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Pup Friendly Portland

No reason to leave your dog at home when you head to the city of roses. Portland has plenty to keep you and your canine happy.
Written by Cathy Herholdt
The ideal day in the city for Ethan Albers and his four-year-old boxer/English springer spaniel mix, Chief Surgeon Dr. Franklestein, begins with a workout at Wallace Park (NW 25th Ave & Raleigh St). The five-acre city park has an off-leash area that Dr. Franklestein just loves, says Albers.

The Portland native is the valet manager at the pet-friendly, upscale Hotel Fifty (50 SW Morrison St), and like most here, enthusiastically offers advice on things to do with your dog in the city.

“Portland is far-more dog-friendly than kid-friendly,” he admits unapologetically. A quick scan of the City of Portland’s list of parks with off-leash areas reveals 32 of them (read about CityDog's top 10 dog parks here).

After a frolic at the park, the two head over to Kornblatts—“the best authentic Jewish deli on the West Coast,” according to Albers—for a hot Reuben on the patio. Kornblatts is located in one of Portland’s funky neighborhoods—the Hillside-Northwest District.

“It’s a great one-two punch,” says Albers of the back-to-back outings.

Later, they might meet up with friends on Nob Hill at the “insanely pet-friendly” Lucky Labrador Brew Pub. The outdoor seating areas at all four of the pub’s locations are packed with people and their dogs on most weekend nights, but it’s the original Hawthorne location (915 SE Hawthorne Blvd) that draws canine crowds with their owners to the huge, covered patio.

Founded in 1994, the Lucky Labrador’s owners Gary Geist and Alex Stiles chose the pub’s name figuring they’d be lucky dogs to pull off opening a successful brewing company in the city. It was an instant hit and has become a landmark in Portland.
“On a nice warm day, the place is packed,” says Geist.

The pub hosts several fundraisers each year to benefit the DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, including Dogtoberfest, during which they close off the street out front and wash between 400 and 600 dogs, raising $10,000 for the non-profit animal hospital.  

“There are tents and beer in the parking lot. It’s a crazy event,” said Geist.

If you’re in Portland on a rainy day, which is not unlikely, there’s a new option for dogs and their owners to get some exercise and have fun—Fido’s Indoor Dog Park (4949 SE 25th Ave). Visitors can buy a day pass and use the 13,000 square-foot “grass” area (turf made from recycled material with anti-microbial properties), and—get this—an indoor swimming pool for dogs. The 98% chemical-free, ozonated and naturally filtered pool has life vests and even a lifeguard on duty, so your pup can swim safely and have a blast. Owners can enjoy a cup of tea or soda and a snack in the café while their dog plays, roams the park, or rests on one of the many sofas around the facility.

“Dogs seem to feel very at home here,” says owner Josephine Cetta. “This is definitely a dog’s place. There’s not one place they’re not allowed here.”

While Portland has plenty of dog-friendly hotels—Hotel Fifty and The Nines (525 SW Morrison) being two top picks—there is a new option just for dogs, the posh Sniff Dog Hotel (1828 NW Raleigh St). You can rest easy knowing your dog is relishing a sparkling clean, climate-controlled room with floor to ceiling windows, natural light, elevated bed with fleece bedding, flat-paneled TV, and soft padded floor. (Sorry, no rooms for owners!)

Located just north of the popular Pearl District, Sniff is also a great place for dog owners to meet up with others. Dogs can play for free during happy hour (5-7 p.m., Mon.-Sat.), while owners socialize and enjoy beer and wine specials.

“We’ve really embraced the Portland culture,” says owner Corey Murry, who opened Sniff last May with siblings Jamie Mollas and Casey Murry.

That unique culture unquestionably embraces dogs, making Portland a perfect getaway for people and their pets.

Gear up for Portland at the CityDog Shop.

More Information
Hotel Fifty
Located across the street from Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Hotel Fifty offers an upscale, urban feel and scenic river views.
Check out

The Nines
Breath-taking modern décor and a lively downtown location draw many to The Nines. Check out

Sniff Dog Hotel (dogs only)
Staying with friends in Portland? Let your pet hunker down at Sniff—a brand new hotel just for dogs, beautifully designed with dogs in mind.

Dog Parks
Many of Portland’s city parks have off-leash areas, and/or off-leash hours. Visit for a complete list, locations and times.

Mt. Tabor Park
SE 60th & Salmon St.
This dormant cinder-cone volcano features 190 acres of space, off-leash areas, extensive trails, and views of the city.

Wallace Park
NW 25th Ave & Raleigh St.
A perfect city park with grassy off-leash space for Rover to run.

Green Dragon Bistro & Pub
928 Southeast 9th Ave.
A popular Portland hangout with outdoor, pet-friendly seating.

Kornblatt’s Deli
628 NW 23rd Ave.
Authentic, New York-style delicatessen with outdoor seating.

Lucky Labrador
Multiple locations. Pet-friendly patio seating at all locations.
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