With the last snowstorm of the spring behind us (knock on wood), I think we’re more than ready to spend some time out and about with our four-legged best friends. The folks representing Minneapolis Northwest, which makes up Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, and Maple Grove, had a day’s itinerary full of ideas.

The morning is a great time to go to the dog park; the fresh air is invigorating for both you and your pup. The favorite (and one of the top 10 dog parks in the country, according to USA Today) is Elm Creek Park Reserve‘s off leash area. As one of the largest off-leash areas in the Twin Cities, it’s 29 glorious acres of fields, ponds, and forested trails. (If you’re not as up and at ’em in the morning, consider trying some doga before going to the dog park. Take it as doing yoga beside your dog or actually incorporating your dog into your yoga practices—people have done it both ways.)

Grab a meal at the dog-friendly patio of 3 Squares in Maple Grove. With a shade-providing pergola during the day and twinkling lights at night, whenever you go will be a good time for you and your pup. The eclectic menu includes pierogies, Dixie chicken and waffles, fish tacos, mac n cheese, and a veggie grinder sandwich.

A place to grab a sweeter treat is Nadia Cakes of TLC’s Fabulous Cakes and Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, also in Maple Grove. Spoil your dog with one of their all-natural, gluten free Doggie Cupcakes (ingredients include peanut butter, apples, and bananas) and get one of their creative  cupcakes meant for humans while you’re there.

If you have extra time and you’re not too worn out yet, you can stop by some of the many dog-friendly stores that pepper Minneapolis and its western suburbs, such as Tonkadale Greenhouse and Patina‘s various locations, including the one in Golden Valley.

End your day by unwinding with a pint of beer at OMNI Brewing Co. in Maple Grove. The patio is dog-friendly and frequently features live music in addition to its bean bag toss games, making it an easy place to meet up with friends as well. While there is a food truck calendar, make sure to bring your dog food if it’s their supper time, as well!

To really carry on your dog-themed day, a movie night at home has tons of dog-themed options. My suggestion? Don’t do one where the dog dies, but I’m also just loathe to crying. My perennial favorite is definitely Lady and the Tramp, but who’s to say no to Lassie, Because of Winn-Dixie, or to be diplomatic to any cat lovers in your family, Homeward Bound?

See the full article in Minnesota Monthly, here.