Image via Wikimedia Commons
Over and over again, Alexandria, Virginia, ranks high on pet and dog-friendly lists that appear in publications like Rover, Expedia, Tripadvisor, and BringFido. It’s official—dogs are more than welcome in shops, hotels, restaurants, and running through parks throughout the city.
But, here’s the good problem you’ll run into: there are so many options to choose from. What exactly should you do with your dog in Alexandria, VA? We’ve got you covered with some of the most fun dog-centric options out there. Grab the leash, water bowl, and maybe a life jacket; you’re taking over Alexandria with dogs in tow.
Alexandria Walking Trails and Play Outings
If you have a pretty chill pup that wouldn’t mind the noise from spectacular flyovers from commercial airplanes, try an afternoon at Gravelly Point Park. Just barely over the line into Arlington, plenty of Alexandrians spend time hanging with the family watching planes come and go out of Reagan International Airport. Plot a point and relax or walk along the green space under the roar of take-offs and landings.
2. Founders Park
Take your pups for picnics in the park on the banks of the Potomac. Founders Park is a popular gathering spot for tourists and families and their dogs on a leash. If off-leash is more your style, look for the dog park area for free rein. Wide-open spaces sit interwoven with paved paths and benches dotted along the way, so take in the sights. Or, if you and your dog have energy to burn, play a pick-up game of volleyball or toss a frisbee.
Festivals are common at Waterfront Park, but you don’t need a celebration to take your dog for a walk along the river. If you head down on a whim, you might run into street performers, pop-up shops, food trucks, and plenty of people with furry friends by their side. You won’t be alone if you head down King street and up to Waterfront Park to take in a few minutes of relaxation and entertainment before driving home.
Photo by Tatiana Rodriguez on Unsplash
The jewel of Alexandria, the George Washington Mount Vernon Trail, always welcomes pets and their owners to take long walks through the tree-lined riverbanks. Try a long walk each season, and you’ll find something new to investigate every time. Convenient picnic areas and comfort stations provide water in case you forgot the dog’s supplies, and you’ll never be too far from a restroom.
5. Canine Cruise
Are you even a good dog parent if you don’t book a cruise for your pooch on the Potomac? It sounds crazy, but boat rides with your dog are a favorite pastime of locals. Tourists get on board just as often. Try a Canine Cruise, or if you like to DIY on the water, check out Washington Sailing Marina for kayak, canoe, paddleboard, and sailing choices for human and dog duos. Not to worry, dog life jackets included.
Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash
6. Dedicated Dog Parks
Sometimes, dogs just have to frolic, play, and roughhouse with buddies off-leash. Alexandria is lucky to have several dedicated dog parks. Visit each and pick your favorites.
Photo by Ron Fung on Unsplash
Take Your Dog Shopping
Old Town Alexandria comes to life at Market Square every Saturday morning thanks to the bustling crowds headed to the beloved Farmers’ Market. It’s an easy place to stroll with your dog or sit and people-and-their-dogs-watch. Don’t be surprised to see lots of dog friends coming and going. Some of the vendors might even slip your friend a snack or two.
Now, if you’re specifically shopping for your dog, head to The Dog Park. They have everything you never knew you needed for your dog—and cats, too. Specialty items like artwork, home decor, and pet accessories not found in big box stores are their signature, but you won’t be able to leave the shop without letting your dog taste something just baked displayed on the cookie counter.
Photo from Pixabay
Although Olde Towne School for Dogs is the go-to for grooming, training, and daycare services in Old Town, they also have quite a selection in their shop for your pooch to browse. Staff can answer any questions you have about specialized diets and supplements designed for your dog’s breed. Plus, toys and treats sit ready for your dog’s approval.
10. More Old Town Shopping
Throughout the main shopping areas in Old Town, shops like Red Barn Mercantile, Hooray for Books, and Penny Post welcome well-behaved dogs to visit and shop. But some of the best ways to get to know the city is to wander through the residential side streets. You’ll see neighbors walking and chatting with dogs sniffing as they go. You’ll also find plenty of dog-crazy neighbors who offer treats from Biscuit Barns, Bone Boxes, and Stick Lending Libraries to all dogs as you meander the historic blocks.
Dogs like art too—we think! Show off your pup’s fancy collar or clothes while strolling through the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Humans love window shopping through more than 80 galleries, studios, and workshops on the water. Stop for a quick bite at one of the “pets welcome” eateries nearby, and the day will be a complete success!
These outings are just the start of many dog-friendly activities in Alexandria. Stay connected for the heads-up about unique dog-welcome events throughout the city all year long. You can count on a few surprise pop-up events hosted by local businesses tossed in along the way, too.