L.A.'s Off-Leash Parks for You and Your Dog

Griffith Park | Photo courtesy of Renee Silverman, Flickr

Los Angeles weather is not only good for your wellbeing, but for your dog’s, too, and there is no shortage of places to take your dog off-leash. From parks and hiking to boutiques and friendly restaurants, the East Valley welcomes your canine companions.

Morning

Centrally located in the city, Laurel Canyon Park at 8260 Mulholland Drive is the largest fenced-in dog park in L.A. at five acres. This park affords plenty of open space for dogs to run, play and meet others. Mulholland Drive and its cul-de-sac side streets are home to many celebrities, making this park a celebrity-with-dog-sighting destination.

Down Mulholland Drive a few miles east is Runyon Canyon Park, a 160-acre park with 90 acres dedicated to off-leash roaming (not fenced). The official address of the park is in Hollywood (2000 N. Fuller Ave.), but the lesser known and closer-to-the-Valley parking lot is found off Mulholland, west of Outpost Drive. Walking down the hill toward the off-leash area, there are views of the Hollywood Sign and Downtown. Runyon Canyon is more of a hiking park than a traditional city park, so be prepared for hill climbing, trails and fire roads.

At the base of Laurel Canyon Boulevard is the Valley’s shopping corridor, Ventura Boulevard. Here in Studio City, you can find Maxwell Dog (12336 Ventura Blvd.), a full-service boutique dog store that specializes in higher-end items such as beds, collars, artwork, personalized tags and greeting cards. Local designers make many of the collars, and the staff’s knowledge can be quite helpful.

Afternoon

Shopping in this area of Studio City is extremely dog friendly, with very few stores denying dogs entrance. Almost all of the restaurants have patios where your pet can join you for lunch. A few minutes’ drive away, in the Tujunga Village shopping district of Studio City, is one of the more popular cafes to allow dogs on the patio. Aroma Café at 4360 Tujunga Ave. is an outdoor-seating-only café, and its buzz draws crowds throughout the day.

Save dessert for Three Dog Bakery (well, dessert for your pup, at least), which is a bit farther west at 14545 Ventura Boulevard. Along with toys, clothes and cookie jars are baked goods — many of which are made onsite. Anything you can find in a regular bakery, you can find here: bagels, cookies, wafers, biscotti, Oreos, ice cream, fortune cookies and much more. For special occasions, try the birthday cakes or a birthday party that can be held at the store for dogs and their friends (these usually take place Saturday mornings). Because dogs cannot have chocolate, carob is used instead.

Other dog parks in the area include Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park (five acres, plus a half-acre, small-dog area) at 17550 Victory Boulevard in Encino, and Whitnall Off-Leash Dog Park (72,000 sq. ft. total) at 5801 ½ Whitnall Highway in North Hollywood.

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