Dirty Dancing was filmed in the state. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson resided there. But Virginia is way more than one classic ’80s film and the founding fathers. The Old Dominion is also home to some of the dog-friendliest cities around. From a pooch-welcoming beach to a posh city boutique where you can order a custom dog dress to match your wedding gown, check out these three dog-friendly spots in Virginia cities. And just remember: In Virginia, no one puts Fido in a corner.
Located outside of Washington, D.C., Alexandria is the nation’s capital’s chic suburban sister. Our favorite neighborhood? Historic Old Town, featuring cobblestone streets and quaint brick buildings. Stroll on King Street — the heart of Old Town — and find specialty treats, clothing and accessories at The Dog Park boutique. The Global Bridal Gallery will make a custom “puppy couture” gown to match your frock.
When you’re searching for a bite to eat, indulge in modern French fare like Salade Niçoise and escargot on the dog-friendly patio at one of the city’s top restaurants, Bastille Brasserie & Bar. You also can check out the work of 82 different artists at the dog-friendly, vibrant and former World War II munitions factory, the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
When you’re finished eating and shopping, Founders Park offers Potomac River views and plenty of green space where Fido can frolic. The majority of the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa’s 107 rooms are modern, soothing and dog-friendly complete with gray, blue and purple colors that come stocked with pet pillows, a bed, water bowls and mats. Once or twice a month, leashed dogs can board Potomac River Company boats for the Canine Cruise and get an up-close-and-personal view of the river once a month from May to September. Best of all? Admission for dogs is free.
Richmond is the state capital that’s known for being a hip haven for young people and furry friends, too. Shoppers will get a kick out of strolling around high-end outdoor Stony Point Fashion Park mall. Look for the “dogs welcome” signs in boutiques like the Abbella Cakes dog bakery and Fido Park Avenue so you can step inside. Dogs must be leashed, unless they’re inside the off-leash lot where they can run free.
When you’re tired of browsing the shops, check into the ultra-modern Quirk Hotel, Richmond’s hottest hotel that also allows dogs (size limit: 70 pounds and under). Staying true to its name, Quirk features an art gallery stocked with modern pieces and a boutique filled with “quirky” products. Dogs staying here receive complimentary doggie bags, which include Milk-Bones, waste bags and a special door hanger, and they can also get a doggie bed.
For even more art, head to Art Works where, for free, you and Fido can view art of all stripes in a renovated warehouse space. One of Richmond’s biggest attractions, the James River, also welcomes leashed pooches. Walk alongside the water as you take in downtown Richmond skyline views. If you love water, take in the Dominion Energy Riverrock Subaru Ultimate Air Dogs Competition this May 18 through 21, 2018.
Virginia Beach is a beachside town with a cosmopolitan side. Best of all? Dogs are allowed on the beach during the spring, fall and winter months. During Christmas, you can drive down the boardwalk and head under the lights that brighten up the boardwalk. When it’s summertime, dogs are permitted on the boardwalk from 6 to 10 a.m. daily and on the north and south end of the beach before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
If you need to take a break from watching beachgoers on the boardwalk, indulge in oceanfront views, craft beer and seafood from the patio of the 11th Street Taphouse Bar & Grille. Your dog will get water in a bucket. Boutique and luxury hotel The Founders Inn and Spa‘s dog-friendly rooms are located next to the on-site dog park at this spot with a Colonial-era vibe complete with floral bedding and brick buildings.
During the holidays, the Founders Inn is all lit up in bright white lights that can make you and your dog feel more festive. Feel like shopping? Try Mrs. Bones Bowtique, a dog-centric pet store that has been designing custom collars since 1988. Your dog can also let loose at one of Virginia Beach’s many dog parks: Woodstock Dog Park, Red Wing Dog Park, Bayville Farms Park or the Zoom Room, an indoor dog park.
Thumbnail: Photography ©VisitVirginiaBeach.
Teresa K. Traverse is a Virginia native, writer, editor, traveler and dog mom to two long-haired Chihuahuas, Autumn and Rocket. Check out more of her work at teresaktraverse.com.
Editor’s note: This article appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!
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