We're on a mission to sniff out the most dog-friendly cities in the United States. First on our list is Austin, Texas — a weird and wonderful hub for music lovers, foodies, and creatives. Lush green spaces and bustling city life collide in this capital city to create a southwestern oasis both dogs, and their humans can appreciate.
If you're overdue for a road trip with your pup, we've got just the itinerary for you! We sat down with Ollie Ambassador and Austin native Taylor Corbett to get the inside scoop on all of the best spots for an urban adventure with your pup.
Taylor is the proud mom of two Australian Shepherds, Schmidt and Fiona, named after characters on two of her favorite TV shows, New Girl and Shameless.
Taylor’s top 5 dog-friendly spots in Austin
1. Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park (North)
Walnut Creek is Taylor and her pup’s favorite dog park. She says, "We love it because Schmidt can play in the water and then have time to dry off while walking the trails. We all get exercise as a family and can go home and take a nap!"
Before letting your pup take a dip in any body of water, it's important to check to see if the water has had any issues with blue-green algae. Taylor says Walnut Creek is an ideal swimming spot as it has not had issues with blue-green algae like other parks in the city, including Lady Bird Lake, so you can feel good about allowing your dog to splash around.
Before you visit, you should know that most of the park is off-leash, so dogs are free to roam. Walnut Creek also features a bike trail which you may want to avoid if your dog doesn't like bikes. There are paved paths (perfect for avoiding mud if that's not your thing) and plenty of shade along the trails. Don’t forget to bring your phone or a camera to get a few shots for the ‘gram since this is one pretty dog park.
2. The Domain (North)
Whether your dog prefers to play fetch or hit the shops in search of the perfect treat or souvenir, The Domain is a must-visit for everyone. Taylor and her pups love to take advantage of the bountiful green space. Since most of the stores in the area allow dogs, you can shop until you're both ready to drop! (Ollie pro tip: Remember to ask before bringing dogs into a store! ) Before you leave, you'll want to hit Barkin' Creek for a special treat just for your pup.
3. The Little Darlin' (South)
Photo courtesy of Yelp
Another one of Taylor and her pups' favorite places is The Little Darlin' . This neighborhood watering hole has plenty of outdoor space to relax with a group and enjoy local food and drinks. Bring the kids and pups when you visit this Austin hotspot and don't forget to check their free event calendar for live music and other festivities the whole family can enjoy.
4. Yard Bar (North)
Photo courtesy of Austin Monthly
For doggie and human play dates, check out Yard Bar- where the dog park and bar are combined. If you're a local, consider one of their membership options so your pup can become a park regular. A few things before you go: You'll need to fill out a waiver and refrain from bringing in any outside food. Once the paperwork is complete, you can feel free to let your pup off their leash and grab a cold drink for yourself!
5. Town Lake (Downtown)
Photo courtesy of threedogsonebar.com
Taylor says that Town Lake (now Lady Bird Lake) is one Austin staple well worth the hype! It's a great place to take your pups to watch wildlife and take in the serene views of the lake and the city skyline. She reminds visitors that this is not a place to let their dogs run free (leashes are required). It can get busy because, according to Taylor, "Everyone and their moms goes." But, the beautiful view of the city makes it worth navigating the crowds.
The Ollie team is hitting the streets of Austin this month for our first stop on our @OllieUnleashed tour. We'll be popping up all over town in our food truck packed with food and snacks for you and your pup.
Follow @Ollie on Instagram for specific times and locations, and be sure to drop by with your pup before we pack up and move on to the next stop. We'd love to help you fuel your adventures with a sample of one of our delicious and nutritious recipes!
Are you an Austin resident or heading there with your pups? We'd love to hear more about your favorite hot spots or where you plan to visit. Take lots of photos and tag us on Instagram.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out Ollie.com.