Home > Travel Ideas > Chicago > Top 10 Accessible Attractions in Chicago
Top 10 Accessible Attractions in Chicago
By: Sara Toth Stub | Aug 20 2017

Legend has it that Chicago is known as the windy city not because of the cold gusts whipping off Lake Michigan in the winter, but because of its tradition of hot air bellowing from its politicians.  This legend fits the city’s lively atmosphere, as it seems there is always something to do here, from its world-class museums to shopping to ubiquitous music and comedy clubs.  The vibe of excitement here was recently pushed up a notch when the Cubs won their first World Series since 1908.


Chicago's Historic Water Tower on Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile | ©Choose Chicago

1. The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
1. The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite

Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite


Art Institute of Chicago: Modern Wing | ©City of Chicago

With its entrance flanked by two giant lion statues, this is an exciting place for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.  This is where you can find works by Pablo Picasso, Edward Hopper and Henri Matisse along with many other well known artists,  plus a large collection of miniatures, textiles, children’s activities and much more.  With its onsite restaurant and cafes and frequent gallery talks, this is also a museum where one can spend a whole day and still not experience everything.

The museum has several elevators, providing access to all floors and exhibits.  All auditoriums are also wheelchair accessible. The Curious Corner is a wheelchair accessible station in the Ryan Learning Center, where stories and interactive games teach children and families about art and the artistic process.

The museum provides wheelchairs and strollers at no charge in the coat check area, but they cannot be reserved in advance. 

For visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing, a TDD/TTY-equipped phone is provided in the Michigan Avenue library.  Fullerton Hall, the museum’s main lecture hall,  is also equipped with hearing-assist devices. There are monthly tours of the museum in American Sign Language, and, with advance notice of two weeks, the museum will provide sign language translation at lectures and gallery talks.  For more information, email access@artic.edu, or TDD/TTY to (312) 443-3680. 

The Elizabeth Morse Touch Gallery in the Ryan Learning Center is designed for vision-impaired visitors, but all visitors are welcome.  In addition, the museum offers TacTiles, which are textured handheld times that allow visitors who are blind to experience some of the museum’s most famous works of art through their fingertips; these are available for visitors to pick up free of charge from the Crown Family Educator Resource Center. Tours catering to those who are blind or have low vision, and incorporating these TacTiles, can be arranged by calling the Department of Museum Education at (312) 857-7641.  Audio guides can be purchased for $7.  Some special exhibits also offer free audio guides and printed materials.

Those visiting the Art Institute can park in a number of nearby garages, including the Millennium, East Monroe and Grant Park North garages, but these often cannot accommodate oversized vans, as their maximum clearance ranges from 6 feet and 6 inches to 6 feet and 8 inches.  Ramps make the museum’s entrances on Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street accessible to wheelchair-users.  There is also at the Monroe entrance for dropping off and collecting visitors with disabilities.  Several CTA city buses, all wheelchair accessible, stop in front of the museum.  The  commuter Metra train stops at the fully-accessible Millennium Park and Van Buren stations, both within a block of the museum.  Many “El” train lines stop at the nearby Monroe and Adams/Wabash stations, but these stations can only be reached by stairs.

2. Millennium Park
201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602
2. Millennium Park
201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602
Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite

Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite


Lurie Garden View at Millenium Park | ©City of Chicago

Opened in 2004, this park stretches along the shores of Lake Michigan, providing a large green space with a pavilion, fountains and other activities right in the center of the city.  Taking photographs with the park’s giant mirror-covered Cloud Gate sculpture, which reflects different versions of yourself, the city’s skyline and Lake Michigan, has become one of the most popular activities for tourists. 

The park was designed to be fully accessible to all.  This can been seen in the small details, such as  picnic tables with spaces for wheelchairs, and that access around the park for everyone is via ramps rather than steps. 

Wheelchairs can be borrowed from the park’s welcome center.   The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which hosts concerts and other events, has plenty of accessible seating and assistive listening devices are available in the sound booth.  Service animals are permitted.

The park is best reached by a number of accessible city bus lines, or by the accessible Metra train line.  The “El” train stations nearby, Madison/Wabash and Randolph/Wabash, require stairs for access, unfortunately.  Those with vehicles can park in a number of nearby garages, which all offer accessible parking, but do limit the height of vehicles.

