Thinking about moving? You should make sure you’re headed to one of the more ESA-friendly cities before you pack up. There are many reasons a city can be ideal for owning an emotional support animal (or just a dog in general), including good weather, lots of dog parks, and accommodating businesses. Read on for a list of the very best cities in the U.S. for ESA owners.
Portland is a happening place these days. With lots of green, eco-friendly spaces, beautiful scenery, and trendy restaurants, the city can be a great place to relocate. It’s also a fantastic place to own an emotional support dog, since Portland has more dog parks per capita than any other major city in the U.S. (with 32 off-leash parks!). There are plenty of other places to get some exercise with your ESA because of the many hiking areas, such as the Powell Butte trail, which runs for four miles. There are also some quirky factors you might enjoy – Portland has several pet massage therapists and its very own social network for dog lovers called PDXDog.com. Plus, Portland is one of the few cities in the U.S. where you can bring your dog with you into the local pubs, so you shouldn’t face any hassle taking your ESA along with you for a fun outing.
San Diego, California
San Diego has appeared on many lists (including a recent one by Thrillist.com) as one of the most pet-friendly cities in the country. You’ll love bringing your emotional support animal outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather and the beaches all year round. There are also more than 15 dog parks you can visit with your ESA to help them socialize with other dogs. Plus, San Diego is known for its famous dog surfing; they even host a Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon every year. So, your ESA can take up a fun beach hobby too!
Seattle is another location that’s getting more popular and is one of the more ESA-friendly cities around. Seattle permits dogs on all of their bus lines, ferries, light rail, and even some local seaplanes. With this accommodation, you’ll never have to worry about taking your ESA onboard with you while you travel around the city. Seattle even offers a Dog Spot calendar listing all the events happening in the city that are perfect for dog lovers. It includes everything from puppy yoga and dog-friendly bingo to Halloween pet parades and picture-taking with Santa! If you want to connect with other dog owners or learn more about dog-friendly businesses, you can head to over 30 different Meetup groups for hiking clubs, tiny dog playgroups, groups for specific breeds, and much more.
Austin is quickly becoming one of the hippest places in the U.S., with a great music scene and trendy restaurants. It’s also one of the best cities in the country for living with an emotional support dog. There are 11 dog parks to explore and lots of activities you can take your ESA to. Austin is also really accommodating because most restaurants allow you to have your pup with you on the patio while you eat. There are some more unique options too, such as pet boutiques for fun shopping opportunities and more than 35 pet photographers who can snap some pics of your beloved ESA. Austin even has the first mobile food truck just for dogs called Bow-Wow Chow – it travels between dog parks, so you can buy your pup some much-deserved treats. The city is also home to the Austin Dog Fair and the Easter Pet Parade and Costume Contest. Plus, with plenty of chances for hiking and swimming, Austin is a perfect option for people who love spending time outdoors with their ESA.
Although there aren’t a ton of dog parks in Chicago (and the weather can often be a beast!), the city has lots of walkable paths and dog-related activities to keep you and your ESA busy. There are also many dog-friendly beaches (Montrose Dog Beach is a local favorite) where you can take your pup for a romp. Plus, any ESA owners with a love of baseball will look forward to the annual Chicago White Sox Dog Day, where dogs are allowed in the stadium.
If the East Coast is more your speed, consider heading to another of the most ESA-friendly cities: Boston. The city is very accommodating for emotional support dog owners, allowing dogs to ride the subway during off-peak hours and go on cruises in Boston Harbor. There’s even a weekly “Yappier Hour” at the Liberty Hotel, where you can enjoy happy hour with food and drinks alongside your favorite four-legged friend. If you want more inside info on dog-friendly neighborhoods and businesses, check out the Fido Loves website, where you’ll find helpful tips for dog owners in the Boston area.
Lots of sandy beaches and warm weather means you’ll have plenty of reasons to take your ESA out for some playtime. Because a lot of restaurants have outdoor patio seating, there are also many opportunities for your emotional support dog to accompany you for a meal. Miami does have a fancier side too, so you can take your pup to an upscale groomer or designer dog apparel store to pick up some duds (or just a stylish collar).
No matter which of these ESA-friendly cities you end up in, your emotional support animal will flourish as long as you’re giving them plenty of love and affection and opportunities to be active!