I've already blogged about our dog-travel mishaps over the summer, so I certainly don't want to claim to be an expert pet parent by any means. But in my experience, it's pretty hard to find any up-to-date info about traveling to or around NYC with a dog. I get a lot of questions on Instagram about NYC dog life, so this is a handy summary of the answers I give—not an authoritative guide, just useful links and anecdotal info shared between pup parents. As always, let me know if your experience has been different or if I missed anything.
Traveling with Your Dog:
Taxis: As a general rule, dogs in carriers are welcome in cabs (i.e. we've never had a problem catching a cab with Dave in a travel carrier). Word at the dog park from parents of larger pups is that cabs will sometimes allow larger dogs if their owners are visibly carrying a throw sheet to protect the cab's seat. Ubers and Lyfts both let the driver decide whether they'll accept a dog, you just have to message the driver after requesting a ride.
Subway and Buses: Non-service dogs are allowed on buses and in subways in a carrier or bag.
Flying: We went on 14 different flights with Dave this year, so we really experienced how inconsistently airlines and airports handle in-cabin pup passengers. This is by no means official, but here's what our experience taught us about flying with a dog in and out of NYC:
- To fly under the seat in the cabin, the carrier/dog combo must be less than 20 pounds—which staff does occasionally check.
- After you book your human plane tickets, you'll need to call your airline to reserve a space for your dog on the plane. Often they don't accept these reservations until a few weeks before, but you do need to call ahead since there's a limit to how many dogs are allowed on each flight.
- When you arrive at the airport to check in, you'll usually have to go pay for your dog's ticket at the assistance desk. In our experience, this was between $100 and $130 per domestic flight. Hang onto this receipt because some airlines require you to show it getting on the plane.
- At security, you'll have to take your dog out of its carrier and carry them through screening.
- Dogs have to stay in their carriers after they go through security, so you'll want to make sure your pup has a chance to go to the bathroom ahead of time unless you confirm your terminal has a pet relief area after security.
- Here are guides to finding pet relief areas at Newark, LaGuardia, and JFK. You're especially in luck if you're flying through Terminal 5 at JFK.
The good news is that NYC recently passed a law allowing any restaurant to welcome dogs into its outdoor dining areas. This means that many sidewalk cafes allow you to dine with your dog at outside tables. Here are some of our favorite places for a meal or drink out with canine companionship. For a deep dive into which local eateries offer off-menu dog treats and eats, click here.
Fred's: This casual Upper West Side eatery is a dog-lover's dream. Not only is the sidewalk seating Fido-friendly, the restaurant itself is named after a beloved neighborhood dog, Fred. In honor of all the neighborhood's pups, the inside walls are covered from floor to ceiling with framed pictures of local pups. You can even buy your dog a Fred's tee.
Ellington in the Park: This seasonal restaurant and bar (April through October) is nestled in Riverside Park, and is a good option for a quiet afternoon beer or burger with your pup. There are always a few dogs at the picnic tables since it's conveniently adjacent to an off-leash dog run.
Amsterdam Alehouse: This historic Upper West Side bar offers pup-friendly sidewalk seating during warm weather. We like that the sidewalk seating isn't too crowded, which makes having a dog under your table a little easier. Plus, any dog-friendly restaurant with great nachos is a winner in our book.
The Boat Basin: Another seasonal favorite, The Boat Basin is located on 79th in Riverside Park. This historic space welcomes dogs in the outdoor seating overlooking the Hudson. We love their sunset views and their kale salads.
Le Pain Quotidien Central Park: Located next to Central Park's Sheep Meadow, this outpost of the popular LPQ chain offers dog-friendly outdoor seating. They're a perfect spot for a casual canine breakfast or brunch.
Pier i: Another seasonal favorite along the Hudson, Pier i is open spring through fall (specific dates are weather-dependent). Their huge patio is always packed with pups and families enjoying beers and bar food.
Shake Shack: The OG location of the NYC fast food chain, the Madison Square Park Shake Shack is also the best location to visit with a dog. Since you'll be ordering your food (and Pooch-Ini!) in a park, you won't have to mess around with leaving your dog outside. It's also conveniently close to the Madison Square Park dog run.
Boris and Horton: We've already blogged about this in Favorite Things Friday, but we couldn't be more excited that NYC is about to get its first dog cafe in December. We'll be staying tuned for more info.
a Dog-Friendly Guide to New York Parks:
Central Park: It's a bit obvious, but Central Park is a dog owner's paradise. If you're in the park from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., your pup can also explore off-leash. There are some limitations to where dogs are allowed, so check out this in-depth guide for the nitty-gritty details.
Madison Square Park: We love MSP in general for its many benches and proximity to great dining, but the dog run is also a favorite for its clean and tree-lined space.
Chelsea Waterside Dog Run: Just off the Hudson River Trail, this park offers varied terrain for dogs to climb and explore.
West 72nd Street Dog Run: This Upper West Side dog run is our favorite in the city. We love that it offers separate small and large dog areas.
Riverside Park: Riverside Park is the perfect spot for dogs who don't love crowds. Always a bit quieter than Central Park or the other smaller parks around the city, the winding paths are perfect for long walks and squirrel chasing. Find guidelines here.