Dating can often get in the way of relationships with the ones who have always been there for you, loving you unconditionally. We’re talking about Fido, of course, the beloved doggo who is always excited to see you (even if you just saw them five minutes ago). Don’t leave your fur baby lounging on the couch all day with pent-up energy while you browse through Bumble for the sixth time. Grab that leash, pack a bag of treats and hit the ground running for a full day of dog-friendly adventure in Grand Rapids, or wherever you live!
First Stop: Coffee
Outside Coffee Company
734 Wealthy St., Grand Rapids
All good days start with coffee and fresh air. If you live close enough to Outside Coffee Company, clip on the leash and go for a walk through the historic East Hills neighborhood. Then, stake out a table, grab a beverage from the adorable coffee camper, and dig into a magazine or book while you wait for the caffeine to kick in. This place was basically made for dogs — fresh air and excellent people/pet watching.
Walk It Off
4 Mile Rd. NE, Grand Rapids
It’s time to work up an appetite for lunch. Pack up the car with treats and water — for both you and your dog — and drive over to Provin Trails, located in Northeast Grand Rapids. All dogs must remain on a leash while walking the trails, no matter how well-behaved they may be. This moderately trafficked hiking trail is only a 0.8-mile loop. By the end of it, you’ll both be ready to eat.
Save It For Later
Books & Mortar
955 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids
All good doggies enjoy storytime! Books & Mortar, located in the Cherry Hills Shopping District, is a progressive and independent bookstore which allows dogs to shop with their owners. Pick up a new read to enjoy in the park later — just steer clear of Garfield and Grumpy Cat.
Garage Bar and Grill
819 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
There are plenty of places to take your pup, but the rest of this date will happen in the up-and-coming Monroe North Neighborhood. Parking is easy and cheap in the neighborhood and it’s only a short walk to all the local businesses. First, though, it’s time to eat. Nothing will satiate your hunger like a juicy burger from Garage Bar, featuring their signature garage sauce. We’ve got slobber hanging from our mouths just thinking about it. A side of onion rings or fries can’t be missed. For dog-friendly seating, be sure to sit at one of the outdoor tables. Fido sure does deserve a fry or two tossed his way after that walk.
Fixing the Mid-Day Slump
Whitewater Cafe (Inside Embassy Suites)
710 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
You may have noticed that the skyline in the Monroe North neighborhood changed drastically over the last year. It’s all thanks to the stunning new Embassy Suites hotel, which opened earlier this spring. At this point in the day, you’re going to need your second wind and there’s no better cure than a hot cup of coffee. Grab one to go from the Whitewater Cafe on the main floor of the hotel. Of course, the outdoor seating is dog-friendly.
6th Street Park
647 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
With coffee in-hand and the sun shining, it’s as good a time as any to take a quick walk through the 6th Street Park right along the Grand River. Stop to watch the fishermen or families on kayaks. If you’re feeling up to it, try out the new exercise equipment running the length of the park or run a couple of rounds at the stairs on Division.
1757 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
The last stop is finally here and the sun is setting beyond the river. A short drive north leads you to Frosty Boy, located in the Creston neighborhood. This iconic Grand Rapids ice cream shop serves up seriously delicious scoops. No summer date is complete without a cup or cone of ice cream to cap it off.
Bonus: Lakeside Sunset
Kirk Park Beach
9791 Lakeshore Drive, West Olive
If there’s still daylight left, it’s time to hurry over to the lakeshore to catch an incredible Lake Michigan sunset. Kirk Park Beach in West Olive is dog-friendly and a great spot to set out a blanket, snuggle up and enjoy the views.
At Kazoo With Your Boo
If you live in Kalamazoo, there are plenty of special places to take your doggy date. O’Duffy’s Pub has a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog who would love to play with your pup on the drinks-only patio. Boatyard Brewing Co. and Arcadia Brewing allow dogs outside as well, along with The Thirsty Hound, Water Street Coffee and Shifters Bar & Grille. Woof!