10 Indoor Places in the Twin Cities To Bring Your Dog This Winter

indoor dog activities

Winter Can be Hard for Dogs and Pawrents

As the winter season in Minnesota turns bitter cold, taking walks outside with your dog may become challenging and even dangerous. As much as our Newfoundland, Ole, loves the snow and running around on frozen lakes, there are days when it’s too cold even for him. Luckily, the Twin Cities are a welcoming place for dogs, and there are many cozy indoor spaces to enjoy as we wait for spring to arrive.

Note: Always call ahead to ensure the specific location you’re planning to visit does allow dogs on the day you want to go. And of course, only bring well-behaved dogs, and don’t forget poop bags, water bowls, and a leash.

dog-friendly twin cities
dog-friendly twin cities

1. Breweries

We’re fortunate in the Twin Cities to have so many dog-friendly breweries, many with both indoor and outdoor spaces. I recommend you check out the Sidewalk Dog Dog-Friendly Brewery Pass, which gets you a free beer at 47 participating breweries, and a portion of proceeds benefit the Animal Humane Society. A few of my favorite dog-friendly breweries near the Twin Cities include Excelsior Brewing, FINNEGANS Brew Co., Bear Cave Brewing, Fulton Brewing, Nine Mile Brewing, Shakopee Brewhall, Arbeiter Brewing, Surly Brewing, Wild Mind Ales, and Wooden Hill Brewing Co.

2. Shops and Boutiques

If you have a well-behaved dog who definitely won’t lift a leg to pee on an expensive cocktail dress, consider taking your dog to boutiques and malls. Specifically, Nordstrom in the Mall of America allows dogs, although the rest of the Mall does not. A few other great shops include: Scout, Sota Clothing, Faribault Woolen Mill, Primp, Patina, and I Like You.

indoor dog activities
indoor dog activities

3. Off-Leash Play Centers

If you want your pup to be able to run around off-leash, check out indoor play centers like Unleashed Hounds and Hops, and Brew Park, two breweries with beer for humans and indoor off-leash areas for the pups. Also, Grey Face Rescue is an indoor dog park with a space of 1,000 square feet. Be sure to call ahead as some places require reservations and proof of vaccination for your pup to be shown in advance.

4. Garden Centers

If your pup wants to stop and smell the roses, take them to an indoor garden center. Garden centers also tend to have warm, humid air which feels so good during the bitter cold months of January and February. A few great options include Bachman’s, Agrarian Seed and Garden, Sunnyside Gardens, Klier’s Nursery, Mother Earth Gardens, and Leitner’s Garden Center.

dog-friendly twin cities
dog-friendly twin cities

5. Restaurants and Bakeries

A handful of great restaurants and bakeries around the Twin Cities allow dogs, and some even have a separate dog menu! A few popular options include Pub 819, Duke’s on 7, The Block, and Nellie’s Ice Cream. You can even check out a few dog bakeries! We love Three Dog Bakery for a variety of bones, cookies, and dog accessories.

6. Craft Stores

Craft stores can be a great place to walk around, warm up and get the creative ideas flowing. Most JOANN Fabric stores and Michael’s craft stores welcome dogs. Your dog will love all the exciting fabrics, beads, and colorful paper to sniff.

dog-friendly twin cities
dog-friendly twin cities

7. Hardware Stores

I’ve taken Ole to Home Depot many times. He enjoys smelling everything and gets mentally exhausted by the time we’re done. We’ve also run into many kind employees, some even have dog treats in their pockets. A few other great dog-friendly hardware stores around the Twin Cities include Frattallone’s, Ace Hardware, Fleet Farm, and Lowe’s.

8. Parking Garages (Especially Heated)

When I don’t have many other options, I find underground parking lots just so I can have a warm place away from the wind to walk Ole. In the past, it’s been parking ramps and parking garages at my job, or a friend’s apartment building. Think about what parking ramps and garages you have access to (especially the heated ones!) and head over there for some warmth.

Woof Dah Dog Day Care

9. Daycare

For the days where you just can’t deal with winter and you need to treat yourself to a break, send your pup to doggie daycare for the day. Ole loves his daycare! He comes home absolutely exhausted, and I get the day off from having to find a place to walk him. A few great local options include Paws and Pals, Camp Bow Wow, Woof Dah, and Wags and Woofs.

10. Bookstores

Bookstores can be a relaxing place to hang out with your quiet pup. A few local bookstores that allow dogs include Birchbark Books, The Irreverent Bookworm, Red Balloon Bookshop, Half Price Books, Eat My Words, Magers, and Next Chapter Booksellers.
indoor dog activities

BONUS: Heated Patios

While technically it’s not indoors, many places offer heated patios or heated tents, which can serve as another great option. Check out Aster Cafe, Forgotten Star, The Gnome, Bad Weather Brewing, The Block, Hola Arepa, Waldmann Brewing, Number 12 Cider, Un Dito, Smack Shack, Terzo, and Bear Cave Brewing for heated tents and heated patios.

indoor dog activities

Winter is Hard, Dogs Make it Better

Winter can be a really challenging season for many people, and it’s especially difficult when you have a pup that still needs exercise no matter how cold it is outside. Hopefully, this blog post gives you some creative ideas on ways to get through winter’s coldest months. Looking for more ideas? Check out my blog posts on 80+ Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Minnesota, and 18 Awesome Things to Do in Minneapolis.

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