Philadelphia is today the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the fifth largest in the United States. The city is steeped in American history and was once home to founding father Benjamin Franklin. With attractions such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, it is among the cities which must be visited by those interested in American history. At the time of America's founding, Philadelphia played a key role in the national political landscape. Due to its early prominence, the city is home to a total of 67 National Historic Landmarks. Among these are many of America's firsts: the national Capitol, hospital, stock exchange and zoo, among others.
The city is largely accessible to wheelchair users and receives an excellent rating in our scoring metric, with high marks across all categories -- access to public transportation, taxis, hotels, attractions and sidewalks. Barrier-free travel is possible for wheelchair users visiting the City of Brotherly Love.
Important Note: WheelchairTravel.org's founder, John Morris, visited Philadelphia in his wheelchair in February 2015 and filed the information contained in this report. It is the most up to date and complete review of accessibility in Philadelphia available from any resource today.
Other Top Attractions & Sights | Professional Sports Teams | Accommodations | Wheelchair Repair/Van Rental
Accessibility Score: Excellent (20/25)
The wheelchair accessibility score is calculated based on five critical factors. Further information is provided below in the each section of this travel guide. This score is based upon our own conservative assessment of the city's accessibility.
Philadelphia's public transportation system is largely, but not entirely accessible. By using a combination of subway, regional rail and bus service, wheelchair users can access all parts of the city. Information, tips and guidelines for using the city transportation network if you have a mobility challenge can be found below.
The Philadelphia subway system features three separate lines which travel both above and below ground. The subway and its train cars are wheelchair accessible, but not at all stations. Due to the gap between station platforms and the train cars, bridge plates are available at all accessible stations.
The following stations are NOT accessible. They do not have elevators and should not be used by wheelchair users.
- Market-Frankford Line (MFL/Blue) -- 11th Street, 15th Street, 34th Street, 40th Street, Margaret-Orthodox, Spring Garden.
- Broad Street Line (BSL/Orange) -- Chinatown, City Hall, Ellsworth-Federal, Erie, Fairmount, Huntington Park, Logan, Lombard-South, Race-Vine, Snyder, Susquehanna-Dauphin, Tasker-Morris, Wyoming.
The Norristown Line is largely inaccessible, but the following stations ARE wheelchair accessible.
- Norristown High Speed Line (Purple) -- The Morristown Line is only accessible at the following stations: 69th Street Transit Center, Gulph Mills, Norristown Transit Center, Wynnewood Road.
Regional Rail (RR)
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority operates an extensive regional rail (RR) network in all directions of Philadelphia. More than half of the network's 153 stations are wheelchair accessible. The five stations on the Central City Commuter Connection are accessible.
For a list of the accessible stations on the regional commuter rail, visit septa.org.
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is served by one line of the regional rail and offers service between the city center and all airport terminals. The airport train connects to the regional rail's Central City Connection, all other regional rail lines and the city's subway system.
Philadelphia operates a street trolley system, but the trolleys have steps and are NOT accessible to wheelchair users. The trolley system is often referred to as the Green Line. Trolleys serve some accessible regional rail and subway stations, but the trolley car cannot accommodate wheelchairs at any station.
City bus network
SEPTA operates 122 city bus routes within and around the city of Philadelphia. Service times and schedules vary among routes, but 19 individual "Night Owl" routes operate 24 hours per day.
All city buses are wheelchair accessible with lowered floors and wheelchair ramps or lifts. Buses offer spaces for wheelchair securement with provided tie downs and straps. Priority seating is available for the elderly and disabled.
Fares, route maps and schedules
Fares on the subway, city bus and trolley services are $2.25 each way. The Norristown High Speed (Purple) line is $2.75 per ride. Fares for seniors age 65+ are free with a valid Medicare card. Fares for the regional rail vary based upon distance traveled. Seniors are entitled to a 50% discount on regional rail tickets.
Disabled patrons with a valid Medicare card are granted a discount rate which varies based upon the service utilized. Disabled persons may also apply for a PA Disability Transit ID Card. Details on the application process can be found HERE.
