All you have to doo is check out our directory to see that Minnesota is full of dog-friendly spots — and we’re adding more all the time. (Got one for us? Speak!) We’ll be breaking it down into bite-sized pieces so you can better plan your outings with your furry friend.
First up, the historic town of Excelsior, a southwestern suburb of Minneapolis. Located along Lake Minnetonka, Excelsior wags with small-town, dog-friendly charm for residents and visitors alike. The lakeside locale makes it particularly pup-ular in the warmer months, but many businesses welcome dogs year-round, so go sniff around, and tell ‘em Sidewalk Dog sent you!
Water Street is filled with eclectic shops — and many of them welcome both you and your dog to come on in. Shop for classic outdoor clothing and more at Brightwater Clothing & Gear, explore the beautifully curated Gray Home + Lifestyle (and say hi to shop dogs Isabelle and Boca), and find on-trend looks for less at Primp, a “cheap-chic boutique.” Lake Effect, a newer nautical-themed gift shop, is stocked with cute and useful products for hoomans and dogs alike, and shop dog Howie makes sure the cozy indie bookstore, Excelsior Bay Books, always has treats on paw.
Thirsty? At Excelsior Brewing Co., plenty of pups rule the patio in warmer months, but you’ll usually find a few inside any time of year. Come spring (and beyond) when you need a little more than suds, grab some tasty Irish grub on the patio at Jake O’Connor’s or indulge in a pastry and latte (or wine) outdoors at Dunn Bros. Coffee.
Head west on Smithtown Road toward Tonka Bay and you’ll find Joey Nova’s, which not only serves delish New York-style pizza, pasta, and salads, but also offers a Puppy Al Fresco menu for the patio pooches in the warmer months.
After (or before) the walking, shopping, socializing, and refueling, you and your pal may be looking for a little more action. Starting in May, venture lakeside where Tommy’s Tonka Trolley offers kayak and paddleboard rentals — and your adventure pup is welcome to join you! (Or sit and watch others play while you enjoy ice cream and other treats.) When your BFF needs a little more freedom, Lake Minnewashta Off-Leash Dog Park is just a few miles southwest off Highway 41. Heavily wooded with both trails and open areas, this fully fenced-in gem is both local fave and a grrreat destination. Need a ball? A new leash for post-park activities? Got a hungry pup? Swing into the nearby Fido’s Pantry on your way (or way back) for supplies or a treat for your good dog.
Stay tuned for more guides to the dog-friendliest areas in MN, let us know if you’ve got a tip on a local pupper-lovin’ biz or shop dog, and as always, share and tag your adventures with #SidewalkDog.
Pure joy at Lake Minnewashta Dog Park. Photo: @kellyfolwick via Instagram