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March 17, 2022

Best Neighborhoods for Dog Owners in San Francisco

My two dogs, Jackie and Jeffrey

San Francisco is one of the more dog-friendly cities in the country, and many of its neighborhoods offer ideal environments for dogs and their owners.

I’m a dog owner myself (that’s Jackie and Jeffrey, above), and frequently meet clients looking for a home in a neighborhood that will provide what we all need for us and our pets. That means proximity to open space, dog-friendly cafes and shops, and a community of dog owners who support each other and their ‘hood.

So here are my picks for the best dog-owner neighborhoods in San Francisco:
1. Bernal Heights. It’s got a great retail area on Cortland Avenue, with plenty of shops and cafes, including Bernal Beast pet shop. There’s also Bernal Hill itself, which has trails and off-leash areas, as well as Holly Park. The weather is superior in Bernal, so when you head out for a walk in the late afternoon, don’t expect to encounter much fog.

2. Inner Sunset. With Golden Gate Park at its doorstep, the Inner Sunset is an excellent choice for dog owners. Head out to Sunset Pet Supply for all your dog’s needs. There are also multiple vets in the area, including my favorite—Irving Pet Hospital.

3. Noe Valley. Ok, so I’m a bit biased on this one because I live here. But if there are two requirements for living in Noe, it’s that you need a dog or a kid. I’ve picked a leash over a stroller, and have plenty of company. There are two dog parks—one on 30th Street, and one up the hill at 27th and Diamond. Noe Valley Pet Company at Church and Cesar Chavez is a wonderful store, and Maxwell’s Pet Bar has an excellent, holistic variety of food, treats, and supplements. For washes and haircuts, VIP Grooming on 24th Street at Douglass does a great job.

4. Parkside. This is a great neighborhood for dogs because it’s near vital open spaces. There’s Stern Grove, an excellent dog-walking area. But the canine epicenter lies over at Fort Funston, a short drive away. (Make sure you note the off-leash rules.) The area even has its own Fort Funston Dog Walker (FFDW) organization that works to preserve off-leash areas and good dog ownership practices. The Parkside is also blocks away from Ocean Beach and the Great Highway, which are great places to bring your dog. The streets in the Parkside are nice and wide, so there’s plenty of sidewalk room, too.

5. NoPa. The North Panhandle neighborhood suits dog owners well, as the architecture allows for spacious flats. It’s a little more low-key than the busier Haight area, which can be stimulation overload for dogs if you decide to stroll along Haight Street itself. The Panhandle is a good dog destination, as it’s a sizeable open space for walks. Nearby Alamo Square has a play area. And let’s not forget Black Nose Trading Company on Divisadero at Oak for daycare, self-serve baths grooming and dog walking

6. Mission Bay. Far less established a neighborhood than the others, Mission Bay is your best bet if you want to live downtown and own a dog. The Mission Creek Dog Park lets you meet other Mission Bay dwellers and their pets. If you get bored with Mission Creek, you can simply walk your dog up and down the Embarcadero, which has wide streets and provides nice Bay views. For supplies, head to Healthy Spot, which focuses on high-quality food and also offers grooming and day care.

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