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Paws To Reflect: Alexandria Named Top Dog-Friendly Destination In U.S.

Tell your pet, "Bark! Pant, pant, ruff, grrr..." They'll get it.

Josephine at the Alexandria waterfront. (Photo by James Cullum)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Most dogs say life is “ruff” in Alexandria, but in dog speak that means “awesome.” In fact, for visitors and residents looking to spend some quality time with their canine companion, Expedia just listed the port city as one of the top 10 dog-friendly destinations in the U.S. behind San Diego, Austin and Key Largo.

“One of the reasons I moved here from D.C. was because of how dog-friendly Alexandria is,” said Will Nichols, the longtime manager of St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in Del Ray. “By and large people are respectful and clean up after their pets, there’s good health care facilities for pets, great grooming. Everything you need for your pet you can find it here.”

Doggy Happy Hour at Jackson 20. (Photo/Visit Alexandria)

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St. Elmo’s, which receives donated dog treats from the “Your Dog’s Best Friends” store across the street, puts out water bowls and has leash hooks outside for customers who want to sit outside with Rex while drinking a cup of the hot stuff. And finding businesses that cater to pets is generally the rule rather than the exception throughout Alexandria, as it’s easy for your pet to find thrills that aren’t simply relegated to letting their wagging tongue flail outside the car window. 

Hairy Situations Dog Grooming at 1504-A Mount Vernon Ave. (Photo by James Cullum)

“Stroll down King Street, and chances are you won’t get one block before oh-ing and ah-ing at a dog or a two. Water bowls (and treats!) line the street, where your four-legged one can stop for a sip while you window shop and walk along the waterfront,” according to Expedia. “Stop in the pet-centric boutique, The Dog Park, and dine at local spots all around town.”

The other cities in the list were Bar Harbor, Me., Provincetown, Mass., Little Rock, Ark., Albuquerque, NM, Carmel-By-The-Sea, Ca. and Door County, Wisc.

Going To The Dogs 

There are 40,000 dogs in Alexandria out of the city’s 160,000 residents, according to Visit Alexandria. Events include a weekly doggy happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday at Jackson 20 in Old Town, Canine Cruises along the Potomac River, groomers and pet boutiques, dog parks and even spas where pets can get microbubble bath therapy treatments, mud masks and pawdicures.


At the Wag & Brew dog resort, for instance, while your pet is being groomed or running around with other dogs in their large indoor playground, you can sit back and have a eye-opening cup of coffee, stimulating glass of wine or a crisp beer to reflect on your next pet-friendly destination.

What is your favorite pet-related store and event in Alexandria?

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