Find Some Doggie Cowboy Boots — Here’s Your Pup-Friendly Guide to Austin
Keep Austin weird — and full of dogs.
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Austin, Texas. The Live Music Capital of the World. The City of the Violet Crown. Home to Matthew McConaughey, that guy from Entourage, South by Southwest, Franklin’s Barbecue, and arguably the best season of MTV’s Real World (season 16, when Danny and Melinda fell in love, and Wes pretended to be Prince Harry to meet women). But if there’s one thing that Austinites love even more than music, food, and top-tier reality programs (Twenty-Somethings Austin! Netflix’s The Ultimatum!), it’s their pups.
You can barely walk a block in Austin without stumbling across someone out and about with their dog. Whether you and your pup are visiting Austin for a few days, or you already live there, and you’re looking for fun places you and your dog can explore, here are some places you and your furry friend can eat, drink, run, shop, rest, and generally be merry deep in the heart of Texas.
Cafés, Bars, and Eateries
Austin is a food town. From their barbecue, to their tacos, to their breweries, to their beloved Whataburger, Austinities know how to eat. Fortunately, a lot of restaurants, cafes, and breweries in the city are dog-friendly, so you can enjoy a beer or a burger with your dog by your side, and probably someone else’s dog by your side, too.
6700 Burnet Road
Touting itself as Austin’s first off-leash dog park and bar, Yard Bar also offers burgers and tater tots from Fat City and an off-leash dog park space patrolled by Bark Rangers who help keep everything running smoothly. Visitors can pay $9 for one pass per dog. Or, if you’re a dedicated Yard Bar patron, there are monthly and annual passes available as well.
Dog House Drinkery & Dog Park
3800 Co Rd 175; Leander, Texas
At the Dog House Drinkery & Dog Park just outside of Austin in Leander, you and your pup can enjoy an indoor bar (as long as your dog is leashed) with a pool table and board games, or go romp around in the half-acre off-leash dog park. Fees are $5 for the day or $75 for the year. The Drinkery also regularly hosts special events: dog grooming, pictures with Santa, and a chili cook off, to name a few.
MUTTS Canine Cantina
9825 N Lake Creek Pkwy
Opening in February 2023, MUTTS Canine Cantina is a members-only, off-leash dog park, bar, and grill. Annual memberships will cost $349.99, but you can sign up now for a Founder’s Club Membership for $249.99. (Or, you can get a day pass for $12.99.)
1209 E 7th St. and 1505 Town Creek Dr.
Buzz Mill, cafe and bar with two locations in Austin, is more than dog-friendly, it’s dog-loving. The 24/7 space serves coffee, beers, and cocktails, and if you and your pup are very good, you could maybe win the coveted title of “Pup Customer of the Month.”
3501 E 7th St.
Operated by veterans of Austin’s music and service industries, Kinda Tropical is an ideal hangout spot in East Austin where you and your friends — furry or otherwise — can go relax on the patio with a coffee or a cocktail, all while enjoying fun, kinda-tropical food, like the Cuban yucca fries, or the pulled jackfruit sandwich.
Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden
121 Pickle Rd
You and your dog could spend all day at Cosmic Coffee. Start with a coffee in the morning, hit the food trucks in the afternoon, and sip a beer in the evening while you enjoy a live show. You can also check out the sustainability-focused space’s regenerative gardens and chicken coop, but just make sure your pup doesn’t try to be a chicken for the day and climb in.
Kerbey Lane Cafe
3704 Kerbey Lane
Kerbey Lane Cafe first started serving comfort food to Austin back in 1980. Their queso is so iconic that in 2019, Austin’s mayor, Steve Adler, asked if the cafe would send Kerbey Lane’s never-before-seen queso recipe into space, for the good of extraterrestrials and future space inhabitants. The rocket with the recipe and an official letter from Adler was launched from Cape Canaveral on February 21, 2019, and crash landed on the moon around April 11, 2019. So, that’s some good queso. Even if you don’t want to give your dog queso, though, the cafe’s patio is dog-friendly. As they wrote in one Instagram caption: “Please bring your dogs. Don’t make us beg.”
1001 Metric Blvd.
In 1992, beer maker Pierre Celis flew from Belgium to Texas with a treasure hidden in his socks: the yeast he had been using to brew beer in Belgium for over 30 years. Celis Brewery opened later that year and was a huge success. Now, the brewery offers tours, trivia nights, and live shows. Dogs are welcome inside and outside the tap rooms, as well as at the on site, leash-free dog park.
13476 Fitzhugh Rd.
Built by Texas natives with an eye toward sustainability and using native ingredients, Beerburg’s beer garden and tap room has an off-leash dog park on the premises and offers events, such as Pittie Yoga where you can do some downward dog alongside your own downward dog, and raise money the local Austin Pit Bull rescue group, Love-A-Bull.
