Dog-Friendly Los Angeles: Visiting LA with a Dog

Los Angeles in California is one of the most popular cities to visit in the USA. There’s plenty of attractions that have made this city a popular tourist destination, and if you’re travelling in the USA with your dog, you’ll quite likely to pass through this city. So, how dog-friendly is Los Angeles?

Dog-Friendly Things to Do in LA

For starters, if you’re visiting Los Angeles with your dog, there’s plenty of dog-friendly things to do in LA. Check out these fun dog-friendly activities to fill the sunny days..

1. Hike in Runyon Canyon

One of the favourite activities of dog owners in Los Angeles, both of the celebrity and regular type, is hiking at Runyon Canyon. Over half of the park permits dogs to walk off-leash (a massive 90 acres out of the total 160 acres). There are multiple walking trail options, many featuring great vantage points with sweeping views across LA.

At the southern entrance to Runyon Canyon Park

The southern entrance of Runyon Canyon Park is only a few blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard, and we easily found a free parking spot nearby. Alternatively, head to the northern entrance just off Mulholland Drive where there is a free parking lot. Make sure to take a water bottle on warmer days, for both yourself and your pup.

Check out that view!

2. Or Hike Near Griffith Observatory

Another great hiking spot in LA to head to with your dog is Griffith Park, surrounding Griffith Observatory, where miles of trails criss-cross the park. Check out many of the top trail options on All Trails. Note that dogs need to stay on leash, except for at the designed off-leash dog park on North Zoo Drive.

Griffith Park Dogs on Leash Sign
Dogs are welcome to join you hiking on a leash in Griffith Park

One of the most popular trails is hiking up the observatory, from one of the lower carparks near the entrance. Note that parking near the Observatory itself is very expensive (we were charged $10 per hour on our recent visit in 2022!), so make use of the free carparks.

Griffith Park Hiking with Dog
The popular trail up to the Griffith Observatory

3. Visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame

What would be a first-time visit to Los Angeles without a stop at the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Stretching along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard (between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue) and 3 blocks of Vine Street, there are 2600 stars.

Schnitzel wondering why he doesn’t get his own star, like Winnie the Pooh

While stretches of the walk can be busy, it’s a fun activity to do with your pup on a leash, walking along and spotting the stars of your favourite stars. Not to mention your pup’s favourite stars! Don’t miss out on also checking out the forecourt in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre with its signatures, handprints and footprints.

Following in the hand and foot prints of Marilyn Monroe

4. Check Out Rodeo Drive

Even if you aren’t the type to splurge on designer outfits, it can be fun to hit up Rodeo Drive. One of the most famous shopping streets in the world, this street in LA is home to glamorous designed boutiques, with some over-the-top buildings.

Window shopping on Rodeo Drive

While I wasn’t planning on doing any shopping myself, it was still fun to stroll along the street with Schnitzel at my side, who would have probably been welcome inside some of the boutiques for some fussing over.

5. Hit Up Santa Monica

While dogs aren’t allowed to join you on the sand at Santa Monica, it can still be fun to head to this seaside spot with your dog.

Take a walk along the boardwalks behind the beach or head out on Santa Monica Pier. Dogs on a leash are allowed on the pier, except for in the amusement ride section.

A stroll on Santa Monica Pier with Schnitzel
Now who’s a hot dog!

6. Head to the Beach

If you’re wanting to hit the beach in LA with your dog, there aren’t many options, with dogs banned from most beaches, even if they are on a leash. Instead, head south to Long Beach for Rosie’s Dog Beach or further afield to Huntington Dog Beach.

Huntington Dog Beach is terrific for a morning or afternoon outing with your pup. The dog-friendly section of the beach extends from Goldenwest Street (where there are multiple signs indicating dogs are not allowed any further) north to Seapoint Street for 1.5 miles. Leashes are optional.

Huntington Dog Beach
Head to Huntington Dog Beach in Orange County

There are multiple carparks located along the beach, with a few dollars charged per hour. Note that there are only a few access paths down onto the beach (don’t exacerbate the coastal erosion), so a walk may be required. Make sure you keep your dog on a leash until they are on the sand – there are many resident squirrels!

Huntington Dog Beach Sign
Make sure you follow the rules, so that the beach stays dog-friendly

Even if it’s not quite swimming weather, the Dog Beach is still a great place to have a long walk along the sand with your pup, or organise a get-together. Drinking fountains and dog waste bags are provided, with donations welcome.

Dogs on Huntington Dog Beach
A dip in the sea at Huntington Dog Beach

7. Take a Dog-Friendly Day Trip

There’s also plenty of other great dog-friendly destinations close to LA that are perfect for a day trip with your dog. For plenty of ideas, check out this extensive guide to Dog-Friendly Day Trips in Southern California.

