Top 10 Accessible Attractions in Boston
By: Danielle Max | May 16 2017
The city of Boston may be not be the biggest metropolis, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in history. One of the oldest cities in the United States, the city provided the backdrop for several key events in the American Revolution – think Tea Party and Bunker Hill. Today the city is well known for its universities, with Harvard University, MIT and Tufts University making up the aptly named Brainpower Triangle, so it’s hardly surprising there are so many great museums in the area. But it’s not just museums – Boston is quite the draw for sports fans as well, with many considering a visit to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, nothing short of a pilgrimage.
The Boston Public Garden at night.
Photo: Kyle Klein Photography/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
Boston Children's Museum
Photo: Kindra Clineff/Boston Children's Museum
Boston is just steeped in history and its renowned Children’s Museum is no exception. The museum, the world’s second-oldest Children’s Museum has been teaching and engaging with kids since 1913. The museum’s exhibits and programs are focused on science, culture, health and fitness and the arts and emphasize hands-on engagement and learning through experience, employing play as a tool to spark children’s inherent creativity, curiosity and imagination.
The museum is wheelchair-accessible. A limited number of free child and adult wheelchairs are available at the Admissions desk.
Amplified listening devices are available at the Admissions desk for all performances in the KidStage Theater.
Email or call 617-426-6500 ext 327 regarding any questions or concerns about accessibility.
Click here to find out more.
Public Transportation: Red Line to South Station (7-minute walk) or Silver Line to Courthouse (5-minute walk).
Top tip: Admission is $1 per person every Friday from 5-9pm.
Boston Museum of Science
Photo Kyle Klein Photography/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
Come to the Boston Museum of Science and get up close and personal with science and technology. Through more than 700 interactive exhibits, the museum encourages people of all backgrounds to explore and develop their interests in understanding the natural and human-made world. The museum has a planetarium for stargazing and the only domed IMAX screen in New England.
The museum has 10 adult manual wheelchairs, two pediatric wheelchairs, two bariatric wheelchairs and five electric scooters available on a first-come, first-served basis from the Information Desk (photo ID needed).
Accessible restrooms are located throughout the building (Blue Wing Level 1, Green Wing Level 2, Red Wing Lower Level and Level 1). An accessible family restroom is located on Level 2 of the Green Wing.
Receivers and headsets for assistive listening (amplified audio) and audio description (for visitors who are blind or low-vision) are available at the Information Desk in the lobby (photo ID needed) for various shows throughout the museum. Reflectors for captioning are available from ushers at the theater entrance 15 minutes before show time. For quicker service, make a request at the box office when purchasing or picking up tickets.
Scripts are available for select shows in the planetarium.
Braille constellation maps and tactile pictures are available for the planetarium.
Sighted guides and American Sign Language interpreters are available. Requests for interpreters and sighted guides should be made at least two weeks in advance.
Email or call the Museum's Accessibility Coordinator on 617-589-3102 regarding any questions or concerns about accessibility.
Parking: Visitor drop-off and pickup is allowed at the main entrance. Paid parking is available in the museum garage, which has accessible spaces near the elevator on each level. The entrance level of the garage can accommodate wheelchair lift vans.
Public Transportation: Green Line to Lechmere (6-minute walk).
Top tip: Parking is sometimes allowed in the museum driveway when designated accessible spots in the garage are occupied.
Red Sox at Fenway Park - Boston
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
Hit it out of the ballpark with a visit to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It is the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, having been the home of the “Crimson Hose” since 1912 (of course, this being Boston, even the baseball stadium is in the National Register of Historic Places!). You can take a tour of the stadium, but to really get a feel for this beloved Boston baseball team, go all out and attend a game.
The stadium has wheelchair-accessible seats, seats for fans and those who are blind or have low vision. There are accessible restrooms servicing all accessible seating areas.
Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs) are available to fans who may be deaf or hard hearing. The ALDs are located at the Fan Services Booths at Gates B and E. A $20 refundable cash deposit is required to use a device for the duration of the game.
Fenway Park tours are fully accessible and do not need to be scheduled in advance.
Contact the Ticket Office at 877-RED-SOX9 or TTY telephone at 617-226-6644 for further information.
Parking: There are a limited number of public designated accessible parking spaces located around Fenway Park. Prior to Red Sox baseball games, the parking spaces are metered, but they become priority spaces for Red Sox games. The majority of the spaces are located on Yawkey Way between Van Ness and Boylston Streets.
Public Transportation: Green Line to Kenmore Station (5-minute walk).
Top tip: If you want to take a tour and see a game on the same day, opt for the latest tour, which gives you plenty of time to carb up before hit off.
Gardner Museum Courtyard
Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
You might be mistaken for thinking you’ve taken a wrong turn to another country when you arrive at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The European, Asian and American art collections are housed in a stunning 15th-century Venetian-style palace with three stories of galleries surrounding a plant-filled Courtyard. The galleries have remained as Isabella Stewart Gardner arranged them, as stipulated by her will.