13187 Fitzhugh Rd.
A place where you can go drink good beer, go on a beautiful walk through a two-mile nature trail, and then play with sweet little goats? It’s all available to you at Jester King. And your dog can enjoy it with you, as long as they stay on a leash. (You don’t want rogue dogs disturbing the goats.) And if your pup really has an amazing time, you can even get them a Jester King dog collar to honor the experience.
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
79 Rainey St.
Banger’s, a sausage house and beer garden smack dab in the middle of Austin’s popular Rainey Street Historic District, is so dog-friendly that they even have an item on the menu just for dogs: the “Woof Wurst,” which comes with pork, beef, and veggies.
Central Machine Works
4824 E Cesar Chavez St.
Central Machine Works is a brewery, a restaurant, a live event space, an art gallery, and — most importantly — a great space to hang out with your dog.
1016 E 6th St.
East 6th Street’s groovy Shangri-La bar doesn’t just have a dog-friendly patio. Last July, it also started hosting Shangri-Paws, an annual dog adoption event in partnership with the Austin Pets Alive! shelter.
2307 Manor Rd.
At Patrizi’s, a family-owned Italian restaurant that’s been operating since 1948, you can sip on some good wine and tuck into a delicious plate of fresh-pulled pasta, with your pup by your side. And you thought carbo-loading next to your dog was just an at-home activity.
Butterfly Bar @ The VORTEX
2307 Manor Rd.
Located in the same space as Patrizi’s, the Butterfly Bar @ The VORTEX has some of Austin’s best hand-crafter cocktails, and hosts community events such as art markets, fundraisers, local music showcases, trivia nights, TGQ meetups, and art gallery meetings. It also has a spacious outdoor area where your pup can relax while you enjoy a drink.
Parks and Trails
One of the best things to do while you’re in Austin is go outside. The city is nestled in the heart of Texas’ gorgeous Hill Country, and is chock-full of parks and hiking trails where you and your pup can romp around, or jump in the water when it’s too hot.
2207 Lou Neff Rd.
The 350-acre Zilker Park, right in the middle of Austin, features three picnic sites, five volleyball courts, and is home to the music festivals Austin City Limits and Blues on the Green. The park is a massive off-leash area, but it’s unfenced, so make sure your dog responds to voice commands before you set them loose.
Barton Springs Road
Although dogs aren’t allowed in Barton Springs Pool, Austin’s famous three-acre municipal pool that’s fed by four natural springs, the area just below the pool is where the real fun can be had. Known as “Barking Springs,” the wading area has no admission fees or lifeguards, no restrictions on food and drink, and is open to any and all species. On any given day, it’s full of dogs and families splashing around and people blasting music. Before you go though: Make sure to check that the area is safe to visit, as some of the water around Austin has tested positive for toxic algae in the past.
Auditorium Shores Park
900 W Riverside Dr.
Overlooking Austin’s Town Lake and the city’s scenic skyline, Auditorium Shores is a great open space to chill out or throw a frisbee, and it includes a huge off-leash dog park space. Like Zilker park, it’s unfenced, so just make sure to keep an eye on your pup.
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail borders 10 miles of Austin’s Lady Bird Lake, and is the place to see and be seen for Austin’s fit and outdoorsy. Take your dog for a jog along the water, or just put on some activewear and pretend to be jogging while taking a leisurely stroll. Keep an eye out for speedy bikers, though.
Red Bud Isle
3401 Redbud Trail
Right in the middle of Lady Bird Lake, Red Bud Isle is a 13-acre, off-leash dog park island with hiking trails, picnic areas, and lots of little inlets and trees for your dog to explore. It’s doggie heaven, basically.
Emma Long Metropolitan Park
1600 City Park Rd.
Open seven days a week and 365 days a year, Emma Long has places to swim, camp, and hike. Dogs are welcome in most places as long as they’re on a leash, but some nearby trails, including Turkey Creek, are off-leash.
Movies in the Park
In partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse, the Austin Parks Foundation offers a series of free films at parks around Austin. Pets are welcome, as long as they’re on a leash, so your dog can finally enjoy a movie on the big screen.
Arts and Culture
You’ve eaten, you’ve sipped, you’ve hiked, you’ve swam, and now you’re ready to reintroduce some wrinkles into your increasingly blissed-out, marble-smooth brain. Why not have your pup join you at some of the more culturally enriching spaces the city has to offer?
Zilker Botanical Garden
2220 Barton Springs Rd.
Right in the middle of Zilker Metropolitan Park, the 28-acre Zilker Botanical Garden includes spaces like the Taniguchi Japanese Garden, the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, and a rose garden where you and your pooch can take romantic selfies. (As long as they’re on a leash.)
The Texas State Capitol
1100 Congress Ave.
While only service dogs are allowed inside the Texas State Capitol — a massive, Italian Renaissance Revival-style building that’s taller than the U.S. Capitol — your dog can witness democracy in action by strolling around the grounds (on a leash) and joining you on a self-guided tour of the area or just enjoying a picnic.
