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Discover a Dog-Friendly Durham

Getting your pup in the back seat is the first step, but what will you do when you arrive? Here in Durham, you need not leave your pets on the curb – bring them along on all your adventures.

Posted By Kristin Bedinger on Jun 12, 2023

As a long-time Durhamite and proud dog-owner, I've traversed the city with my quirky pup, Arlo, in tow. A shameless lover of affection, Arlo is showered with love wherever we go. We're here to attest that Durham is as pet-friendly a community as they come.

Where to Stay (stay ... good dog!)

When it comes to deciding where to stay, Durham has delightful accommodations for you and your pet. The Unscripted Durham Hotel and 21c Museum Hotel feature eclectic decor, delicious treats and permission to pamper your pooch in plush pillows and comforters. For a luxurious stay steps away from one of Durham's most popular walking trails, book a stay at Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. The Residence Inn Duke University Medical Center is a short walk to Duke and downtown attractions, and if you're into sitting poolside with your pup, book a room at The Comfort Inn RTP or the Hyatt Place Durham Southpoint, both conveniently close to shopping at The Streets at Southpoint. La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham University Area Chapel Hill is near some of Durham's best dining in the Rockwood neighborhood and the 15-501 corridor, and offers pet-friendly stays.

Where to Drink

When you're ready to seize the day, there’s much to experience with your pets in tow, especially at indoor/outdoor breweries and bars offering delicious food and drinks for the humans in your pack to enjoy. Ponysaurus Brewing Company features a large outdoor space with long picnic tables and umbrellas, perfect for pups to play safely. Durty Bull Brewing features an extensive sour beer program but hosts an expansive outdoor area to make soaking up the rays the best part of the day. Hi-Wire Brewing is a popular spot for pups and tots to frolic on the lawn and in the brewery as parents enjoy beer. Glass Jug Beer Lab has two dog-friendly locations in Durham; the RTP location has a cheerful outdoor beer garden and the downtown location has limited outdoor seating and is located next door to Durham Central Park. It's a part of The Bullpen, Durham's social district, so you can order your beers to-go and enjoy the park.

If you're not a beer drinker, check out Bull City Ciderworks for a dog-friendly taproom with a range of cider flavors. You can also bring your furry friend along with you to bottle shops around town that also serve as taprooms, like Growlr Grlz and Beer Study.

Geer Street's favorite dive, Accordion Club, has a popular back patio where dogs are welcome to join as their people enjoy drinks and pimento cheese hot dogs. At LouElla Wine, Beer & Beverage a couple doors down, you're likely to meet a new furry friend inside at the bar. Likewise at Killer Queen Wine Bar, which welcomes pups inside.

Where to Caffeinate

In Durham, dog-friendly and coffee shops are practically synonymous. You'll find welcoming faces and maybe even treats and dog bowls at cafes all over town. At EverLou Coffee Co., bring your canine pal for a pup cup as you enjoy your latte. Cocoa Cinnamon's Geer Street location includes ample outdoor seating, so you can post up with your laptop and pup to work and people-watch. Cloche Coffee, just across the street from Duke's East Campus trail, is pet-friendly with a side patio for outdoor enjoyment. Outside of downtown, bring your dog along for a pick-me-up at Whisk & Rye and People's Coffee.

Where to Eat

Bars and breweries aren’t the only place to pamper your pooch – especially in the warmer months. Some restaurants will be happy to welcome Fido, but there are some rules of thumb to remember: Health Department regulations prohibit animals inside dining establishments. There's no rule against leashed pets in outside dining areas. Each restaurant will have its own regulations, so it's worth checking if you know there's outside space. A few pet-friendly places that we know of include: Bull City Burger and Brewery, Fullsteam Brewery (downtown), Parts & Labor, Taqueria La Vaquita, Geer Street Garden, the outdoor patio at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club and Guglhupf.

Where to Get Outdoors

What’s more – spaces like American Tobacco Campus invite pet owners to bring pets large and small to enjoy the lawn and the various events that take place throughout the year. Sarah P. Duke Gardens welcomes leashed pets before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m.

Hop in the car for a hike at Eno River State Park (be sure to stop for a pic on the suspension bridge) or walk the American Tobacco Trail, which starts steps away from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and ATC.

Take your pup for a leash-free romp at the Durham, Rock Quarry, Piney Wood, and West Village dog parks, and check out The Barkyard dog park for some exercise next to the dog-friendly Boxyard in RTP.

Pets and bikes are welcome on the American Tobacco Trail. Photo: Discover Durham

Where to Shop

If you're eating, drinking, sleeping and exercising next to your furry companion, you'll want to shop together, too! A few spots in town welcome pets inside to shop for their new favorite toy, a new collar or a special treat. At Unleashed, a locally owned dog and cat store, pick up food, treats and more and use the self-service dog wash station. Barnes Supply Co. offers the best natural pet food and supplies, and you can pick up garden supplies while you're there.

Pup Snacks

You'll know business owners are dog lovers when they make special snacks for your pooch. LocoPops is a local favorite for handmade pops and ice cream for humans, and passing by elicits a Pavlovian response from any dog that has visited before. Their pup pops (frozen on a rawhide stick!) are an instant hit on a hot day, or any day. At Boxyard RTP, pamper your pup with a charcuterie board for dogs at Meat & Graze and stop by BuzzyBakes Bakery for a pup cup. Oliver's Collar Dog Treat Bakery & Boutique is dedicated to dog treats, including decorated cookies, layer cakes and more.

Durham Bulls Bark in the Park Nights

Six nights per season, the Durham Bulls host Bark in the Park nights – wildly popular and cute games when dog owners are encouraged to bring along their pets. Dog tickets are required, dogs must be kept on fixed-length leashes, and must be current on vaccines. Volunteers are on hand to babysit if you need to use the facilities. Throughout the season, keep your eyes peeled for Ripken the Bat Dog—the Bulls' very good boy who takes his bat-wrangling job seriously.

Where Not To Go

As a responsible dog owner, knowing your boundaries is always important. A few rules to keep in mind as you plan your visit –

  • While Durham Central Park is pet-friendly, the Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings during the warmer months does not allow dogs.
  • Bull McCabe's does not allow pets.

About the Author

Kristin Bedinger - Sr. Manager of Content
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Lover of plants, books, wine, cooking for my friends and hanging with my pup, Arlo. Find me trying every new bar and restaurant in Durham the moment it opens.