Can You Visit Disneyland with Your Dog?

As a first-time visitor to Los Angeles, naturally I wasn’t going to skip visiting Disneyland. However, unless your dog is a service animal, pet dogs are strictly forbidden inside the gates of Disneyland.

However, there’s nothing stopping you going as far as the gates as Disneyland with your dog… In fact, there’s a great reason for you to bring along your dog: the Disneyland Kennel Club, or as we dubbed it the “Happiest Kennel on Earth”!

Disneyland Kennel Club
The entrance to the Disneyland Kennel Club

Located just outside the entrance to the Disneyland Park, next to the stroller hire, the Disneyland dog kennel is a great place to leave your pup for the day while you’re inside the park (or California Adventure Park). The kennel opens half an hour before the park and closes half an hour after last closing, costing $20 per pet for the day.

Make sure you have proof of the necessary vaccines. Plus it’s recommended to pop back every few hours to check on your pet, including feeding them and exercising them. (There’s handy relief area inside the kennel.)

Note that as of June 2022, the Disneyland Kennel Club has not yet reopened along with the rest of the resort, but there are hopefully still plans for it to reopen.

Disneyland with a dog
Don’t forget to take a photo of your dog at Disneyland!

Dog-Friendly Parks in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has some great dog parks for your pup to get in some off-leash exercise and socialise with other pups. It’s easiest to search on Google Maps to see what is close by to you.

We were delighted to discover Bluff Creek Dog Park near our Airbnb, which has separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, plenty of grass (much of it artificial, so it doesn’t turn into a dustbowl) and a drinking water stream. It’s a very popular spot on sunny weekends!

Another popular spot for dog owners is Lake Hollywood Park. While this park technically only allows dogs on leash, often this is overlooked. With views of the nearby Hollywood sign, this park is popular for puppy parties and meet-ups.

Lake Hollywood Park Sign
Lake Hollywood Park near the Hollywood sign

Make sure you keep a close eye on your dog, as the park is not fenced. Plus don’t allow your dog to enter the playground area. On-street parking is available on the adjacent street.

Lake Hollywood Park with Dogs
Enjoying the lush green grass at Hollywood Park

Dining Out in Los Angeles with a Dog

Dogs are allowed to join you on the patio of cafes and restaurants in Los Angeles, although the owner of the establishment has the final say. Not surprisingly, given the number of celebrities residing in the city, there’s plenty of five-star treatment for pampered pooches.

We didn’t dine out often in Los Angeles, thanks to staying in some great Airbnbs with awesome kitchens, so I can’t personally recommend many dog-friendly restaurants.

We did visit In-N-Out Burger multiple times, and I was disappointed to not find out until later that they offer a special dog menu item. The “puppy patty” is an unseasoned meat patty, for under $1. Just be warned it is a bit greasy, so it’s best as a special treat, especially for smaller pups.

In-N-Out Burger Sign
Order a “puppy patty” for your dog at In-N-Out Burger

We did however give our Schnitzel a Puppuccino from Starbucks one time when we were stopping by. He devoured down the whipped cream concoction, which is complementary for pet owners. Again be warned that this isn’t a healthy item for dogs, so perhaps just allow your dog a small amount.

Feasting on a Starbucks Puppuccino

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Los Angeles

On our multiple visits to LA, we’ve stayed at two great Airbnbs with friendly hosts. A pet-friendly Airbnb, whether a private room or entire property, is always an option. But there’s also lots of pet-friendly hotels in Los Angeles.

For starters, I’ve previously written about some hotel chains that allow dogs to stay for free (Motel 6, Red Roof and often La Quinta), each of which has multiple locations in LA. There’s also plenty of options for a fancier stay with your pooch.

Just hanging out on Rodeo Drive

Alternatively, for a luxe pet-friendly stay head south to Huntington Beach and the Paséa Hotel & Spa, or the Paw-Séa. Rated as the best dog-friendly hotel in the USA multiple times, the hotel has its own private dog park, plus is close to the popular dog beach. For a non-refundable deposit of $150 per stay, your dog will be provided with their own bed, bowls, welcome treat and pet gift shop items.

Taking a Dog on Public Transport in Los Angeles

While in Los Angeles we didn’t use public transport, as we picked up a car at the airport (and dropped it off again when flying out). There is however a public transport system, known as the “Metro”, with both trains and buses. This map gives a good overview of the system.

The Metro allows small pets on board. Well, there isn’t exactly a size limit, but considering pets need to be secured in an enclosed carrier, it’s not feasible with larger pets.

The pet in its carrier shouldn’t block the aisle or doorway, take up a seat (or stop someone sitting in a seat) and of course not interfere with the comfort of other customers. For more information including detailed guidelines on what constitutes a service animal, see this page.

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