10 accessible experiences in San Francisco

10 accessible experiences in San Francisco

San Francisco is a destination of great scenic beauty. Colorful Victorian houses intermingle with skyscrapers and the summer fog beautifully covers the Golden Gate Bridge. The microclimates of the neighborhoods give a special charm to every corner of the city.

If you plan to travel to San Francisco, check out this week’s post. We recommend 10 accessible experiences.

  1. Enjoy the best views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge

Undoubtedly, the Golden Gate Bridge is a symbol of the city. The beautiful contrast of the orange-red color against the blue sky amazes all visitors.

There are several places where you can go for spectacular views. For example, the Crissy Field recreation area, which also has a reserved parking area for people with reduced mobility, accessible trails and picnic tables, adapted restrooms and amphibious wheelchairs upon request.

Fort Point National Historic Site has become another popular overlook. In addition, you can go inside the fortification, which has accessible parking, restrooms, entrance and second floor.

If you want to see the bridge from the north, one option is to travel to the Marin Headlands.


2.    Take a trip to Alcatraz Island

Discover what is hidden behind the walls of the most famous prison in the history of the United States. First you will have to take a ferry at Pier 33. The boats and boarding areas of Alcatraz Cruises are accessible. You can also ride the accessible tram around the island and avoid the steep slopes.

3.    Meet the sea lions at Pier 39

Getting up close to the sea lions at Pier 39 is one of the most fun things to do in San Francisco. However, be careful because it is quite a touristy place.

There are access ramps for wheelchair users and four elevators to get to the second floor, so not only can you see the cute animals, but you can also eat seafood at one of the restaurants or go shopping if you feel like it.

4.    Explore Golden Gate Park

Peace reigns in Golden Gate Park. This extensive urban park occupies an area of 4.12 square kilometers. It is filled with gardens, museums and wildlife.

Step inside and unwind by smelling the colorful flowers of the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Also worth a visit are the Conservatory of Flowers – accessible to motorized and manual wheelchairs – and the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum – free admission for people with disabilities must be requested in advance at access@famsf.org-.

5.    Be amazed by exhibits at the California Academy of Sciences and the Aquarium of the Bay

The California Academy of Sciences is located in Golden Gate Park, but we think it deserves a special mention. Curious minds can’t miss one of the largest natural history museums in the world.

All of the exhibits in the academy, planetarium and rainforest have ramps suitable for wheelchair users. The accessible entrance to the building is at 55 Music Concourse Dr. Also, on the official website you can check that they have more accessible services.

If you want to expand your knowledge about aquatic animals, buy your tickets for the Aquarium of the Bay. As specified on their official website, they provide wheelchairs and the facilities are almost fully accessible.

6.    Photograph the Painted Ladies

San Francisco built more than 48,000 Victorian homes between 1849 and 1915. Among the most famous are the Painted Ladies. Their colors and architecture stand out among the skyscrapers in the background of the city.

You can capture an excellent photograph of them from Alamo Square Park, which has an accessible entrance at Hayes and Scott Streets.

7.    See the houseboats of Sausalito

Escape to Sausalito, a quiet town in the San Francisco Bay Area. This place is characterized by its houseboats where many bohemian artists settled during World War II.

You can take the accessible ferry.  On the way you can also see the Golden Gate Bridge from another perspective.

8.    Tour Chinatown

San Francisco is home to the second largest Chinese community in the country. Although the streets of Chinatown are usually crowded, it is very interesting to visit. It is in the center of the city, and you will find a variety of traditional restaurants and temples.

9.    Unwind on an accessible beach

Perhaps because of its changeable weather, San Francisco is not usually a beach destination. However, there will be times when you feel like unwinding on the city’s shoreline.

Baker Beach is one of the best accessible beaches. It has accessible parking, accessible restrooms in the North Lot, accessible toilets in the South Lot, adjacent picnic area and amphibious chairs located in the north parking lot.

Find more information compiled in our Accessible Guide to San Francisco.

10.    Visit Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument is a large forest inhabited by majestic redwoods that exceed 75 meters in height. It is a thirty-five minute drive from downtown San Francisco.

The park has some accessible trails. If you go in your own or rented vehicle, you should reserve parking in advance. You can also opt for the shuttle service.

Tell us, what other accessible experiences would you recommend in San Francisco?

Sources: National Park Service (1)(2)(3)(4), Alcatraz Citycruises, Pier 39, Conservatory of Flowers, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Recreation Parks, Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods


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