Cities for All
Thes 25 towns are generally considered the most disability-friendly cities in the world. The list was compiled based on research from such respected disability publications as 101 Mobility, New Mobility, Access2Mobility and more.
Surprised? Don’t be. With all of the amazing monuments and attractions, D.C. has done an outstanding job over the years of creating wide sidewalks and pathways for wheelchair users. Not to mention that the Metro is generally considered one of the best transit systems for the handicapped.
Just know this – in 2013, Berlin won the European Union City Access Award for its efforts to create one of the most accessible cities in all of Europe.
The home of the Space Needle has been widely praised for its implementation of a universal city design, allowing for more disability friendly restaurants, public spaces, transportation and more.
Like Berlin, Milan is a winner of the European Union Access City Awards, in 2016, for turning this classic city from virtually inaccessible to one of the best on the continent for the handicapped.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The tremendous weather is an obvious advantage, but the city also has a bus system that is entirely accessible as well as a complementary Sun Van Paratransit Service.
Not only is the transportation system handicapped-accessible, but numerous ferry options that explore the country’s fjords are also wheelchair-friendly.
The Biggest Little City In The World is more than just a gaming destination. Reno has been noted for its plethora of accessible housing, rehabilitation centers and a strong public transportation system – with discounts for the disabled – that also includes a door-to-door paratransit service.
As Billy Joel once sang, Vienna waits for you. This is another of the most accessible cities in the world, with drop-curbs, a handicapped-friendly public transportation system, and an added emphasis of making sure the historical sites are also accessible.
The city has drawn kudos for addressing shortcomings with some of its most popular attractions, particularly trails and parks that can be difficult for manual wheelchair users. A task force has been assembled to assess the city for ADA compliance.
In addition to the many accessible areas of this great city, as well as its plethora of accessible hotel rooms, there’s this – the Guinness Brewery tour is handicapped accessible.
One of the best cities in the world known for its tight-knit disabled community, highlighted by the annual Disability Pride Parade. Taking it a step further, the city has commissioned the University of Illinois to identify the accessibility of buildings, facilities, sidewalks and stores to make its renowned shopping and attractions even more disabled-friendly.
Normally, wheelchairs and beaches don’t mix. But this Caribbean paradise recently instituted its ‘Fully Accessible Barbados’ program, with a goal of making sure its tourist attractions are for all – and hotels followed suit by making their accommodations fully accessible, including beach wheelchairs that allow customers to enjoy the ocean.
Arguably the best handicapped-accessible transportation system in the country, with its priority seating on the Metro and a paratransit system that offers rides seven days a week, 23 hours a day.
High on the list of any handicapped person with a travel bug should be Sydney, one of the most accessible cities in the world. Many restaurants and stores have flat entries and even such iconic sites as the Sydney Opera House not only are accessible, but have special tours for the handicapped.
San Francisco, California
Another place that’s a bit of a surprise, especially given the city’s hilly reputation. But aside from the famed cable cars, which are not handicapped accessible, the city’s main hubs of transportation – BART, Caltrain and MUNI – most certainly are. And all the major attractions, including Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf, are as well.
Better known for being a financial hub and not generally considered a huge tourist draw among German cities, Frankfurt nonetheless has an impressive ‘Museum Row’ on the banks of the Main River, all of which are handicapped accessible.
Las Vegas, Nevada
One thing you can count on in Sin City – arguably the world’s best collection of handicapped-accessible hotel rooms, featuring transfer showers, built-in seats in the tubs, and wide swaths of room to maneuver.
Don’t necessarily be put off by the fact that this is one of the oldest cities in the world, with miles and miles of cobblestone streets. Its holiest sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Wailing Wall, are handicapped accessible.
Now this is no surprise at all. With Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, this is one of the most handicapped-friendly cities in the world.
Warsaw and Krakow, Poland
It’s hard to talk about one without the other. Only two hours apart, the two cities are connected by an accessible train ride. Warsaw, especially, has many hotels with accessible rooms and roll-in showers, and even its historical areas have undergone improvements to be wheelchair-friendly.
It’s not a stretch to imagine that such a great college town would be part of this list. The city does a tremendous job, not only with transportation services but also offers emergency help for fixing wheelchairs.
Pedestrian-only tourist areas, dropped curbs, wheelchair ramps, accessible museums and attractions …. What’s not to like about this capital city?
From its bus system to its attractions, Baltimore is one of the more disability friendly cities in the U.S. The National Aquarium is widely acclaimed as one of best venues for those in a wheelchair.
The city has taken progressive steps to develop its own code of practice for everything from tourist attractions to buildings and sidewalks.