If you have a dog, you’ll see that Palm Springs is a very welcoming place for your best friend. If you don’t have a dog, you may just decide to get one (or two) after you settle in to your new home here.

Dogs are everywhere in Palm Springs, and the chill atmosphere seems to effect them just like it does its human residents. You’ve never seen such an assembly of the most well-behaved, laid back pups. Maybe it’s because of all the places they can go with you and all the other dogs they get to meet. 

People clearly love their dogs here and take them everywhere – to restaurants, parks, shopping and on hikes. 

Patio Dining

If you haven’t already noticed, the Palm Springs climate lends itself to outdoor dining, and many restaurants and coffee shops welcome dogs, even placing water dishes at the entrance. A few of the dog-friendliest eateries include:

Koffi. There are three of these locally owned coffee houses in Palm Springs, all with outdoor areas. The one at The Corridor at North Palm Canyon and Alejo has a grassy, shady courtyard behind it where you can sip your latte while your dog socializes with his or her dog pals. Or not. Some are content to just lie around on the grass. The Koffi on East Palm Canyon, next to the Ace Hotel, attracts both neighborhood dogs and tourist dogs – and their owners. And Koffi Central, on Tahquitz Canyon Way, across from the Regal Theater, has a large patio and lawn area where dogs love to gather.

Sherman’s Deli. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sherman’s Deli is a Palm Springs institution. With a long patio along Tahquitz Canyon Way, one block east of Indian Canyon Drive, Sherman’s is where your dog can gaze longingly and pitifully at you while you enjoy New York style deli food. Dogs can get a drink from the water bowl near the entrance, if they don’t mind sharing.

Jake’s. This dog-friendly lunch, dinner and brunch bistro is named for the owners’ West Highland Terrier, pictures of whom you’ll find in the restrooms. Covered patio dining is often mobbed with diners’ furry friends on leashes lounging under tables and chairs, creating a friendly, neighborly atmosphere and an occasional tripping hazard.

So many Palm Springs restaurants have patios and welcome dogs that there are too many to mention here. This is just a sampling of what appears to be the favorites among local dogs.

Favorite Walking and Sniffing Spots

Traffic in most neighborhoods is so light, that sidewalks don’t seem necessary. Good thing, since so many neighborhoods don’t have them. Besides walking around your neighborhood, treat your dog to one of these exciting adventures:

Palm Springs Dog Park. On North Civic Drive just north of City Hall and the airport entrance. Dogs don’t seem to notice the jets taking off and landing nearby. There are different areas for small and large dogs, so your Chihuahua won’t be able to attack a German Shepard, as little dogs are sometimes, inexplicably, prone to do. Dog owners sit around and gab while their dogs run around and sniff each other.

Ruth Hardy Park. One of the largest parks in town, and right in the middle of the Movie Colony. Its large grassy areas with mature shade trees make this a favorite for neighborhood dogs and their human companions.

Demuth Park. This large park on East Mesquite Avenue has enough room for dogs to run. It’s grassy and shady in spots and runs along the north side of Tahquitz Creek and is adjacent to the neighborhood of the same name. Lots of playing fields, tennis and basketball courts make this a popular family park, especially on weekends and after school. But it’s big enough that you can always walk your dog.

Village Fest, the Thursday night street fair on South Pam Canyon Drive, welcomes dogs. Village Fest features arts, crafts, food and entertainment and is a great place for dogs and their owners to socialize.

Riverside Drive along Tahquitz Creek from Sunrise Way to South Palm Canyon. The north side of the creek, somewhat adjacent to the Warm Sands neighborhood, has a wide sidewalk/bike path on North Riverside Drive above the wash running from Sunrise to Palm Canyon. A pedestrian/bike bridge crosses the wash at Camino Real. Dog walkers also like the path along south side of the creek, which runs adjacent to South Riverside Drive. This path is closer to the Deepwell and Tahquitz River Estates neighborhoods.

Hiking trails. There are too many to list, but always check first to see if dogs are allowed. Two of the more popular ones where dogs on leashes are permitted are the South and North Lykken Trails. After hiking these trails, your dog will plop down and not bother you for the rest of the day. To find other dog-friendly trails, try the dogfilteron the AllTrails app.

Dogs and Climate

Palm Springs sunny and dry climate makes dog walking a treat rather than a chore. What’s more, the climate is inhospitable to fleas and ticks, although this may depend some on your landscaping (fleas like lawns and moisture) and your dog’s social life (being too friendly with the “wrong” dogs – out-of-towners and other riffraff). 

Summer in the desert comes with some precautions for our friends that walk on four legs without shoes. If the pavement – street, sidewalk, pool deck – is too hot for you to touch with your hands for more than a few seconds, it’s probably too hot for your dog to walk on. Parks or neighborhoods with lawns are better choices for walks in the heat. Otherwise, stick to walks before or at sunrise and at night when the surface is cooler. There are booties and the like for dogs’ feet, but that would probably elicit teasing and just humiliate your dog.  And don’t even think about leaving a dog in a closed car, even for a minute. Cracking the window a bit does nothelp.

If you’re moving here without a dog, now that you know how dog-friendly Palm Springs is, you may  decide to get one. If so, be sure to check out the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. You’ll meet lots of people here while walking your new pet, who have rescued their dog from the valley’s only public no-kill shelter.


Posted by Geoffrey Moore on


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