16 Fun things to do with your dog in NYC

Updated on
Fluent Woof is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

With its famous attractions like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and Central Park, New York City is one of the most renowned cities in the world. The population was just over 8.8 million in 2020 and is home to many important Fortune 500 companies like American Express, MetLife, and Pfizer. Besides all that, you will find that NYC is also a pup-popular city. According to surveys, about 30% of the homes in the city have dogs, with 80,000 registered with NYC. 

The most popular pups in New York, according to the registry, include the Yorkie, Pitbull, German Shepherd, and Poodle. Maybe that is why there are so many dog parks, beaches, and other fun places to go with your dog. In fact, we found hundreds of ideas, and we listed our top 16 fun things to do with your dog in NYC to help you find what you are looking for. 

Visit the famous park: Central Park

With over 800 acres of space, Central Park is the largest park in New York and has the most dog-friendly areas as well. In total, there are 23 places in the park where you and your fur baby can have fun. In some areas, your pup has to be on a leash no longer than six feet, while in others, he can run free. Your dog must be fully vaccinated and have proof of a license and rabies tag while in the park. 

Central Park also has more than 20 doggy fountains so your pooch can get a fresh drink of water. Some of the really fun things you can do with your pup here include visiting the Balto statue (the famous Husky who delivered life-saving medicine in 1925), taking a walk through the wooded paths of the Ramble, smelling the flowers at the Conservatory Garden, and exploring Seneca Village. 

Grab some dinner: Barking Dog Luncheonette

There are many different eateries in New York where you can share a meal with your canine companion. The most popular is the Barking Dog Luncheonette not far from Central Park. There are two locations; one on 3rd Avenue and one on 49th Street. You will have to keep your pup on a leash and don’t let him beg from other diners. But do not tie him to the table or chair. That is an accident waiting to happen.

The Barking Dog serves everything from eggs Benedict to turkey burgers, and many of the items are dog-friendly. The grilled chicken, turkey breast, and fillet of salmon are all pup-approved, and your server will likely bring a handful of doggy snacks to your table with your meal. Some of the other dog-friendly places to get some grub to include Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich, the Wilson NYC on West 27th Street, Shake Shack on 23rd Avenue, and Five Leaves on Bedford Avenue. 

Let him run: Madison Square Park Dog Run

Although the Madison Square Park Dog Run is a bit small, it is a popular place for dogs to run and play off the leash. It is also known as Jemmy’s Run, named after James Jemmy Madison, the fourth president of the US. The park has all of the important features of a good dog park, like separate areas for small and large dogs, benches and umbrellas for the pup’s parents, and even a hose to get your dog a drink. Be sure to bring your pup’s bowl so he can drink respectfully. 

Located in Madison Square Park, this off-leash park is perfect for a fast run to get rid of the zoomies. Then you and your fur buddy can take a walk through the rest of the park with him on a leash of six feet or shorter. The beach and boardwalk are dog-friendly, as are most of the areas inside the 6-acre park, so you can go pretty much anywhere you like as long as your dog is friendly and well-behaved. Bring your own water and doggy waste bags just in case. 

Take a hike: Hudson River Greenway System

Grab a leash, some water, and a handful of treats, and head for the Hudson River Greenway Trail. There are actually two main trails here, a water trail for paddling and a walking trail for hiking. The Hudson River Greenway Trail runs the entire length of Manhattan, starting at Battery Park and traveling all the way to Inwood Hill Park, which is just over 12 miles. Along the way, you and your pooch will see a variety of interesting places and fun things to do.

In the first few miles from Battery Park heading north along the Hudson River, you will see the One World Observatory, Pier 25 & 26 Parks, the Hudson River Park at Pier 46, the Gansevoort Peninsula, and Little Island. Around the halfway point, you and your pup can take a ride on the Pier 62 Carousel or stop by the Chelsea Waterside Dog Park. After that, get your camera ready to take some pics with the Empire State Building in the background before continuing on your journey.   

Enjoy a leisure tour: Z-Travel & Leisure Tours

If you want to find out more about NYC, choose one of the 80 guided tours given by Art and Susan Zuckerman. There are so many to pick from, you could do one every day for the next few months. All of their tours can be adapted for pup parents. Just be sure to let them know you will be bringing your fur baby so they can make sure the other tourists are not allergic. Some of the popular tours include the New York Underground, The Mystery Radio Show Tour, Musical New York, and all of the food tours. 

Other favorites include the water tours, Unusual Pubs, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Each tour includes a local guide who will tell you all the stories and legends behind the city’s most interesting historical places. Your pooch will love the Russian Brighton Beach Tour, which includes the exciting Coney Island. Be sure to keep your fur buddy on a leash and make sure he is well-behaved. 

