A first date is a great opportunity to get to know someone you like a little better. Before it even begins, you start to get excited, if not a bit anxious, about how the night will unfold. As the anticipation sets in further, you put on your favorite outfit, call your friends for a little confidence boost, and get your mind right. Finally, the time comes to grab your keys and head out the door, realizing there’s only one thing that could make this better and maybe even quell those first-date jitters just a bit — your dog! So you grab their leash, tell them they’re going for a ride, and set off to meet your (possible) next companion.
While not the traditional wingman, Fido brings plenty to the table on date night. Dogs provide instant talking points, ease awkward silences, and can help calm you down to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. In short, bringing along your pup can make for the best first date paws-ible.
Not all cities are created equal when it comes to dating with your dog. Whether it’s dinner plans, going out for a few drinks, or just a simple walk in the park, we found the best U.S. cities that will best set you up for doggy date night success.
We’ve rounded up the perfect cities for a doggy date night. To begin this paw-some study, our team researched 15 different factors that would be important when trying to date with man’s best friend. Once our research was complete, we analyzed the data and ranked the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. on how well-equipped they are for finding love with Fido.
We assigned cities with a score of 0 through 5 for each factor, with a score of 5 representing the most favorable conditions. We then determined each city’s total score from the total of its individual factor scores, which were weighted according to their impact on dating with your dog. Individual factor scores were then added together to give each city a final score from 0 through 100. Higher scores indicate cities are better when it comes to dog-friendly date nights.
A full list of our ranking factors can be found below.
|Single population||2.75||U.S. Census|
|Dog ownership by state||2.75||AVMA|
|Number of dog parks per 100k people||1.50||Trust for Public Land|
|Number of pet-friendly rentals per 100k people||1.00||Rent.com|
|Date Night Factors|
|Cost of a date night dinner||1.50||Numbeo|
|Cost of date night drinks||1.50||Expatistan|
|Number of pet-friendly restaurants per 100k people||1.75||Yelp|
|Number of pet-friendly breweries per 100k people||1.75||Yelp|
|Number of pet-friendly venues per 100k people||0.50||Yelp|
|Total rainfall (inches)||1.00||Best Places|
|Avg. temperature deviation from 60°F||0.75||Best Places|
|Avg. number of sunny days per year||1.00||Best Places|
|Number of hiking trails per 100k people||0.75||Hiking Project|
|Number of pet-friendly beaches per 100k people||0.50||Yelp|
The 20 Best U.S. Cities to Date with Your Dog
We analyzed the "singles" population, dog ownership, dog population, walk score, cost of date night dinner and drinks, total rainfall, average temperatures, chance of sunshine, number of hiking trails, and the number of pet-friendly restaurants, breweries, venues, beaches, and rentals.
We would typically agree that three is a crowd when it comes to date night but when the third wheel greets the night out with perked-up ears and a tail that won’t stop wagging, we’re willing to make an exception — as should people who live in Charleston, SC, since it is rated top dog when it comes to pet-friendly date nights, with a score of 64.65 out of 100. Recognized as one of America’s doggy date night hotspots, it’s a destination for a furbaby and their human to find love. Your pup will be welcome almost everywhere with many dog parks, dog-friendly dining, pubs, and beaches.
San Francisco is second on our list with a score of 63.94. The California city is full of sunshine, immaculate vibes, and dogs for days. According to the San Francisco Examiner, the Golden Gate City should be known as the Golden Retriever City since it’s home to more dogs than children. Whether you picnic on a picturesque rolling hill or hop on a trolley to have an off-leash frisbee session on the beach, there’s no shortage of pup territory for a dog date.
If you live in Greenville, SC, take your pampered pup and hot date on a stroll down Main Street. The vibrant downtown, one-of-a-kind atmosphere offers many outdoor restaurant patios that welcome Fido with open arms, and you’ll find a variety of pet-friendly shops to peruse after dinner. Whether you explore Falls Park or walk along the Swamp Rabbit Trails, this hidden gem has plenty to do. Greenville takes third place in our ranking with a total score of 62.93.
Nestled into the foothills of the Boise Mountains, the charming Northwestern city of Boise is packed with sprawling green spaces for relaxing walks in the park. Its large number of dog parks and hiking trails, coupled with relatively low date night costs has it come in as our fourth best city to date with your dog with a score of 62.90. Treat your date, and your pupper, to a delicious dinner at a four-legged friendly restaurant like Cloud 9 Brewery or Hyde Park Pub and Grill, then head to the River Greenbelt for a nice evening stroll.
If you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest and consider leaving your beloved pooch at home, think again. Portland is another extremely dog-friendly city, with a doggy date night score of 62.40. The City of Roses allows dog owners to take their best friend to the pub, like the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company, grab a craft beer and eat outdoors. With a ton of restaurants, patios, and breweries, the west coast city caters to its four-legged friends.
As you can see, there are many cities that will bring date night with your dog to the next level and when we rank them, we’re splitting hairs. If you find yourself dating in any of the cities in our ranking, consider bringing Fido along. We’re paws-itive you won’t regret it.
The Best Cities to Date with Your Dog by Category
Now, let's look at the analysis broken down by category of sociocultural factors, date night factors, and environmental factors.
To zoom in on some of these cities a little further, we took a look at different ranking factors we used by category.
Columbia is loaded up with plenty of places for you to take your furry friend. With a large number of dog parks per 100k people and an above-average single population, the Southern city has a higher score when it comes to sociocultural considerations than any other U.S. city. Roaming a leash-free dog park is a great, active date idea that will put a smile on your face, your date’s face, and your pup’s, too! Little Rock, AR and Boise, ID both boast exceptional sociocultural scores when considering factors like dog ownership, walk scores, and pet-friendly housing options.
Bon(e) appétit! Another South Carolina city is highest-rated when it comes to date night factors like the cost of dinner and drinks and pet-friendly date night locations. Greenville boasts many thriving inexpensive date options, from restaurants and breweries to venues and event spaces, if you want to step up your date night game. Enjoying a delicious meal of your favorite foods can be an excellent way to share an evening with a crush and pooch. Sarasota, FL, and our top-rated city overall, Charleston, both also perform well in this category.
The grass is always greener on the other side, right? El Paso, TX is a good example of what we call ideal doggy date night weather. With an average of 297 sunny days per year, the Texas city certainly earned its nickname, The Sun City. Not only does the city receive very little rainfall (10 in. per year) and a lot of sunshine, but compared to its population size, it has a lot of hiking trails to explore with your best friend and your date. Two more Southwestern cities also come out well in the environmental category. Albuquerque, NM, and San Diego, CA both have weather that’s conducive to date night success and have plenty of dog-friendly outdoor activity options like trails or beaches.
Dog dates are the best dates, so don’t leave your pup at home. Instead, allow them to tag along for a fetching good time! Pack up that collapsible water bowl and some yummy treats, snap on the harness and leash, and head out for date night. After all, spending time with your pup lifts both of your spirits.
At Pawlicy, we understand that dogs can bring out the best in us, and we want to keep those tails wagging. Many people have health insurance for themselves, but what about your four-legged friend? Pet insurance has many incredible benefits, like protection against unexpected vet visits. See which plan is best for you today.
Where Does Your City Stack Up?
Wonder where your city ranks? Check out our full data set to see where your city comes out.
You don’t want to go barking up the wrong tree.