6 Best Wheelchair-Friendly Attractions In New York

From the bustling byways of The Big Apple to the relentless roar of Niagara Falls and the precious peace of Lake Placid… New York State contains a diverse array of amazing attractions. The Empire State is the holiday destination of choice for millions of people every year. But is New York State a wheelchair-accessible destination? Let’s find out, and take a look at some of the best wheelchair-friendly attractions in New York.

Visiting New York With Limited Mobility

Visiting an unfamiliar destination when you have limited mobility can be an anxiety-provoking experience. Although the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) dictates that all public amenities in the US must have a specified level of accessibility, not every location is equally wheelchair-friendly. So is New York wheelchair-friendly?

In general, yes: New York State is a wheelchair-friendly destination. All of its urban areas, from gigantic New York City to the much smaller hubs of Ithaca and Albany, are very accessible. The natural wonders of New York State, such as Niagara Falls and Lake Placid in the Adirondacks, are well fitted out with accessibility infrastructure that makes them great nature locations for wheelchair users to visit.

Disabled Parking - Broadway NYC
Image by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash: Most Broadway theatres are wheelchair-friendly.

Getting Around New York In A Wheelchair

New York’s public transport, including taxis, buses, the NYC subway, and inter-city train services, is all very wheelchair-friendly. Traveling around New York City and New York State is very manageable for wheelchair users.

Wheelchair Accessible Vacations In New York State

There are so many fantastic wheelchair-friendly attractions to take in on a vacation to New York. With so many exciting and accessible attractions to choose from, it is a tough task to whittle them down to a manageable sized list. But that’s what we have tried to do!

So without further ado, here are 6 of the best wheelchair-friendly attractions in New York.

1. See A Broadway Musical

Catching a Broadway musical is a quintessential New York City experience. The Big Apple’s theatre district has a rich history, with some of the world’s most iconic stars gracing the stages of its charming, atmospheric theatres. While the large majority of theatres on Broadway are very wheelchair-friendly, unfortunately, some are not, due to unique structural issues with some of the older buildings. So it is a good idea to contact your theatre of choice before you visit.

2. Explore The American Museum Of Natural History

The American Museum of National History is home to an incredible array of natural artifacts. Most spectacularly, the museum is home to a full-sized (40-foot!) Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton fossil. The museum also contains many other out-of-this-world exhibits from the kingdom of Mother Nature. The American Museum of Natural History is very wheelchair-friendly, with every exhibit fully wheelchair-accessible and all floors serviced by public elevators.

3. Spend A Relaxing Weekend At A Lake Placid Lodge

Lake Placid is an area in Upstate New York. Located in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is the name of both the lake and the small town that sits on the lake’s southern shore. It’s a wonderful location to visit in order to relax, unwind, and take in the wild, picturesque northern New York State scenery.

Whiteface Lodge is a rustic timber-and-stone lodge on the banks of the lake and is famous for its amazing views of Adirondack Park, grand old dining rooms (complete with mounted antlers and chandeliers), and luxurious spa and pool area. It’s also wheelchair-friendly.

4. Cozy Up On A Central Park Carriage Ride

Central Park is stunning at any time of year. In each season, the “lungs of New York City” have a specific charm – particularly in the fall, which has an atmosphere that is particularly enchanting. With amber leaves carpeting the ground, hungry squirrels darting busily around, and a crisp, cool bite in the air, Central Park is a romantic location to visit.

A great way to explore the park is in a horse-drawn carriage, cozy under a warming blanket. Carriage rides can be booked in advance and are wheelchair-accessible. You can leave your wheelchair with a street vendor or fold it and take it in the carriage. When you are booking your carriage, just let them know that you are a wheelchair user.

Disabled Parking - Central Park New York
Image by Josh Couch on Unsplash: Central Park is beautiful, and accessible, all year round.

5. Dine Out In Chinatown NYC

New York’s Chinatown is a buzzing, multicolored district that is home to some of the best Chinese eateries outside of Shanghai. Not every restaurant in Chinatown is fully wheelchair-accessible, due to some restaurants being located at the bottom of tight staircases in the cramped basements of buildings. However, the large majority of Chinatown restaurants are wheelchair-friendly. Jing Fong is famous for its delectable dim sum. The restaurant’s huge dining room is on the second floor, but is served by elevators for wheelchair users.

6. Breathe The Fresh Air At Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park is home to the world-famous Niagara Falls waterfall, as well as lots of other areas of extreme scenic beauty. The park is accessible and very wheelchair-friendly with several ADA-compliant routes, viewing points, overlooks, and picnic sites, as well as plenty of disabled parking.

Most of the park’s main attractions, including the Niagara Scenic Trolley, the Observation Tower, Niagara Adventure Theater, Maid of the Mist, Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, the Visitor Center, and the Top of the Falls Restaurant are accessible to wheelchair users. Niagara Falls State Park is a breathtaking, and accessible, natural beauty attraction in Upstate New York that you will not want to miss.

Featured image by Colton Duke on Unsplash