In this guide, I’m sharing how to spend a day in dog friendly Rochester, Michigan. You may be wondering, why Rochester? Well, Rochester is a quaint little city in Oakland County with a great downtown filled with shops, restaurants, and access to wonderful trails. It is a very dog friendly little city and worth stopping by for a day!
We love Rochester and visit it often, so you could say this is a local’s guide ;). I hope you enjoy dog friendly Rochester, Michigan!
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About Rochester, Michigan
Rochester, Michigan is located in Oakland County, just north of Troy and West of Utica / Shelby Township. Unlike other suburban downtowns, Rochester has kept its small-town charm and has a long history. Rochester was actually the first European settlement in Oakland County when it was founded in 1818.
If you are from the metro Detroit area or another Oakland County city, you may know Rochester for their Big Bright Light Show during the holiday season or for the Meadowbrook Mansion and Estate. If none of those ring a bell, it is also home to Oakland University.
You’ll find plenty of activities and restaurants that will welcome you and your pup in dog friendly Rochester, Michigan!
When To Go
Spending a day in dog friendly Rochester can happen any season!
WINTER: Come for the Big Bright Light Show and stroll downtown with your dog!
SPRING: You and your pup can enjoy the trails and outdoor patios downtown.
SUMMER: Take your dog with you to the farmer’s market and hit those trails!
FALL: Hit up the handful of dog friendly cider mills and explore beautiful fall leaves on the trails.
What To Do:
hit the trails:
Downtown Rochester connects the Clinton River Trail to the Paint Creek Trail, which then takes you to the Macomb Orchard Trail. The trails are beautiful to walk with your dog in any season. Our favorite is Fall. The weather is nice and cool and the Fall color is beautiful!
If you’d like to explore parks, try Innovation Hills in Rochester Hills, a newly open and renovated park with a lot of different paths and scenery.
Tour the Gardens at Meadow brook Mansion
Meadow Brook Hall is a National Historic Landmark and was built by the Dodge heiress, Matilda Dodge Wilson for her and her family in 1929. The house is a museum now and well worth a visit if you don’t have your dog with you.
You can, however, still visit with your dog and tour the grounds! Make sure to call and confirm before you buy tickets as policies can change.
go on a DIY dog friendly cider mill road trip
Rochester is in close proximity to four dog friendly cider mills! We love taking our dog with us to the cider mills in this area and it’s so fun to hit up multiple ones in the Fall. Nothing says Fall in Michigan than a trip to a cider mill.
Our two favorites are Goodison Cider Mill and Paint Creek Cider Mill.
participate in “bark in the Park” in Utica
If you plan your trip to the Rochester Area well in advance, you can buy tickets for Bark in the Park at Jimmy Johns Stadium in Utica. They have a designated section in the ballpark for the event, where you can enjoy the game with your dog!
We went this year with our friends’ adorable Newfoundland puppy and enjoyed the atmosphere immensely.
stop by the farmer’s market
You can shop locally at the Rochester Farmer’s Market from May to October. Dogs are welcome to join you.
Where To Eat:
Rochester Brunch House – Offering specialty breakfast items including decadent pancakes, egg scrambles, and more. They have a dog friendly outdoor patio. This place gets busy quickly so expect long wait times.
Bruegger’s Bagels – Bruegger’s is great if you want a quick bite to go. You have to order inside, so your dog can’t come with you, but they do have outdoor tables!
Bakehouse 46 – A cafe and bakery that serves gourmet cupcakes, donuts, and breakfast sandwiches. Dogs are allowed on the patio and can come inside to say hi and get a free dog treat!
For Lunch & Dinner
O Conner’s Public House – A fantastic Irish pub serving authentic dishes. They also have 36 beers on tap! The front outdoor patio is dog friendly, with limited seating.
City Tavern Kitchen and Bar – Newer establishment serving a variety of sandwiches and burgers. They have a rooftop bar that is dog friendly. Make sure to call ahead in case the rooftop patio is closed.
Paint Creek Tavern – Located right on the river with a large outdoor patio. Very dog friendly! It can get very crowded, so expect long wait times.
Lipuma’s Coney Island – Right next door to Paint Creek, so if you can’t get a table there, try Lipuma’s. They have a few outdoor picnic-style tables along the river.
Whiskey Rae’s – located in Rochester Hills, Whiskey Rae’s has a nice outdoor space with a bar, fire pits, and plenty of seating. They have one of the largest global Whiskey selections in the state of Michigan. Try one of their pizzas!
Dairy Treat – Also located in Rochester Hills, this is an old-school walk-up window that only accepts cash. They have a little outdoor space to enjoy your ice cream. You can even order a pup cup for your dog. I recommend getting the brownie flurry for yourself!
Extend Your Stay
If you decide one day is just not long enough, I’d recommend staying at the Royal Park Hotel right downtown for the best dog friendly experience. If you are looking for something a little more low-key, the Days Inn and WoodSpring Suites are both dog friendly as well.
I hope you enjoy your day in dog friendly Rochester, Michigan! If you want to explore more of Michigan with your dog, check out my Michigan Dog Friendly Travel Guide!