woman and 2 goldendoodles, one red and one cream, sitting on wooden bridge in forestSpringtime is right around the corner here in Minnesota and many of us are ready to get out and about now that the weather is more agreeable. From parks to events to coffee shops, there are some wonderful places you can visit and bring your four legged friend with you! Check out our list below of some of our favorite spots to hang with Spot.

Parks and Trails

There are so many great parks in Minnesota that it’s hard to pick just a few. We’ve listed our favorites below, but to see all of the dog parks in the Twin Cities, check out Bring Fido’s list. Before you head out, make sure the park or trail you chose is dog friendly (some of them are not) and be sure to bring water for you and your pup and poop baggies to carry out any waste. Orvis has some good tips on trail etiquette for your dog.

  • Minnehaha Regional Park is a great location in the Twin Cities to wander with your pup. The park has a beautiful waterfall, several miles of trails, a great seasonal restaurant, and even an off leash dog park (requires a permit or day pass). Keep in mind that dog park is not fully fenced and abuts the Mississippi River, so if your pup does not have good recall or doesn’t like water, this may not be the best park for you.
  • The Chain of Lakes has 15 miles of pedestrian (and dog!) trails along several lakes including Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska, and Lake Harriet. The trails are a part of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway and for most of the path you and your pup will be feet from the lakes with a lovely view of the water and the Minneapolis skyline.
  • Elm Creek Park Reserve is part of the Three Rivers Park District. It’s over 4,800 acres and contains numerous paved trails for dog walking, picnic areas, a fully fenced dog park (with separately fenced in pond area), and a water park and playground (although those are not dog friendly).
  • The Superior Trail is Minnesota’s premier hiking trail. It is broken up into 3-11 mile long sections, so you can complete however much or little you’d prefer with your pup. Check it out for a fun weekend adventure with your four legged friend.

Also, all of Minnesota’s state parks are dog friendly and many have some great trails. Just be sure to keep your pup on a 6 foot leash and clean up after them. Check out Sidewalk Dog’s list of best dog friendly state parks here.

Shops and Restaurants

  • Craft & Crew  is one of the most dog friendly restaurant groups in the Twin Cities. All of their restaurants (Stanley’s NE Bar Room, The Block, Pub 819, Duke’s on 7, and The Howe) have dog friendly patios with yoga mats and water bowls for your pup’s comfort. They even have a doggie menu in case your pup is a bit peckish!
  • Nadia Cakes is our go to spot for sweet treats for you and your pup. Their pupcakes are made with yogurt, peanut butter, apples, bananas, rice flour, and cream cheese. They come in regular and mini sizes, so no matter how big or small your pup is, they can enjoy a treat alongside you!
  • Birchbark Books welcomes pets inside with pats and the occasional treat for your four legged friend. Their passionate and friendly staff are a wonderful complement to their focus on native books and handmade art (this is a teaching bookshop).
  • Seven Points is a shopping mall in Uptown where all of the common areas are dog friendly. With plenty of pet friendly patios and some stores that welcome your pet inside, you’ll find that window shopping with your furry friend is great fun!

Breweries and Distilleries

  • Lake Monster Brewing Company is dog friendly inside and out! Your pup can join you on the patio or inside their spacious taproom while you sample local brews and check out whichever food truck is visiting.
  • Twin Spirits Distillery is both a distillery and a coffee shop. Dogs are welcome on the covered patio, so stop by for a cocktail and bring your four legged friend.
  • For those of you who aren’t fans of beer, Sociable Cider Werks allows well behaved pups to visit both indoors and outdoors. With a large parking lot and plenty of space, Sociable often hosts fun events and food trucks to entertain you and your pup as you sample the ciders.
  • Unleashed Hops and Hounds is a unique combo of dog park, bar, and eatery. Bring your vaccinated pup to romp in their indoor and outdoor play spaces while you enjoy a drink and a snack. Unleashed often has themed events like Pups and Pizza Date Night or Drink for Dogs.

For a complete list of all dog friendly breweries, distilleries, wineries, and more visit Sidewalk Dog. Check out their Brewery Pass for free beers at over 40 Minnesota locations as well!

