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5 Great Things to Do in Portland With Your Dogs

I recently took a trip to Portland, Oregon, with my family and all five of our dogs, and the city lived up to its reputation for being very dog friendly.

Kezia Willingham  |  Jan 7th 2016


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I recently took my first road trip from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, with my daughter, Zinnia, my son, Justin, and all five of our dogs — Ruby, a Chihuahua; May Belle, a Chihuahua-Rat Terrier; Lilly, a Boxer mix; Daisy, a Chihuahua-Doxie; and Magnum, a Shepherd mix — to celebrate Zinnia’s 18th birthday.

Portland skyline by Shutterstock

Portland skyline by Shutterstock.

I wasn’t sure how smooth this trip would be, but I was determined to find out. With its abundance of dog-friendly places, the Rose City is a fantastic place to explore with your canine companion!

1. Play in Chimney Park

With our dogs’ comfort in mind, our first stop was Chimney Park in North Portland, located on North Columbia Boulevard, easy to navigate from Interstate 5. (Parking was easy, but use your GPS if you feel like you’re starting to drive to the middle of nowhere.) We figured our dogs could run off some energy and use the doggie “facilities.”

Chimney Park in Portland. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)

Chimney Park in Portland. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)

This large dog park has plenty of grassy space for the dogs to run around without kicking up dust clouds. Everyone we encountered was friendly, as were all of the dogs. It was perfect weather in the Pacific Northwest: warm but not hot. Our dogs loved exploring off-leash in a chill environment. My only complaint is that they don’t have real human bathrooms (but they do have porta-potties).

9630 North Columbia Blvd., Portland, OR 97203

2. Eat and drink at Lucky Labrador Beer Hall

Later, we met some friends for dinner at the Lucky Lab in Northwest Portland. I was excited to visit this dog-friendly establishment, as it’s challenging to find places to eat where one dog is welcome, let alone five. Dogs are not allowed inside the pub, but are welcome at the ample outdoor seating.

(Photo by Kezia Willingham)

We enjoyed our visit to Lucky Labrador Brewing Company. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)

Lucky Labrador Brewing Company was started by a group of friends who wanted to create an unpretentious, friendly pub for people and their dogs. Some of the beers even have dog-themed names, including Dog Day IPA, Black Lab Stout, Blue Dog Pale Ale, and The Mutt.

They also have house-brewed ginger ale for those who prefer not to drink alcohol, which my teenager liked but my 6-year-old didn’t. I was pleased to find plenty of parking nearby. We took our dogs for a 30-minute walk before taking a seat at one of the numerous picnic tables on the patio. A number of other patrons had dogs with them, all sitting peacefully. Orders must be placed inside, so I left the dogs with my kids and ordered Caesar salads with ginger ale for them and a pint of wheat stout for myself. The portions were large and less than $10 each.

I would definitely come here again for the good food and beverages and the ability to dine out in a relaxed atmosphere with my dogs. With four locations throughout Portland, it would be fun to visit them all.

1945 NW Quimby, Portland, OR 97209. 503-517-4352; luckylab.com. Dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area. Water buckets are available to fill for your pups and are located under the busing station. Order your meal and beverages inside.

3. Stay at McMenamins Crystal Hotel

The dog-friendly Crystal Hotel is located in downtown Portland, about two blocks from the legendary Powell’s Books, one of the largest independently owned book stores in the world, which happens to have a huge selection of dog-themed books.

(Photo by Kezia Willingham)

Our pet-friendly home away from home. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)

Directly across the street from the hotel is a large Whole Foods Market with a pleasant selection of natural dog treats and foods. To say this hotel is conveniently located is an understatement. The fact that there is no limit on the number of pets one can bring is the real selling point for any dog lover.

The fees are $15 per pet in addition to the regular room charge. I made sure to tucker our pups out before we checked in for the evening. The staff provided a couple of bowls in our room at my request, and I bought dog food across the street at Whole Foods. I had to park several blocks away, but the walk was good for the dogs.

(Photo by Kezia Willingham)

Everyone was comfy. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)

This is a historical hotel built in 1911, so there are no TVs. Be sure to request a pet-friendly room and let them know how many you are bringing. There is a $15/deposit per pet. I suggest bringing potty pads with you if you have any question of whether you dog might have an accident. I also suggest requesting a room with a private bathroom, if that is important to you.

303 SW 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97205; 503-972-2670, McMenamins.com

4. Picnic at Laurelhurst Park

Laurelhurst Park came highly recommended to me by several dog-owning Portland friends. This large, urban park located in inner Northeast Portland has lots of large trees, walking paths, a lake, and picnic tables. When we visited, many people were enjoying a relaxing Sunday afternoon with their families.

(Photo by Kezia Willingham)

Just another day in a Portland park. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)

Once we finally found the off-leash dog area (a large sandpit surrounded by grassy fields and a couple of benches), I was a little disappointed to see that it was unfenced. I felt uncomfortable letting my dogs off-leash in this environment, so I didn’t. This is a great spot for an afternoon picnic with your dogs if you love people watching in an urban outdoor environment.

3756 SE Oak St., Portland, OR 97214

5. Visit the Oregon Humane Society

As a passionate dog lover, I enjoy visiting shelters in whatever location we find ourselves. If you want to find a new friend to take home, Portland offers a great opportunity to do so. (You might have to leave your own dogs behind while you visit, however. Call the shelter ahead of time to ask.)

Justin makes a new friend at the shelter. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)

Justin makes a new friend at the shelter. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)

The Oregon Humane Society is a large, private nonprofit shelter located off NE Columbia Boulevard (not too far from Chimney Park), which houses a variety of dogs and cats. You can round up your purchase to donate additional money to the organization. It also has little dog-biscuit grab bags (donate as much as you want) so you can leave with a nice treat for your pups.

When we were there, we saw adorable dogs of all ages and even adopted two mice to add to our pack of cats and dogs. Perhaps you will find a canine companion to add to your pack! Or you can just tour the facility and make a donation to a good cause.

1067 NE Columbia Blvd., Portland, OR 97211. 503-285-7722, oregonhumane.org

My kids and I enjoyed traveling to Portland with our five dogs and were pleasantly surprised that it was easier than we expected. Portland is dog friendly, with a number of local businesses welcoming pets. Unlike larger cities, it’s still relatively easy to park and walk to your desired locations (with your pets on leash). There are a number of dog parks and independent pet shops that we didn’t get to see and which I hope to explore in the future!

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About the author:  Also known as the Breadwinning Laundry Queen, Kezia Willingham lives with her family, which includes a pack of rescued cats and dogs, in Seattle.  She works as the Health Coordinator for an urban Head Start program and writes for Catster and Dogster in the early mornings and weekends.  Her writing also appears in the New York Times, xoJane.com, and Seattle Times. You can follow her on Twitter.