Bean Town. Boston Strong. Revolutionary history, sport, tradition and beer.
One of the oldest and most historic cities in the United States, Boston was founded in 1630. The site of the Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre and the Siege of Bunker Hill, Boston is attractive to many interested in the American Revolutionary War. A very accessible city, it is a must see for the historically or sports-interested traveler.
The city’s accessibility is good across all areas — in access to public transportation, taxis, sidewalks, attractions and hotels. The City of Boston sets the benchmark for accessibility in the Northeast United States. Wheelchair users can arrive to the city and rely fully on public transportation to get to major sights, nearly all of which are accessible.
Boston’s public transportation system is mostly accessible & wheelchair friendly. The subways and bus system serve all points in Boston as well as Boston Logan International Airport.
All fares are $2.65 each way on the Boston subway or city bus. With a reloadable pre-paid CharlieCard, which is free at any station, fares are $2.10. By completing and mailing a reduced fare permit, seniors (ages 65+) and disabled patrons are granted a discount rate of up to 50% each way. The reduced fare permit details and application can be found at www.mbta.com (PDF). Fares on the commuter rail vary based on distance traveled, but never exceed $10.00 (full fare) or $5.00 for the elderly/disabled. More details on Boston’s subway, bus and commuter rail systems can be found below.
MBTA Subway, “The ‘T'”
The Boston “T” is largely accessible to wheelchair users. All subway trains can be accessed from the platform by a wheelchair, but not all stations are equipped with elevators to the street level. The Green Line subway train serves a large number of inaccessible stations. Green Line subway cars are different from those on other lines because of the large gap between train car and station platform. Green Line trains are equipped with ramps to bridge this gap. When riding the Green Line, wheelchair users should wait at the front of the train to get the attention of the train operator. The train’s operator can extend the ramp onto the platform. Wheelchair users can board/disembark trains independently on all other lines. For more information on using the Green Line in a wheelchair, see www.mbta.com.
The following MBTA subway stations are not wheelchair accessible:
- Red Line — Valley Road, Wollaston
- Blue Line — Bowdoin, Government Center
- Green Line — Allston Street, Babcock Street, Back of the Hill, Beaconsfield, Blindfold Street, Brandon Hall, BU West, Boylston, Chestnut Hill, Chestnut Hill Avenue, Chiswick Road, Dean Road, Eliot, Englewood Avenue, Fairbanks Street, Fenwood Road, Government Center, Griggs Street, Hawes Street, Hynes Convention Center, Kent Street, Mission Park, Newton Highlands, Packards Corner, Pleasant Street, Riverway, South Street, St. Paul Street, Summit Avenue, Sutherland Road, Symphony, Tappan Street, Waban, Warren Street
- Orange Line — Accessible at all stations.
- Silver Lines 1/2/4/5 — Accessible at all stations/stops.
For a map of the Boston Subway “T” system, click here (PDF). All fares are $2.65 each way on the Boston subway or city bus. With a reloadable, pre-paid CharlieCard, which is free at any station, fares are $2.10. All trips originating on the Silver Line at the airport are free.
The Silver Line is a “subway” bus line that runs on city streets under diesel power, but also in underground tunnels powered by electric current. The Silver Line provides the most direct access between downtown Boston and Boston Logan International Airport. With stops at every airport terminal’s baggage claim, the fully accessible Silver Line 1 (Lines 2, 4 and 5 do not serve the airport) runs every 5-10 minutes and makes the following stops: Silver Line Way, World Trade Center, Courthouse and South Station. South Station is the connection point for subway, commuter rail and Amtrak service.
MBTA Bus System
Boston’s public bus system is accessible to the disabled and wheelchair users. All buses are equipped with lowered floors and wheelchair ramps/lifts, as well as spaces, tie downs and restraints for wheelchairs. Most buses have space for two wheelchairs. For bus times, schedules and directions, click here.
The Silver Line is a bus which operates on streets and in underground tunnels which connect to subway lines, commuter rail and Amtrak at South Station. It is marketed as a subway line, but is actually served by buses.
MBTA Commuter Rail
Numerous outlying cities as far as Providence, RI are served by the MBTA commuter rail. All stations are accessible. The maximum fare is $10.00, or $5.00 for those with a disability card or a noticeable disability (i.e.: wheelchair passengers). This 50% discount on Commuter Rail tickets can be received at the MBTA South Station automated kiosks without completing the reduced fare application. For information, routes and fares for the commuter rail system, see www.mbta.com.
Accessible Taxi Services
Boston has a fleet of wheelchair taxis which can accommodate both manual and powered wheelchairs. The accessible taxi vans have a lowered floor and are equipped for rear (lift gate) entry. Wheelchair taxis can be ordered on demand and typically arrive within 20 to 40 minutes in Boston.
