Nine reasons pooches love the Peach State.

By Allison Entrekin
May 04, 2016
family walking in the park
Credit: Jerry Driendl

Atlanta has gone to the dogs. Restaurant patios here are filled with canines, hotels roll out the red carpet for four-legged guests, and dog parks offer a social scene as lively as any nightspot. Here’s your guide to exploring Atlanta with Fido in tow.

Restaurants for Rover

Named in honor of owners Ernie and Diane Geyer’s beloved Golden Retriever, Lucky’s Burger & Brew was created with dogs in mind. At its three Atlanta locations, you’ll find large patios with water bowls and treats; inside, the walls are covered with photos of Lucky himself. Select from dog-themed menu items such as the Poodle Chaser (a burger topped with melted brie, caramelized onions, and Dijon mustard) and the Dogfish Sandwich (Atlantic mahi-mahi served with tartar sauce).

Thirsty dogs have a bar of their very own at Bellwoods Social House in Midtown. Nicely shaded and stocked with water bowls, it’s a place where pups can relax while their humans sip brews from Atlanta’s Wild Heaven Craft Beers. Hungry? Nosh on bites like the “Short Dog”—braised short rib, red chili mayo, pickled jalapeno slaw, and pickled onion on a locally made roll.

A coffee shop and dog park in one, ParkGrounds in Reynoldstown lets pet owners sip liquid energy while dogs burn theirs off. Come for the pour-overs and cheesy sausage-and-egg sandwiches, and stay for the off-leash dog park out back. While your pooch plays, you can socialize with fellow dog lovers, or simply relax and take advantage of the free wifi.

Parks with barks

On sunny days in Atlanta, few places are more popular than Piedmont Dog Park in Midtown. With a nearly three-acre dog run and separate enclosures for small and large breeds, this is a place where pets and their owners can both come unleashed. Bring a beverage, some sunscreen, and water for your pup—at this convivial gathering spot, you’ll no doubt stay a while.

Situated next to Atlanta’s famed Freedom Park in the Old Fourth Ward, Freedom Barkway is a welcome newcomer to Atlanta’s dog scene. Surrounded by leafy trees, this two-acre greenspace has separate off-leash areas for big and small dogs, and water stations for both people and their pets.

The Atlanta BeltLine’s hugely popular Eastside Trail is the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll with your dog. Winding two miles from the tip of Piedmont Park to Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward, this urban pathway passes scores of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and boutiques—including those located inside the celebrated Ponce City Market. As you walk the trail, don’t miss Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall, where a newly expanded greenspace called The Grove offers a break for your dog—and a Bloody Mary for you.

Hound-friendly hotels

While Mandarin Oriental properties around the world are dog-friendly, the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta offers dogs an extra helping of Southern hospitality. (Note: All canine guests must be 25 pounds or lighter.) Upon arrival, pups are greeted with organic bone-shaped biscuits created by the Buckhead hotel’s pastry team, and their rooms are stocked with everything from plush beds to doggie dental kits. After you’ve settled in, meander with your pet to the hotel’s English garden, where Fluffy may lap up a nonalcoholic peach-flavored ‘MOcktail’ or a coconut water–infused ‘Melon Puptail.’ For dinner, doggie room-service options including dry-aged beef tenderloin with blue-cheese mashed potatoes and peanut butter biscuits; for even more pampering, request pet turndown service before bedtime.

Located walking distance from Piedmont Park, the Artmore Hotel is the perfect home base for a dog-friendly Atlanta vacation. Its “Bark More” package includes a doggie welcome basket with toys, bones and bowls for water and food, plus a plush dog bed. After playing Frisbee in the park, you and your pet can relax in the hotel’s charming cocktail garden with views of the Midtown skyline.

Big dogs aren’t left out of the fun at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, where there are no weight restrictions for canine guests. As soon as you check into this Midtown property, you’ll receive a list of nearby restaurants and attractions that welcome pets, as well as area groomers, pet sitters, and veterinarians. You’ll also rack up plenty of gifts for your dog, including a welcome mat, nametag, bowl, and treats. After a day of exploring Atlanta, return to your suite and order your pup a meal from the pet room-service menu, with options that include “Bow Wow Tenderloin of Beef,” “Chow Hound Chicken,” and “Veggie Feast.”

Allison Entrekin is an executive editor with Southbound Magazine and the Georgia Travel Guide. She covers the Southeastern United States beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow her @aweissentrekin.