2022’s Best Cities to Walk Your Dog

low angle shot of 3 dogwalkers walking multiple dogs on leashes through a city park

Walking your dog can give both of you a new leash on life, at least until the sidewalks end or where cars pose a hazard. 

So, which cities offer the most ideal environment for roving with Spot?

LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best Cities to Walk Your Dog to mark Walk Your Dog Month. 

We compared over 170 of the biggest U.S. cities based on their walkability, pup-friendly trail access, services, and safety. 

Find out how your city stacks pup below, followed by some highlights and lowlights.

Table of Contents

  1. City Rankings
  2. Highlights and Lowlights
  3. Methodology

City Rankings

See how each city fared in our ranking:

OVERALL RANKCityOverall ScoreWalkability RankEnvironment RankServices RankSafety Rank
1Portland, OR70.26241155128
2San Francisco, CA67.3867160109
3Oakland, CA65.10146139121
4Las Vegas, NV63.73915761
5Boise, ID63.2410422925
6Los Angeles, CA61.22229154102
7New York, NY60.8951616545
8Washington, DC60.0812117191
9Colorado Springs, CO59.1011941786
10Jersey City, NJ58.646487318
11San Diego, CA58.5454814256
12Lexington, KY57.2544212369
13Miami, FL57.0712472162
14Seattle, WA56.061411170106
15Long Beach, CA55.91162445127
16Boston, MA55.6894115043
17Albuquerque, NM55.6086375173
18Arlington, VA54.81202712054
19Providence, RI54.5161307046
20Nashville, TN53.64258124159
21Salt Lake City, UT53.23381250145
22Santa Ana, CA52.3025398650
23Tampa, FL52.21571912101
24Glendale, CA51.811710910114
25Chicago, IL51.40134515884
26Yonkers, NY51.12181444913
26Pittsburgh, PA51.123130116126
28Anaheim, CA51.0244327657
29Fremont, CA50.28591315353
30Chula Vista, CA50.25802210015
31Denver, CO49.913323161118
32Rochester, NY49.89267828137
33Phoenix, AZ49.749110146160
34Riverside, CA49.32861537124
35San Jose, CA49.12541715281
36Irvine, CA48.8180348510
37Sacramento, CA48.55701852116
38Minneapolis, MN48.48185113798
39Henderson, NV48.12151147121
40Honolulu, HI47.88266315996
41Norfolk, VA47.5170267299
42Madison, WI46.6559379558
43Fort Collins, CO46.5211666948
44Louisville, KY46.29391162152
45Escondido, CA45.9970604739
46Buffalo, NY45.8022739485
46El Paso, TX45.8091357842
48Worcester, MA45.79441062768
49Alexandria, VA45.58351346429
50Scottsdale, AZ45.49136209940
51Orlando, FL45.3291711169
52Grand Rapids, MI45.24421193160
53Austin, TX44.929125110141
54Tucson, AZ44.76863121172
55Philadelphia, PA44.50109614890
56Eugene, OR44.4670841680
57Bakersfield, CA44.391302930142
58Atlanta, GA44.29594342157
59Springfield, MA43.48381713370
60Augusta, GA43.442615213466
61Tempe, AZ43.38501064182
62Hollywood, FL43.28521581177
62Spokane, WA43.28576014188
64Garden Grove, CA43.063317111733
65St. Paul, MN42.96356516392
66Virginia Beach, VA42.87136505611
67Sunnyvale, CA42.523817114923
68Huntington Beach, CA42.50461415362
69Fresno, CA42.23645462119
70Springfield, MO42.051101163114
71Knoxville, TN41.88146636158
72St. Louis, MO41.512679113165
73Chandler, AZ41.40119536827
74Tallahassee, FL41.381367010122
75Corona, CA41.321041092231
76Raleigh, NC41.291463610767
77Hialeah, FL41.27201218132
78Salinas, CA41.26641176335
79Akron, OH41.13678255136
80Anchorage, AK40.961573311595
81Corpus Christi, TX40.77915936108
82Reno, NV40.75110574478
83Fort Lauderdale, FL40.74421445174
84Cincinnati, OH40.6856832497
85Tacoma, WA40.6649103109140
86Newark, NJ40.611014810373
87Oxnard, CA40.504615811951
88Stockton, CA40.328046102163
89Hayward, CA40.2646113112138
90Durham, NC40.2015128157117
91Birmingham, AL39.981196819150
92Lincoln, NE39.8480814044
93Santa Clarita, CA39.791191051406
94Oceanside, CA39.601041373824
95Greensboro, NC39.071515514131
96Chesapeake, VA39.061703812930
97St. Petersburg, FL38.907740172155
98Glendale, AZ38.859852145113
99Des Moines, IA38.767069118103
100Cary, NC38.73159102965
101Santa Rosa, CA38.70771228355
102Modesto, CA38.635915232120
103Winston-Salem, NC38.49169721251
104Houston, TX38.41597491149
105Huntsville, AL38.381664423139
106Pasadena, TX38.33801495841
107Baton Rouge, LA38.05104888151
108Vancouver, WA38.00981046187
109North Las Vegas, NV37.991326713026
110Ontario, CA37.92671716652
111Cleveland, OH37.8935100133133
112Mesa, AZ37.741107612138
113Aurora, CO37.69808074111
114Baltimore, MD37.672694168135
115Fontana, CA37.611161448916
116New Orleans, LA37.593895151132
117Aurora, IL37.56981581568
118Salem, OR37.538612543105
119Chattanooga, TN37.391517518148
120Rancho Cucamonga, CA37.32981378237
121Indianapolis, IN37.0814660105107
122San Antonio, TX36.991195698147
123Sioux Falls, SD36.981101256747
124Elk Grove, CA36.961361415117
125Lubbock, TX36.451108715144
126Gilbert, AZ36.4415790697
127Charlotte, NC36.381614990129
128Pembroke Pines, FL36.271361665912
129McKinney, TX36.19159149973
130Peoria, AZ36.141511226519
131Irving, TX36.10778514374
132Newport News, VA35.881321135463
133Toledo, OH35.7570988079
134Fort Wayne, IN35.461361303959
135Clarksville, TN35.33172134464
136Frisco, TX35.29166158773
137Overland Park, KS35.2011913013228
138Lancaster, CA34.671511661371
139Brownsville, TX34.501191667936
140Moreno Valley, CA34.481361413576
141San Bernardino, CA34.477012587166
142Pomona, CA34.4652166167123
143Killeen, TX33.981321523493
144Kansas City, MO33.9511977136133
145Omaha, NE33.73641294872
146Palmdale, CA33.671661095734
147Amarillo, TX33.649814993130
148Cape Coral, FL33.55173163209
149Columbus, OH33.199192144104
150Mobile, AL33.1213613746110
151Plano, TX33.0610412010822
152Dallas, TX32.416793164154
153Lakewood, CO32.378616384164
154Kansas City, KS32.2313212213894
155Grand Prairie, TX32.1213615213149
156Little Rock, AR31.311369792170
157Shreveport, LA30.64146144104115
158Columbus, GA30.5816513026153
159Milwaukee, WI30.503189174100
160Fort Worth, TX30.3711910811483
161Arlington, TX30.2011011813565
161Oklahoma City, OK30.2013099127143
163Jacksonville, FL29.7916186111146
164Detroit, MI29.7550112173161
165Tulsa, OK29.7010411588156
166Laredo, TX29.2711616612620
167Fayetteville, NC29.0817015825125
168Macon, GA28.6315013460171
169Montgomery, AL28.62161137128112
170Memphis, TN28.40119101147167
171Garland, TX28.369815712274
172Port St. Lucie, FL27.851741521692
173Wichita, KS26.4811912816689
174Jackson, MS25.38161163106168
infographic of the best cities to walk dogs

