Pet-Friendly Vacations in the Midwest
Dog-Friendly Columbus, Ohio Travel Guide
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Extended Stay America. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Angel Nutter
Dexter the Dog and I love taking dog-friendly vacations and dog-friendly weekend day trips. Since we live in Northern Ohio, I thought it would be so much fun to grab our friends Levi The Dog and Chris and head south to Columbus, Ohio for a dog-friendly trip.
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By 4:00 a.m., we were all loaded and on our way to Columbus. I actually went to OSU, but in those days, I pretty much stayed on or around campus. This trip was going to be quite different. Our Columbus road trip was going to be geared all around the dogs.
Grange Insurance Audubon Center was the first dog-friendly attraction on our itinerary. The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is a bird sanctuary and educational center. The Audubon was created from a former urban and industrial site in the heart of downtown Columbus. The created a beautiful landscape with lush flowers, green spaces, and walking trails and is a perfect setting for nature lovers. Dogs are permitted to walk the grounds and trails but are not permitted inside the buildings.
Our morning arrival was the perfect time to witness the variety of birds and bees waking up as the morning sun reflected on the water. The dogs enjoyed a quiet walk around the paths, smelling the grass and probably some good critter scents. The Grange Insurance Audubon Center was the perfect start to our dog-friendly Columbus trip.
The Topiary Park was next on our must-see list. The Topiary Garden is located on the original site of the Ohio School for the Deaf. Unfortunately, the school was destroyed by fire in 1981, turning the area into rubble and debris. Now, the Topiary Park is a lush landscape inspired by a painting of a landscape. Georges Seurat’s painting Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte inspired Columbus native James Mason to reinterpret Seurat’s painting in topiary. A far cry from the rubble it once was.
The seven-acre park in downtown Columbus, Ohio is dog-friendly. Dogs are also allowed off-leash in the area if friendly and under verbal control by their people. We took the self-guided tour and saw a variety of people walking their dogs, strolling the beautifully landscaped walks, and even a group of school kids doing homework while enjoying the park. Dexter and Levi enjoyed the water features and smelling the dog topiaries.
I wanted to look for a souvenir, so we decided to check out Columbus’s Short North. Quite a few Columbus stores are dog-friendly and even have Dogs Welcome Here signs on their doors. I was happy to see the welcome decal on HOMAGE Short North’s door.
Upon entering, we were greeted by happy and helpful staff. I was beyond thrilled to see an Ohio University PAW PRINT logo shirt. Did I mention, I went to Ohio University, too? When I attended college at OU, the pawprint was one of the most popular logos. However, years later when my last tattered shirt bit the dust, I found out that the pawprint was retired and no longer represented the university. But, there it was in its green glory. It seems a few select and Heritage collections are able to use the logo. HOMAGE turns back the clock and pays homage to old designs.
While in the Short North, we also visited Cub Shrub, a modern infant-to-toddler store. I know, strange, but we were looking for something for the pups to wear. Levi scored a nice pair of sunglasses. We then walked to Emi Pet Salon & Boutique for some tasty dog treats. Dexter is always happy to taste test some new snacks. Our bellies were starting to rumble, so it was time to look for a dog-friendly restaurant in Columbus.
We found Miller’s Ale House in Columbus, and I asked if the dogs were allowed on their outside patio. The nice host said their patio was dog-friendly and seated us in a pleasant shaded spot. Miller’s Ale House’s staff was very welcoming to us and our pups. This casual sports restaurant and bar offers a wide range of freshly-made food. Their menu offered their signature hand-breaded, boneless chicken Zingers, steaks, pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches, and a great dessert menu and full bar.
It was hard to choose, but I decided to go light and ordered the chicken salad croissant sandwich, fries, and an ice tea. The chicken salad was nice and cold, with a robust flavor. I loved that the salad was light on the mayonnaise and not drippy and gooey. The croissant was flaky and made the perfect bun.
After our dog-friendly lunch, we decided to head to our pet-friendly Columbus, Ohio hotel, to unpack and unwind. We were staying at The Extended Stay America Polaris in Columbus, Ohio. I have stayed at various Extended Stay Americas during my travels because they offer a lot of amenities that I look for when staying at a pet-friendly hotel. Extended Stay America hotels are designed especially for longer stays. Their dog-friendly studio suites feature a fully equipped kitchen with refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, coffeemaker, cooking utensils, dishes, and cutlery. Their rooms are large and include a seating area and desk. This makes this dog-friendly hotel chain a perfect solution when traveling with dogs.
