things to do with a dog in Washington, DC

Top 25 Things to Do with a Dog in Washington DC & Beyond

September 7, 2021 | Inside Alexandria | By: The Goodhart Group

Top 25 Things to Do with a Dog in Washington DC & Beyond

Need any ideas for things to do with your dog in Washington DC? Read on for our Top 25 Things to Do with a Dog in Washington DC…and beyond!

The greater Washington, DC area is a great place to live with a dog.

Ride a Bike

Living in Alexandria is a cyclist’s paradise. With its charming neighborhoods and winding trails, it is easy to throw on some spandex, hitch up the bike trailer, and plan an adventure everyone can enjoy. Alexandria marks the halfway point on the Mount Vernon Trail, this 18-mile walking/running/biking path takes you from Rosslyn to George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon. As you ride alongside the stunning Potomac River, you’ll pass views of the national monuments, Arlington Cemetery, parks, Old Town Alexandria, and George Washington’s waterfront estate. We like to stop into VéloCity Bicycle Cooperative on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray for a tune-up and a treat before our rides. For information about group rides, events, and Bike to Work Day check out the Washington Area Bicyclist Association Facebook page.


Alexandria has some great opportunities for dogs (and their human companions) to swim. Annually, to close the summer pool season Alexandria Parks and Recreation hosts “Alexandria Dog Swim” day where the pool is open to all registered, well-behaved dog swimmers. This year most pools are open until mid-September (to register, visit the Alexandria Parks and Recreation site). For almost year-round swimming opportunities, we recommend Shirlington Dog Park or the Glencarlyn Park in Arlington.


One of our family’s favorite events is the Del Ray Halloween Parade. You will not want to miss this annual event where over 7,500 participants gather on Mt. Vernon Avenue to watch the parade featuring pets, kids, and some of the most elaborately decorated strollers you have ever seen. In Old Town, we enjoy Doggy Trick or Treat on King Street.

Shop Local – Old Town Alexandria

King Street in Old Town has a plethora of dog-friendly shops, water stops, and treat stations. Enchanted Florist on South Fairfax Street, often has free dog biscuits tucked into a stylized birdhouse called the Bone Box. For dog-related apparel, check out The Dog Park to try on the finest of apparel. No walk is complete without a stop at Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato for lactose-free Dog Gelato and locally made frozen treats.

Shop Local – Del Ray

Del Ray is one of the area’s most dog-friendly neighborhoods. It shows at places like The Dairy Godmother, which offers “puppy pops” in pumpkin and banana flavors, as well as “squirrels,” a baked dog treat, and Natures Nibbles which has a wide variety of all-natural treats and food. Dogs are welcome at many of the outdoor restaurants along Mount Vernon Avenue.


Several times a year the Washington Nationals (“GO NATS!”) host Pups in the Park, where you and your four-legged friend get your own seats together in the outfield reserved section. Proceeds from the game support the Washington Humane Society.


One of the great things about the Metro DC area is its close proximity to the George Washington and Shenandoah National Forest. You can get in the car and head to the forest for a hike, backpacking, or camping. On days when you just want a good hike, but not as far a drive Great Falls National Park or Fountainhead Regional Park in Fairfax are great alternatives.


The wine scene in Virginia is amazing and why not enjoy some wine when you can bring your best friend along, it’s even better. Just a short drive from Washington, D.C. are Three Fox Vineyards, Barrel Oak Winery, and 8 Chains North, all of which are dog-friendly.


The Olde Towne School for Dogs has been an Alexandria fixture for over 40 years, providing a doggy daycare, large pet supply store, grooming services, and more. Get Presidential

George Washington’s Mount Vernon is located about 15 miles south of Washington DC along the banks of the Potomac River and it is a great place to bring your dog. The historic estate includes not only the Mount Vernon Mansion – George and Martha Washington’s home – but also a host of colonial-era buildings, beautiful gardens, a working distillery and gristmill, and a museum. Note, dogs must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in the museum or the historic home.

Drink Beer

Our community boasts over 15 dog-friendly breweries. Some of the best include Bluejacket, Atlas Brew Works, and Bardo Brewing in DC which even has a dog mascot, Bardawg (with his own Twitter account). Dogs are welcome on all 15,000 square feet of the outdoor area and permitted to roam off-leash. There’s also corn hole and other activities for the human visitors.


Built to defend the river approach to Washington, DC, Fort Washington has stood as a silent sentry for over 200 years. Located 12 miles south of Washington DC in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Fort Washington offers a range of experiences for every visitor. Experience history as you explore the coastal fortifications and historic lighthouse. Fort Washington is open year-round from 8 a.m. to sunset.


 things to do with a dog in Washington DC

Located about 15 miles North of Washington, DC, Great Falls Park has many opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park which has fifteen miles of hiking trails. Take note that there are two (2) national parks in the area of Great FallsGreat Falls Park on the Virginia Side, and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park on the Maryland side.



Waterfront fun is a summer mainstay in Old Town Alexandria, located on the Potomac River just minutes from Washington, D.C. From riverside dining to boat cruises, waterfront parks, festivals and more, you can spend an entire day (or more!) on Alexandria’s waterfront. Whether you want to set sail on a boat cruise, dine outside with waterfront views, take the dog along Alexandria is filled with endless options for everyone.

There you have it – Janel’s top 25 things to do with a dog in Washington DC…and beyond! Did we miss your dog’s favorite DC area pastime? Drop us a line to let us know so we can check it out!

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