Razorback Stadium

Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Fayetteville, AR Photo credit: Claire Holloway

After a 12-1 run in the first week, expectations were high in the SEC. Then…Tennessee lost to OU in overtime, Auburn dang near lost to Jacksonville in OT, and the Hogs…well, I’m just not ready to talk about that.

The only thing pretty about this past weekend were the women (and I don’t mean what was coming out of our mouths).

The good news is that my mom and dad won’t have to decide whether or not to come back from their Florida vacation to watch the undefeated Hogs take on an undefeated Auburn in Arkansas in October. The bad news is there’s apparently a black hole where the red zone used be and somebody needs to fix it!

While university physicists and football analysts ponder that, let’s take a look at four more college towns with super-fun dog-friendly things to do.

University of Missouri, Columbia

Until recently, I haven’t had any reason to head to Columbia. Now that they are our border rivals, I’m getting to know them better. Shout out to the Convention and Visitors Bureau for providing me with some great info and for having a list of ‘other’ game day events on their website. I mean, I guess there are folks who don’t go to the games.

Columbia has over 20 dog-friendly hotels including the Drury Inn. When last a friend stayed at one of their locations in Indiana I got a text saying, “There are dogs everywhere!” So if your dog drags you across the hotel lobby and runs you smack into the love of your life, you can head to Twin Lakes Recreation Area for your first date (not that I advocate picking up strays in out-of-town hotels). Bark Post included this park in their Absolute Ultimate 16 Dog Parks in the U.S.

Quiet types might prefer Grindstone Nature Area with almost 200 acres of woods, fields and creeks for off-leash romping. Pack a picnic basket full of fresh baked goodness by first stopping at Treats Unleashed for some Peanut Butter Barkers or Cheese Quakers.

After running off some energy, canines can accompany their humans to one of four local establishments. 44 Stone Public House, Shiloh Bar & Grill, Tellar’s, and Cafe Berlin are all popular places that allow dogs on their patios. I haven’t been to any of these, so use your best judgement based on traffic.

University of South Carolina, Columbia

If you’re headed to ColaTown for a game weekend, then Five Points should be on your list of areas to visit. Only a 5-10 minute walk from campus, this ‘Village Neighborhood’ was created in 1915 when the city diverted the flow of Rocky Branch creek under ground. Many of the local businesses have been serving customers for three generations and game weekend is sure to liven up the atmosphere.

With over 50 bars and restaurants, two public fountains and some unique art, you can find plenty of entertainment as you stroll the city streets. Be on the lookout for the six bronze Logan the Leprechaun statues.

Dog with paws on the bar

Can I get some service?

For a bite to eat or a cold brew, we suggest you stop at the very dog-friendly Jake’s. Live music, 34 rotating beer taps (10 outside) and a farm-to-table menu supplied by South Carolina vendors, make this a no-brainer. Always dog-friendly, they host a special Yappy Hour every Tuesday and Thursday from 4-9 p.m. Well-behaved pooches are free to roam off-leash on the back patio and in the beer garden- it’s all fenced. Competitive humans can challenge rivals to a game of corn hole while their dogs splash in the kiddie pool.

Jake’s owner, Jon, also owns a few other bars in Five Points that may or may not be appropriate for your dog. Pavlov’s, Bird Dog, and the Cotton Gin all allow dogs, but they draw the late night bar crowd (presumably rowdy on a game weekend). Please use your best judgement as to whether or not your pup should be there and don’t embarrass us.

If you’d like to get a little further from campus then River Rat Brewery is just a couple of miles from William Bryce Stadium. Leashed dogs are welcome in their 1/4 acre green space and they’re happy to serve your pooch an ice cold bowl of water. The beer garden features a covered deck with fans and several corn hole boards. For those of you who don’t like craft beer, they have a small selection of wine by the glass or bottle. They do offer brewery tours, but dogs are not allowed inside the tap room.

Go Columbia for being so dog-friendly! Notice I didn’t say ‘Go Gamecocks.’

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

My Razorback family can hate on me all they want, but LSU has always been my second favorite team. Their fans always get a bad rap for being really, really terrible, but I’ve just never experienced that first hand. Of course, I’ve never been to a game in Death Valley, but we hosted some of their fans (friends of friends) at tailgate last year, and we had a great time. So much so, that this year when the Hogs hit the road, I plan to go catch up with my new tailgating buddies.

If you’re headed to Baton Rouge for game day, you’ll likely see more than a few dogs at tailgate. Where you won’t see them is Tigerland and Chimes. Those are the retail/bar/restaurant districts within walking distance of campus, and people get entirely too drunk and rowdy on game day. Your dog will hate it.

Henri and I visited Tiger Town for St. Patrick’s Day and discovered plenty of other places that won’t be (as) crazy. However, if you’d like to avoid driving in game day traffic Hello Sushi and Mellow Mushroom both have dog-friendly patios located on campus.

Last but not least remember this: It’s not an open container until you put the straw in it!

University of Mississippi, Oxford

“Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty
Who the hell are we, Hey!”

If you’re yelling that at the top of your lungs, you’re probably an Ole Miss Rebel Bear, and that mascot thing is kinda confusing- but whatever, Mississippi. You have an enviable tailgate scene, so let’s talk about that.

Puppy in the Grove

I’ll hold this spot while you set up the tent.

The Grove.

We all want to go there. I mean, where do you think I got the idea to hang a chandelier at my tailgate?

The Grove is open to all: men in bow ties, women in dresses, baby girls with bows larger than their heads, and yes, dogs.

Good dogs. Very good dogs.

Honestly, this tailgate experience is probably best left to pups who cut their teeth on tailgate tents. I’d say the majority of dogs might actually hate it. So, unless your dog is a party professional or you have a specific tailgate to crash, your pooch will likely be happier watching the game at the hotel.

Within walking distance of The Grove is the historic downtown Square. It is home to a variety of shops and boutiques, including Neilson’s, the south’s oldest department store. It is also the center of Oxford’s nightlife, and you’ll find a variety of restaurants and bars.

For hand-tossed pizza and live music, visit the dog-friendly patio at the 20-year-old Oxford staple, Proud Larry’s. If blues is more your tune or you happen to have a raging hangover from your trip to The Grove, Rooster’s Blues House has you covered. In addition to being Oxford’s only dedicated blues venue, on Sunday’s they feature $12 bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.

Literary buffs should be sure to visit Rowan Oak, home of William Faulkner. It’s located just south of the Square and open dawn until dusk. If you’d like to tour the house there is a $5 cost but only service dogs allowed by law can go inside. However, there is no charge to roam the grounds and leashed pups are always welcome.

If you’re headed to a rival school this week be sure to mind your manners and remember the immortal words of Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias,

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”

Here’s to another Saturday in the South, y’all!