“Even dogs who don’t love live music and delicious Tex-Mex will feel at home in the Texas capital.” — Estately.com
In my recent travels to Austin, TX, I couldn’t help but notice all of the beautiful dogs around me. Just to name a few, I saw a huge variety of breeds including golden retrievers, corgis, huskies, mini Australian shepherds, chihuahuas, dalmatians, bull terriers, black mouth curs, and the list goes on. They were everywhere: restaurants, nature parks, sidewalks, bars, retail stores… and it was great.
It seemed that most of the local businesses were dog-friendly because they had outdoor patios available and fresh water bowls cycled out all day. In some cities, it’s hard to find just one restaurant that allows dogs on its patio.
To begin, Austin offers a crazy variety of delicious restaurants and food trucks. Everything from BBQ to Tex Mex to vegetarian to sushi – you name it. I haven’t had one bad meal in Austin.
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden on Rainey Street is an Austin staple with its meat selection, craft brews, and picnic tables. The menu is known for its sausages, but it also offers other meat options as well as vegetarian dishes. If you bring your pooch in, treat him to a “woof wurst,” and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to Austin Pets Alive!
The outdoor seating area is huge, so there will definitely be a spot for you to sit and enjoy a meal with your furry best friend.
If you’re looking for a place to unwind, enjoy a craft beer or glass of wine, and be social while your dog runs around and makes new friends, check out the Dog House Drinkery. Dogs are more than welcome in the canine-themed bar, but they also will have access to a 10,000 sq. ft. off-leash park area (don’t worry – there’s a connected park for small dogs, as well). Day passes can be purchased for $5 per dog, or, if you become a regular, you can purchase annual passes for $75.
Once you’re full of delicious food, it’s time for an adventure. The Barton Creek Greenbelt is the perfect place to go if you’re looking to hike around and swim.
Some people consider the Greenbelt to be one of the top hiking trails in Texas. It’s located in south-central Austin, and it’s made up of ~13 miles of beautiful trails, with the main trail spanning ~7 miles.
Along the trail, you will find hidden caves, rock walls, huge fallen trees, beautiful standing trees, waterfalls and a clear river to swim in with tons of great sticks to play fetch with. There are all kinds of fun rocks for you and your pup to climb on, as well.
If you’re not quite looking for a hike, check out Zilker Park. It’s one of Austin’s main attractions thanks to its rolling hills and gorgeous trees along Lady Bird Lake. It also hosts many events including Austin City Limits, family picnics, soccer and football games, etc.
There’s a separate dog park located in Zilker Metropolitan Park at 2100 Barton Springs Road where well-behaved dogs can run and socialize off-leash.
Speaking of Zilker Park, you may have heard of Zilker Bark, an online brand created by Alex Hopes, a photographer and dog dad of two who lives in Austin.
Zilker Bark is known for its signature dog portraits of all of the pups who are out and about with their owners in the park. Alex captures each dog’s personality perfectly when they’re in the middle of running, panting, playing, or just sitting sweetly.
Here are some of my favorite shots:
Alex’s own dog, Sid, also has quite the personality. You may have already seen him on the internet, he’s better known as “Pizza Dog” or “My Regal Beagle.”
Sid became viral because of his amazing patience and self-control he displays in many pictures and videos of him holding delicious food in his mouth without gobbling it up.
If you’re ever in Austin, make sure to keep an eye out for Sid and Alex in Zilker Park! You may even get to meet the Austin pizza doggo himself and get your own dog’s portrait taken by Alex.