How to travel with your dog: San Francisco Edition

Thursday, August 25, 2016 08:35:30 PM America/Los_Angeles

Traveling with your dog is fun and rewarding for both you and your pup. With the right plan, and a pet-friendly destination, you'll forget all about those worries that taking your best friend on a trip might mean long hours in a kennel.

Today, we'll take a look at the famously pet-friendly city of San Francisco. With so many dog runs some are only blocks from one to the other, dog friendly restaurants, and pet-friendly choices for both public and private transportation, San Francisco is one of the best cities in the country to explore with a dog at your side.

Dog in delores parkSource:Thuy Mai/Shutterstock

Take Your Dog For A Ride

Transportation is one of the biggest headaches for dog owners on vacation. Since San Francisco is fairly notorious for traffic, you might not want the added stress of renting a vehicle to drive yourself. Thankfully, you have a few choices:

  • The Muni light railcar system throughout the city allows pets with some minor guidelines. Keep your dog in your lap, or in a carrier. That's easy access to any neighborhood in the city.
  • The BART high-speed rail system, for trips to the further reaches of the Bay Area, will let your pup on with somewhat stricter guidelines. Your lap and your word that your little pal will behave isn't enough here; you'll need to confine your pet in a carrier.
  • Using a Ridesharing service, like Uber or Lyft, is actually an option! Simply communicate your situation through the app and get matched with drivers who accept furry friends along for the ride. San Francisco is the most mature market for ridesharing -- it originated there -- so the large base of drivers means you shouldn't have a problem getting a pet-friendly ride across town.

Go for a Run

San Francisco is easily one of the best places to visit with your dog, and you can mostly chalk that up to the huge number of dog-friendly parks. The usual smaller, fenced dog runs that dot most cities are omnipresent throughout the city, with often more than one to choose from in a single neighborhood.

But it gets much more exciting than that. Fort Funston is one of the best dog-friendly destinations in the country. It's a beautiful bayside setting, with beaches, cliffs (high enough for hang-gliding!), and trails sprawling throughout. The entire park is open to dogs. What makes it special is that not even leashes are a requirement.

Where to Spend Your Downtime

San Francisco has many with pet-friendly lodgings. One of the best choices is Crowne Plaza. It's near the airport, but more importantly, it's surrounded with amenities for your dog. There's also the trendy Buchanan in Japantown that offers loaners like beds, bowls, and more for your furry one. Wherever you stay, be sure to have a DoggieLawn available for your pup so they have a place to potty.

dog in hotel roomSource: Michael Pettigrew/Shutterstock

 There are multiple parks, including Bayside Trail, which allows off-leash walks. And the nearby Dog Exercise Area is a more traditional fenced-in run, if you're not the Cesar Milan type when it comes to walking your dogs.

Dining with Your Dog

The year-round mild weather and general dog-friendly vibe of SF means it isn't too hard to find places that allow your dog in with you, including restaurants! Here are a few favorite dog friendly restuarants that welcome your furry friend:

  • For Breakfast check out Kitchen Story in the Castro for a localized take on breakfast. Mango, avocados, Dungeness crab and many more fresh ingredients add a delicious and memorable twist to old breakfast and brunch favorites.
  • For Lunch, Mission gastropub The Monk's Kettle has an extensive beer list packed with local, seasonal varieties, and a lunch menu with lighter fare like kale salads alongside unique barfood choices like a Bay Area spin on poutine.
  • For Dinner, take advantage of the coastal setting and try Skool, a uniquely San Francisco fusion of Italian and Asian ingredients and cooking techniques. The menu changes based on the freshest ingredients available, and of course, your pup is welcome to join you for the meal.

Berenese in cafeSource: tatianaput/Shutterstock

If you're looking to travel without leaving your floppy-eared pal behind, it's hard to do better than San Francisco. Try out these suggestions, and don't hesitate to simply explore the city, with your dog at your side. More often than not, your friend is welcome!