Summer is nearly upon us and the world is full of amazing destinations that are waiting to be explored.
This article suggests 10 wheelchair accessible cities that are worth visiting this summer. The list is not a ranking. Some cities are more accessible than others, but each one meets the following conditions:
- The destination is welcoming to people of all age groups, and can be enjoyed by families with children, younger solo travelers and retirees.
- Accessible transportation (public or private) is available.
- The majority of tourist attractions are wheelchair accessible.
These are the cities I would put on my summer vacation wish list, and I hope you’ll find some inspiration for your next trip!
The Eternal City is the perfect place for a summer holiday — with high temperatures in the 80s and lows in the mid-60s, you’ll enjoy the warm weather while exploring the monuments to ancient history, enjoying some of the world’s greatest cuisine, and treating yourself to some signature gelato.
The free Travel Guide to Wheelchair Accessible Rome has everything you need to plan a vacation to what is one of Europe’s most popular destinations — it’s an unforgettable adventure where you’ll be able to explore the wheelchair accessible Colosseum, visit St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (where wheelchair users can meet the Pope!), and toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is the most challenging destination to appear on this list, but I promise that the trip will be worthwhile.
As one of the most accessible cities in South America and as a former host of the Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro has a lot to offer tourists of all abilities. With many wheelchair accessible things to do, including the stunning cable car ride to Sugarloaf Mountain, the largest aquarium in Latin America, the Museum of Tomorrow and street food to die for — you won’t be left wanting.
Affordable wheelchair taxis and a partially accessible public transit system make it possible to get around Rio in a wheelchair, albeit with some difficulty. To learn more and to decide if Rio is the right destination for you, see the Rio de Janeiro Wheelchair Travel Guide.
Boston is my hometown — I’ve now lived here a year, but have a long history of visiting the city prior to my move. It appears on this list because it is one of my favorite cities in America and, next to Philadelphia, it is one of the two most consequential cities in American history.
Not far from here, in Lexington and Concord, the first shots were fired to kick off the American Revolutionary War. This city was also the site of the Boston Tea Party and the midnight ride of Paul Revere. The Freedom Trail, a must-see survey of American history that leads visitors to each of these places and more is only a fraction of what Boston has to offer.
Wheelchair accessible attractions include the New England Aquarium, Museum of Fine Arts, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston Common and of course Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.
Boston is a small city with a largely accessible subway system, accessible buses with ramps and wheelchair taxis (including from Uber and Lyft!) — all of this adds up to an exciting destination that is easy to get around. To learn more, check out the Boston Wheelchair Travel Guide. If you travel through here, be sure to drop me a line!
I visited Vilnius for the first time in the summer of 2022, and I left thinking that it may just be my favorite city in the Baltics, if not in all of Central Europe.
The city’s medieval Old Town is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, although it is a dream destination for history buffs, Vilnius is one of Europe’s most progressive cities — significant investments have been made to insure that its attractions are accessible and welcoming to all.
Tourists can enjoy riding the funicular to the top of Gediminas Hill, visiting the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (which has one of the best museums in Europe), and even rubbing the “Lucky Belly” on Vilnius Street. Check out the free Vilnius Wheelchair Accessible Travel Guide to plan your trap to the Lithuanian capital.
A top 10 summer destinations list can’t go without a beach town, and while Miami’s beaches aren’t the most accessible in the world, the free beach wheelchairs at Miami Beach are a great feature available to both locals and tourists. Since we don’t spend 24 hours a day on the beach, it’s hard to beat the vibe found in the City of Miami, with 5-star restaurants, hotels and night clubs just steps from the sugar sand paradise.
Wheelchair taxis are a bit hit or miss in South Florida, but the city’s metro rail, commuter rail and city bus system is accessible and reliable. You can ride in style on the high-speed Brightline train to other south Florida destinations like Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton… starting September 1st, you’ll be able to ride it to the City of Orlando, home to Walt Disney World!
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is one of the most picturesque cities in Africa, set against the iconic Table Mountain, which is part of a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The list of wheelchair accessible things to do in Cape Town is vast and includes a 1,300 acre national botanical garden, museums, a world-class aquarium, accessible beaches, stunning viewpoints along the coastline, winery tours, public parks and more. Visitors can also take a boat ride to Robben Island, the former prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life, prior to becoming the President of South Africa.
Accessible city buses, companies that provide private wheelchair transport and a wheelchair accessible sightseeing bus make exploring Cape Town hassle-free.
To learn more, check-out the free Wheelchair Travel Guide to Cape Town, South Africa.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The “Entertainment Capital of the World” is a playground for adults and families alike, offering incredible experiences, performances, food and activities suitable for everyone.
Las Vegas is an accessible destination as well, attracting more wheelchair users than any other city in the United States. The city caters to every need, and can even push you out of your comfort zone — including on a wheelchair accessible zip line!
The Las Vegas Wheelchair Access Guide is free and will help you plan the perfect trip, with information on accessible hotels, transportation, tourist attractions and more.
Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Tower Bridge and Westminster Abbey await on your wheelchair accessible trip to London, England.
London isn’t my favorite city in the world, but it’s a place where I have grown to feel incredibly comfortable and free. The ability to visit many of the city’s top museums free of charge, to ride on the famous double-decker buses and to hail a wheelchair accessible black cab just by raising a hand adds to the enjoyment of this amazing city.
For more information about accessibility in London, take a look at the Wheelchair Travel Guide to London, England. Be sure to check out my list of Wheelchair Accessible Hotels and Hostels in London. Both resources are free!
The “Windy City” is one of America’s most popular cities. Located along Lake Michigan, Chicago offers a wide-range of opportunities with its waterfront beaches, canal boat tours and dinner cruises.
Other accessible tourist attractions include world-class museums, the sky-scraping Willis Tower, shopping on the iconic Michigan Avenue, sporting events including Chicago Cubs baseball at Wrigley Field, public art installations, Michelin-starred culinary experiences and deep-dish pizza. The Centennial Wheel is recognized as one of the Top 9 Wheelchair Accessible Ferris Wheels in the World.
With the information contained in the free Chicago Wheelchair Travel Guide, you’ll be prepared to experience all the city has to offer from the seat of your wheelchair.
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain (behind Madrid) and is widely considered to be once of the most wheelchair accessible cities in Europe.
Favorable weather and the city’s location on the Mediterranean Sea attract tourists from all over the world. Wheelchair users benefit from a wide variety of things to do, including accessible beaches, eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the iconic La Sagrada Familia church, art and cultural museums, amusement parks, shopping and more.
With accessible taxis and a wheelchair-friendly public transportation system, Barcelona is an easy city to get around in.
Where are you planning to travel this summer? Let me know where — and why — in the comments below!