Dog Parks in Philadelphia

The Complete Guide to Philly’s Best Dog Parks

dog-1310545_640East Passyunk: Columbus Square Dog Park
The vibe: A huge fenced-in gravel square with tree stumps for climbing and picnic tables for owners. A renovation is planned for 2017. Best for: Friendly types, of the human and canine varieties. Regulars organized two pool parties last year and are big on community involvement. The scoop: If your dog is shy, head over between 10 a.m. and noon or after 8 p.m., when it’s noticeably less crowded and frantic. 12th Street between Reed and Wharton.

Fishtown: Palmer Doggie Depot
The vibe: A small mulch-and-cobblestone enclosure, part of a larger green space. There’s not much shade, so come armed with sunscreen and plenty of water for you and your pup. Best for: Social butterflies (and their pets). The park, which neighbors transformed from a concrete slab in 2014, has an engaged group of volunteers. The scoop: Palmer president Jennifer Nelson says the park has received $41,500 in grants to add water, a dog fountain and solar lighting this summer. 37 East Palmer Street.

Fitler Square: Schuylkill River Park Dog Run
The vibe: The fanciest of all of Philly’s dog parks, this sweeping synthetic grass courtyard on the river is equipped with a $14,000 drinking fountain and sections for large and small pups. Best for: Froufrou Fidos and owners tired of muddy romps. Paws stay clean on turf known as “K9Grass.” Think of it as a miniature Vet Stadium, but with less risk of blowing an ACL. The scoop: The park is along the train tracks, and conductors aren’t shy about blowing the horn. Stay away if your dog can’t handle the noise. 25th and Spruce streets.

Manayunk: Pretzel Park
The vibe: A petite dog run that’s mainly dirt and wood chips — a state the locals are working to improve. Best for: “Well-trained dogs who aren’t going to try to make a break for it,” says local dog walker Kat Lambert. The wall around the run is low, and it’s easy for pups to leap over and escape. The scoop: Make Pretzel Park one stop on a tour of the neighborhood. Lambert recommends the nearby Manayunk Towpath for a stroll, then dining alfresco at pooch-friendly Winnie’s LeBus, where the staff puts out water bowls. 4300 Silverwood Street.

Northern Liberties: Orianna Hill Dog Park
The vibe: An acre-sized members-only park where trees and benches abound. Best for: Dogs that need room to roam. The scoop: For access, you’ll need to register online, attend a casual 15-minute orientation, and give Fido a VIP dog tag. Signing up is free, but a $50 annual donation is recommended. 900 North Orianna Street.

Old City: Market Street Dog Run
The vibe: A narrow, block-long gravel run with separate sections for little and large breeds. Best for: Small and medium-size dogs. There’s not as much space as at some of the city’s other runs. The scoop: The park’s best feature is its view — from the north-facing benches beneath shady birch trees, you can take in the full span of the Ben Franklin Bridge and boats cruising along the Delaware. 1 Delaware Avenue (along the parking lot), Penn’s Landing.

Port Richmond: Monk’s Dog Run at Monkiewicz Playground
The vibe: A labor-of-love wood-chip dog run maintained by volunteers. Last summer, they spent days converting an abandoned lot filled with flotsam into this pet paradise. Best for: Well-trained medium-size dogs. Park founder Matt Pizzola warns that “dogs with sensitivity to noise might want to go elsewhere,” at least for the near future; the park is next to an I-95 construction zone. The scoop: Locals regularly replenish the doggie bags, but you’ll need to provide your own water for now. Plans to create a small-dogs-only section are in place for later this summer. 3201 Richmond Street.

Queen Village: Mario Lanza Dog Park
The vibe: A clean, cozy 150-by-40-foot gravel dog run within the larger park. The run has a hose, but doggie bags are BYO. The big addition planned for midsummer: a treat dispenser. Best for: All dogs, regardless of size. The scoop: QVK9, the neighborhood pet association, runs regular social events. Highlights include a monthly Sunday cleanup (tools and snacks provided) and, every third Tuesday this summer, “Yappy Hours” at nearby pet-friendly restaurants, with dog-themed drinks and special menus. 200 Catherine Street.

University City: Chester Avenue Dog Park
The vibe: A scruffy but spacious private dog park with a kiddie pool for splash-friendly pups. Balls and toys complement an agility course of ramps, hurdles and a tunnel. Best for: Well-trained, active canines; all dogs and their owners are interviewed when they apply for membership. The scoop: Membership is capped at 165 households, and there’s currently a small waiting list. Members put down a $50 key deposit, pay an annual fee of $60, and work eight volunteer hours. They say the amenities are worth the commitment. Cedar Park at Chester Avenue and 48th Street.

Washington Square West: Seger Park Dog Run
The vibe: A well-kept, fenced-in dog run that takes up nearly 10,000 square feet of small Seger Park. The park association replaces wood chips once or twice each year. Best for: Large and small dogs, newbies and veterans alike. Regulars are eager to advise on park etiquette and share the phone numbers of their dog walkers. The scoop: “If you have a puppy, avoid rambunctious peak times — early mornings and right after work,” says Seger Park Dog Owners’ Association president Andrew Freedman. An annual donation of $50 is recommended. 1020 Lombard Street.

Published as “This Town Has Gone to the Dogs” in the July issue of Philadelphia magazine.


Officials await soil report for proposed dog park.

dog-parksASHLAND — The Ashland Board of City Commissioners on Thursday approved amending two ordinances related to leashed pets as it awaits test results to ensure Central Park soil won’t harm dogs.

A small dog park is planned for installation above the plot of land in Central Park previously occupied by a now-defunct ice-skating rink.

The commission voted 4-1 on Sept. 8 in favor of recycling the rink’s 150-by-150-foot fence to set parameters for the new dog park.

But Commissioner Larry Brown, who cast the lone dissenting vote, voiced concern the following morning about the possible lingering presence of antifreeze in the ground below the proposed dog park.

Parks and recreation director Sean Murray said the soil has been tested and the parks department is waiting for results, Commissioner Amanda Clark announced Thursday during the commission’s meeting.

The commission approved revising the city’s rules on dogs and the use of Central Park to prepare for the planned installation.

Pets must remain on leashes if walked outside in city limits, and aren’t currently allowed within the sidewalks surrounding Central Park.

The dog park would serve as an exemption for visitors to unleash their dogs inside the closed Central Park space.

The commission also approved the adoption of the “Ashland E-nnovation Broadband Strategic Plan.” The plan to improve Internet connection speeds in Ashland was crafted through the service of Pennsylvania-based consulting group Michael Baker International, which was paid for with a $75,000 grant from the Kentucky Communications Network Authority.

During the past five months, city leaders met with business owners and other members of the community to develop the strategic plan. The city hopes it will lead to improved connection speeds that could entice companies to the area.

“We believe it could be a huge advantage, especially in our downtown area, to attract more technology types of business,” said Mayor Chuck Charles.

Ashland is one of many eastern Kentucky communities working to improve Internet access. Last week, Gov. Matt Bevin said he’s “absolutely committed” to completing “KentuckyWired,” a project designed to construct a statewide, $270 million broadband network.

The commission is scheduled to meet again at noon Oct. 6.

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