8 Best Wheelchair-Friendly Attractions In Washington DC

Washington DC is the nation’s capital, a place that welcomes visitors from all over the world. There’s a lot to see and do, and one of the best things about it is that many of the attractions in DC are totally free!

But for those with disabilities who require an assistive device such as a wheelchair, it’s important to know before you go what attractions are welcoming to wheelchairs. The good news is that this historically rich city has a ton of wheelchair-friendly things to do. Read on to find out the best wheelchair-friendly attractions in Washington DC to help you plan your next trip to DC!

1. The White House

Remember, the White House has had a wheelchair user as its occupant before, which is why it was one of the first buildings to be wheelchair-accessible in the city. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had features added in the 1930s and the White House has only become more accessible since.

For those who want to take part in a tour of the People’s House, reserve your tour in advance and go to the visitors’ entrance for your scheduled tour just like everyone else. From here you can go by ramp to the Ground Floor and take an elevator to the State Floor. You can also borrow a wheelchair during the tour if you need it; just let the guard at the visitors’ entrance know.

2. The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is yet another accessible attraction in DC. It has accessible drinking fountains and restrooms, and you are not required to use stairs in order to get to it. In fact, you can access both the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials from an elevator located in the ground floor lobby. The National Park Service can also provide a wheelchair if you need it for touring. They’re free for two hours.

Disabled Parking - Lincoln Memorial
Image by Joshua Bedford on Unsplash: The Lincoln Memorial is one of the best things to do with limited mobility in Washington DC.

3. The Smithsonian

The Smithsonian is comprised of several museums, each of which has a wheelchair entrance and wheelchairs available on loan. The National Museum of History has an accessible entrance off Constitution Avenue. It has companion restrooms as well as wheelchair-accessible restrooms.

The Air and Space Museum has an accessible IMAX theater and an accessible planetarium. Many of the interactive exhibits are also accessible to wheelchairs, as well as the restrooms.

Finally, the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of Art can’t be missed – and won’t be if you’re a wheelchair user. It has two wheelchair-accessible entrances and beautiful Sculpture Gardens that are wheelchair-friendly.

4. Shopping

No vacation would be complete without a little shopping – and there’s a lot of wheelchair-friendly places to get your shop on in DC.

In the historic neighborhood of Georgetown, you can find a variety of wheelchair-friendly shops, boutiques, and restaurants. You can easily take a taxi or bus to the area if you don’t want to hunt for a parking spot, but if you do want to drive, stick to the streets near the waterfront, where disabled parking spots abound.

In Chinatown, Gallery Place is very wheelchair-friendly. It can be accessed easily by the metro and has large sidewalks easily traversed by wheelchairs. This area of the city has many dining, entertainment, and shopping venues that welcome wheelchair users easily.

5. The National Mall

Contrary to its name, the National Mall isn’t a shopping mall. It’s an open space that is lined by the finest museums and monuments that DC has to offer. It has wheelchair-accessible parking surrounding it and is easy to navigate for those with mobility issues.

6. The National Zoo

Washington DC also happens to have a great zoo. It’s free and has plenty of disabled parking as well as accessible restrooms and exhibits. In fact, every exhibit at the zoo is wheelchair-friendly, but the zoo can be quite hilly. If you think you’d prefer an electronic scooter to help you tour the park, the zoo has them available for rent.

7. Arlington National Cemetery

This attraction has a somber air to it, but it’s still a must-see for any DC trip. And if you’re in a wheelchair, it’s also very accessible. In fact, they have a tour accessible to wheelchairs that allows you to learn all about the cemetery.

8. Transportation

Washington DC has great public transportation – and it’s wheelchair-accessible. The metro is a great way to get around the city. The stations are large and accessible with extra-wide gates and elevators to make those in wheelchairs feel welcome.

The DC bus system is also very accessible for those in wheelchairs. Every bus in the fleet is equipped with a low floor ramp or lift. Buses can take you all over the city, too – sometimes to places that the Metro cannot.

Disabled Parking - Washington DC Metro
Image by Chris Grafton on Unsplash: Do you pay for handicap parking in DC? Not if you take the metro!

Is Washington DC wheelchair friendly? The answer to that is yes! So plan your next trip to the nation’s capital with confidence that Washington is designed with wheelchair accessibility in mind.

Featured image by Caleb Perez on Unsplash