In 2004, there were more than 9,000 Blockbuster stores around the world. Only one of these stores remains open. Thanks to local support, curious tourists and now a popular documentary on Netflix, the last Blockbuster store in Bend, OR is still going strong. The best part is that your pooch is allowed to wander the aisles, enjoy the smell of freshly unwrapped DVDs and feel the buzz of anticipation in the checkout line. If you love nostalgic pastimes, blast into the past with Fido at these pet-friendly retro attractions.
Posted by Billy Francis
The last Blockbuster on the planet is an ode to the timeless magic of movies. Harking back to an era when film buffs spent hours selecting a flick in a brightly lit store rather than at home, this expertly curated, sentimental store stocks new releases, classics and more. Fido can join you inside the last remaining Blockbuster store to walk the aisles and experience the retro living room area, decorated to reflect a time in the not-so-distant past when placing a big plastic cartridge into a machine was the only way to watch a megahit at home.
Keep the throwbacks going with a stay at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. This former Catholic schoolhouse is now home to classrooms-turned-lodging rooms and a pet-friendly restaurant. Dogs are welcome for an additional fee of $16 per night.
16-Bit Bar + Arcade
Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man or Mario, whichever hit arcade game you named your dog after, you’re likely to find it at 16-Bit Bar + Arcade. Bring Fido along to try his paw at beating the high score at this wicked cool Cincinnati hangout. Stocked with more than 50 classic arcade games, there’s something for everyone. Leashed dogs are welcome to join you as you enjoy delicious brews and revisit your misspent youth.
Play and then stay at the centrally located Residence Inn Cincinnati Downtown/The Phelps. Two pets of any size are welcome for an additional fee of $100 per stay.
Outrun Brewing Company
Keeping the arcade theme going, Outrun Brewing Company in Stone Mountain, GA, gets its nifty name from the 1986 driving game, Out Run. The term has evolved to lovingly refer to the neon-lit awesomeness of the 1980s in general. Outrun Brewing Company encompasses all the best bits of the much-loved decade, from the pink lights to the weekly 80s movie nights that dogs are always welcome to attend. Grab Fido’s most bodacious leg warmers and order a most triumphant brew from the bar while your pooch sips from his 80s bowl and enjoys a complimentary treat.
One thing that can’t be outrun is Fido’s need for beauty sleep. Fortunately, you and your pooch can enjoy a welcome break at this charming southern home with a huge fenced backyard.
Retro Boat Rentals
Normally, Fido should avoid floating around in an old boat in case it has a hole in the bottom, but like all the attractions on this list, Retro Boat Rentals believes old is still gold. Dive into a donut boat with your pooch and all her friends for a float around Kalamazoo Lake. The funky vessels are decorated to show off the bright colors of the 50s. As an added bonus, these rentals won’t break the bank.
Rock up at another vintage spot in the region, Starlite Resort. Nestled along the Blue Star Highway, this nearby accommodation is a mid-century motel that welcomes two pets up to 50 lbs are welcome for an additional fee of $25 per pet, per stay.
Grand River Drive-In
The last Blockbuster isn’t the only retro movie activity to receive attention in recent times. Social distancing and the closure of traditional movie theaters has seen a resurgence in the popularity of the family drive-in. One spot that’s riding this wave is Grand River Drive-In in Leeds, AL. What sets it apart from other drive-ins is the off-leash dog park on the premises for zoomies before the trailers start on the big screen. Grab a bite from the snack shack and play one of the many yard games together, too.
For an affordable stay on your way to nearby Birmingham, look no further than Red Roof Plus+ Birmingham East Irondale. One pet up to 70 lbs is accepted for no additional fee.
The Flatstick Pub
Even though the origins of mini golf date all the way back to 1916, the fun family pastime reached heady heights in the 50s, when electronic windmill hazards and other recognizable features were added to courses across the country. This retro date night activity turned another corner when courses headed inside. The Flatstick Pub is a “diamond in the ruff” that’s home to a nine-hole mini golf course with water hazards and obstacles. Humans can enjoy a round of indoor golf with their round of beers for $6, with canine caddies teeing off for free.
After a tiring putt-fest at the funkiest course in town, rest up at The Heathman Hotel Kirkland. Dogs are welcomed with beds, bowls, and treats. Two pets of any size can stay for an additional fee of $30 per stay.
To this day, the drive-in restaurant remains one of the most convenient and affordable ways to enjoy a freshly cooked meal with your dog for company. The neon lights and monster burgers at Westside Drive-In have fulfilled the folks of Boise since 1957. While you’re chowing down and slurping on a shake, your furry friend can devour an ice cream with dog biscuits sprinkled on top.
With a yard for Fido, a walkable river path just beyond the backdoor and treats at the front desk, it’s no surprise that The Riverside Hotel is one of the most popular pet-friendly places to stay in Boise. Two pets with a combined weight up to 125 lbs are welcome for an additional fee of $25 per pet, per stay.