With an abundance of parks, world-class restaurants, historical sites, and professional sports teams to boot, Atlanta is a city on the rise. In fact, Atlanta was the fourth fastest-growing metro area in the United States between 2010 and 2019, according to the U.S. Census. Whether you’re new to the city or a longtime resident, there’s plenty to do with your dog at your side.
Soak up the sunshine and enjoy the mild winters in Piedmont Park, located right in the heart of Midtown and packed with walking trails and an off-leash dog park. Or take a walk on the BeltLine, a 22-mile walking and biking trail that unites the city’s neighborhoods. If you’re closer to Downtown, then Centennial Olympic Park, a 22-acre green space that celebrates the city’s rich Olympic history, is a must-visit with a leashed pup.
No car ride is complete without a stop at The Varsity, the world’s largest drive-in restaurant. The original location covers almost two city blocks and can accommodate about 800 diners at once, not including four-legged friends in the back seat. Don’t forget to grab a Coca-Cola while you’re there — the drink was invented in ATL!
Below, learn more about the city’s best restaurants, green spaces, and services that specialize in Southern canine hospitality.
Dog-Friendly Bars and Restaurants
Savor every moment of springtime sun on one of Atlanta’s many restaurant, cafe, and brewery patios with your dog at your side. If you’re near Buckhead, a visit to Bucket Shop Café for a dog-friendly happy hour is a must. For a slightly more touristy vibe, stop by Park Tavern (voted the best dog-friendly patio in ATL) after a visit to Piedmont Park.
Best Groomers in Atlanta
You can always bathe and groom your pup at home — or you can take your dog to Perk-N-Pooch and enjoy a fancy coffee in a cozy chair while a professional groomer does all the work. If you’re looking for a stress-free environment that also provides daycare and boarding services, Pamper My Pet Grooming & Boarding is a perfect option. Drop your pup off in the morning for grooming and daycare and pick them up in the evening tired and clean. Easy peasy.
Top Dog Parks in Atlanta
Atlanta has its dog parks, sure, but it also has ParkGrounds, a dog park-slash-cafe that serves all-day breakfast, and, Fetch Park & Ice House, an epic dog park-slash-bar. Entry to both locations does require some kind of purchase (ParkGrounds customers need to order something off the menu and Fetch Park offers a day pass or regular membership). But it’s well worth a small price to let your dog frolic around their canine compatriots, in the company of fellow pet parents, with snacks and beverages in hand.
It’s all fun and games until your pup needs to go to a vet. Fortunately, there are plenty of top-notch providers in the Atlanta area. Blue Pearl Pet Hospital Westside Atlanta provides 24/7 care every day of the year in case of emergencies, while East Atlanta Animal Clinic offers a wide range of services, including alternative treatments like acupuncture and pet-safe herbal therapies.
5 Atlanta-Based Animal Shelters
Whether you’re looking to give back to local pets in the area or want to add another dog or cat to your clan, there are plenty of Atlanta shelters doing great work, and plenty of pets looking for new homes. Best Friends Lifesaving Center Atlanta has recently shifted to a foster-based program (versus a physical space) and works with local animal welfare organizations to help homeless pets find homes, while Furkids Animal Rescue & Shelters offers in-person volunteer programs for kids and adults of all ages.