If you use a wheelchair, you know that what is supposed to be a relaxing vacation can very quickly become a bothersome inconvenience when it comes to accessibility in many US cities. Quite a few popular tourist destinations and cities in the US suffer from extreme weather and poor accessibility to things like public transport, making these places more difficult to visit for wheelchair users. Try visiting one of these cities instead on your next vacation!
8 Cities That Are Especially Wheelchair Friendly
In Beantown, almost every attraction is accessible—everything from the Boston Common to the USS Constitution is able to be enjoyed by those who use wheelchairs. Getting around the city is also a breeze—most public transportation includes access to elevators and ramps, and there are quite a few taxis with wheelchair ramps to be found.
Best time to visit: Fall, for the best opportunities to see beautiful foliage
Known for its coffee culture and its proximity to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle also has quite a bit to offer people who use wheelchairs. The most popular attractions in Seattle, like the Space Needle and the original Starbucks, are fully accessible and offer the opportunity to learn about some of the city’s most iconic places. The almost entirely accessible public transport system is another plus!
Best time to visit: Summer, to avoid the rainy season
For history buffs looking for a fast-paced city vacation, our nation’s capital is the perfect choice. It’s also one of the most accessible—the public transportation system is known for being one of the best in the United States. Most of the national monuments have ramps and elevators that allow everyone to experience “The Federal City.”
Best time to visit: In Spring, for the blooming cherry blossoms
Famous for its deep dish pizza, Lake Michigan beaches, and skyline views, Chicago also offers wheelchair users the opportunity to have a great vacation. Most of the top tourist attractions are wheelchair friendly, including the observation decks at the top of the Willis (Sears) Tower and the John Hancock building. If you’re planning to take the “L” elevated train while in the city, make sure to check if your stations have elevators.
Best time to visit: During the mild late Spring or early Fall for the lowest chance of extreme weather
Looking for a vacation in sunny California? San Francisco might be the perfect place—it’s known for the stunning Golden Gate Bridge, but should also be recognized for its accessibility. While the famous cable cars are not wheelchair accessible, most of the other public transportation is.
Best time to visit: Fall, for great weather
As one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the United States, Portland is also one of the most accessible to those who use wheelchairs. Try the beautiful Harborwalk Trail, a paved path located along the water. Don’t forget to make a pit stop at Voodoo Doughnuts for a sweet treat while you’re in town!
Best time to visit: Summer, for the best weather
While Orlando may be known for its proximity to the world-famous theme parks, it is also highly wheelchair accessible. The parks themselves have great accessibility (both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios pride themselves on it), along with the downtown city area. The consistently warm weather draws travelers searching for the sun.
Best time to visit: Any time, the weather is usually warm all year
As one of the United States’ most historical cities, Philadelphia is a dream destination for travelers interested in our past. It’s also very wheelchair-friendly—even the commuter trains running outside the city are accessible. Make sure to visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell for a true patriotic experience.
Best time to visit: Spring, when the weather is warm but before the crowds
This article was written by Kaitlin Lannan.