Roam: Hospitable Houston welcomes people and pets
Find Texas-sized adventure for you and your pup in Houston. From lodging to parks, Houston delivers a fun, pet friendly vacation for you and your family.
Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US, rolls out the welcome mat for visitors who love good food, Texas-sized hospitality, and fun activities and attractions. It’s also a great place to take your pup.
Houston businesses have created Dog Friendly Houston, a webpage to help you and your pet find restaurants and parks you can enjoy together. Of course, these aren’t the only spots open to you and your canine companion. Check out our list for more places to enjoy in pet-friendly Houston.
Lodgings for Pets and Their Parents
Houston has some 200 hotels, inns, and motels that put on the dog, so to speak, for your dog. At the Sheraton Suites Houston Galleria, even big dogs up to 70 pounds are welcome for no additional charge. (Many hotels only accept smaller pups.)
You’ll get lots of wags when you check into the JW Marriott Houston Downtown. Sir Griffin, once a rescue dog greets guests as the official Director of Pet Relations. An underground tunnel system connects from the hotel lobby to various point around town. Need to ride Houston’s METRORail or a bus to your destination? Fido can ride, too, as long as he is caged properly. Service animals can also accompany riders with disabilities.
When you stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Suites, by the Houston Galleria, you’ll get turn-down service, and your furry friend will receive a Milk-Bone dog biscuit for a bedtime snack. Pet food and water bowls are complimentary, and you can order for Fido from a doggy room service menu.
Note: Unless otherwise indicated, call each property to ask about the number and size of pets allowed in each room, and whether there are additional charges. Most pet-friendly rooms are limited, so book early.
Parks to Enjoy with Your Four-Legged Pal
Ervan Chew Park is smaller, but popular, with benches, shade trees, water fountains and waste bags. Its fenced play area for dogs measures about 9,000 square feet.
T.C. Jester Dog Park is just over an acre in size, but it’s also a popular spot, with separate areas for large and small dogs, benches under shade trees, and dog water fountains.
Bay Area Dog Park has a generous five acres for pups to play in and offers similar amenities, such as canine drinking stations.
Millie Bush has been called the most famous of the White House dogs. One of the best dog parks in Houston is named for this Springer spaniel, once the companion of President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush. Thirteen-acre Millie Bush Bark Park has ponds for swimming, dog showers and drinking fountains, a walking path and separate areas for big and small dogs.
More Places to Go and Things to Do with Your Dog
Rummy’s Beach Club, located about 30 minutes away from Houston in Spring, Texas, is a private pool for people and their pets. It also offers a one-acre dog park and a dock for dock jumping. In the winter, the pool is heated and covered with a dome, so you can still enjoy the water.
Take Fido to stroll along five miles of walking paths at the Houston Arboretum, a 155-acre wildlife sanctuary. Dogs must be leashed, and you’ll need to watch your pet, since it’s possible to encounter snakes at this nature center.
Cheer for the Houston Astros baseball team on Dog Day, held once a year at Minute Maid Park. You can let your fur friend march in the Pooch Parade or compete in a costume contest. Get your tickets early, since they sell out fast.
Catch a play, hear live music or watch dancers perform at the Miller Outdoor Theater at Hermann Park. The shows are free, and dogs are welcome, even if they can’t applaud.
Dining with Your Dog
Houston passed a “Paws on the Patio” option in 2011, so many eateries and bars now allow pets in outdoor areas. There are eight Barnaby’s cafes around town, named for the owner’s pet sheepdog, and your furry friend can dine at any of them with you. (Visit the website for a sweet, online picture book about Barnaby.)
Have a dog with your dog—a hot dog, that is. Good Dog Houston serves locally made and/or sourced franks, buns, and more. The owners say their concept started with a dachshund and a trained chef.
Cottonwood has plenty of space for kids, grown-ups and dogs to dine outside on a large covered patio. This combination restaurant/Texas pub occasionally hosts live music, crawfish boils and deck games, and dogs are welcome at these events.
For several years, advocacy groups have been working to expand Houston’s dog-friendly venues. Enjoy them when you visit and watch for more openings!
Lynn Coulter is owned by two rescue dogs—Molly and Miss Paws—and occasionally blogs at LynnCoulter.com. She’s also the author of three books and a freelancer who writes about travel, gardening and more. She and her husband live in metro Atlanta, where they cheer for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and spend their money on dog biscuits.