Top 10 Best Disability Friendly Cities in the United States

It is gradually becoming easier for wheelchair users to travel and move to cities in the United States. Whether you are planning a vacation or a move, there are a few things to consider. The most common concerns are access to public buildings, transit options, weather conditions, sidewalk and ramp access. The following cities are known as the friendliest cities in the United States for wheelchair users.

  1. Berkeley, California    

The disabled community has been strong in this city for centuries. Berkeley is known as the city that allows you to be your true self. Many of the citizens are unique and accepting of the disabled community. Everyone lives in harmony together. Some tourists that visit Berkeley say it feels like traveling back in time to the 1970’s. As a tourist, you will enjoy easy access to public transportation and spectacular views of the Bay Area and the San Francisco skyline.

  1. Seattle, Washington

Seattle is known for its frequent rainy weather. You might think that is not the last place a wheelchair user wants to visit or live. However, this city has made it easy for wheelchair users to navigate. There are a variety of transportation options, including a paratransit van service that will take you anywhere in the large city. The city also provides accessible public buses and maps that show accessible areas throughout the city and a ride share program.

  1. Denver, Colorado

The picturesque city of Denver used to be known in the disabled community as one of the most difficult cities to navigate. Times have changed and improvements have been made. Now wheelchair users are able to take advantage of the accessible transit system, rail and bus options. There is also an Access-a-ride program that transports wheelchair users to any destination in the city. Wheelchair users will also find the city and public buildings are easily accessible.

  1. Washington, DC

United States history and landmarks attract tourists to Washington. Wheelchair users can navigate their way through this historical and political city by accessing a variety of transportation options. Washington’s metro network is entirely wheelchair accessible and provides lifts at all the stations. Wheelchair users can visit tourist attractions and navigate the city as well as an able-bodied person.

  1. New York City, New York

The Big Apple is filled with attractions, restaurants, museums and excitement. Wheelchair users will be pleased to learn the city is accessible and offers handicap friendly sidewalks and transit systems. Due to the wide range of cultures and amount of people in the city, wheelchair users can go about their day without the usual looks they would receive in a smaller city.

  1. Birmingham, Alabama

Wheelchair users can navigate the city of Birmingham 24 hours a day using the paratransit buses. Excellent weather conditions, even during winter, attract tourists to this beautiful city. An excellent and easily accessible healthcare system offers a variety of options that are easily accessible.

  1. Chicago, Illinois

This windy city might be the last place wheelchair users would consider visiting or living. However, it is highly accessible and provides an accessible transit system. The rail stations have been modified to accommodate wheelchair users. The city of Chicago offers a discounted fare for wheelchair users in hopes to encourage frequent use of the system. Currently, the University of Illinois is in the process of designing a Healthy Community Mapping System. This state-of-the-art system will help wheelchair users track accessibility throughout the city including businesses, sidewalks, fitness centers and more. The system will also alert wheelchair users of daily obstacles including narrow doorways and broken sidewalks.

  1. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore is home to the famous National Aquarium that has about 15,000 creatures and more than 660 different species. The city of Baltimore makes it easy for wheelchair users to access the city and attractions by using the transit system. Wheelchair users can look forward to visiting attractions such as the Fort McHenry National Monument and other historical places without facing obstacles.

  1. Orlando, Florida

Orlando is the home of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and many other attractions. All of the theme parks in the area are wheelchair accessible. The accessible transit system makes it easy for wheelchair users to navigate the city. There are plenty of entertainment options that keep tourists busy throughout their entire stay.

  1. Portland, Oregon

Portland has a variety of excellent attractions including tours, nightlife, parks, gardens, art galleries, and outdoor adventures. The city provides wheelchair users with a variety of transportation options to reach healthcare facilities and other areas throughout the city. As a wheelchair user, your transportation options include accessible streetcars, buses, light rails, and the TriMet’s transportation system. The impressive TriMet’s system offers a Lift service on more than a dozen cars and 250 minibuses. Best of all, it will take you to any destination in Portland.  

Choosing a City

Now that you know the best cities to visit or live in, it’s time to choose your first destination. Since all of the cities are accessible, choosing the city will be easy. First, consider the type of attractions and activities you want to do and see. Next, plan your trip by making airline and hotel reservations.

Some cities provide accessible maps that will guide you to all of the accessible attractions. Create an itinerary that will allow you to make the best of your vacation. Don’t forget to make notes regarding accessible healthcare options in case of an emergency.

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