Photo: Art and Soul's Facebook page
Photo: Art and Soul's Facebook page

Dog-Friendly Spots in the District

Lately, my dog Jonas has been going a little stir-crazy. He runs circles in my apartment, chews toys like his life depends on it and barks at the raindrops as they hit my bedroom window. I totally get where he’s coming from; after months of weird weather, any animal would be squirrely (including animals of the human variety). If your dog is anything like mine, I’ve got great news for you (and your adorable pooch) – warmer days are here. It’s finally time for sunny days and weekend hikes, but where should you go first? Jonas and I have a few suggestions for you, based on our favorite spots around DC.

Take to the Water at the Key Bridge Boathouse

One of the greatest things about spring is the way that the world blossoms into life around us. Flowers bloom, the sky peeks through the clouds and the white snows melts away to reveal greenery underneath. So when spring sprouts, why not take a break from the bustle of the city and enjoy all that natural beauty as you kayak down the Potomac?

At Key Bridge Boathouse, you and your dog can rent kayaks and paddle boats for a little exercise out on the water. The boathouse provides life vests for humans and pups alike, which makes for one fun and safe adventure – after which, your dog is bound to be bone tired. Key Bridge isn’t open quite yet (they close for the winter season), but you’d better believe that Jonas and I will be there with bells on when it opens up again in May.

A Dinner that Feeds Your (Art and) Soul

As the day wears on, you and your pooch are bound to get a little peckish. Luckily, many DC restaurants and bars are also pup-friendly – some, like Art and Soul at Liaison Capitol Hill, even offer a doggy menu! Chow down on some good old Southern comfort food while your dog snacks on his own meal, complete with a (non-alcoholic) Bowser Beer to wash it down.

Biscuits and gravy aren’t your thing? No worries, just head on over to one of the countless other dog-friendly restaurants and bars around our fair city. Visit Café Olé for Mediterranean fare, Lavagna when you’re craving Italian or Medium Rare when you want to sink your teeth into some juicy red meat. Wherever you go, the servers will certainly have a space, some water and sometimes even a treat for the four-legged friend at your side.

Wander Over to the Wonderland Ballroom

Comedy shows. Movie screenings. Trivia competitions. Even opera performances! The Wonderland Ballroom hosts just about every kind of entertainment, and they want to share it all with you and your dog. This Columbia Heights bar is open seven nights a week, so there’s always something happening there that you can check out.

The Wonderland Ballroom offers customers a dog-friendly patio where you can enjoy beer, music and burgers (if you’re not still full from lunch). However, it is important to point out that some events – like the trivia nights I mentioned earlier – take place inside, in human-only areas. Feel free to bring your dog around for a visit, but leave him at home when you and your buddies plan to conquer all at trivia night.

A Tip For Travelers

Springtime is a big time for travelers visiting DC. Our cherry blossoms are in bloom, the weather is warming up and plenty of families are spending spring break at the Smithsonian. If you’re coming to visit the nation’s capital, you might be wondering what you’re going to do with the family dog in the meantime. Here’s my suggestion: bring him along!

DC is a very dog-friendly city (as you can see), and that extends to our travel accommodations, too. Hotels like Kimpton’s Hotel Madera in Dupont Circle extend extra services to pets visiting the area, with plush beds and even spa service available for your pet. This way, your entire family, bipeds and quadrupeds alike, can enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.