Dog Friendly Events

  • Mpls Pet Market pops up at Unleashed Hops and Hounds many weekends throughout the spring and summer. With plenty of vendors ranging from doggie treats and toys, pet wear, trainers, and more, there’s always something to peak your (and your pet’s) interest!
  • All About Dogs Day at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a great time for you and your pup to check out the beautiful trails, snap some cute summer photos, and attend the Dog Expo with a variety of vendors. This year’s event is on June 4th  so be sure to register ahead of time.
  • Run for Beer with the Minnesota Brewery Running Series covers a full season from April through December at a huge number of breweries around the Twin Cities and beyond. As long as your pup is on a 6 foot lead and is well behaved in crowds, he or she can run each race with you. But the beer at the end of the race is only for the humans!

These are just a few of our favorite places to go with our pets. There are many more in the Twin Cities and all over Minnesota, so get on out there for some pup friendly adventures!

Thank a rescue volunteer!

German Shepherd sitting staring at camera with head tilted, in grassy field

If you’re a proud parent of a rescue pet, odds are good that you worked with an animal shelter or rescue organization to bring your furry bundle of joy home. And the whole experience of finding your new forever friend was probably a wonderful one — after all, volunteers who work in animal rescues are passionate about their work, and they have a way of making it look easy! But the truth is, the path to placing a pet in his or her new home is rarely a smooth one. In fact, there are a few surprising challenges these selfless animal heroes face every day.


Whiskers to Tails Petsitting shares a few reasons we should all be extra thankful for animal shelters and rescue organizations — and especially the hardworking people behind them!


Many rescues don’t have a physical space


When a lot of us think about animal rescue organizations, we picture a safe haven similar to an animal shelter: a large building with ample space for harboring as many animals as possible. But in fact, many rescues don’t have one large, physical structure for the pets in their care.


Without having a physical space of their own, rescues depend on the generosity of their communities not only to adopt, but also to foster adoptable pets. Additionally people can volunteer by doing everyday tasks like transporting animals to and from locations, assisting at events, or even remotely by making phone calls or doing paperwork.


Animal loving community members who are business minded may consider combining their passion for pets with their skill set to start their own nonprofit to help homeless animals. There is a process involved, and rules and regulations vary by state, so do your due diligence before jumping in. ZenBusiness can help walk you through the steps.


There are no days off


A nonprofit rescue shelter is a 24/7/365 operation. Animals’ lives don’t just need saving during daylight hours — and they certainly aren’t exempt from a tragic situation during evenings, weekends or holidays. Emergencies do not always happen during business hours, but always must be dealt with immediately.


Incredibly, more than one million households re-home or surrender their pets each year according to the ASPCA. That can make it incredibly difficult for volunteers not only to help as many creatures as possible, but also to establish boundaries where their work stops and their lives begin. Animal rescue is very time consuming, and calls come in when people need help — which happens at all hours of the day and night.


It’s an emotional ride for everyone


It’s probably no surprise that working on behalf of critters isn’t always easy, as blogger Jackie Deems shares. Rescuers see animals that have been neglected, badly treated, and abandoned. But some of the ways this role can be emotionally exhausting are a little unexpected — for example, interacting with other people whose sensitivities are running high, including those who have to say goodbye to a beloved member of their family.


While many people recklessly surrender their pets, many are making a choice due to circumstances completely beyond their control, such as having to move into an assisted living facility that doesn’t allow pets. It’s even emotional for people hoping to add a new member to their family.


Although it’s not always easy, it’s important that rescuers who are in the position to help remain strong for everyone involved, including the animals in their care.


Despite all of these challenges — as well as countless others — people who are devoted to helping those without voices work tirelessly to save as many lives as possible. But they can’t do it without the help of their community members! If you’re interested in learning how you can make a difference, contact your local animal rescue or shelter to see how you can lend a hand to the cause.


Whiskers to Tails Petsitting is in-home and all-inclusive, providing exercise, cuddles, feeding, and medications. If you decide to adopt a rescue pup, Whiskers to Tails will care for them when you aren’t able to be there. Reach out to find out more at info@wttps.com!


Guest Author: Jessica Brody is a dog lover and is passionate about sharing pet photos and stories with others. She created Our Best Friends to be a venue for pet lovers to share their pet pics, stories and adventures. Jessica believes that pets are family and enjoys her bonding moments with her furry pals.