With 50 states and cities of all sizes, the United States is one of the best places for travelers from around the globe to visit. For those of us that live in the U.S. road trips from state to state are a fun way to travel and see the sights. But for wheelchair users, not all cities are equal when it comes to providing accessibility. So, which cities are leading the pack when it comes to wheelchair accessibility? A few of our favorites are listed below.
San Francisco, California
While San Francisco’s landscape, made up primarily of steep hills, may not seem like the most accessible of locations, the vast majority of the city’s public transportation methods are wheelchair accessible and their drivers are trained to assist with securing wheelchairs. In addition to wheelchair-friendly transportation, San Francisco, California is home to accessible attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf.
As the country’s capital and home to Congress who passed the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s not surprising that Washington DC would make a list of accessible cities. Featuring accessible memorials, wide city sidewalks and accessible public restrooms all throughout the city, Washington DC is possibly one of the most accessible cities in the country.
The mainline transportation system in Denver, Colorado makes traveling this city a wheelchair user’s dream. Wheelchair users receive priority seating and can utilize transportation nearly 24 hours per day with unlimited rides. The city is also home to accessible attractions like the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, The United States Mint Denver facility, and Coors Stadium (home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team).
One of the best things about Portland, is that it is an incredibly environmentally-friendly city. As part of this initiative, they offer a paratransit system for anyone that is not able to ride on their public buses or trains. For those that want to take advantage of the eco-friendly atmosphere, the city also offers fully accessible hiking trails that offer scenic views of Portland, Oregon.
Los Angeles, California
California is home to celebrity sightings, beautiful weather and outdoor accessible attractions like the Venice Boardwalk, Santa Monica Beach and Universal Studios. But, Los Angeles, California, is also home to a fully accessible metro rail system featuring automatic lifts for wheelchair and scooter users. The metro rail system can be used to take wheelchair users to other city attractions like the Getty Center, the California Science Center and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City is one of those places that never sleeps. But, for wheelchair users looking to get some shut eye in between visiting attractions, Las Vegas, Nevada, is home to more accessible hotels than any other city. Many of these hotels are full of accessibility features like transfer showers, roll-in showers, tubs with either built-in or portable seats, and lifts to help transfer to the bed. Many of the top attractions that Las Vegas has to offer are also wheelchair accessible. One example of this is the High Roller, the world’s tallest ferris wheel. The operators will stop the always-in-motion ride long enough for a wheelchair user to safely board/de-board the ride.
The Windy City is home to historic accessible attractions like the Sears Tower (a former tallest building in the world), the Chicago Theatre (featured in many movies throughout the years), Navy Pier and Millennium Park. Similar to Vegas, Chicago, Illinois, is home to many accessible hotels offering accessibility features for wheelchair users. Check out our previous blog post featuring some of Chicago’s top accessible hotels.
Beyond the fully accessible Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, offers fully accessible beaches, the Central Florida Zoo, the Orlando Ballet and the Kennedy Space Center. In addition to the many attractions, the city is full of restaurants that offer wheelchair accessible accommodations to their guests.
Much like a few other cities on this list, Seattle, Washington, is known for their accessible transportation options. Many of the city’s water ferries and vehicle taxis feature accessible ramps. This makes it easier for wheelchair users to visit accessible attractions like the Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo and the Space Needle.
We couldn’t make a list of accessible cities without giving a nod to our home state. The Twin Cities comprised of Minneapolis and St. Paul are full of exciting arts and sporting venues, bars and restaurants, and city parks and recreation. Some of our favorite accessible attractions include Target Field (home of the Minnesota Twins), the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (with accessible indoor and outdoor areas), and Minnehaha Falls Park (featuring a 50-mile outdoor recreation area and scenic waterfalls). If you’re looking for other accessible attractions in Minnesota, just ask one of our sales representatives – they would love to tell you about some of their favorite spots to visit!
Why City Accessibility is Important
In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the ADA. This protects people living with disabilities from discrimination based on their disability. This means that buildings, businesses and communities should be doing everything they can to make accessibility a possibility for the people living in or visiting their city. But, making these changes, especially in a historic city, can be a big undertaking. This unfortunately leaves wheelchair users still needing to do a lot of research before traveling to a new city, so they don’t end up in a situation they cannot navigate.
Get Where You Want to Go
At Rollx Vans, our motto has always been “Your Life. Your Ride.” That’s because we believe that all wheelchair users should have the independence to go wherever they want to go, whenever they want to go. In fact, that is why we got into the business of wheelchair vans in the first place. If you are ready to hit the open road with your very own new or used wheelchair van, give us a call or send us an email today. One of our experienced sales representatives will go over all of the options we have available within your budget and with all the conversion features that you and your caregivers need for an independent lifestyle. We can’t wait to hear from you and we promise you won’t be sorry that you did!