Suburban Jungle Strategist Stephanie Kelmar Loves Dog-Friendly Palo Alto

Jun 21, 2022

This Bay Area suburb is all about their four-legged family members

My five-year-old rescue dog, Dexter, is very attached to me. Whether I’m taking the kids to school or running errands, Dexter wants in. He loves riding in the car and exploring new places — and, living in Palo Alto, I can bring him just about anywhere.

If you’re touring Palo Alto, don’t be afraid to bring your dog along — and be sure to check out these hotspots along the way. Who knows? Dexter and I may see you grabbing a bite or hitting the beach!


The Stanford Mall is pet-friendly and dogs are welcome in most stores. On one occasion, the GM of a department store insisted on giving Dexter a ride up the escalator in his arms! There’s even a new store in the mall called Rororiri where you can get designer-quality clothes for your dog — including matching sets for you and your pup.

Most of the shops along University Avenue are also dog-friendly — recently, Dexter scored a treat while we were browsing at Restoration Hardware. And, almost all of the outdoor-dining options around University Avenue are happy to accommodate your dog. (More on that later!)

CVS on Middlefield is also very pet-friendly. We also love hitting up the Starbucks drive-thru on El Camino to get a Puppuccino for Dexter. He gets so excited as soon as we pull into the parking lot — he knows what’s coming! I also love that they snap Polaroids of all the dogs that come by. They’re hanging right in the window, so be sure to take a peek.


Again, there are tons of dog-friendly eateries around Palo Alto. Some of my favorites are close to University Avenue. I love to catch up with friends on the outdoor patio at Sweet Maple — if you live in the city, you’ll recognize this San Francisco go-to. The last time we went, Dexter even got to try a bite of their famous Millionaire’s Bacon.

Fambrini’s Cafe on El Camino is another fave when I want something more laid-back. This casual breakfast and lunch spot has a spacious dog-friendly patio. Another relaxed option: Tootsies at Stanford Barn.

One of the best brunch spots in town, Dinah’s Poolside Restaurant, is also pet-friendly. It’s so fun to sit by the pool and sip mimosas at this old-school boutique hotel. Before you leave, make sure to ask for some food to feed the fish in the koi pond.


Palo Alto has plenty of local dog parks but when I want to take Dexter for a hike, I love going to the Arastradero Preserve. Dogs are welcome to tackle the 10 miles of trails with you as long as they stay on a leash.


The May Fete Parade is a big event in town. Local kids and school groups work together to make creative floats based on the year’s theme. Kids are invited to walk their dogs in the parade, too. It’s always a great time and seems to bring everyone out. Over in Los Altos, there’s another huge pet parade. You’ll see plenty of dogs but they also welcome cats, turtles, and birds, even. It’s definitely unique!

Pet Essentials

When I need to pick up some food or toys for Dexter, I usually head to Pet Food Express in the Charleston Center. Dexter especially loves to tag along for this errand. He always gets tons of treats and he loves socializing with all the other dogs in the store.

Pets In Need is the local animal shelter in town. You can always check with them first, but they usually accept donations of anything extra you have that your dog doesn’t need. This is also a great place to volunteer.

Considering Palo Alto? I’d love to chat. I can even help you plan out the perfect pet-friendly town tour for you and your dog. Get in touch today and let’s connect.

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