While the new wing of the museum is entirely wheelchair accessible, some of the areas of the historic building are less convenient. Ask any Visitor Services or Security staff member for information or assistance.
A limited number of wheelchairs, rollators and canes are available on a first-come, first-served basis from the admission desk. Motorized wheelchairs are permitted but may not fit through all doorways. Accessible restrooms are located on the basement level of the new wing. All other restrooms in both buildings have accessible stalls.
The museum’s audio tour transcript is available free of charge to visitors who may be deaf or hard of hearing visitors from the admission desk. Neckloops are also available to accompany the audio tour.
An introduction to the museum is available in large print and braille from the Living Room. Free audio guides are available at the admission desk for visitors who are blind or with low vision.
Tours with a sighted guide or American Sign Language interpreter are available. For more information, call the Tour Manager on 617-278-5147.
Service animals are welcome.
Click here for more information.
Parking: There are two designated accessible parking spaces and a ramped loading zone in front of the museum.
Public Transportation: Green Line to Museum of Fine Arts (4-minute walk) or the #39 bus to the Museum of Fine Arts (5-minute walk).
Top tip: In accordance with Isabella Stewart Gardner’s (slightly eccentric) will, entry is discounted for anyone wearing Boston Red Sox memorabilia and entry is free to those named Isabella or people celebrating a birthday (ID proof required).
JFK Presidential Library and Museum - Boston
Photo: David Fox/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum tells the story of JFK’s life, legacy and leadership. The museum features three theaters, period settings and 25 multimedia exhibits that recreate the world of the Kennedy Presidency, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Peace Corps and the Space Program. The library is set on a beautiful 10-acre park on Boston’s waterfront.
The museum is wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available at the front desk on a first-come, first served basis (photo ID needed).
All videos shown throughout the museum are closed captioned. Closed captioning may be requested for the introductory film in Theater 2.
Click here to find out more.
Parking: Free parking.
Public Transportation: Red Line to JFK/UMASS. A free shuttle bus operates from this station to the Library and Museum or take bus #2 from the station.
Top tip: The Library and Museum is open until 5 p.m., but the last introductory film of the day – which shouldn’t be missed – starts at 3:55 p.m.
The golden dome of the Massachusetts State House is centrally located in downtown Boston and is one of the stops on the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail. The building is just bursting with history. The cornerstone of the building was laid by Samuel Adams in 1795 while the dome was coppered by Paul Revere in 1802. Visit these hallowed halls on a free docent-led tour and learn about the architecture of the building and the legislative process.
The State House is wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs and walkers are available. The Ashburn Park entrance of Bowdoin Common is wheelchair accessible.
Benches are installed throughout the State House.
Assistive listening devices and systems are available on the tours.
American Sign Language interpretation is available and should be requested in advance.
Interpreters, wheelchairs, walkers or listening devices should be reserved in advance.
Email or call the State House ADA Coordinator at 617-727-1100 x35502 with any accessibility questions.
Public Transportation: Red or Green Lines to Park Street (5 -minute walk).
Top tip: State House tours are free, but call to reserve in advance on 617-727-3676
The MFA is one of the world's great art museums with masterpieces from around the world and across the ages.
Photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
There’s something for everyone at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA), which has a collection of nearly 500,000 works of art! More than 1 million visitors a year flock to the museum to experience art from ancient Egyptian to contemporary, special exhibitions and innovative educational programs.
Manual wheelchairs and rollators are available on a first-come, first-served basis at all entrances. All events in the museum are wheelchair accessible; however, not all doors in the Art of the Americas Wing are on power assist. All restrooms with the exception of the pair in the upper Rotunda, have fully accessible stalls.
Many of the galleries have permanent benches or couches. Lightweight folding seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis from the Sharf Visitor Center.
An assistive listening system is available for gallery tours and talks from the Sharf Visitor Center. Headsets and neckloops are available.
For visitors with hearing aids with a T-coil switch, there are induction loops at all entrances, the box office and the Information desk at the Sharf Visitor Center.
Large type maps are available at the Sharf Visitor Center. MFA Guides with audio and video commentary offer an overview of the collections as well as focused tours of special exhibitions. They are available for rent at all ticket desks and are free for visitors who are blind and visitors who are deaf.
The “A Feeling for Form” program provides tours for visitors who are blind or have low vision. The tour is available on the MFA Guide, and includes more than 200 stops in English. All tour stops in the Art of the Americas and Contemporary wings have description. Visitors can request a unit with a tactile dot over the number 5, which includes a screen-reading or “voiceover” feature. You may also want to make use of a zoom feature.
Every MFA Guide stop also includes the option of onscreen text transcripts. The museum also offers an American Sign Language version of the MFA Highlights tour on the MFA Guide. Visitors will find the ASL tour listed with the other languages.
Headsets and neckloops are available for lectures, concerts, and films in Alfond Auditorium, Remis Auditorium, and in the Riley Seminar Room.
Portable FM assistive-listening devices, with either headsets or neckloops, are available at the Sharf Visitor Center for drop-in tours and gallery talks.