Highlights and Lowlights

Best in Show

For the best walk with Fido, follow the sun. Seven of our top 10 cities are located in the West. Portland, Oregon, leads the pack, followed by other big Western cities like San Francisco (No. 2), Las Vegas, (No. 4), and Los Angeles (No. 6).

Offering easy access to dog parks, dog-friendly trails, and businesses, these metro hubs are designed for both two- and four-legged community members to get around on foot. 

Back of the Pack

Nearly all of the cities at the bottom of our ranking are in the South. Jackson, Mississippi, finished last, while cities like Port St. Lucie, Florida (No. 172), Memphis, Tennessee (No. 170), and Montgomery, Alabama (No. 169), managed to pull ahead slightly.

These warmer cities simply aren’t built with our furry friends in mind — they’re neither the most walkable nor the most accessible to dogs.

Mixed Breed

One trend has us scratching our heads and wagging our tails at the same time: Macon, Georgia, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, both landed in the bottom 10 overall but 60th and 25th, respectively, in Services.

If these two cities are relatively bad for pedestrians and pups, why the proliferation of dog walking professionals? The reason is unclear, but the pros in these two standout performers obviously know where all the best secret dog walking places are hidden.

In Macon, check out Macon Dog Park, a fully-fenced city block that hosts a monthly “Yappy Hour.” If you live in or close to Downtown Fayetteville, saunter on over with Spot to the city’s oldest brewery, Huske Hardware, and enjoy a pint in the pet-friendly patio.

Safety First

Keeping both pup and self safe should always be a dog walker’s top priority. That’s easier to do in certain cities than in others.

You and Spot are likely to feel most at ease in cities like Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Port St. Lucie, Florida; and Frisco, Texas, which claimed the first three spots in Safety. 

But take precautions if you live in such cities as Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Tucson, Arizona, which landed at the bottom of this category. 

And be especially vigilant if you own a high-value breed, as we learned in 2021, when Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot and her French bulldogs kidnapped.

Leave It to the Pros

No time or energy to walk your dog? No problem if you live in cities where dog walking services are a dime a dozen. 

Cities like Springfield, Missouri, and Clarksville, Tennessee, hit the sweet spot between abundant dog walkers and affordability. These cities came in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, in Services. 

Florida cities, such as Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale (our No. 2 Best City for Dog Lovers), also scored high in the Services category. They offer the best access to pros — but at steeper prices.

Methodology

We ranked 174 of the biggest U.S. cities from most (No. 1) to worst (No. 174) based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across all the weighted metrics listed below. 

Note: Only 97 of the 174 cities ranked in our previous study of the Best Dog Park Cities and received scores for this metric. The remaining 77 cities were neither rewarded nor penalized for lack of data; these cities were scored only on the metrics for which data were available. 

Some examples of cities that were not ranked for the Best Dog Park Cities metric include Honolulu, Hawaii; Rochester, New York; and Salt Lake City, Utah, which lacked data for dog parks but are nonetheless good cities for dog walking. 

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Walkability
Walk Score41398Max. Value
Environment
Best Dog Park Cities Rank3197Min. Value
Number of Dog-Friendly Trails30145Max. Value
Services
Dog Walkers per 100,000 Residents227.911,200.72Max. Value
Average Dog Walker Rate2$12.40 per hour$85.51 per hourMin. Value
Safety
Pedestrian Fatalities per 100,000 Residents1010.96Min. Value
Crime Index1066Max. Value

Sources: AllTrails, LawnStarter, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NeighborhoodScout, PetSitter.com, and Walk Score

Main photo credit: Lucky Business | Shutterstock

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