Chicago  consistently appears on lists of America’s most wheelchair-friendly cities, and for good reason: the city has put a lot of care and planning into making itself accessible to all. This city has an unbelievable array of attractions to enjoy, especially during warmer months.

If you’re thinking about visiting the Windy City, first take a look at Easy Access Chicago, a website run by Chicago’s Open Doors Organization. This nonprofit group succeeds very well at its mission: “Opening doors for people with disabilities in travel and tourism.” Its website provides “information for visitors and residents with a wide range of disabilities, as well as for older travelers,” including details about disability-friendly lodgings, cultural attractions, transportation, restaurants, and much more.

 

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My favorite statute: Leonard Crunelle’s Dove Girl in the Grant Park Rose Garden. The barricades were there as they were setting up for Lollapalooza (August 2008).

City Highlights

Chicago’s famous skyline includes two buildings that will interest anyone who wants to see four states (on a clear day) from one vantage point—and isn’t afraid of heights.

  • 360 Chicago: Located on the 94th floor of Chicago’s iconic John Hancock Center, this open-air skywalk offers 360-degree views of the city. (Mobility access details are available here.)
  • The Skydeck: On the 105th floor of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), visitors can take in a 50-mile view. If you’re feeling especially brave, you can venture into one of the glass-enclosed ledges that protrude nearly 4 ½ feet from the building—and look straight through the glass floor to Wacker Drive, over 1,300 feet below. (Details about mobility access can be found here.)

If you’re a fan of live performances, you’ll definitely want to see what theatrical shows are currently playing. You can also find fun in Chicago’s famous Millennium Park, which plays host to many concerts and other outdoor events and is one of the city’s best people-watching spots.

And don’t miss an opportunity to explore Chicago’s waterways by ship. A number of options are available, including dining cruises from Mystic Blue and Dinner Dance Cruises, both of which follow routes with beautiful views of the city. These lines accommodate wheelchairs, but call ahead to make sure they can meet your needs.

 

Getting Around

Wheelchair users in Chicago have plenty of transportation options for exploring the city. Here are just a few of them:

  • The Chicago Trolley Company offers hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus and trolley tours of top attractions (such as museums and monuments) and some of Chicago’s distinctive neighborhoods. (773-638-5000)
  • Run by the Open Doors Organization, the Open Taxis program serves as a dispatcher for wheelchair-accessible vehicles throughout Chicago. (1-855-928-1010)
  • Chicago Disability Transit Services serve both the city and its suburbs. (312-335-1244)
  • Additional information on accessible transportation options can be found at Choosing Chicago, the site run by the city’s official marketing organization.

In my next post, I’ll take you to another great destination for wheelchair users. This city is renowned for its history—and for the famous green monster that lives there! Any guesses?!?!