3. Wrigley Field
1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613
3. Wrigley Field
1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613
Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite

Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite


Wrigley Field: Home of the Chicago Cubs | ©Choose Chicago

Even before the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series, Wrigley Field, built in 1914, was one of the country’s most famous baseball stadiums.  Seeing the  Chicago Cubs play here can be a highlight for any visitor, perhaps even making you feel like a local.  In addition to the stadium, the surrounding neighborhood, Wrigleyville, is full of restaurants, cafes and bars, and is one of the most exciting places for nightlife, especially after a Cubs game. 

The fact that the ball field is more than 100 years old does present some wheelchair accessibility issues; as not all restrooms are accessible and accessible seating is limited and not always available.  It is best to buy tickets in advance to reserve accessible seating online at www.cubs.com/tickets or by calling 312-843-2827.  The field’s information page says that ongoing renovations will add elevators to the park and make it more accessible overall. Service animals are permitted.

The stadium’s parking lot offers some accessible parking spaces. There are also several public transportation options.  The Brown and Red lines of the “El” both serve the fully-accessible Addison stop in Wrigleyville. Accessible city buses #152 and #22 also serve the stadium area.

4. The Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637
4. The Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637
Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite

Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite


The Museum of Science and Industry, the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere and site of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. | ©Choose Chicago

This museum, founded in 1933, remains a classic for visitors to Chicago. A trip here takes visitors into a coal mine, through a giant beating heart and into the depths of a U-505 submarine. A number of special rotating exhibits also try to bring science to life for visitors of all ages. 

Elevators and ramps allow visitors to reach all levels of the museum, and its Omnimax theater also has accessible seating.  The museum has wheelchairs that visitors can use free of charge; these can be reserved in advance by calling (773) 753-6862 or sending an email to coatcheck@msichicago.org.

Service animals are permitted.

With two weeks of advance notice, the museum can arrange for sign-language interpretation and can provide written scripts of various tours and Omnimax films.  To arrange this, or any other needs, the museum can be reached at (773) 684-1414 or TTY (773) 753-1351, or via email at contact@msichicago.org.

There is accessible parking on all levels of the museum’s underground garage, and the blue level can accommodate vehicles up to 8-feet-2-inches in height.

The main pedestrian entrance to the museum is equipped with curb cuts and push-button automatic doors.  Public transportation options include accessible city buses #2 and #6.  The accessible Metra train stops at the 55th/56th/57th Street station, just two blocks from the museum.

5. The Magnificent Mile
Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL 60611
5. The Magnificent Mile
Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL 60611
Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite

Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite


Magnificent Mile Night lights | ©City of Chicago

This 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue is lined with hotels, restaurants and some of the country’s best retail options, ranging from department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue to stores like Gap, The Disney Store and Crate & Barrel.  The area is especially festive in the winter holiday season when strings of lights illuminate the trees and storefronts. 

For those with vehicles, parking can be found in area garages, although it is best to contact these garages for details about accessible parking.   Several accessible city bus lines run on or near Michigan Avenue.  The Red line “El” stations at Grand and Chicago are both accessible and leave you just two blocks from Michigan Avenue.

6. The 360 Chicago Observation Deck
875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
6. The 360 Chicago Observation Deck
875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite

Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite


Hancock building looking north | ©Choose Chicago

The observation deck is located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock  Center on North Michigan Avenue, and offers sweeping views of the Lake Michigan and the city.  Interactive screens are located around the deck, and help visitors understand what they are seeing from all angles.  This place really gives a visitor a sense of the sprawling size of Chicago.

The building and observation deck are fully accessible. All restrooms are also accessible.

The best entrance for those needing elevators is on Delaware Place.

Visitors can park in the building’s garage, which has accessible parking, although vehicle height is limited to 6 feet and 7 inches.  The accessible city bus #125 also stops here.

7. The Field Museum
1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
7. The Field Museum
1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite

Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite


Entrance to Chicago's Field Museum, home of Sue, the largest complete T.rex ever discovered | © City of Chicago

This is one of the largest natural history museums in the world, whose highlights include dinosaur skeletons, Egyptian mummies and a gem collection.  The museum’s exhibits  take visitors of all ages and backgrounds on journeys through time and around the world.  It is also worth a visit here for the building itself, a stunning example of early 20th-century neoclassical architecture.

