For many visitors, this is the land of icons that symbolize Texas—from J.R. to the Dallas Cowboys. Everything’s bigger in the Lone Star State and the “Big D” holds a special place in the hearts of Texans. Surrounded by a Metroplex that covers 12 counties and spans nearly 9,000 square miles, Dallas lives up to its tourism slogan: “Live Large. Think Big.”
Here’s a look at many of the top attractions, parks, and more that welcome you and your dog in Dallas and the surrounding Metroplex communities. (For dog-friendly Fort Worth, please see the Fort Worth section.) FYI: Dallas’ DART buses and trains permit dogs if they are in a crate or carrier. (This restriction doesn’t apply to service animals.) According to the DART site, “Non-service animals are allowed on DART vehicles when carried in an appropriate, securely latched cage or container.”
Dog-friendly Dallas Attractions and Activities
Bark Park Central. Located downtown, this park is literally beneath the overpasses of the Central Expressway – a plus when it comes to shade, a negative if you have dogs that worry about traffic noise. Evening lighting makes this park accessible after dark and you’ll find a dog wash station here as well. Info: 2530 Commerce St. Free.
Cedar Hill State Park. Although it’s located just minutes from Dallas, this park is world’s away in terms of tranquility. Situated on the 7,500-acre Joe Pool Reservoir, the 1,800-acre park is home to boat rentals, hiking trails, camping and even the reconstructed Penn Farm Agricultural History Center. (As at other state parks, dogs are not permitted in any buildings.) Info: 1570 West FM 1382, Cedar Hill; www.tpwd.state.tx.us. Fee.
City of Irving Dog Park. Both small (25 pounds and under) and large dog sections promise plenty of four-legged fun at this popular park. The park offers shaded benches as well as casual seating on large boulders, water fountains, and even free Wi-Fi hotspots. The Dog Park is part of the Irving Animal Care Campus. Info: 4140 Valley View Lane, Irving; www.irvingdogpark.com. Free.
Coppell Dog Park. The city’s first dog park offers two and a half acres for four-legged fun. Benches in the fenced area will be available. Info: In MacArthur Park, 400 S. MacArthur Blvd., Coppell. Free.
Dallas Heritage Village. Formerly known as Old City Park, this collection of historic homes and structures welcomes dogs on leashes on the 20-acre grounds. The structures, the largest collection of its kind in Texas, represent Dallas in the 1840-1910 period. The 1860s Living Farmstead has costumed docents who also reenact farm chores. Info: 1515 South Harwood St.; (www.dallasheritagevillage.org. Fee.
Grand Prairie Dog Park. Located in adjacent Grand Prairie, this three-acre dog park invites your dog to join in off-leash fun. You’ll find the park north of the Prairie Paws Adoption Center in Veterans Park. The park features three distinct areas: small dogs, large dogs and a rotation field to keep the grass growing. Both you and Fido will find water fountains and you can hang out on a bench in the shade while your dog burns off some of that travel energy. This special park honors thousands of dogs and dog handlers that have served and given their lives for America in times of war and peace. Info: 2222 W. Warrior Trail, Grand Prairie; www.gptx.org. Free.
Klyde Warren Park. Adjacent to the Arts District, this park is home to My Best Friend’s Park (below) but so much more. Open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, this park hosts four or five events every day as well as food trucks at midday. The dog-friendly park includes a botanic garden with native plants, reading and games courtyard, a 25-foot-wide granite walkway shaded by red oaks, and even free Wi-Fi. Info: 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway; www.klydewarrenpark.org. Free.
Lake Tawakoni State Park. Located 50 miles east of Dallas, this state park is a popular day trip from Dallas (so popular, in fact, that the park has to restrict access during peak times to prevent overcrowding). Although dogs aren’t permitted at the designated swim beach, you and Fido will find that the park has five miles of lake shoreline for a swim. You can head off for a long dog walk down the trails as well. Info: 10822 FM 2475, Wills Point; www.tpwd.state.tx.us. Fee.
Main Street Garden. Adjacent to Hotel Indigo (see below), this downtown greenspace is also home to a dog run. Although the park is green, the off-leash dog run is primarily concrete although the dogs were certainly having plenty of fun regardless. Dogs are welcome on-leash on the lawn that’s bordered by Main Street, St. Paul, Commerce and Harwood. (Be prepared for the park to close for corporate events and concerts on occasion.) Info: Main, St. Paul, Commerce and Harwood Sts.; www.mainstreetgarden.org. Free.
McKinney’s Dog Park at Bonnie Wenk. Opened in 2013, this two-acre off-leash park has a splash pad for dogs as well as separate small and large dog sections. The park is lighted and is open until 11 p.m. daily. Info: 2996 W. Virginia Pkwy., McKinney; www.mckinneytexas.org. Free.
My Best Friend’s Park. Located in Klyde Warren Park between Uptown and Downtown Dallas, this dog park includes some fun fountains where your dog can splash on a hot Dallas day. All of Klyde Warren Park (see above) makes a fun destination. Info: 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway; www.klydewarrenpark.org. Free.
NorthBark Park. Dallas’s newest dog park is open from sunrise to sunset every day except Tuesdays. The park features three separate areas: small dogs, large, dogs, and wet dogs! The beach area is a favorite for many dogs but the two of you can also enjoy walking trails or hanging out in the shaded areas and just watching the fun. Info: 4899 Gramercy Oaks Drive; www.dallasparks.org. Free.
Plano’s Jack Carter Dog Park. Divided into a large and small dog area, this two-acre park is closed on the first and third Tuesdays of each month for maintenance. Info: 2601 Pleasant Valley Dr., Plano; www.jackcarterdogpark.com. Free.
Redding Trail Dog Park. Located north of Dallas in the suburb of Addison, this dog park offers a half-acre for off-leash fun. Divided into small and large dog sections, the park includes benches and water fountains. Info: 14677 Midway Rd., Addison; reddingtrail.dfwdogs.com. Free.
Ruff Range Dog Park-Frisco. Located in the suburb of Frisco, this park includes small and large dog areas. The park closes on Thursdays for maintenance. Info: at B.F. Phillips Community Park, 5335 4th Army Memorial Dr., Frisco; www.ruffrange.com or www.friscofun.org. Free.
Tails ‘n Trails Dog Park. Open during daylight hours, this park spans nearly six acres and is divided into small dog (under 30 pounds) and large dog sections. You’ll find shaded areas, benches, and walking nature trails to enjoy with your dog. Info: 950 SE Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington; www.arlingtontx.gov. Free.
White Rock Lake Dog Park. The first time we visited this dog park, we were in Dallas for the funeral of a dog-loving friend. We arrived in the city a bit early and the church was not far from this park so we decided to cheer ourselves up with a visit. Our friend had loved Dachshunds so, when we saw a Doxie running through the park, ears flying, our spirits lifted. Since then, we’ve returned to the park several times and always have a good time at what was Dallas’s first off-leash dog park (opened in 2001 by Texas Ranger Nolan Ryan). The park includes small and large dog sections and is located right on the shores of White Rock Lake, making it a favorite with water-loving pooches. Closed Mondays. Info: 8000 E. Mockingbird Lane; www.whiterockdogpark.org. Free.
Dog-Friendly Dallas Hotels
Dallas has just about every dog-friendly hotel chain you could imagine but the city is also home to some special properties we wanted to point out. Before making plans, be sure to check with the hotel directly to confirm their current dog policy.
The Adolphus. Home to an eclectic mix of treasures ranging from early Flemish tapestries to a Victorian Steinway once owned by the Guggenheims, this antiques-filled 1912 hotel also welcomes treasured furry friends who weigh 30 pounds or less. Pets must be attended at all times and are not allowed on any hotel furniture, including guest room beds. Pet parents will be billed for any damage to the room and will be required to pay for any room rate adjustments to neighboring guest rooms due to an unruly Rover. Info: 1321 Commerce St.; www.hoteladolphus.com.
Aloft Dallas Downtown. The “arf” program offers visiting pups who weigh less than 40 pounds the VIP treatment , complete with an Aloft Hotels brand dog bed, in-room water bowl, complimentary treats and dog toys—all at no additional charge. The property is conveniently close to a doggie day care, a grooming center, and both the Belo Garden—which allows dogs on leashes—and Main Street Garden, which features a dog run. Info: 1033 Young St.; www.aloftdallasdowntown.com.
The Fairmont. A Big D hotel with a big heart when it comes to our barking buddies, The Fairmont welcomes canines weighing less than 100 pounds for an additional fee. Info: 1717 N. Akard St.; www.fairmont.com/dallas.
Hotel Indigo. For a one-time, non-refundable fee, two dogs (or a dog weighing less than 75 pounds) can relax as their pet parent unpacks in one of the 170 rooms at this downtown hotel, which is housed in a building deemed a National Historic Landmark. Info: 1933 Main St.; www.ihg.com.
Hotel Lumen. This Kimpton Hotel, conveniently located near Snider Plaza and Highland Park Village, does not place a limit on the number, size or weight of their four-legged guests who stay at no additional charge. Guardians are asked to fill out a pet registration form, which includes the options of a dog sitter, doggie day care and a dog walker (all of which may require a service fee.) Info: 6101 Hillcrest Ave.; www.hotellumen.com.
Hotel Palomar. This luxury hotel rolls out the welcome mat for dogs, starting with a greeting from the Director of Pet Relations, a Beagle named Higgins Bottomley. (Actually the fun starts before you even arrive; when the hotel knows a pet is arriving, Higgins will send a welcome email to your dog!) Four-legged guests find treats waiting for them at the guest room honor bar and food and water bowls at the ready; more treats, bottled water and plastic pick-up bags are available at the front desk. A grassy area for Rovers to romp includes waste bags and a disposal to keep the turf tidy. Grooming, pet-sitting, dog-walking and veterinary services are just a phone call to the concierge away. Info: 5300 E. Mockingbird Ln.; www.hotelpalomar-dallas.com.
Hyatt Regency Dallas. Pet-friendly rooms cost an additional fee for dogs weighing 50 pounds and under. Guests may have up to two dogs per room with a combined weight that does not exceed 75 pounds. With the pet fee, you’ll receive use of a branded Hyatt pet bed, dog bowls with a small mat, a dog ID Tag with the hotel’s address, a dog walking map, dog door hanger and doggie treats. Info: 300 Reunion Blvd.; www.dallasregency.hyatt.com.
W Dallas Victory Hotel. A four-star friend to those with fur, this property’s Pets Are Welcome (P.A.W.) program starts your Spot’s stay with a pet toy, treat, a W Hotels pet tag and clean-up bags at check-in. Inside your room, Rover can take a cat nap on a custom W pet bed, dine and drink at a food and water bowl placed on a floor mat, and end the day with a special treat at turndown. A pet in-room door sign will notify cleaning staff of your pup’s presence. The hotel’s Whatever/Whenever service will also fetch pet products in need, including leashes, wee pads, waste removal bags and pet first aid kits. To comply with the program, dogs must weigh 40 pounds or less; fees apply. Info: 2440 Victory Park Ln.; www.wdallasvictory.com.
Warwick Melrose. For a non-refundable pet fee which is implemented every three days, one canine companion weighing 60 pounds or less can stay with a guardian in one of this hotel’s 184 guest rooms. Guests must also sign a pet registration waiver prior to checking in to the upscale Uptown retreat, which has graced Dallas’s cityscape since 1924. (A copy of the agreement can be viewed online.) Info: 3015 Oak Lawn Ave.; www.warwickmelrosedallas.com.
Dog-Centric Dallas Festivals and Special Events
March: Krewe of Barkus Mardi Gras Dog Parade and Festival. McKinney’s historic downtown goes to the dogs when the Art Institute of McKinney and McKinney Main Street sponsor the annual Krewe of Barkus Mardi Gras Dog Parade and Festival. The event kicks off with a parade followed by a dog costume contest. Info: Mitchell Park, McKinney; (972) 369-7911.
November: Richardson Citywide Pet Day. This annual event in the suburb of Richardson welcomes dogs and dog lovers to Owens Farm for a day including a pooch parade, demonstrations, family fun, and plenty of adoptable dogs. Info: www.cor.net.
For More Information
- Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau; www.visitdallas.com