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06/26/2023

10 Reasons Dog Lovers Love Richmond, VA

Richmond has gone to the dogs – and it’s a GOOD thing! That’s one of the many reasons why we…

Richmond has gone to the dogs – and it’s a GOOD thing! That’s one of the many reasons why we love it here! Did you know that Forbes ranks Richmond as one of the top 25 dog-friendly cities in the United States this year? How awesome is that?

There are many dog-friendly activities in Richmond, from dining on outdoor patios, attending special events, shopping at Stoney Point Fashion Park, and playing at many parks. Life is more fun when you can include your dog, right?

So, I guess it’s pretty obvious that our whole reason for loving Richmond is pet-related. In no particular order, here are the top 10 reasons we (and other dog lovers) love Richmond!

Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Breweries 

Several years back, we started a list of Richmond dog-friendly restaurants and breweries to share with you.  Nowadays, it would be almost impossible to list them all!  If the restaurant has an outdoor area, it’s safe to say that the majority of them are pet friendly, with the exception, of course, of the more formal, fine dining establishments. We know for sure that our area’s breweries are dog friendly. It’s always a good idea to call ahead before visiting any restaurant or brewery – just to make sure. You don’t want to get Fido all excited for nothing!

The Richmond SPCA

The Richmond SPCA is a national leader in progressive animal sheltering, animal protection and advocacy, and humane care and education. With its beginnings 132 years ago this month, the Richmond SPCA has tirelessly fought against all forms of animal cruelty. They provide safety and comfort, strive to alleviate suffering, and work to place these precious animals in good homes. The SPCA provides a valuable service to the pet population in Richmond.

Richmond’s Dog Parks

At last count, we have eight off-leash dog parks in the Richmond area and even more in the surrounding area. Richmond’s first official off-leash dog park was Barker Field at Byrd Park in 1998. Since then, Church Hill Dog Park, Clover Hill Dog Park, Dorey Dog Park, Northside Dog Park, Phideaux Field Dog Park, and Short Pump Dog Park have been added. Our lucky pups have lots of areas to run and play. And we’re loving the newest dog park, complete with a walk-up bar, the Ruff Canine Club!

Dog Shopping

Since its opening in 2003, The Stoney Point Fashion Park has been dog-friendly. Many tenants even welcome well-behaved dogs into their stores. There are comfort stations throughout the mall, and they often host dog-friendly events on their grounds. Only in recent years has the Short Pump Town Center begun welcoming dogs in common areas and public spaces. We’re so glad they did. Thank you, Short Pump Management!

The James River

The James River Park system offers over 600 acres of hiking trails, rapids, and places for you and your dog to explore. It is a great place to cool off during Richmond’s hot summers. In season, you can see any number of people with their dogs relaxing and playing along the river, especially at Texas Beach, Pony Pasture, The Wetlands, Belle Isle, and the main area of the James River Park. The James River is also a beautiful sight to see weaving through the downtown area.

Richmond Parks

Honestly, Richmond has some of the most beautiful parks, many of which allow dogs in some capacity. Whether it be in a restricted area (like a dog park within the park), or anywhere thru-out the park. In fact, the Professional Dog Trainers at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts hold pack walks at several Richmond parks: the popular Byrd Park in downtown Richmond, Joseph Bryan Park on Richmond’s north side, Deep Run Park in the Western Henrico area, Forest Hill Park on Richmond’s south side, and Chimborazo Park, perched on a hill on the far south side of Richmond.

There are many more places to enjoy dog-friendly activities in Richmond (and beyond)! The surrounding area has many dog-friendly parks as well. Crump Park just down the road from Holiday Barn’s Glen Allen resort is a beautiful place to visit with your dog. Robious Landing, Mid-lothian Mines, Rockwood Park, and Huguenot Park in Midlothian are some other favorites. And in just 20 miles, you can visit Pocahontas State Park, which has a little bit of everything to do for you and your pup!

FETCH a Cure 

With pet cancers on the rise, it’s comforting to know that we can lean on the experts should we have a need. Not only that, but their program provides financial assistance to help families pay for life-saving treatments for their pets who have been diagnosed with cancer. We hope we do not have to ever receive a cancer diagnosis for our best furry friend, but if we do, the help that FETCH a Cure provides is invaluable.

The Richmond Flying Squirrels

Just how cool is it to be able to take your dog to a baseball game? Dogs are admitted to games for free every Wednesday home game, and they have their own designated area! “Wine and K-9 Wednesdays” is fun for the whole family. The Richmond Flying Squirrels often have special events and dog-friendly activities during the game too.

Dog-Friendly Festivals

On any given weekend there is some kind of event happening in Richmond, many of which are dog friendly! Just this past month Holiday Barn Pet Resorts was present at Dominion Energy Riverrock, a three-day, dog-friendly, outdoor sports and music festival! The Vegetarian Fest, now called Richmond Veg Fest, in October is always dog friendly. Lewis Botanical Gardens partners with the Richmond SPCA for a special “Flowers After Five” event called “Fidos After Five” on specific nights from May through August. 

Depending on the venue, Pop-Up RVA is dog-friendly as often as possible. Similarly, there are many dog-friendly Farmer’s Markets around town! A favorite, the year-round RVA Big Market at Bryan Park happily welcomes our four-legged friends. Carytown Farmer’s Market, The Farmer’s Market at St. Steven’s Episcopal Church, South of the James, Dorey Park Farmers Market, and the Huguenot-Robious Farmer’s Outdoor Market at the Great Big Greenhouse in Richmond are all dog friendly.

And of course, we can’t forget the many dog-specific events around Richmond, like the Richmond SPCA Dog Jog and 5K, Richmond Animal League’s Woofstock, the Henrico Humane Pet Expo, FETCH a Cure’s Fetch Fest, and many others!

Close Proximity to Dog-Friendly Virginia Beach

In just a couple of hours, you can be at the beach with your furry friend! Dogs are allowed at Virginia Beach in some capacity throughout the entire year! From Labor Day to Memorial Day, dogs are welcome to enjoy the public beaches and Boardwalk at any time. During the summer months, your dog will enjoy being able to walk the boardwalk. Dogs are permitted on the sandy beaches before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. in certain areas. 

While it’s true that Virginia is for lovers, this great city is definitely for dog lovers! Grab your BFF (Best Four-Legged Friend) and come enjoy the dog-friendly activities in Richmond!

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