Metro Cab of Boston
(617) 782-5500 — 24-hour dispatch
Wheelchair taxis are charged at the same rate as a normal taxi. Boston’s city-approved fares are below:
Flag Drop (First 1/7 mile) — $2.60
Each additional 1/7 mile — $0.35
Waiting time (per hour) — $28.00
Boston Logan Airport is charged on the meter and is not subject to a flat rate.
Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) is accessible to the disabled and wheelchair users. If you will require a loaner wheelchair to traverse the airport and terminal or need another type of disability assistance, contact your airline directly. For more information, or to read frequently asked questions about air travel with a mobility disability, consult the Wheelchair Users’ Guide to Air Travel.
Boston Logan has four terminals – A, B, C and E. While there is a shuttle which runs between terminals, travelers should know which terminal their flight departs from so they are dropped off at the correct location. The MBTA’s Silver Line service stops at each terminal.
- Terminal A — Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Delta Shuttle and Sun Country Airlines.
- Terminal B — Air Canada, Air Canada Express, American Airlines, PenAir, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, United Express, US Airways, US Airways Express, US Airways Shuttle and Virgin America.
- Terminal C — Cape Air, Emirates and JetBlue Airways.
- Terminal E — Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Copa Airlines, El Al, Hainan Airlines, Iberia, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Porter Airlines, SATA International, Southwest Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, TACV, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and WOW Air.
Attractions & Sights — Premium with CityPass
The majority of Boston’s must-see attractions are accessible and wheelchair friendly. First time visitors to Boston should purchase the CityPASS, which provides admission to five of Boston’s most popular attractions at a 47% discount. Included in the pass are the following:
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The MFA is one of the world’s great art museums with the finest collection of Monets outside of Paris, treasures from Egypt and the ancient world, and a collection of Asian art unrivaled in the Western world. On display in the Art of the Americas Wing are 5,000 glorious examples of art, including the iconic silver Liberty Bowl by Paul Revere.
Old State House —OR— Harvard Museum of Natural History
Be Revolutionary! The Freedom Trail comes alive at the Old State House — Boston’s Revolutionary Museum! Experience the fiery spirit of the American Revolution with dramatic programs and tours, fun and engaging exhibits and restored period rooms filled with rare 18th century treasures.
Explore the University’s most visited museum: dinosaurs, meteorites, rare minerals and hundreds of animals. Get close to the world’s only mounted Kronosaurus, a 42-foot-long marine reptile; a 1,642-pound amethyst geode; and whale skeletons. Don’t miss the famous exhibit of 3,000 Glass Flowers.
New England Aquarium
Explore the Secret World of Penguins. Come to the New England Aquarium and learn all about those beloved birds that fly underwater—penguins! There are more than 80 birds and three different species in our colony. With their signature waddles and festive attire, it’s amazing to watch them bound around their island territories and rocket through the water of their 150,00-gallon exhibit.
Museum of Science
Make one remarkable discovery after another at the Museum of Science! Visit more than 700 interactive exhibits; watch live animal presentations and science demonstrations; witness an indoor lightning storm in the Theater of Electricity; and more! Other features (requiring separate admission) include the 3-D Digital Cinema, the Butterfly Garden, the Charles Hayden Planetarium and the Mugar Omni Theater – New England’s only IMAX® Dome screen.
The Skywalk is New England’s only observatory, located on the 50th floor of the Prudential Center. Skywalk offers breathtaking views of Boston, and beyond, as well as an audio tour, Dreams of Freedom Museum and multimedia theater featuring Wings Over Boston. For a one-of-a-kind dining experience, visit the Top of the Hub restaurant on the 52nd floor.
Other Top Attractions & Sights
While the CityPass provides access to five of the city’s finest attractions, Boston is a large city and there is still much more to see. After visiting the CityPass attractions, visitors should also see the following treasures:
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile, red-lined route that leads visitors to 16 historically significant sites. These sites include museums and meetinghouses, churches, and burial grounds. For more information on the Freedom Trail and the sites positioned along it, visit the trail’s official website at www.thefreedomtrail.org. Detailed information on many of the most popular sites is provided below and is marked with (FT). The start of the Freedom Trail is at Boston Common. A visitor’s center is present at the start of the trail with maps and brochures available.
Boston Common (FT)
Opened in 1634, Boston Common is America’s oldest public park. Covering 50 acres in downtown Boston, the park is bounded by Tremont, Park, Beacon, Charles and Boylston streets. Steeped in almost four centuries of history, Boston Common is now a center for public activity and serves as a host site for concerts, performances, protests, softball games and ice skating.
Nearest MBTA Subway: Directly at Red/Green Lines, Park Street station
Massachusetts State House (FT)
The Massachusetts State House, built in 1798, stands on land which was formerly a cow pasture owned by John Hancock. Standing across the street from Boston Common, the State House is the center of Massachusetts government and is adorned with a golden dome. Stunning and beautiful, the State House is wheelchair accessible and open to the public on weekdays from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tours are available from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., but must be reserved in advance by calling (617) 727-3676. For more information on guided tours at the State House, click here.