The museum is wheelchair accessible.  Visitors can borrow wheelchairs from an area just inside the east entrance, or from any coat check rooms.

The museum’s east entrance is wheelchair accessible and has an area for vehicles to drop off visitors.  There is also a parking lot with accessible spaces near this entrance.  Accessible city buses #146 and #130 also serve the museum.


Chicago River Cruises | ©City of Chicago

There are a handful of companies operating cruises on the Chicago river highlighting the city’s history and building style.  Even if it’s cold, windy and overcast, these boat tours add to one’s understanding and experience of the windy city.

Wendella Boat Tours is one of the cruise companies that cater to visitors with disabilities. Six of the company’s nine boats can accommodate wheelchairs, and also offer accessible toilets.  Two vessels, the Wendella and the Ouilmette, have an onboard elevator to reach the upper decks.  Those who want to avoid stairs should take cruises from the Trump Dock; as the Michigan Avenue dock contains stairs.

The company offers written scripts of the tours’ narrations at the ticket office.  Service animals are also permitted.  For more information about accessibility on the tours, see Wendella’s  website.

Wendella’s site offers information about parking and driving directions. There is accessible parking near the Trump dock in the Trump Tower.  Accessible city buses and some “El” lines also serve this general area.

9. Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
9. Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite

Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite


Lincoln Park Zoo Statue: Matthew Laflin Memorial Building | Adam Alexander Photography

This zoo is filled with 1,200 animals from 200 species.  There are also activities like yoga classes, and paddle boating. For the youngest guests, there is a carousel and children’s zoo.

All of the zoo’s public buildings and shows are accessible for wheelchairs.  The train has one space in its caboose that can accommodate a wheelchair.  Wheelchairs can be borrowed from the zoo’s Gateway Pavilion for a refundable deposit of $20, or by leaving a driver’s license as a deposit. 

American Sign Language interpretation and printed scripts are available at zoo classes, shows and programs, but two weeks of advanced notification is required; this can be arranged by filling out this accommodation form and sending it to guestservices@lpzoo.org or by fax to 312-742-7666.  Additional questions can be addressed by calling 312-742-2355.

Visitors who are blind or have low vision can request a sighted guide, or sign up for a sensory tour by filling out the above accommodation form, and submitting it by fax or email.  Many zoo exhibits have tactile reference guides.

Service animals are allowed into the zoo, but guests bringing them should alert the staff at the Gateway Pavilion upon entering the zoo.  Service animals are not permitted within certain exhibits, but the zoo can offer guided tours of these areas, according to need.

The zoo’s paid lot offers accessible parking.  There are additional accessible parking spaces along Cannon Drive and on Northbound Stockton. Accessible city buses #151, #156, #22 and #36 also serve the zoo for those wishing to use public transportation.

10. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
220 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604
10. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
220 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604
Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite

Be the first to review!

Your rating:

Add to favorite


Chicago Orchestra Concert | © Choose Chicago

This orchestra and other visiting musicians perform almost every day at the grand and ornate Symphony Center on South Michigan Avenue, putting on well over 100 shows a year.  The building itself is a designated National Historic Landmark.  It was built in 1904, and designed by renowned Chicago architect Daniel Burnham.

The Symphony Center is accessible for wheelchairs and offers services, such as large-print programs and a hearing-assist system.  For details, visitors can call 312-294-3000, submit an email here.

Accessible parking is available in the Grant Park North Garage, which has a maximum vehicle height of 6 feet and 6 inches, and the Grant Park South Garage, which has a maximum vehicle height of 6 feet and 8 inches. 

The best option for accessible public transportation is to take one of the city buses that serve this area.  The “El” station in this area, Adams/Wabash, requires passengers to use stairs.

Get Your FREE

Accessible Travel Kit!

/comments/top_10_accessible_attractions_in_chicago
Loading...

u Collapse all

L

Accessible Trip Resources
I'm travelling to:
and I'd like to find:
Accessible Trip Resources
I'm travelling to:
and I'd like to find: