downtown Portland
Mingle with the locals and enjoy the river

A bite to eat in the Pearl: The Pearl District and Downtown Portland are walkable parts of the city that can easily be explored together. Gone are the Pearl’s days of warehouses and manufacturing – the neighborhood has now evolved as the host of modern, upscale eateries, luxury condos, and art galleries. For those who have visited New York City, this area reminded us of the trendy Chelsea neighborhood of NYC. The Pearl District has a great ambience and lots of options to grab a bite to eat. You’ll find ample outdoor seating for dining with fido and establishments are always welcoming. Check out the top ten places to eat in the Pearl here.
a labradoodle, golden retriever, boxer and labrador in the grass

golden retriever puppy and maltese sitting at a table

Tom McCall Waterfront Park: We visit the Waterfront Park each time we find ourselves in Oregon.  The riverfront park is always bustling with activity – Strolling along the park is a great way to enjoy the Willamette River as you walk towards downtown. We got the feeling that this area is a popular place for locals to meet up and relax.  On the weekends, the park becomes even more exciting with all the booths from the local farmer’s market.  One thing to note is that although this part of the city is safe and bustling with activity, it is also home to those who unfortunately struggle with drugs & addiction. We did not feel unsafe but did notice the high presence of individuals struggling on the street or doing drugs.
Downtown & Ira Keller Fountain Park: We came across this park while walking around downtown Portland. The park was nondescript at first but we soon realized that is is actually a work of architectural splendor.  This manmade “fountain” is more like a set of cascading waterfalls in the midst of concrete. Sit down for a moment and enjoy the sound of the falling water.  Stretch your legs, have a picnic, or just snap a few photos and be on your way.

Northwest District “Nob Hill”
Old fashioned fancy vibes in Portland

The Northwest District is lined with colorful Victorian homes and store fronts most frequently compared to the ones in San Francisco. This part of town has an old fashioned but fancy vibe to it – you’ll find lots of overpriced shops and boutiques.  Compared to some of the other neighborhoods in Portland, Northwest District has more of the Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod upscale feeling. We have heard from locals that this neighborhood isn’t really their “vibe” but regardless, we found the main street is great for grazing on snacks and window shopping. The area is clean, well manicured and home to many pet friendly restaurants.

Washington Park
Stop and smell the roses then enjoy the trees

International Rose Test Garden: The Rose Test Garden is a #1 must visit in Portland during the summer months….and it’s entirely FREE. The pet friendly international rose test garden is home to over 8,000 types of roses and is currently the oldest public rose test garden in the United States. Unfortunately, if you visit before June you’ll be disappointed that the flowers are still dormant. During bloom, you can wander through the rows of flowers enjoying all the different colors and smells. To avoid crowds, stop and smell the roses first thing in the early morning or during sunset.
 dog with roses

Pittock Mansion: We’d consider this stop optional…we visited because we were in the area to see the Rose Test Garden – the Pittock Mansion is beautiful but not worth the visit on a cloudy day. Pets are not allowed inside the mansion so you’ll want to check the weather to make sure you can enjoy the grounds and views.  The mansion is at the top of a hill and the gardens surrounding it are well manicured and pleasant for a stroll. If you visit on a sunny day you can see all of Portland from the lookout point.
Hoyt Arboretum: From the Hoyt Arboretum you can enjoy an endless combination of trails and a breath of fresh air in the city – grab a map and explore.

Alberta Art District
Hipsters & art

We’d best describe this part of Portland as the art district and home to our favorite Portland brunch spot.  We brunch at the Tin Shed Garden Cafe (top 25 places to eat in Portland) each time we are in the area. Don’t feed your pup breakfast that morning because the Tin Shed has a special menu just for dogs! Check the website before you visit to see if there are any special dog days where your pup can eat for free! These days change based on the season. After filling up, we like to walk down Alberta Street and stop into all the quirky shops along the way. On a warm day, grab an ice cream at the famous Salt & Straw. The more popular dining options have a long wait, so put your name down and then explore the art district in the meantime.

East Portland
Stroll on the floating walkway

Eastbank Esplanade: If you are staying on the East side of the Willamette, you can enjoy the river from the floating walkway known as the Eastbank Esplanade.  This is a great way to take in the views and get a walk in. You can follow the Esplanade along the river for 1.5 miles.

South East Portland
Quiet hideaway on the outskirts of Portland

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden: This park is a hidden gem on the outskirts of Portland.  We visited for sunset right before closing and were shocked at how few people we saw as we strolled through the gardens. The staff recommended coming back in May as the Rhododendrons go into bloom (we visited in July). Calvin enjoyed watching the ducks from afar and joining us for a peaceful stroll. Afterwards, you can find some great food in the nearby Sellwood district.

Off Leash Dog Hiking & Swimming in Portland

Pet Friendly Portland: Run wild & free
Portland has a lot of open spaces for the dogs to run and play – we have narrowed it down to our top 3 favorite places to bring the dogs when we visit Portland.
Sandy River Delta Park (East)
The Sandy River Delta Park is a favorite among the locals and pet friendly.  The park provides endless trails for dogs to run off leash including a flowing river for them to swim in. The park used to be a cattle ranch but has now gone to the dogs – choose between several trails and open fields.
Tryon Creek State National Area (South-West)
Tryon Creek offers the more classic PNW trail experience – forests and greenery.  We visited during a rain storm but were very well covered by the trees.
Sellwood Riverfront Park (South-East)
Sellwood Riverfront Park provides all the freedom of a dog beach without the long drive to the coast.  There is an elevated path along the water with a large open field, but we went right for the beach. Definitely a must visit for dog lovers looking for a peaceful stroll along the water.
Forest Park
The park is made up of multiple trails and we only ran into a few people on our walk. Regarding leash rules for the trails – the rule of thumb for Forest Park is that dogs must be under full voice control and remain close to their handlers for off leash fun. It’s definitely not the kind of “free for all” dog park that you will find at Sellwood or Sandy River. With Calvin at a heel, we still got to have lots of fun.

Pet Friendly Activities: The Water Falls

The Waterfalls in Portland are Dog Friendly: Lots of pretty water, lots of loud crowds
The (consistent) rainy season in Portland makes for beautiful natural waterfalls.  If you are not a fan of crowds, I would keep away the falls below and search for a more quiet water fall experience.  Both of our visits were chaotic, with lots of lines and swarms of tourists.  These vibes definitely put a damper on our visit but the falls are still quite pretty. Multnomah Falls and Latourell Falls are two popular waterfalls to check out.
The PNW is calling, 
Your Pal Cal