Enjoying the Downtown Refreshment Area with Your Dog

Hey, dog people – if you like to bring your furry friend(s) with you as you explore a city’s food and drink scene, you’re going to love Grand Rapids.

The city is packed with dog-friendly spaces, including outdoor restaurant and bar patios that are happy to accommodate pets. Some of them are included in the Downtown Refreshment Area, which allows you to stroll around with an adult beverage in one hand and your pet’s leash in the other.

Check out this downloadable map of the Downtown Refreshment Area and join us below for a virtual journey to a few dog-friendly destinations.

Dog in the Downtown Refreshment Area

Stop and grab a drink with your pup in the Downtown Refreshment Areas.

Photo by Experience GR

The North Monroe neighborhood is the northernmost boundary of the Downtown Refreshment Area. North Monroe is home to City Built Brewing Co., a brewery and restaurant “where cultures collide,” featuring many food dishes, beers and other craft beverages influenced by Hispanic, Latino and other global cuisines.

City Built is definitely a hopping doggy destination – don’t be surprised if the dog-to-human ratio favors canines on your visit. We suspect many guests are also visiting nearby Fido & Stitch, a well-known groomer and shop for toys, treats and more.

Outdoor Dining with Dog in Downtown Grand Rapids, 2021

Everyone in the family can enjoy a delicious meal at Uccello's outdoor patio.

Photo by Experience GR

Get your drinks through the service window and hang out on the picnic tables to watch the sun start to set over the Grand River and historic Sixth Street Bridge across the street. You can then take your drinks and your dogs for a quick walk in Sixth Street Bridge Park  before heading to your dinner destination.

You can walk with drinks in hand and dogs on leash south along the river, all the way to DeVos Place Convention Center and then east a block or so into the Monroe Center area. (It’s about one-half mile.) Or finish your drinks and hop in your vehicle for a quick ride. Uccello’s Ristorante along Monroe Center St. has a dog-friendly patio that extends along the brick road that is positioned directly across from Rosa Parks Circle and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

The staff at Uccello’s is liable to greet your furry friend with a fresh bowl of water before they take your order. That will give you time to peruse the vast menu emphasizing authentic Italian food that is high quality yet affordable.

Meeting Up for Coffee with Your Dog

Enjoy a coffee while you meet up with friends and their pup.

Photo by Paul Jendraisak for Experience GR

Another nearby spot that has a nice dog friendly patio is the Apartment Lounge , Michigan’s oldest gay bar. It’s just a quick 2-3 block walk from Uccello’s, and the patio is quite large and even covered if it should rain. It’s a great place for after-dinner drinks (or before-dinner drinks, for that matter).

Other downtown food-and-drink establishments with dog-friendly patios include Atwater Brewery, Garage Bar & Grill, Maru Sushi, MudPenny, O’Toole’s Public House, Palio Ristorante, Sundance Grill and Bar, and The Tin Can Bar.  

Other Grand Rapids business districts maintain Outdoor Refreshment Areas with dog-friendly restaurants and craft beverage establishments, including Brewery Vivant in the East Hills Refreshment Area, Outside Coffee Company in the Wealthy Street Refreshment Area, Joey’s Tavern in the West Fulton Refreshment Area and The Mitten Brewing Co. in the West Leonard Refreshment Area.

If you’re looking for a night out with your pup, it’s a good idea to call ahead, as every restaurant has a slightly different policy on dogs in outdoor spaces. But there are many different options if you are willing to check out different neighborhoods. Also keep in mind that outdoor patios are not always open during business hours – it can depend on weather, staffing and other issues. So, when in doubt, make a quick call first!