The Contemporary Austin — Laguna Gloria
3809 W 35th St.
Perched on the shores of Lake Austin, Laguna Gloria is a beautiful, 1916 Italianate mansion that now houses art by contemporary artists from around the world. While your dog can’t join you inside, you and your canine companion can take in the grounds together, enjoying the space’s massive sculptures and meditative trails.
3610 Abbate Cir.
If it’s too hot outside to go on a hike, you and your dog can go inside instead — both literally and metaphorically. Started in 2011 by yoga teacher and psychotherapist Nicole Vykoukal, “doga” or dog yoga sessions are 45 minutes long and allow you to meditate with your dog, practice mindfulness together, and do some doga poses for a deep, calming bonding experience.
As the saying goes, the best things in life are free, but pretty decent things are available for sale at shops where you can bring your dog.
Half Price Books
5555 N Lamar Blvd.
Is your dog into relaxing beach reads? Somber non-fiction? Cookbooks where they can lick the pictures of meals that look tasty? You can find out at one of the locations of Half Price Books. (Probably don’t let them lick the pages, though.)
4103 N Interstate Hwy 35
Your dog can help you tap into good vibes at Nature’s Treasures, a dog-friendly “rock, crystal, and metaphysical store.” Pick up some relaxing palo santo, rose quartz, and whatever crystal will stop your dog from barking at squirrels in the yard.
11410 Century Oaks Terrace
The Domain is a massive open-air shopping center in Northwest Austin. In addition to luxury stores (Gucci and Louis Vuitton among them), the Domain has almost every other major store chain you can think of, and a dog park. The area is always crawling with pups, and while not all the stores are dog-friendly, there’s plenty of outdoor seating and restaurant patios where you and your dog can lounge in between spurts of shopping.
916 W 12th St. b and other locations around Austin
Opened in 1946 and operated by four generations of the Click family, Tomlinson’s pet supplies stores are an Austin institution. Stop by to pick up some healthy pet food, a plush bed, or a stylish sweater for your dog. More likely than not, there will be a treat waiting for your pup at the register.
1210 Barton Springs Rd.
If, after all your time spent roaming Austin’s trails with your dog, you want to take things to the next level, Great OutDogs can help you get your dog set up with all the right gear so that you can both take the great outdoors by storm while looking like fully decked out Land’s End catalog models.
Barkin’ Creek Dog Kitchen & Bath
2153 S Lamar Blvd.
Barkin’ Creek has everything you need to treat your dog to a day of sumptuous canine luxury. There’s a spa where they can get gussied up, a daycare where they can play with friends, and a kitchen that produces high-quality, handcrafted meals and treats. They only offer their treatments to dogs, though, so you’ll have to find somewhere else to pamper yourself while your pup enjoys the high life.
Paws on Chicon
1301 Chicon St. #102.
In addition to a wide variety of foods, treats, toys, and self-service dog-wash stations, Paws on Chicon offers its canine customers specialty Doggy Froyo that’s made fresh in-house. What more could you want?
Healthy Pet Austin
211 Walter Seaholm Dr.
Offering holistic and natural food and supplies for your furry loved ones, Healthy Pet has everything you need to keep your dog happy and healthy. Including some really cute plush toys.
604 Brazos St.
Austin’s most storied hotel (and maybe its most haunted?) offers a pet bed, food and water dishes, and treats for your four-legged friends. So, you can cling to them if you hear anything go bump in the night.
The Otis Hotel
1901 San Antonio St.
Located right near the UT Austin campus, the Otis Hotel lets you have the college campus experience without having to, like, actually study or sleep on campus. And it’s dog-friendly, so you can always use your dog as an excuse for why you want to be in your room, asleep by 8 p.m.
The LINE Austin
111 E Cesar Chavez St.
Besides overlooking Lady Bird Lake and offering Veracruz All Natural — some of Austin’s best tacos — right in their honeycomb-style, mid-century building, the LINE welcomes all dogs and cats for free. No fee, no weight limit.
1900 Rio Grande St.
Housed in a historic mansion, the boutique Hotel Ella has 47 rooms, a cabana-lined pool, and wraparound veranda overlooking their lush lawn, where you and your pup can enjoy a luxurious getaway right in the middle of Austin. (For no extra dog fee.)
1101 Music Ln.
Located in Austin’s popular South Congress neighborhood, the Hotel Magdalena has a pool bar, Peloton in-room rentals, and a “Pamper Your Pet” add-on package that includes a dog bed and bowl, treats, and a ball to keep your pup occupied. There’s a dog room service menu, too.
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Madeleine Aggeler is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was a writer at New York magazine’s The Cut. She lives with her dog, Cleo, who works primarily as a foot warmer.