Nearest MBTA Subway: 2 blocks from Red/Green Lines, Park Street station
Faneuil Hall (FT)
Boston’s old market building, built in 1742, later became the site of revolutionary activity, political discourse and historic free speech. Samuel Adams, Daniel Webster, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Lucy Stone and many others have spoken at Faneuil Hall in support of the causes of freedom throughout history. Today, the first floor is lined with merchants and shops, making the Hall a center of commerce to this day. Open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, Faneuil Hall is wheelchair accessible.
Nearest MBTA Subway: 2 blocks from Blue/Orange Lines, State Street station
Old North Church (FT)
Christ Episcopal Church, or Old North Church, was opened in 1723 and is the oldest standing place of worship in Boston. The church is historically significant because its steeple was used by Paul Revere to display the two lanterns which alerted American patriots that the British would attack by sea. The Church and its sanctuary can be accessed by wheelchair. Episcopal worship services are held each Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Nearest MBTA Subway: 0.4 miles from Orange/Green Lines, Haymarket station
USS Constitution & Museum (FT)
The USS Constitution or “Old Ironsides,” launched in 1797, is the oldest commissioned warship currently afloat. She saw action in the War of 1812 during an engagement with the British ship HMS Guerriere. The Constitution was also utilized during the Barbary Wars in the West Indies, Brazil and the West African coastline. Just steps away from Old Ironsides is the USS Constitution Museum, which is fully accessible to wheelchair users. The museum recounts the story of the ship’s more than 200 year history with hands-on exhibits and more. While there is no entry fee to the museum, a donation of $5 to $10 per person is recommended.
For more information or to plan your experience, visit www.ussconstitutionmuseum.org.
Bunker Hill Monument (FT)
Completed in 1842, the 221-foot granite obelisk stands as a memorial to those in the colonial militia who fought and lost their lives on June 17, 1775 in the first battle of the Revolutionary War. Despite being referred to as the Battle of Bunker Hill, the battle actually took place on Breed’s Hill, which is where the monument stands. While the colonial force lost the battle, they stood tall against a force of 3,000 British Redcoats. The fully accessible Bunker Hill Museum is located at the memorial site. The museum houses artifacts from the battle and shares the history of the war’s first military engagement.
Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. Opened in 1912, the park offers one of, if not the best game day experiences in professional sports. The stadium is always sold out and packed with a capacity of under 38,000. Despite its age, the stadium has been made to be accessible for wheelchair users, with wheelchair seats/spots located in some of the finest areas of the ballpark. In its first year, Fenway Park hosted the 1912 World Series and has hosted as recently as 2013. For the sports fan or visitor to Boston, Fenway Park is a must see as the Red Sox are a central part of life in Bean Town.
Nearest MBTA Subway: 2 blocks from Green Line, Kenmore station
Samuel Adams Brewery
Contrary to what many believe, the Samuel Adams beer company does not trace its roots back to revolutionary America, but was instead founded in 1984. Still, the brewery has become an attractive tourist attraction for visitors to Boston. Tours lasting an hour are offered Monday through Saturday and are accessible to those in wheelchairs. For more information on the tour and the times it is offered, see www.samueladams.com.
Nearest MBTA Subway: 0.3 miles from Orange Line, Stony Brook station
Hotels & Accommodations
Due to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the vast majority of hotels in the United States offer some degree of wheelchair accessibility and rooms with roll-in showers.
When deciding on a particular hotel, it is important to seek out information on access before showing up at the hotel. Ask about everything—door width, thresholds, shower/tub set-up, bed height, grab bars, shower chairs—to avoid a surprise when you arrive.
If you’d like to get a head-start on your search, check out my list of 7 wheelchair accessible hotels in Boston, Massachusetts — each hotel is one that I have personally stayed at, and I have the pictures to prove it!
Professional Sports Teams
Boston has a storied sports history, with major professional sports teams including the Red Sox, Patriots and Bruins having each claimed their league titles. The teams’ ballparks and stadiums each offer accessible seating and wheelchair access and provide exciting game day experiences. Links to the team-specific accessibility information and ticket office phone numbers are listed below.
NFL – New England Patriots (Gilette Stadium)
Website – www.patriots.com
(508) 384-9191 (Voice) // (508) 384-4389 (TDD/TTY)
MLB – Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park)
Website – www.boston.redsox.mlb.com
(877) 733-7699 (Voice) // (617) 226-6644 (TTY)
NBA – Boston Celtics (TD Garden)
Website – www.tdbanknorthgarden.com
(617) 523-6050 (Voice)
NHL – Boston Bruins (TD Garden)
Website – www.tdbanknorthgarden.com
(617) 624-1950 (Voice)
MLS – New England Revolution (Gilette Stadium)
Website – www.patriots.com
(508) 384-9191 (Voice) // (508) 384-4389 (TDD/TTY)