Accessibility in the most iconic places in the United States

Accessibility in the most iconic places in the United States

The United States is home to some of the most iconic and recognized monuments in the world. In order everyone can visit and enjoy these places without limitations, it is essential to consider their accessibility.

In this week’s post, we invite you to join us on an inclusive journey where we explore the innovative solutions that have been implemented in those featured sites.

Cloud Gate, Chicago

The famous Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean, has become more than just a sculpture. Like a giant mirror, it reflects both the architectural grandeur of Chicago and the diversity of the people who inhabit it. In addition, it is a beautiful meeting point where you can take pictures and share special moments.

The work of the sculptor Anish Kapoor is located in Millennium Park. This artistic green space was designed for all visitors, regardless of their abilities. As the official website of the City of Chicago points out, the park has accessible parking in all its underground garages and accessible restrooms. Its entrances also have the appropriate characteristics.

Statue of Liberty, New York City

In the vast and diverse history of the United States, there is one icon that shines with a special brilliance: the Statue of Liberty. This imposing sculpture stands majestically on its own island, which can only be reached by a wheelchair-accessible ferry.

The Statue City Cruises website states that it is possible to book tickets for the ferry service (round trip), as well as to visit the Crown Reserve, Ellis Island and the adjoining museums.

The crown of the statue is only accessible by the stairs. However, you can enter the museum and the pedestal, where visitors can see the monument up close. Elevators, ramps, and restrooms are accessible. There are also wheelchair loans (subject to availability and on a first-come, first-served basis).

For more complete information on accessibility, we recommend you visit the National Park Service website.

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

The Gateway Arch stands out In the heart of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, for its uniqueness and grandeur. Designed by architect Eero Saarinen, this impressive arch-shaped structure represents the exploration and expansion of the United States to the West. Its elegant and curved shape evokes the idea of an ever-expanding horizon, inviting visitors to dream, innovate and venture beyond the known.

The tram ride to the top of the monument is currently inaccessible to wheelchair users. The official Gateway Arch website specifies that these mobility devices, scooters or strollers are not allowed on the observation platform. Also, there are at least 96 steps.

The National Park Service website indicates that the accessible museum under the arch has a screen that replicates the experience for those who cannot go up. Also, the entire monument is best viewed from below. You will find gardens with paved paths from where you can take the best photographs.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge is an architectural marvel that connects the city of San Francisco with Marin County. Its construction, which took place during the Great Depression in the 1930s, was an astonishing achievement that pushed the limits of the time.

The famous bridge can be seen from different points to the north and south. The National Park Service has worked to promote accessibility in its surroundings.

Hollywood sign, Los Angeles

The Hollywood sign is a symbol that illuminates the dreams and aspirations of those who are drawn to the magic of movies. It is a beacon of hope, a window to glamor and a witness to constant change.

As we already mentioned in our Los Angeles Accessible City Guide, the Griffith Observatory is a good place to get the best views of the city and the sign. To get there, you can take a public bus that operates every day. The tour runs from the Vermont/Sunset Metro Red Line station to the Observatory. Thus, the vehicle fleet has elevators or ramps for wheelchairs.

National Mall, Washington, D.C.

The National Mall is a venue where history comes alive. Each step in this field transports us to momentous moments for the United States. From the majestic Capitol to the iconic Lincoln Memorial, each corner tells a unique story of struggle, freedom and perseverance. It is a reminder of the events and individuals that have shaped the country and have fought for its ideals.

All points of interest in the park are accessible to people with reduced mobility. As explained on the National Park Service website, wheelchairs are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The DC Circulator is a recommended option to see the tourist attractions more comfortably and quickly. The bus fleet is accessible and can accommodate wheelchairs or scooters.

Space Needle, Seattle

The Space Needle, with its futuristic shape and elegant design, stands as an iconic symbol of the city of Seattle, Washington. Built for the Universal Exhibition in 1962, it was conceived as a symbol of the technological and space advances of the time. Its revolutionary design, with its spire shape and observation deck at the top, captures the imagination and evokes a sense of exploration, daring and discovery.

As per the Space Needle’s website, the tower is accessible to wheelchair users. The staff will direct you to the ground floor entrance to the gift shop. They will also help you access the elevator.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore, with its towering faces carved into the stone, is an iconic monument in the heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is a testament to the power of the human imagination and the lasting impact that people who leave their mark on history can have.

The National Park Service notes that the architectural complex has a paved trail from Grand View Terrace to the viewing area. There is also an elevator to access the visitor center, an accessible entrance to the sculptor’s studio, wheelchair loan, a ramp at the main entrance, reserved parking spaces, and an accessible  cafeteria and gift shop.

Niagara Falls, New York

The majestic Niagara Falls is an iconic natural spectacle that captivates the hearts of millions around the world. We already mentioned them on our blog.

As we previously mentioned, the Niagara Falls State Park is accessible to people with reduced mobility. Most of the trails are wheelchair-accessible.

To discover the history of the place and comfortably visit its points of interest, you can take a tour on the tourist bus, as it is equipped with an elevator and meets accessibility standards. There is also the option of taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist, an electric boat that will bring you closer to the Falls and will give you a unique experience.

Tell us, which ones have you visited? What others would you add to our list?

Sources: City of Chicago, City Experiences, National Park Services (1)(2)(3)(4)(5), Gateway Arch, Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory, Space Needle, Niagara Falls State Park


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