- For a map of the subway, trolley and regional rail systems, CLICK HERE (PDF).
- To check for elevator outages at subway and rail stations, CLICK HERE.
- For bus times, schedules and directions, CLICK HERE.
- For information on the city's ADA Paratransit service and to see if you qualify, CLICK HERE.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of accessibility of the world's public transit systems, please use the comments section at the bottom of this page to share your experiences and any changes you may have noticed in Philadelphia.
Accessible Taxi Services
Philadelphia has a moderate size fleet of wheelchair taxis which can accommodate both manual and powered wheelchairs. The number of accessible taxis is growing constantly due to recently updated city policies. The accessible taxi vans have a lowered floor and are equipped for rear (lift gate) or side entry. Both versions have ramps and offer roll-in/out ability. Wheelchair taxis can be ordered on demand, but wait times are often 30-45 minutes.
(215) 222-9999 -- 24-hour dispatch
Wheelchair taxis are charged at the same rate as a normal taxi. Philadelphia's city-approved fares are below:
Flag Drop & first 1/10 mile -- $2.70
Per additional 1/10 mile -- $0.23
Waiting time (per 37.6 seconds) -- $0.23
Airport fee (on metered fares from PHL airport) -- $1.50
Fuel surcharge -- $0.45
Toll charges -- Passenger is responsible for double the toll cost
Flat Rate (Airport to/from downtown) -- $28.50
The airport flat rate is inclusive of the $1.50 airport fee. For trips TO the airport, the $28.50 rate covers all passengers. For trips FROM the airport, the $28.50 fare covers the passenger. Additional passengers are charged an additional $1.00 per person.
Charges for luggage or use of the taxi trunk are not permitted. Additional charges for wheelchair handling are illegal.
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is fully accessible to the disabled and wheelchair users.
Each terminal features ADA compliant restroom facilities. If arriving to the airport via the regional rail train, know your departure terminal in advance. To verify your departure terminal, contact your airline or visit the airport's website at www.phl.org.
Should you require a wheelchair at the airport or any other type of assistance, contact your airline directly prior to travel.
Attractions & Sights: Premium with CityPass
The majority of Philadelphia's must-see attractions are entirely accessible and wheelchair friendly. First time visitors to Philadelphia should purchase the City Pass, which provides admission to four of the city's most popular attractions at a 45% discount. Included in the pass are the following (attraction descriptions courtesy of CityPASS):
The Franklin Institute
We have FUN down to a science! Explore three floors of interactive exhibits including The Giant Heart, Changing Earth, Sports Challenge, and Your Brain—the Institute’s newest and largest exhibit! See explosive live science shows, try your hand at making recycled paper, and travel to faraway galaxies in the Planetarium. Fun for all ages! Wheelchair users have full access to the museum and its exhibits.
Big Bus Hop-on/off Sightseeing Tour
Allow Philadelphia’s Premier Tour Company to show you the sights and tell you the tales of a city that cheered for Rocky, forged a nation and is home to the Liberty Bell. CityPASS gives you the freedom of unlimited on-and-off privileges at 27 stops for the day of first use plus the entire following day (during normal operating hours) using trolleys or The Big Bus Double Decker buses. You make the choice. The Big Bus tour buses are wheelchair accessible on the lower deck. The Big Bus tour is an excellent way to see the city's sights while limiting the use of the public transportation system.
There are always more new things to see and do at Adventure Aquarium, minutes from downtown Philadelphia on the Delaware River waterfront. Get up close and personal with sharks, stingrays and starfish you can touch. Explore one-of-a-kind exhibits including the hippos, penguins, and the shark tunnel. The Adventure Aquarium and its exhibits are fully accessible to wheelchair users.
Philadelphia Zoo --OR-- The National Constitution Center
Philadelphia Zoo -- Features 1,300 animals from around the world. Discover an animal trail system that enables primates, and soon big cats, to roam above Zoo grounds. Experience First Niagara Big Cat Falls, PECO Primate Reserve and KidZooU, a wildlife academy that offers dynamic displays, rare breeds and hands-on experiences. The zoo is fully accessible to wheelchair users.
