New Yorkers love their dogs as much as they love pizza and bagels and there’s no shortage of great dog parks in New York City!
Take a walk through a random park or city stream and you’ll quickly notice that dogs are everywhere. But where to locals take their dogs? Well, that’s where I come in.
As a dog owner, I’m constantly on the lookout for the best dog parks in New York City. I have a sweet poodle-cavalier mix that has way too much energy for my 600 sq ft NYC apartment, so most of my days start at a dog park.
I’ve researched and have personally visited a great deal of public dog parks in New York City and would like to share the best of that list today. Hopefully it makes your search a little easier, read on for everything you need to know.
Rules for visiting dog parks in NYC
Before taking your pup to a dog park in New York City, you’ll need to be mindful of a few rules:
- Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies and owners must carry proof of current licenses and rabies vaccination while in public. Visit New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Dog Licenses website to obtain a dog license. You may also get an application at a veterinarian, animal shelter or pet shop.
- Dogs must be leashed (no more than six feet long) unless they’re at a dog run or a designated off-leash area during specified times.
- Remember to pick up after your dog and toss doggie bags in the proper trash bins.
- Dogs are not allowed on playgrounds, in zoos, fountains, ball fields, sport courts, swimming pools/facilities, bathing areas or beaches
- Read the complete list of rules & regulations before visiting the dog parks in New York City to be better prepared.
The Best Dog Parks in New York City
“Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.”Franklin P. Jones
#11. Brooklyn Bridge Park Dog Run
Is anyone surprised to learn that trendy DUMBO has one of the best dog parks in New York City? Didn’t think so. Home to two dog runs, Brooklyn Bridge Park is full of energetic pups chasing tails and making friends.
The surface at the Main St. dog run is made from soft rubber material while Pier 6 boasts a soft pebble surface. Both these surfaces are great because they drain so well and keeps post-park cleaning to a minimum.
Local’s Tip: This popular New York City dog run is located close to the Brooklyn Bridge so noise levels are high. If your pooch is easily overstimulated then this may not be the best park for them.
#10. Washington Square Park Dog Park
Washington Square Park’s dog run is located within one of the most beloved parks in the city. Your pooch is free to run through a spacious sandy field while you relax at a nearby bench.
The vibrancy of this beautiful New York City dog park is great year round, but especially in the summer when the park fills with street performers and vendors. I’ll be honest, some days I need a push to get out the door (winter, anyone?) and use my dog as an excuse. On days that I’m feeling demotivated I make an effort to visit this specific dog run because it always brings me joy.
#9. Chelsea Waterside Dog Run
The Chelsea Waterside Dog Run is one of the best places to bring your special four-legged friend.
This is a unique New York City dog parks because it offers an obstacle course, giving dogs the opportunity to run wild. Boulders, stairs and surrounding city views make for some great fun for both you and your special pooch. The Chelsea Waterside Dog Run is suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes and is especially great for social pups.
Note: This dog run is closed for construction until summer 2022. Fret not though, the new and improved dog run will be nearly twice the size and have considerable improvements, like public restrooms, concessions and picnic area.
#8. Hillside Dog Park in Brooklyn
Hillside is one of the larger dog parks in New York City and has ample space for energetic dogs to blow off some steam. The sloped terrain spans 1.4 acres and provides lots of green space for large and small dogs alike.
Located a stone’s throw from the Brooklyn Promenade, this NYC dog park is perfect for adventurous dogs that love wooded areas ripe for exploration. But fret not, the entire area is fenced in so you can sit back and relax on a bench while your pup wears themself out.
The park is well shaded during summer and there’s plenty of water fountains for both humans and dogs.
#7. Jemmy’s Dog Run at Madison Square Park
Named after U.S. President James “Jemmy” Madison, Jemmy’s Dog Run is one of the most popular dog parks in New York City. The park is fenced in and there’s plenty of trees and umbrellas offering shady respite during the summer.
The gravel-like surface offers exceptional draining so no need to worry about your pup catching a funky disease by drinking out of dirty puddles. It’s also much easier on your dog’s joints than a concrete or an otherwise hard surface, and that goes a long way for larger dogs living in the Concrete Jungle.
Like a lot of the other New York City dog parks on this list, small dogs can be separated from larger dogs by sticking to a private fenced in area. Regardless of the section you find yourself in, you’ll find that this is a great NYC dog park for socializing and exercise for both canines and humans!
Note: Jemmy’s Dog Run is currently being renovated, with a grand re-opening planned for summer 2022. As such, a smaller dog park was opened during construction, so you pup can still run around when you’re in the area.
#6. West 72nd Street Dog Park
I currently live in the Upper West side and find the entire neighborhood to be very dog-friendly. There’s plenty of great spots to let my dog run, but my favorite is the 72nd Street Dog Run in Riverside Park.
The dog park is large and well-maintained. There’s ample shade during the summer months and plenty of seating for owners. The folks that frequent this popular dog park in New York City are kind and the pups are well-mannered.
What’s more, something that sets this New York City dog park apart from the rest is that it’s run by volunteers. The volunteer group is called FLORAL and they raised funds to build this popular dog park in New York City.
#5. Tompkins Square Dog Run
Known as the first dog park in New York City, Tompkins Square Dog Run has it all. There’s a lot of space for running around, separate sections for both large and small dogs, wading pools and even hoses to clean your pup before heading out.
This beloved dog park in NYC recently underwent a half million dollar renovation in 2008, which greatly improved outdated equipment. As such, the park floods with locals most days of the week. It’s especially fun to visit during the Halloween dog parade when pooches don their best costumes.
Note: Tompkins Square Dog Run does not allow pups over 6 months of age unless they are spayed or neutered. This is done in an effort to reduce mounting which can lead to serious dog fights.
#4. Little West Dog Park
Located in the hip Battery Park area, Little West is a popular New York City dog park separated into two runs (one for small dogs and one for large dogs). Both areas are spacious enough, but the area for large dogs is about twice the size of the smaller one.
As a dog owner I can appreciate the fact that this NYC dog park is always clean, requiring very little post-play clean up. But please bear in mind that if your hound has sensitive paws you might want to think twice before visiting on a scorching day because of the cement ground.
It seems to be well cared for throughout the day which is great because this seems to be one of the busiest dog parks in NYC. It’s very convenient for those that live nearby and have The park has water fountains, seating and a hose for cooling and cleaning off.
#3. Sirius Dog Run
Located in Battery Park, Sirius Dog Run is named after a heroic bomb sniffing yellow lab named Sirius, who lost his life during the 9/11 attacks.
Originally created to be an outlet for the dogs that live in the Gateway Plaza complex, Sirius Dog Run has become a popular destination for pups from all over the city and is rarely empty.
This entire NYC dog run is fully paved and comes equipped with a water fountain for dogs, ample seating and a hose for cleaning. Plus, a wading pool is available during the warmer months.
Take in the breathtaking views of the Hudson River while your pooch burns off some energy. Bring a cup coffee or a friend and you’ll be enjoying yourself almost as much as your furry friend.
#2. Prospect Park
Prospect Park is a favorite dog park in New York City among locals. The Long Meadow is spacious and offers off-leash hours from 5am to 9am and from 9pm to 1am.
The best part is the dog beach (you read that right) which is a roped-off sandy stretch of beach specifically reserved for dogs that want to take a dip in the lake.
Also worth mention, the dog community that meets at Prospect Park is one of the friendliest I’ve come across. This is a great place to meet new friends (both two-legged and four-pawed). Join the FIDO community to stay up to date on fun events and social opportunities.
#1. Central Park
It probably comes as no surprise that the best park in New York City is one of the best spots to let your pooch run wild. Dogs are free to explore off-leash from 6am to 9am, and are welcome on-leash outside those hours as well.
Though there are no enclosed dog runs, there are 23 particularly dog-friendly areas scattered throughout the Park.
The Mall and Bethesda Fountain are great areas to let your dog run around, just note that dogs are not allowed in Sheep Meadow (the area is fenced off to prevent access).
Everyone thinks they have the greatest dog on earth. And none of them are wrong.W.R. Purch
Best dog parks in New York City (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the best dog parks in NYC
- Central Park
- Prospect Park
- Sirius Dog Run
- West Thames Dog Park
- Tompkins Square Dog Park
- West 72nd Street Dog Run
- Madison Square Dog Park
- Hillside Dog Park
- Chelsea Waterside Dog Run
- Washington Square Park Dog Run
- Brooklyn Bridge Park Dog Run