Friday, August 12, 2011

How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog Series: Austin, Texas

I had heard rumors that Austin was one of the most dog-friendly cities, so I was very excited to receive this post showing how true this seems to be. From live-music festivals to dog canoeing, and unique opportunities like bat-watching and food trucks, it seems like there is much to do with dogs.
Besides being an amazing tour guide for both Nashville and Austin, Lindsay is very involved in dog rescue and has recently helped with Charlotte's Recovery (have you checked out how amazing smiley Charlotte looks lately?) Charlotte is so close to meeting her goal to cover her medical bills, and we know how much every bit helps. If we could get about 100 people to bring their lunch to work for a day, or give up buying their daily coffee, and contribute the $5 to help Charlotte instead, this would meet the goal. Her Chipin page is here.
And here are some things you can do with your pooches in Austin:

I like to think that Austin Texas is one of the coolest cities around and not just because I spent the first 25 years of my life there and am constantly thinking of ways to move back. When I lived in Austin I didn't have a dog so it's only now that we have three and we go back to visit my family that I truly see what a dog friendly town it is. Your canine tour guides are Emma and Ellie who you might recognize from the Nashville post. They came down with us to visit Austin and Ellie wiggled her way right into one Texan's heart and now makes her permanent home in Austin. We miss her tons but she is happy girl and because she got adopted by a family friend we get updates! Also, are Millie (my friend Tara's dog) and Jigger (my brother's dog: my brother writes a blog about cocktails which explains his dog's name).

Let's start with music because after Austin is the live music capital of the world. There is "blues on the green" ( a music festival held in Zilker Park. It's free; you bring your blanket and your picnic and your dog and you listen to amazing music in the middle of the city. This is Jigger enjoying Alejandro Escovedo. 
Zilker park ( is also home to Barton springs (, a natural spring fed pool that stays under 60 degrees despite the 100 degree summer temps Austin days can sometimes reach. Now pooches aren't allowed in the gates of Barton springs but just outside is what's known as poor mans pool where anyone can swim for free. Here we see jigger and Millie having fun in the water...
Nearby you can rent a canoe and go boating on town lake (now known as Lady Bird Lake) your dog is welcome as long as they wear a life preserver.
Also in Zilker park and near the lake is the hike and bike trail a four mile loop around the lake that is totally dog friendly. So much that right off Barton springs road is a off leash dog area. It's not a dog park because there is no fence but there are always dozens of dogs playing frisbee or catch and then jumping in the water to cool off.
Just a few steps away is the congress avenue bridge home to one of the largest bat colonies in the world( On summer nights people flock (ha) to watch the bats take flight at sunset.
Again bring your blanket, your picnic and your dog. Here are Emma and Ellie enjoying the bat flight (I couldn't get any good shots of the bats).
Near this dog area is a statue of Austinite and blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughn. Here are Emma and Ellie paying homage to his genius.
South of the bridge is South Congress avenue a once hip and happening part of town that fell onto hard times and became known for Drugs and prostitutes but is now once again hip and happening. There are tons of great places to eat shop drink and relax on south congress but I want to mention three of my favorites. My Favorite music venue is the continental club ( that hosts amazing music. Got Fido? No problem because directly across the street is the hotel San Jose ( a dog-friendly boutique hotel. We got married in Austin last year and we and our guests stayed here and it was the coffee shop jo's ( is in their parking lot and it's awesome too.

Austin is home to several airstream/food truck food courts and they are also dog friendly, There are several farmers markets in Austin that are dog friendly. Here are Emma and Ellie checking out the Sunset Valley farmers market where my brother sells coffee most weekends. 

Unrelated to dogs but definitely worth seeing is  the Alamo drafthouse. Most recently famous for its stand on texting during films
So let's see: lots of dog friendly restaurants, music opportunities an outdoor opportunities. No BSL! Austin really is a great dog town!

We love exploring new cities and getting ideas about things to do with our dogs. In case you missed them, you can also read about things to do with dogs in Florida, Portland, Richmond, Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs , boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull, and specific tips for roadtripping with a large dog (NYC to rural Tennessee) . We are still accepting posts, but we would like to receive everything in the next few weeks.If you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information or contact us through our Facebook page.  


Froggy said...

I LOVE Austin. My cousins just move to Israel from there and I am so sad that I wont have an excuse to visit. They didn't have a dog so this is a great new perspective of an amazing city. I also want to give props to the cute Thundershirt pics! It puts a huge smile on my face to see other dogs sporting one.

Anonymous said...

hooraaaaaay for Austin!! This is a great doggie tour, though I would like to add that there are LOTS of great bars that allow dogs on their patios in Austin, and there is a monthly event on South Congress where tons of stores, bars, and vendors open their doors to patrons who wander around shopping, watching street performers, listening to music, and drinking margaritas. We used to bring our Chick to this sometimes, and many of the stores would enthusiastically welcome him indoors, despite his dangerously waggy tail!

Anonymous said...

Awesome - Austin has been on my "must visit" list for a while, and I'm glad to see it's so dog-friendly! Thanks for sharing.

Two French Bulldogs said...

We always heard Austin was a awesome city. Thanks
Benny & Lily

Tucker The Crestie said...

Another "must visit with Tucker & Phoebe one day soon" city to put on my list!

Two Pitties in the City said...

We have always wanted to visit Austin, especially for their awesome music scene and it is great to hear that it is dog-friendly too. One day we hope to do a road trip with the pooches, using the tips we got from Reggie and Emma from A Wonderful Dogs Life and visit all these great cities.

Anonymous said...

What a great place Austin is! Mom would really enjoy going to the bat show. I know she's a bit 'batty' ;P
Great tour!

Waggin at ya,

ForPetsSake said...

Awesome review - we moved to Dallas a couple of years ago from Maine and are constantly told that Austin is the place we should have landed. Oh well - another spot to put on the "must visit" list :)

Lisa Alfaro said...

Thanks for posting that! I'm proud to live in Austin, and I know our dog Rugby's life has been better since the move here. It's a beautiful place to share with your canine =)


Anonymous said...

There are several places to rent canoes and kayaks - you actually don't have to have a doggie life vest, but some places have them available. Stand Up Paddles (SUP) are becoming very popular and you will see dogs on those too, but not on the rented ones. The place I train, The Canine Center, actually has started teaching a "Kayaking with Your Dog Class" to add to their other outdoor Adventure Series (Running with your Dog and Camping with your Dog - with trips around Texas and even Colorado).

There are also tons of bars and restaurants that allow dogs and even provide water bowls outside for the dogs. Opal Devines, Austin Java are some of the local chains that come to mind.

There are also two awesome pet stores here - Tomlinson's with 7 locations and Bark N' Purr with one central location. If you find that you left something at home or run out of food, these are great places to go with very knowledgeable and friendly staff.

"Poor Man's Pool" is also known as "Barkin' Springs" to the dog people. Another great off leash park is Red Bud Isle on Red Bud Trail and Lake Austin Blvd. It isn't fenced, but the water acts as a natural barrier and keeps dogs away from the street. Lots of places for the dogs to run and swim. Pay attention to the parking signs as you will get a ticket if you park illegally!

I couldn't imagine living anywhere else with my dog!

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

We love the live music! Austin seems fab!

Amy said...

Austin is FABULOUS! We visited there and did a couple of posts about it back in April. We just left Portland, Oregon today and a couple months ago we were in San Diego - all highly acclaimed cities for the dog friendliness, but we like Austin best. There is a level of dog inclusion there that you just don't get anywhere else. I can't wait to go back - we're planning to winter there this year.

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