Dog-Friendly Travel: Boston

Have Dog, Will Travel
By Lisa Wogan, July 2011, Updated June 2021

Let your dog sniff the ages in the country’s oldest park, where cows once grazed. The Boston Common has a small zone where leash-less dogs are permitted in the early mornings and evenings. In addition, the city’s extensive Frederick Law Olmstead-designed parks make for excellent, mostly leashed, walking, especially Jamaica Pond. Of Boston’s two official off-leash parks, the Peters Park Dog Run in the South End is nice, but the off-leash go-to is Fresh Pond, across the river in Cambridge.

With a staggering number of eggheadsper- square-mile, Boston has wonderful bookstores (remember those?) and quite a few permit canine browsers—including the Harvard Bookstore, Rodney’s Bookstore and Schoenhof’s Foreign Books in Cambridge. Stretch your legs during a leashed walk around Harvard Yard.

Rock the Cradle of Liberty during a self-guided revolutionary history tour along the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail—from Boston Common to Bunker Hill. You can catch the T home; leashed, well-behaved dogs are allowed on the subway during off-peak hours.

Leashed dogs are welcome at the SoWa Open Market. The thriving Sunday market on the South End is a market mash-up of artisan and vintage wares and farmers’ market, plus, food trucks! Look for Polka Dog Bakery, named for a one-eyed former stray from Puerto Rico. Sundays, May to September, 10 am–4 pm.


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Bring your pup shopping in the Back Bay neighborhood. They can join you at Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie, Lord & Taylor and Filene’s Basement, among others. Then chill with pups on the patio at the Globe Bar and Café (565 Boylston St.) or treat your buddy to Boston-made organic Yöghund Frozen Yogurt from Fish & Bone pet boutique (217 Newbury St.).

Doggie heaven is just a ferry ride (and a short drive) away from Rowes Wharf at Bare Cove Park, a former shipbuilding center and depot in Hingham, Mass. Dogs under voice control can meander wide, paved pathways through 400-plus acres of woods and meadows. While your four-legged buddy sleeps off the run, buzz around the seaside village, which is home to America’s oldest continuously worshipped-in church, the Old Ship.

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 64: Apr/May 2011

Photos courtesy the Liberty Hotel

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of several books including Dog Park Wisdom.