Philadelphia is going to the dogs.
And we're not talking about perennial underdog Rocky Balboa.
While Fido might find some of the city's narrow, cobblestoned colonial streets a bit confining, a plethora of dog parks make many Philly neighborhoods extraordinarily pet-friendly.
Spanning from the Schuylkill to the Delaware Rivers along the west and east sides of the city respectively, Philadelphia's vast Center City houses the downtown core and historic district, as well as the city's best dog parks.
The block-long Penn's Landing Dog Run stretches along the Delaware riverfront in Old City. With sections for large and small breeds plus incredible views over the river and across the Ben Franklin Bridge, it's perfect for Instagramming your pup while he plays.
In Washington Square West you'll find Seger Park Dog Run, an impeccably-maintained off-leash park secured by a gated perimeter and a $50 optional membership ($25 for students and seniors) that includes policy voting rights and discounts to local businesses.
In Fitler Square, at the Schuylkill Banks, is the Schuylkill River Dog Park, a 24-hour park owned by the city. The swankiest bark park in town, the grounds are covered in paw-friendly AstroTurf and feature a brand new $14,000 puppy drinking fountain and a special section just for small dogs.
In the cluster of former factory neighborhoods by the Delaware, dog owners have a bevy of fabulous pup parks to pick from.
Sharing the hipper-than-thou enclave of Fishtown with live music venues and hipster eateries, Palmer Doggie Depot – featuring a cobblestone-lined play area, drinking fountains for canines and solar lighting – is a favorite spot to trade dog stories and phone numbers.
A few blocks south in Northern Liberties, Orianna Hill Dog Park provides a perfect destination for the young creative professionals and artists who populate the neighborhood and their hipster pups.
The members-only Orianna (free with a recommended $50 annual donation), adjacent to the outdoor Liberty Lands concert space, is a large wood-chip-lined park catering to both dog owners and dog watchers. And for a $20 annual membership fee, you and your dog get keyed access into East Kensington's Pop's Playground Dog Park, an off-leash fenced park where all member dogs must be current on rabies shots. Pop's is primarily a teen skate park so be sure to bring your longboard and another one for your best friend.
In West Philadelphia, the dog park is where your pup might spend most of his days. If free is your budget aesthetic, the Spruce Hill neighborhood's Clark Park Dog Bowl is an unfenced soccer-field-sized natural bowl within Clark Park, one of Philly's most beloved city parks.
But for West Philly residents inclined to indulge their pooch, Kingsessing's Chester Avenue Dog Park is an exclusive member-only park. The annual fee of $60 plus eight hours of light volunteer work is well worth the price considering the high-end amenities, such as community-maintained doggie pools, a cache of tennis balls and toys for all and an impressive full-sized canine agility course.