Email or call 617-267-9300 for general access information.
Personal care attendants are admitted free of charge.
Click here to find out more.
Parking: Accessible spaces are available in the MFA’s garage and parking lots located on Museum Road. Payment for parking may be made in the lobby of the garage, or by credit or debit card at the exit gates. Valet parking is available at the Huntington Entrance (payment by credit card only). Accessible parking is also available at the Linde Family Wing Entrance on Museum Road.
The Huntington Entrance (465 Huntington Avenue) and the State Street Corporation Fenway Entrance (200 The Fenway) are accessible with a drop-off area in front, and ramps to the left and right of the stairs. All entrances are equipped with power-assist doors.
Public Transportation: Green Line E train to the Museum of Fine Arts (1-minute walk) or the Orange Line to Ruggles (8-minute walk). The #39 bus stops at the Museum of Fine Arts stop or take #8, #47 or CT2 buses to the Ruggles stop.
New England Aquarium and Imax Theater
Photo: Tim Grafft/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
Boston and water go together like tea and party, so it’s no surprise that the city has a world-class aquarium allowing visitors to get familiar with the deep while staying firmly on dry land. The New England Aquarium is home to thousands of aquatic animals from the giant Pacific octopus to little blue penguins. Attractions include the largest shark and ray touch tank on the East Coast and the Giant Ocean Tank, a four-story coral reef featuring hundreds of Caribbean animals.
Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis from the information desk in the main lobby (photo ID needed). There is a wheelchair-accessible ticket window to the far left of the ticket booth. Many of the exhibit tanks either extend to the floor or feature eye-level viewing. There is wheelchair-accessible seating in the IMAX theater.
Benches are available throughout the aquarium.
An American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter is available from 12:30 pm to 4 pm on the first Sunday of every month. ASL interpreters can be arranged at other times. Call 617-973-5206 at least two weeks in advance.
Selected IMAX films allow for assistive listening devices and closed captioning devices. Reflectors for captioning are available at the theater box office 15 minutes before show time. Please ask for the theatre director or manager on duty (photo ID required) or make a request at the box office when purchasing or picking up tickets or call 617-973-5206.
There are a number of tactile opportunities throughout the aquarium in which visitors can touch some of the animals – including rays, sharks and crabs. The Temperate Waters Gallery on the second level has a textured handrail to help visitors understand evolution, survival in harsh habitats and the function of fish shape.
Visitor drop-off and pickup is allowed at the Aquarium’s main entrance.
Click here to find out more.
Parking: Several area garages have high clearances to accommodate oversize vehicles. The aquarium has arrangements with 75 State Street and the Garage at Post Office Square.
Public Transportation: Blue Line to Aquarium (3-minute walk), Orange Line to State (8-minute walk) or the Green Line to Government Center (10-minute walk).
Top tip: Visitors who use a wheelchair or those who are blind receive free entry to the aquarium.
The Old South Meeting House is a historic church building at the corner of Milk and Washington Streets in the Downtown Crossing area of Boston.
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
The Old South Meeting House is the site where the Boston Tea Party began in 1773. The history of the house dates back even further to 1729 and was where the colonists gathered repeatedly to challenge British rule in the years leading up to the American Revolution – earning it a reputation as a hotbed of rebellion! These days, the Old South Meeting House is a historic site and museum and – true to its roots – is still an active gathering place for discussion and celebration.
The Old South Meeting House is wheelchair accessible.
An assistive listening system is available for most events and programs.
Braille information and large print exhibit text guides are available.
For more information, call 617-482-6439.
Click here to find out more.
Public Transportation: Blue or Orange Lines to State Street (2-minute walk), Green Line to Government Center (6-minute walk) or Red Line to Downtown Crossing (3-minute walk).
Top tip: If you are traveling with kids, keep them interested with a scavenger hunt that explores the history and architecture of the Old South Meeting House. The scavenger hunt is free with admission.
The Paul Revere House, built in 1680, was the colonial home of patriot Paul Revere during the time of the American Revolution.
“Listen my children and you shall hear; Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere…” Step back in history and visit the home of Revere, the Boston silversmith who has gone down in the annals of history for his midnight ride that helped shaped the course of the American Revolutionary War. As Boston’s oldest building (it was built around 1680), and one of the few remaining from colonial times, the home is a legend in its own right.
The courtyard, first floors of both buildings and performance spaces are wheelchair accessible. Access to the Revere House for a standard size wheelchair is from the street entrance, using a portable ramp, through a narrow entryway, with staff assistance. A picture book of the second floor is available.
Printed panel information is provided. Sign language interpreted lectures and programs are available.
A large print brochure, introductory audio tape, and tactile replicas of Paul Revere's silver and other items of historical interest are available during tours.
Click here to find out more.
Public Transportation: Green or Orange Lines to Haymarket (7-minute walk) or Blue Line to Aquarium (8-minute walk).
Top tip: “Go” before you go. There are no restrooms at the Paul Revere House.