Best Dog-Friendly Activities in New York City

New York City is a dog-friendly place. Let's face it, dogs are pack animals and in the big city there are plenty of people and other dogs for them to socialize with. With everything that's constantly happening on the streets of NY, every walk is guaranteed to be an adventure in sights, sounds and smells. There are plentiful pet stores and doggie spas that cater to your furry friend's every need. And even Park Avenue doormen hand out dog treats to persistent pups for the asking.

So what are the best dog-friendly activities in NYC? Here are my dog's favorites:

Dine at the Barking Dog
Many NYC eateries offer outside seating where well-behaved dogs are welcome. But the Barking Dog, which has locations on Third Avenue, York Avenue, and in Murray Hill, sets itself apart with a cute canine theme in its décor and, of course, a dog bar.

Attend BarkLive Events
From parades to book parties to fashion shows to open mike nights, BarkLive offers something for everyone. Many events are held at Bark & Co's Poo York City headquarters.

Run Free in Central Park
Central Park (and most other NYC parks) allow dogs to be off-leash before 9 o'clock every morning. This rule makes the first walk of the day a festive time for your Fido as he can frolic in the grass (or mud) to his delight.

Play with the Big Dogs at Carl Schurz
While there are a variety of dog parks all over the city, my dog is especially fond of the well-maintained and well-attended dog runs at Carl Schurz Park. It helps that there are separate fenced in areas for big and small dogs, and that rules of behavior are posted and well-enforced by dog lovers on site.

Go Shopping
Many, many stores sell products for pets in New York City. Department stores like Bloomingdale's have puppy merchandise, high-end boutiques like Burberry sell designer duds for dogs, and every neighborhood in town seems to have a shop with hand-made dog biscuits and kitschy canine sweaters. But my dog's favorite place to shop will always be the Upper East Side Petco outlet, where he can roam the aisles freely and get a handful of treats from the dish on the counter as we check out.

Victoria Otto Franzese is a proud dog-lover and New Yorker who owned, operated, and wrote for a successful online travel guide for 15 years. Now, thankfully, all of her travel is purely for fun. See what she's up to with her adorable Goldendoodle at @VOFranzese.