7 Best Wheelchair-Friendly Attractions In California
California is a state known for having a ton of fun things to do. And many of these activities can be done if you’re in a wheelchair! Ready to start planning your trip to the Golden State? Here’s a list of the seven best wheelchair-friendly attractions in California to make your trip a memorable one.
Getting around during wheelchair vacations in California
California is actually one of the most wheelchair-accessible places in the US. The majority of cities are ADA-compliant, so it’s generally easy for disabled individuals to get around. If you’re traveling in the Los Angeles area, bus and train services are accessible for wheelchair users and come equipped with ramps and lifts for boarding platforms. You can even get a special card issued to help Metro staff know you might need assistance.
There’s also a Dash and Commuter Express option that’s operated by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. This can help get you around the inter-city areas in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Cabs are also prepared to handle transporting wheelchair users if you call ahead of time to request a van. One tip is to ask your hotel concierge for help coordinating your transportation during your stay.
Here’s a list of fun things to do once you’re in California…
1. Museums like LACMA
There are so many wonderful museums all over the great state of California, and they’re one of the best wheelchair accessible things to do in Los Angeles as well. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has more than 35 million specimens and tons of dinosaur and nature exhibits. All exhibits can be accessed by wheelchair users and there are multiple lifts and elevators around the museum to accommodate.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is another can’t-miss. It attracts over one million visitors every year and is a perfect spot for art lovers, featuring everything from Picasso to Frida Kahlo. It’s also very accessible for wheelchair users. Another favorite is the Getty Center, which has tons of beautiful artwork and gorgeous views. The museum can be accessed with a special tram that takes you from the parking lot to the top of the hill. The Getty is also very easy to get around if you’re in a wheelchair.
2. Amusement parks like Disneyland
Most California tourists flock to amusement parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios, for good reason: these attractions are such a fun way to spend the day, especially if you’re traveling as a family. Many of the rides at Disneyland are accessible and they even offer special passes with separate lines so you can often jump right to the front without waiting like everyone else. You can also rent wheelchairs or electric scooters to use for your entire visit. And of course, there’s tons of disabled parking places for your convenience if you have your disabled parking permit.
The same accommodations can be found at Universal Studios Theme Park as well. And they’ll give you the added bonus of an Attraction Assistance Pass to get you to the front of every line! Plus, the park has elevators and trams that can help you get around easier in your wheelchair. Just do a little digging on each amusement park’s website ahead of your trip to find out how to make your visit easy.
3. Tours like the Warner Bros. Studio Tour
If you’re interested in wheelchair-accessible tours in Los Angeles, there are some fabulous ones that can give you peeks at the homes of celebrities (through companies like Starline Tours) or behind the scenes of your favorite TV shows and movies (like a tour of the Warner Bros. studio).
These types of tours can often accommodate wheelchair users if you call ahead of time to let them know what you need. You can definitely still take advantage of these fun tours even if you need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to do it in.
4. Beaches like Santa Monica beach
Soak up the ocean air at one of the many wheelchair-accessible beaches in California. The Santa Monica beach is one of the most popular, partly because it includes the Santa Monica Pier, which has carnival-like games and attractions. There’s also a paved path that runs along the sand, so you can roll by the water without any problems.
If you’re not sure which other beaches will work for wheelchair users, go online and look them up beforehand. There should be tourist information that can help you double-check which beaches will give you easy access.
5. Entertainment like the Hollywood Bowl
Most venues in the Los Angeles area are ADA-compliant, so you can take in a concert, comedy show, or play with virtually no problems. One of the best options is to see a show at the Hollywood Bowl since it’s one of the area’s most popular venues. The outdoor amphitheater has plenty of accessible seating arrangements, so you can truly enjoy the music.
When you’re booking tickets for any venue, remember to check with the staff to make sure you have easy access to disabled parking and the venue in general.
6. Shopping like Rodeo Drive
No trip to California would be complete without some major shopping. There are tons of options to choose from. Higher end shopping is available on the famed Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, which consists of about three blocks of luxury shops. Sidewalks in this area are wide enough to easily accommodate wheelchairs while you do your shopping.
Other great outdoor shopping areas include Hollywood and Highland Center and The Grove, which both offer an accessible way to get around with elevators and ramps. The Grove is also great because it has one of the flattest surfaces to make your trip an easy one.
If you’re traveling during the summer and want some air conditioning, the Beverly Center is an eight-story indoor shopping center that’s completely ADA-compliant. You might even spot a star or two at any of these shopping meccas.
California is also well known for its wonderful wineries in Northern California. There are many that are also very wheelchair-friendly. Your best bet is to head to Yelp, where each winery details their accommodations; alternatively, searching “best wheelchair-accessible winery tours” should bring up some options.
Be sure to call or email each winery before you arrive so you have all the info you need on their disabled parking and wheelchair accessibility. Then you can enjoy your wine without having to worry about how to get around safely.
There’s a multitude of other activities that can make your time in California a memorable one. Remember to do your research ahead of time so you can spend your energy having fun instead of thinking through the details of wheelchair accessibility.