The National Constitution Center -- America’s first and only museum devoted to the U.S. Constitution, its ideals and its legacy of active citizenship.
Eastern State Penitentiary --OR-- Please Touch Museum
Eastern State Penitentiary -- Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, Eastern State Penitentiary stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and a surprising, eerie beauty. Tours include Al Capone’s cell, Death Row and critically-acclaimed artist installations.
Please Touch Museum -- Please Touch Museum® at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, recognized as one of the nation’s top 10 children’s museums, is dedicated to providing learning opportunities through play. The museum is designed for families with young children and features 2 floors of exhibits, daily theater performances, onsite parking, a café and a carousel at an additional cost.
Other Top Attractions & Sights
In addition to the paid attractions, museums and sights included with the CityPass, there are a number of additional must-see things to do in and around the city of Philadelphia. Listed below are many of these top sights and activities, all of which are wheelchair accessible The majority are also free of charge.
Note: For each of the below-listed attractions, the nearest subway or regional commuter rail station is listed. All listed stations are within one mile of the attraction. If no station is listed, the distance to the nearest accessible station is greater than one mile. Please share any experiences you have accessing these sights in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell has become an icon of American freedom and justice. Originally cast in London in 1752, it was recast after a crack developed after its first ringing in 1753. The bell hung atop the Pennsylvania State House, since renamed Independence Hall. While the stories of the bell's role in announcing the Continental Congress's signing of the Declaration of Independence are myth, the bell has come to represent independence and freedom. Inscribed on the Liberty Bell are the words, "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." This line is an excerpt from The Bible, Leviticus 25:10. Following the Revolutionary War, the Liberty Bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionists and female suffragists. Today, the Bell is on display next to Independence Hall within the fully wheelchair accessible Liberty Bell Center. Admission is free. For more information on visiting the Liberty Bell Center, visit www.nps.gov.
Originally the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall was the venue for the debate and signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The meeting place of the Second Continental Congress, it would expand its significance after the American Revolutionary War victory. The building was then the site of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which drafted the founding document of the United States of America. The first floor of the building is accessible to wheelchair users, but there is no elevator to the upper floor. Tickets are distributed at the visitor center free of charge, but reservations can be made online for specific tour times and dates for a $1.50 service charge. For more information on visiting Independence Hall, visit www.nps.gov.
Originally built as the Philadelphia County Courthouse in 1789, Congress Hall was the meeting place of the United States Congress from 1790-1800. Congress Hall also served as the site of the George Washington's second inauguration as President of the United States. The building has been restored to the state it was in while occupied by the United States Senate and House of Representatives. The first floor, where the U.S. House held its early legislative sessions, is accessible to wheelchair users. There is no elevator to the second floor. Admission is free of charge. For more information on visiting Congress Hall, visit www.nps.gov.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Housing one of the world's largest art collections, the Philadelphia Museum of Art features over 200,000 pieces of both modern and classical art. The strongest collections are in Western and Chinese art. Modern art holdings include works by Pablo Picaso, Salvador Dali and Jean Metzinger. The museum is fully accessible to the disabled and wheelchair users. Loaner wheelchairs are available. The ticket price is $20.00 for adults and $18.00 for seniors (ages 65+). Disabled patrons may secure admission for $8.00, but must contact the office of Accessible Programs in advance. For information on this process, the museum and its collections, visit philamuseum.org.
The Riverbank Ferry offers a scenic, 12-minute journey across the Delaware River. The journey offers a beautiful view of the Philadelphia skyline and river waterfront. Departing from Penn's Landing, the ferry travels to and completes its journey at the Wiggins Park Ferry Port in Camden, New Jersey. Both the Philadelphia and Camden sides have numerous attractions, activities and restaurants to offer. The ferry is wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant. Tickets for the ferry ride are $7.00, $6.00 for seniors. For more information on the Riverlink Ferry, visit riverlinkferry.org.
