Five Best Dog-Friendly Activities in Los Angeles

Los Angelenos love their dogs. After all, they're man's best friend, part of the family, and can even serve as an exercise partner or social director. Dogs nudge their owners to take them for a walk, or a hike, or a run, as well as help their "human" connect with other dog lovers. So here are five fun and interesting places around Los Angeles to take your dog instead of the usual around the block walk.

Runyon Canyon Park
Part of the Santa Monica Mountains, Runyon Canyon Park is a 130-acre park that is just north of Hollywood Boulevard and has great hiking trails. With an entrance off Fuller Avenue and Vista Street (as well as a northern entrance off Mulholland Drive), hikers are allowed to bring their dogs (up to three) onto several trails – a few are even off-leash. Open from dawn to dusk, Runyon Canyon offers a unique example of wild chaparral with drought-resistant evergreen trees and shrubs as well as great views of the L.A. skyline.

Laurel Canyon Park
Located at Laurel Canyon and Mulholland Drive in the hills surrounding Studio City, Laurel Canyon Park features a three-acre dog park. Opened from 6:00 a.m. to dusk, dogs are permitted off-leash from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to dusk. (From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., they must be on-leash.) The park offers separate areas for big and small and timid dogs. There is also a children's play area in the park, but no dogs are allowed.

Palisades Park
Although most of the beaches around Santa Monica prohibit dogs, one still can stroll with their pet, on-leash, along Palisades Park on top of the sandstone bluffs overlooking the sandy Santa Monica beaches of the Pacific Ocean. This 1.5-mile park offers a great walking path that extends from Santa Monica Pier to Adelaide Drive along Ocean Avenue. With over 30 varieties of plants and trees to walk along, Palisades Park offers great scenery and people watching for both owner and dog.

The Bone Yard at Culver City Park
Located just south of downtown Culver City, the Culver City Park is a 41.55-acre park that is also home to The Bone Yard. This fenced-in dog park is open from sunrise to 10:00 p.m. and is well lit at night. The park offers separate areas for small and large dogs, as well as doggie water dishes and shaded benches for owners.

Culver Boulevard Outdoor Restaurants
Downtown Culver City offers roughly a four-and-a-half block stretch along Culver Boulevard that is chock-full of restaurants. But what makes this section of eateries special for dog lovers is that nearly every restaurant offers a patio in which the diner's pet can be placed alongside (or at least on the sidewalk alongside). From Café Vida to Meet French Bistro to Tender Greens, this area of Culver City is a plus for hungry dog owners.

Lori Huck works in television development as well as writes on entertainment, the arts and travel. She's a fan of the vibrant arts scene in Los Angeles and is a member of various film, TV, and arts organizations.

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