Take the Pooch to Philly!

Ideas for a Fun, Dog-Friendly Philadelphia Get-Away

By Leslie Silverman July 26, 2022

If you are as obsessed with your pooch as I am, you may spend a lot of time seeking out dog-friendly vacation spots. You may also have noticed how much more dog-friendly travel has become in recent years. I still remember the agony of dropping off our mischievous mutt for his “vacation” at the local kennel on our way to the beach every summer. (That was back in the 80’s… or, as my kids would call it, the 1900’s…) But happily the family dog has quickly risen in the ranks over the last several decades. So much so that our four-legged friends are now increasingly welcomed - and even pampered - at all kinds of venues where just a few decades ago they would haven’t been able to step foot place a paw in! 

This summer, we skipped the beach and instead opted for an urban romp in the delightfully dog-friendly city of Philadelphia. Here are the highlights of our stay with our lovable labrador retriever, Wonder:

The author and her family received a discounted stay in exchange for this review. 
All opinions are her own.

  • The Logan - We hit the jackpot with this fantastically upscale, centrally-located hotel in the heart of Logan Square. Just across the street from the immense, water-spewing Swann Memorial Fountain, The Logan makes an ideal home base for dog-toting travelers. After each steamy hot afternoon exploring the city, Wonder particularly enjoyed a restful respite in The Logan’s expansive outdoor courtyard and surrounding terraces. I opted for a refreshing afternoon dip in the cool, sparkling indoor pool adjacent to the property’s onsite health club. Bonus: A portion of The Logan’s pet fee is donated to local animal shelters.
  • Dog Parks - You can’t beat Schuylkill River Park Dog Run, a vast off-leash turf oasis on the edge of the Schuylkill River. With new furry friends constantly coming and going, we met more breeds in an hour than I would have ever thought possible! Wonder particularly enjoyed wallowing in the baby pools lovingly placed in the corner of the park.
  • Food Trucks - They seem to be on every single corner of the city - and boy are they delicious and affordable! Our favorite? Halal Gyro Express on the corner of JFK and 19th Street. We grabbed a chicken gyro and lamb platter for dinner. We were so blown away that we headed back the next day for a falafel lunch!  
  • People Watching in the Squares - Food truck lunches and dinners are best enjoyed in the many pleasant outdoor squares. Philadelphia has so many to choose from: Franklin, Washington, Penn, Logan and Rittenouse. Our favorite? Rittenhouse Square, an expansive, shady, tree-lined park with plenty of bench seating and endless dog-meeting opportunities!
  • Splash Pads - If you visit in the middle of a heatwave (as we did), you and your pup may want to incorporate splash pads into your daily itinerary. Wonder loved cooling off in the splash pads at Sister Cities Park, Dilworth Park and the Markward Recreation Center Sprayground (right next to the Schuylkill River Park Dog Run).
  • Historic Old City Philadelphia - What better than a walk through the historic Old City of Philadelphia with your pup? Stroll through Independence National Historical Park. Pause for a photo op in front of Independence Hall. Then head over to Benjamin Franklin Court to see where the Founding Father’s house and price shop once stood.
  • Doggie Style Pets - Kudos to this wonderful purveyor of everything-dog (and cat). Dotted throughout the city of Philadelphia, Doggie Style Pets is well-stocked with anything you may have forgotten to pack for your furry friend. And a shout out to the exceptionally hospitable staff at the Market Street location (right around the corner from Benjamin Franklin Court) for generously offering to refill Wonder’s water bottle on a scorching summer day!
  • Schuylkill River Trail - Named one of the best riverwalks in the nation, this river trail definitely lives up to the hype. If you’re looking for an absolutely lovely, shaded walk, don’t miss this gem. Enjoy a view of the city on both sides while meandering along a picturesque, paved path along the Schuylkill.
  • Photo Ops on the Bridges - So many bridges, so little time! From one vantage point on the Schuylkill River Trail, I counted 5 bridges! If you’re headed over to the University of Pennsylvania campus, you have your choices of bridges to cross. While you’re crossing the Schuylkill, make sure to stop for a photo op overlooking the city!
  • Locust Walk at the University of Pennsylvania - Looking to fall in love (with a college campus)? Look no further than Locust Walk, the tree-lined main artery at the University of Pennsylvania. Take the pup for a stroll alongside students and faculty on this quintessentially picturesque college thoroughfare. Relax on one of the benches, soak up the scholarly scene, and reminisce about your carefree days as a college co-ed.