Special Sections » Fall Guide

Dog's day out

When the nasty weather hits, we all tend to rush to and from work and errands, spending as little time outdoors as possible. The cold autumn rain, as well as the mucky late-season slush and snow, can put a damper on outdoor fun. And if you're a dog owner, you know it can reduce your leisurely dog walks to the briefest, shivering, just-poo-already ventures outside. Miserable.

We humans know that we should make the most of the good days ahead, but our four-legged friends are also eager to get out in the fresh air, smell all of the fall smells, and socialize with people and canines alike. Our furry friends just want to hang out and enjoy the simple things about autumn. Time spent with a pupper doesn't have to be extravagant or costly.

In that spirit, we asked ourselves: how can we spend an entire day out of the house with our pup friends? Where can we treat yourselves and our hounds-around-town to a park picnic or some hiking, and which restaurants and bars are pooch friendly?

Places like coffee shops, restaurants, and bars can't technically (legally) allow dogs inside if they serve food (except for service animals). Some places don't care so much but to keep anyone from getting hassled by the man, we've included spots where you and your dog are welcome to hang out on the patio or in the yard. And if it happens to be a warm and sunny day, coordinate some breaks where you can lounge in a shady spot. Always remember some water, not just for your thirsty doggo but for you, too.

Pick a Saturday, any Saturday, and layer up; bust out the leash, Frisbee, and picnic basket; and head out with your four-legged bestie. We've put together a suggested itinerary with a few ideas of places to go, but feel free to add dog-friendly ideas on Instagram using the tag #CITYDogDayOut. We'd love to see pics of you and your pups out and about.

  • Photo by Renée Heininger (Cooper's mom)
  • Cooper McVay.

7 a.m. (or whenever you usually leave the house) Walkies!

Change things up and instead of a circuit around the block, head to one of the local dog parks where you can unleash the hound (in designated areas) to romp with friends in the fall air. Greece Canal Dog Park used to be the only dog park in the county, but now you can bring your little fur sir (or sis) to the county's dog Ellison Park Dog Park and the city's, Cobb's Hill Dog Park. Be sure to read the rules thoroughly and pre-register your pup (it's required at all parks). The county's rules and park hours are at monroecounty.gov/parks, and the city's are at cityofrochester.gov/dogparkreg.

9 a.m. Coffee & breakfast

Grab a hot coffee or a cold brew and a pastry and grab a spot in the outdoor seating at Fuego Coffee Roasters on Woodbury, Café Sasso on Park Avenue, Equal Grounds in the South Wedge, or another Fido-friendly spot. Pro-tip: you can usually spot businesses that welcome four-legged loiterers by the bowls of water set outside.

10:30 a.m. Hike

We already mentioned Ellison Dog Park, but Ellison Park itself is a great place to trek around with your pup. The section of the park off of Penfield Road has a stream and lots of hills, and you can really tucker yourselves out on Overlook Trail. Fair warning: this is a sensitive area which, like many parts of Ellison, gets muddy. If it looks especially wet, you'd do nature a favor by finding another trail. Otherwise, tread lightly and keep Fido on a leash. Other trails to consider: Durand Eastman Park and Black Creek Park.

12:30 p.m. Picnic lunch

Pack a lunch for you and the pooch and head to Hamlin Beach State Park, which is about 30-40 minutes northwest of Rochester. The park's Area 5 is dog-friendly. If everyone's up for a longer drive, the unique and fun Griffis Sculpture Park is south of Buffalo close to Ellicottville. Its acres and acres of land contains some woods, some cleared areas, some water, and masses of large and small sculptures to discover throughout (griffispark.org/griffis-sculpture-park).

Or drive south of Rochester to the Hemlock-Canadice Lakes areas — there are a few parks along the way you can stop and explore. Bring towels and water (for drinking and for wiping down a dirty pup). The fall foliage makes the Finger Lakes a great destination and many of the wineries tend to be dog accommodating (check before heading out).

2 p.m. Walk for ice cream

Back in the city, there are a bunch of dog-friendly spots where you and your fuzzy friend can score a frozen treat. For example, Sweet Mist in Henrietta not only allows dogs on the patio but it also offers some ice cream treats for them. Also in Henrietta, Read's Ice Cream has dog-friendly ice cream treats and pups are welcome on the patio and gazebo as well.

A sweet pupper enjoys a cold one on the patio at Other Half Brewing in Bloomfield. - FILE PHOTO
  • A sweet pupper enjoys a cold one on the patio at Other Half Brewing in Bloomfield.

6 p.m. Open-air dinner & beers

The pleasure of eating outdoors should be shared, and can be shared with puppers, too. Lots of breweries (with menus) and restaurants will let you hang out with your dog in outdoor areas. Tap and Mallet is basically a dog beach in the summer, and they'll bring your pooch a bowl of water. Swiftwater Brewing on Mount Hope is pro-pooch, as is Old Stone Tavern in the South Wedge.

Both Triphammer Bierwerks out in Fairport and Brindle Haus Brewing in Spencerport welcome dogs. As for the city: basically the whole South Wedge is obsessed with dogs, so take your pick. Lux on South Avenue welcomes dogs before 9 p.m., and dogs are also allowed at Rochester Beer Park as well as Caverly's Irish Pub. After your beers and socializing, cap off the evening with a stroll along the River Trail.

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