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Dog jaunt: San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter

This is a guest post from Edie Jarolim, the blogger behind Will My Dog Hate Me? and the author of several travel guides and one dog book, called Am I Boring My Dog? And 99 Other Things Your Dog Wishes You Knew. She recently visited San Diego with her dog Frankie, and when she told me she’d been to a dog-friendly restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter called Cafe Chloe, I asked her to tell me all about it.

Everyone tends to think of San Diego as a beach destination, and it definitely is that. You can find plenty of dog-friendly spots on and near the sand on the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau website. And not to be missed, if you can make it, is the annual Surf Dog festival, which my dog, Frankie, and I attended last year.

But for those who want an urban experience that also includes water views — and as a former New Yorker, I’m all over that — the area in and around San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter can’t be beat. In addition to everything else — great places to play, eat and stay, detailed below — dogs are very welcome in this area. I noticed bowls of water and dishes with dog biscuits in front of several shops, restaurants, and hotels. You won’t find that in downtown Manhattan.

Play

What’s a ball field financed by a pet store chain without a place for dogs to romp? There are several welcoming grassy areas for dogs to play in front of PETCO Park, also known as home to the San Diego Padres. Proof that the pups take advantage of the facilities: yellow patches mar the otherwise lovely green lawns. Luckily, dogs like to pee on other dogs’ pee so the spots aren’t that large — plus they help humans know where to avoid sitting. Note: The park is closed for several hours before and after Padres home games.

Frankie and I sitting in a non-yellow spot at PETCO Park

Scenic places to stroll with your pup in the area include the beautifully landscaped Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, a rails-to-trail park with inspiring public art. At the Embarcadero Marina Park South, you can walk or run with your dog (on leash) while watching boats bobbing in the San Diego Bay.

Eat

With its French inspired menu — pates, tarts, mussels, steak frites, for example — and dog-friendly outdoor patio, Cafe Chloe wouldn’t be out of place in Paris. The place for dog people to sniff each other out at Sunday brunch, Cafe Chloe is named for the eight-year- old daughter of two of the partners. More reasons this place has got good vibes: The feng shui practitioner who was brought in to assess and bless the place said that the stone greyhounds guarding the entrance were very good feng shui.

Frankie near a feng shui-friendly greyhound

I can’t think of any other places in the U.S. where dogs can dine indoors (can you?) but at the Phi Bar & Bistro in the lobby of the Hotel Indigo (see Stay, below), your pup can lounge by your feet while you eat. The food, using lots of fresh, local produce, is really good too (that’s my, not Frankie’s, review).

Stay

The only things I liked about the Hotel Indigo were: its location near PETCO Park and the Gaslamp District; the service, the lobby restaurant; the room; the pet policy; and the dog bathroom facilities.

Service: The staff couldn’t have been more helpful. I forgot to call ahead to request a refrigerator to put my diabetic dog’s insulin in but I was provided with a minifridge minutes after I called the front desk and asked for one. Everyone was pleasant — and appropriately enthusiastic about Frankie’s cuteness — during my stay.

Rooms: Cheery and comfortable. Frankie, who has short legs, thought the bed was a little high for him, but I helped him up.

Pet policy: No limit on size and number of pets accepted, no extra fee.

Bathroom facilities: There’s a rooftop deck with a grassy area designed for dogs to do their business. I walked Frankie around the neighborhood and couldn’t get him to go, but as soon as he got upstairs — instant success. He was no doubt inspired by all those who had gone before him.

Frankie using the Hotel Indigo's facilities