John F. Kennedy Plaza, widely known as Love Park, is one of the most photographed sights in Philadelphia. Located next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Love Park is home to Robert Indiana's iconic Love sculpture. The park sits at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and is easily accessible to the disabled and wheelchair users. All visitors to the city of Philadelphia should stop at the park, admire the beauty of one of America's oldest cities and snap a photograph with the Love sculpture.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1981, Franklin Square is one of the five original public green spaces in Philadelphia. Opened in 1683, the park sits on 7.5 acres and is accessible to wheelchair users with pathways throughout. The park features a fountain built in 1838, a carousel, a miniature gold course and the Living Flame Memorial, dedicated to the city's fallen police officers and firefighters.
Reading Terminal Market
An enclosed public market in downtown Philadelphia. Over one hundred merchants line the market's hall. Visitors can dine at restaurants within or purchase meats, fish, produce, cheese, bakery items, desserts, clothing, crafts and more. The market traces its origins to 1859, when the city's outdoor, open air markets were closed. The market is open 7 days a week. While it is wheelchair accessible, the market attracts large crowds on the weekends, making movement around the market quite difficult. Wheelers should visit the market during the week or on Sunday mornings. For more information on the market and its merchant tenants, visit readingterminalmarket.org.
Experience the Philly Cheese Steak
Tillicum Village is one of the must-see Seattle attractions listed in countless travel guide books. The tour, offered by Argosy Cruises, allows visitors to experience the Northwest's tribal culture. Tours of the village last four hours (including transit by cruise with a guided tour) and include a Native American Salmon Bake and performance on Blake Island. The cost for adults is $79.95 plus tax (72.95 for seniors 65+). If you purchase the City Pass, it is possible to upgrade the included Puget Sound Harbor Cruise ticket to the Tillicum Village tour for an additional $52.00. This increases the value of the City Pass and includes access to many of Seattle's top premium attractions.
Professional Sports Teams
Four professional sports teams reside in Philadelphia and all have accessible seating and wheelchair access. The NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, MLB's Philadelphia Phillies, NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and MLS's Philadelphia Union each provide exciting game day experiences. Links to the team-specific accessibility information and ticket office phone numbers are listed below. Each stadium is accessible via public transportation. Details for each team, information on how to reach the stadiums and links to stadium accessibility information is provided below.
NFL - Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field
Website - Disabled Access Info
MLB - Philadelphia Phillies
Citizens Bank Park
Website - Disabled Access Info
NHL - Philadelphia Flyers
Wells Fargo Center
Nearest train: 0.4 miles from BSL at AT&T station
Website - Disabled Access Info
MLS - Philadelphia Union
Website - Disabled Access Info
Due to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the vast majority of hotels in the United States are wheelchair accessible and have rooms with roll-in showers. All major brand hotels have these facilities. For individuals requiring a roll-in shower, we recommend you book with a national hotel chain. For the best deals, book through one of the following online travel agencies.
Prior to, or within 24 hours of booking, call the hotel to reserve the exact room type you require. Sometimes, this can be done during booking through the online travel agencies below.
Accessible Van Rental / Wheelchair Repair
The following businesses offer wheelchair repair, wheelchair rental or accessible van rental. If you have done business with any of these companies, please share your experiences in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
925 South Trooper Road, Morristown, PA 19403
Services: Accessible van rental
Wheelchair Vans of America
Services: Accessible van rental
7932 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19136
Services: Wheelchair rental & repair
Marx Medical Equipment
109 E. Allegheny Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19134
Services: Wheelchair rental & repair
714 Market Street, Suite 101, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Services: Wheelchair rental
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WheelchairTravel.org is committed to providing the information disabled travelers need to access the world. This website offers the detailed accessibility reports that travel guide books can't contain. Travel guides are sold primarily to people who do not worry about the height of curbs or the size of gaps between subway platforms. They dedicate little space to information for the disabled traveler and the information is often incorrect. Still, guide books can be useful because they provide the general tourist background information about attractions and sights that can be carried in your backpack. Guide books also include a large number of photographs and maps of the city. Pair this information with what you learned about accessibility on this website and you'll soon be making memories to last a lifetime.
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