Let your pup be social: East River Park Esplanade

Located on the banks of the Wast River, just a short walk from the Chrysler Building, this 1.7-acre park is pup-friendly and even has an off-leash dog park area. This is a nice-sized fenced and covered canine space where your pooch can work on his social skills. There are separate areas for both big and small dogs, water fountains, and even a small bone-shaped bridge, blocks to climb on, and a playhouse. 

You will need to bring your own doggy waste baggies and be sure to clean up after your pet. Be sure he is vaccinated and has a collar with tags. This is a great puppy park for when the weather turns wet because it is completely covered, and you get a stellar view of the water and the NYC skyline. After he gets rid of some of that excess energy he always seems to have, take a walk up the esplanade to the New Wave Pier or the East River Platform for some amazing selfies. 

Cross the bridge: Brooklyn Bridge

The very first steel suspension bridge in the world, Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most well-known bridges in the world. At just over a mile long, the bridge was built in 1883 and crosses the East River, connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn. The walkway is a large promenade that makes a fun and exciting walk for you and your fur baby. It is between 10 and 17 feet wide, about 20 feet above the driving lanes, and extends the whole length of the bridge. 

You should, of course, keep your pup on a leash at all times and bring some water, doggy bags, and a few treats. Even though it is only one mile, there are benches to take a seat on along the route so you and your pooch can enjoy the view. On the Brooklyn side of the bridge, you can take your pup to one of the two dog runs or just explore the park itself. However, they are not allowed on the lawns. 

Go shopping: Hudson Yards

There are quite a few dog-friendly shops in New York City, but Hudson Yards is one of the most pup-ular because there are so many places to visit, and your pooch is allowed inside most. In fact, some stores go out of their way to please pups and their parents. For example, Neiman Marcus sells dog rompers, Bluestone Lane has coffee-cup-shaped chewy toys, and both Bouchon Bakery and William Greenberg Desserts have dog biscuits. 

Located on 10th and 30th Street, the large mall has multiple levels with approximately 100 retailers and eateries. But you will need to check with the establishment if you want to bring your dog inside. You can also visit The Backyard and almost 15 acres of gardens and plazas. After the mall, you can also take your pup to Old Navy, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and LUSH, as well as the Gap, Flying Tiger, Barnes & Noble, and Anthropologie. 

Take a carriage ride: NYC Horse and Carriage Rides

NYC Horse and Carriage Rides will take you and your pooch on a tour of the city in style. All leashed dogs are allowed as long as they are friendly and on a leash. One of the best things about these tours is that you get to visit the sites where Fido is not usually allowed as long as you stay in the carriage. The Basic Tour is 15 minutes and takes you to the Pine Bank Bridge, Sheep Meadow, Tavern on the Green, and Columbus Circle to name a few. 

The Grand Tour lasts about 45 minutes with two photo stops. You will visit more than 15 places, including the famous Balto statue, Boat Pond, The Lake, the Carousel, and Wollman Rink. Your two photo stops are Cherry Hill and Bethesda Terrace. The Evening Rockefeller Tour takes about an hour, and you will see the Pulitzer Fountain, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, the Time-Life Building, and Radio City Music Hall. 

Go hunting: The Secret City Scavenger Hunt 

Enjoy a scavenger hunt tour in Manhattan with a team of others to see if you can find the “treasure” with all of the clues you find along the way. There are two different hunts. The first one is The Devil in Chelsea, and you are tasked with solving cryptic tasks and working with Sherlock Holmes to find the creator of a dangerous game. You will explore the Middle West Side in historic districts, markets, and pubs. 

The Southern Tip takes you through the city’s oldest neighborhood of New Amsterdam. You will learn where Alexander Hamilton prepared his troops for the Civil War, who used to moonlight as an advice columnist during his presidency, and where you can find a pub that dates back to 1632. You will even visit some of these places for a drink or photo op. Be sure to tell them you are bringing your fur baby when booking your tour. 

Paddle with your pup: Manhattan Kayak Company

Take your pooch on a paddle with Manhattan Kayak Company. Whether you want to paddle board or go kayaking, you can take your pooch on either one. The classes they give called Splash for Dogs are for beginners, and they will help you with everything from outfitting to learning how to paddle. Once you and your fur baby are ready, you can enjoy a 45-minute tour of the Hudson River Cove. You can find them on Pier 84 at Hudson River Park, where you can let your pup enjoy the Pier 84 Dog Run before your trip. 