After unpacking, we all got into our beds just to relax, unwind, and rejuvenate before our evening outing. The soft and cozy bed with the cool air conditioner was the perfect way to refresh. While we were relaxing in bed, we planned our next adventure.
Columbus, Ohio offers more than 20 metro parks located throughout the city and surrounding areas. With hundreds of acres of green space and so many dog-friendly park options, it was hard to choose. We decided to head to Sharon Woods. Sharon Woods Metro Park is a mixture of forests, trails, biking opportunities, picnic shelters, and fishing on the 11-acre lake and even offers a sledding hill during the winter months. Inside Sharon Woods park is the Edward Thomas Nature Preserve, which has seasonal pools that provide breeding habitat for amphibians and other wildlife.
We all enjoyed the peaceful nature of walking around the lake and even had a great groundhog show. This funny groundhog was so brave and would come out of the shrubbery, look around, nibbling on something, run back in, and come back out. He was quite a trip. Dexter thought he was pretty cool to watch, too. After our stroll, we enjoyed sitting at a picnic table watching the lake, ducks, and the families fishing on the lake.
On our way back to the Extended Stay America, we stopped at the Corner Bakery Cafe to order some dinner to go. They did have a dog-friendly patio that we went back to the next morning. For dinner, I ordered the Uptown Turkey Avocado sandwich. It was loaded with smoked turkey, smoked bacon, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo sandwiched between slices of fresh harvest toast. I chose the Asian Edamame Salad as my side along with an old-fashioned lemonade. The food was fresh and delicious.
After our big dog-friendly day in Columbus, Ohio, it was time to curl up in our cozy beds, watch a little TV, and call it a night. We had more adventures ahead.
If you’re traveling with your dog and looking for the comforts of home, check out Extended Stay America. With affordable suites, you won’t feel cramped like other hotels and you’ll also get to enjoy the luxury of a fully-equipped kitchen, FREE grab-and-go breakfast, on-site laundry, and other amazing amenities.
Do you travel with your dog? Tell me in the comments.
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54 thoughts on “Dog-Friendly Vacations in Columbus, Ohio. Pet-Friendly Hotel, Restaurants, Stores, and Activities. Bonus Video”
These are some amazing places! It’s good to know that they are dog friendly!
Thanks, Cris. So many great things to see and do in Columbus, even with a dog!
I have a Japanese Splitz and a dog lover myself. There arent many stores that allow pets in Singapore. I have been to Europe and UK, it is pretty amazing to see the dogs entering malls or cafe, having meals together with their owner. I love the green sunglasses, super cute!
Thanks. Love your breed! My theory is we just need to keep up being responsible dog parents and more places will open their doors.
Your fur babies are adorable! I don’t own a dog, but want to adopt one soon!
Thanks. Thst’s great. Dogs are such a joy.
You have the cutest dogs! I’m glad they are able to go on vacations with you. We only have cats, and I don’t think they’d care much if we bought them.
Thanks, Amber. Ya, our family cat isn’t much for out and about adventures.
It is so encouraging to see how easy it is becoming to take your most loved members of your family out on the town. They look like they are having a blast!
Thanks. Yes, they so love to travel and go on adventures.
This is nice to see. We only have a cat who I would not want to take on vacation with us but if we had a dog this would be great.
Thanks, Scott. Yes, a lot of cats are not too adventurous. But, Columbus, Ohio is a great town even without pets. 😉
It’s so nice to see your dogs again! I commented before in your other post and I really find them so cute. They’re so lucky because they get to travel around. And luckier because the places where you bring them are dog-friendly. I wish I could also bring my pug with me when I travel. Unfortunately, there are only a limited number of places that are dog-friendly in my area.
Thanks, Nessy. Pugs are such fun little dogs. Keep looking, it’s such a treat to do adventures with a dog.
The Topiary Park looks just great! I love how the plants have been shaped to look like cute dogs…I’m sure that your pet tried so hard to play with ‘it’…the stores are also awesome!Dog-friendly places indeed! Wish we had more of such over here…
We loved the Topiary park. It was such a great experience and Dexter really wanted to interact with that dog. lol
Such a great place! We own a Jack Russel and usually are so limited in a pet Friendly hotels selection. Thank you for sharing locations as such
JRT are such fun dogs! Columbus, Ohio is a great spot. And the Extended Stay America chains are fantastic.
We’ve recently welcomed our first dog into our home, and we’re really enjoying discovering the places that are dog friendly. We’re in the UK, but what I’m finding also it that dog friendly places are usually more people friendly than the usual spots! It’s lovely!
Congratulations! A new dog is always so much fun. I love traveling with the pups because they make sure we find fun things to do. 🙂
These pictures are adorable. What cutie pies and great information for pet owners.
How fun! I often travel with my two fur babies too! Thanks for sharing your adventure in Columbus, Ohio!
You bet! You should check out Columbus, Ohio. And definitely the Extended Stay America chain. I’ve always had great stays.
OMG they are so cute! This is so fun. I miss having pets!!!!
Your dogs are so cute, I’ve always wanted to have one, but I don’t think that small flats are best places for pets. When we travel with our pets, we should check whether the place offers them the right standard and whether it’s friendly enough for them! 🙂
Agree. Bringing a pet into the home is a big decision. I always check hotel’s pet policy and amenities to ensure the pups have ample room.
We haven’t been on vacation with our Yorkie girl. She always stays with my niece. She loves being spoiled and we love her so much. I’m glad there are places we can take her with us when we wish to. Ohio is on my list! Thanks for sharing.
You bet. Columbus, Ohio is a great dog-friendly spot. Make sure you check out The Extended Stay America chains. Love them.
It is so great to take your pet on holiday and find places that they can also enjoy and have fun in!
Yes, so much fun to travel and vacation with our dogs. Best way to travel in my opinion.
I cant get over how cute your dogs are! I’m not a pet owner so I don’t know the difficulty of find pet friendly vacations but I have heard to stories. What a great resource for those who love to travel with their pups.
Thanks, Lindsay. Yes, it can be a challenge to find great dog-friendly hotels and adventures. Columbus was a blast and I love Extended Stay America.
I love that there are so many options now for pets to be taken with you. Thanks for sharing the friendly spots here!
Thanks, Lisa. We had so much fun. It’s nice to be able to share such great spots.
It is great how many places are becoming dog friendly! And these places look great to visit even without a pet!
Thanks, Talya. Yes, great spots even without a pooch.
Your dogs are so adorable! It’s nice that they have these dog-friendly places in Columbus, Ohio. You don’t have to worry about your pet when you want to go on vacation. I’m just wondering, are the dogs allowed at the beaches?
Hi. We weren’t around any beaches. Each beach we’ve visited has their own rules. Some yes, some now. I just do a little research prior to the trip. 🙂
I love this so much! Your dogs are too adorable. Ir makes me happy that Columbus is such a dog-friendly city. My boyfriend are thinning about getting a dog soon. When we do, we’ll definitely have to check out the places you mentioned here.
Thanks, Tiffany! A new dog can be so exciting. We are definitely hoping to get back to Columbus, Ohio soon. If you get a new dog, please check out my book Proactive Puppy Care, loads of information on raising a puppy or dog. 🙂 https://raisingyourpetsnaturally.com/naturalpetcarebooks/
I love the photo of you dog sniffing the dog bush!! Looks like a great trip
Thanks! It was a great trip. We really did enjoy the topiary. Very unique.
You found a lot of great dog-friendly places in Columbus. Also, I loved the picture of your dog and the topiary!
Thanks, Val! We had a blast!
I love finding out about places that accept dogs. We need more places like that to make vacations better for the whole family!
Thanks, Joyce. I totally agree!
I love taking our dog with us on vacations.
I love hearing that! Me too. Best way to travel and see a city.
My dogs are the reason I travel. We go to lots of agility shows!
Fantastic! I travel for Dexter, too. I’m always on the hunt for fun dog adventures.
I have 2 dogs and one of them hates to ride in the car but I do travel with them just haven’t taken them on a vacation with me tho since my hands are pretty full with grandkids. My other little dog is scared of everything so she tends to want to be carried all the time so it is too hard to go and do things with them along so we tend to go sit at places and just watch a lot.
Watching is a great way to slowly introduce dogs to new things. Here’s an article I wrote on car anxiety- https://raisingyourpetsnaturally.com/dog-car-sickness/ I also have a lot of articles on fear- https://raisingyourpetsnaturally.com/?s=fearful
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