After you are on the water, you can go wherever you like, and there is a staff member on the water to help if needed. Also, they provide life jackets for both you and your dog. But there are a few rules to know. Dogs over 50 pounds can only use the big easy boards, while those pooches under 50 pounds can join you on any paddle board, single kayak, or double kayak. And if you have two dogs under 15 pounds, they can both ride with you. 

Soak up some sun: Rockaway Beach

With seven miles of beach spanning from Beach 9th Street to Beach 126th Street and a 5.5-mile boardwalk, Rockaway Beach is one of New York City’s most well-known beaches. It is also the only beach where you can surf in NYC so that it can get pretty crowded. But your pooch does not have to get out on a board to enjoy the sand and sun of the Atlantic Ocean. The NYC Parks Department has a rule against dogs in the water, but there is plenty of room on the beach for fun.

He will have to stay on his leash in most of the areas along Rockaway Beach, but there is one exception. The Rockaway Community Park Off-Leash Area on Almeda Avenue between Beach 51st and Beach 54th Streets. In fact, you can probably find more of these places along the way if you ask around. You will also find a vast array of concessions, food trucks, and eateries all along the boardwalk so you and your pup can fill up. 

Get spooked: New York City Ghosts Tour

You and your fur baby can hunt for ghosts on a New York City Ghosts Tour. The one-mile walk takes you through the historic areas of Greenwich Village and lasts for about 60 to 90 minutes. You will have to keep your pup on a leash, but he can explore right along with you. Some of the fun spots you will visit include Mark Twain’s House of Death, the Triangle Factory Fire location, and the Edgar Allen Poe house. 

There are actually 10 locations to visit, but the rest of them will have to remain a secret. We do not want to spoil the surprise. But you will meet at Washington Square Park at the Arch. And if you want extra scares, opt for the extended tour that lasts another half an hour and adds four haunted spots. Besides the scares, you will also learn a lot about the history of the area, and your pooch can sniff some spooky spots along the route. 

Check out some sensational art: William Secord Gallery

Just a block from Union Square, William Secord Gallery is possibly the only art gallery in New York that allows your pup to come in and enjoy the art pieces. That is because William Secord is a true dog lover. He is the authority on creating dog and other animal paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries. The author and painter opened the gallery in 1990 and has made thousands of pups and their pup parents happy with stunning artworks. 

Some of his works are also over in the AKC Museum of the Dog on Park Avenue. But unfortunately, dogs are not allowed inside that one. The gallery is also a place for other artists to showcase their art and there are rotating exhibits throughout the year. You can even get some doggy biscuits and water for your fur baby if you ask. When you get there, you will have to press the button for William Secord so the staff can buzz you into the private elevator. 

Make a sandcastle: Atlantic Beach

Not far up the coast from Rockaway Beach, Atlantic Beach is an oceanfront village right over the Atlantic Beach Bridge from Far Rockaway. You will need to keep Fido on the leash while you are in town, but you can bring him just about anywhere from the Catalina Beach Club to East Atlantic Beach. The only places you cannot bring your pup are on the boardwalk or in the water. In fact, many of the businesses allow dogs inside, but you have to ask first. 

There is one off-leash area for your dog to enjoy, and it is on West Bay Drive in Long Beach between the boat launch ramp and the skateboard park. The beach is about 2.5 miles of clean sandy beach where you and your pup can spread out and soak up the sun, play catch, or build a sandcastle. There are quite a few concession stands and cafes along the beach as well. 

Have a brew with your buddy: Bridge and Tunnel Brewery

Where can you go to get a draft beer for $5 and hang out with your dog at the same time? Bridge and Tunnel Brewery is your place. The family brewery loves dogs so much that they offer $1 for your first pint of beer when you bring your fur buddy along. Open Tuesday through Friday from 5 PM to 10 PM and on weekends from 1 PM to 10 PM, the bar is located right next to Highland Park in Brooklyn.   

This microbrewery was self-built by old-school New Yorkers, and they are very casual, friendly, and open. They started in a garage in 2012 and now have a quaint taproom with more than 15 lines of craft beer varieties for you to try. You will find yourself hanging out with the owners as they typically take the time to meet and greet everyone there. And with both indoor and outdoor seating, food pop-ups, and free comedy shows, you and Fido will have a blast. 

The Final Woof

The city of New York probably has thousands of places where you and your pup can go. We found over 100, including Central Park, where there are more than 20 dog-friendly areas, a brewery that offers you money off if you bring along your fur buddy, and ghost tours where you and your dog can chase ghosts while learning about NYC history. 

You will also find numerous restaurants and cafes that allow dogs, quite a few beaches, and even an art gallery that has dog art and gives out doggy biscuits. And do not miss out on the horse and carriage rides in Central Park!

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

Leave a Comment