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Top 10 Accessible Attractions in LA
By: Sara Toth Stub | Aug 20 2017

Known for its movie stars and beaches, Los Angeles is also a good place to experience art and science in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.  The city and its ever-expanding environs feel like they were made for adventure and exploration, from the thrilling 4D rides at Universal Studios to the telescopes at the Griffith Observatory.  But as much as it stretches limits, Los Angeles also glows with sparks of nostalgia, from the classic character of Mickey Mouse to the names of Louis Armstrong, Marilyn Monroe and the Beach Boys etched into stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

 


Manhattan Beach Pier

1. Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
1. Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
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Universal Studios, Hollywood

Universal Studios is a working film and television studio as well as a theme park. Whether you like movies or thrilling rides, you will find something exciting here.  This year the park, which is constantly upgrading itself, added the long-anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction.

The park, as well as many rides, shows and attractions, is accessible to guests in wheelchairs.  Universal Studios publishes a detailed guide for guests with disabilities, which outlines each attraction and ride.

All restrooms are accessible, and there are companion restrooms at each First Aid station.

Wheelchairs can be rented for $15 a day, and electric scooters for $60 a day inside the park entrance, across from the Universal Studios store.

For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, assistive listening devices are available for free at Guest Relations, and sign language interpretation for various shows can be arranged one week in advance, at no additional cost, by calling 1-800-UNIVERSAL or sending an email to  guest.communications@nbcuni.com.  Some attractions are equipped with closed captioning; these are detailed in the guide.

Attractions scripts are available in Braille at Guest Services, for no fee.

Service animals are permitted, but there are a few attractions, listed in the guide, that cannot accommodate animals.  Oxygen tanks may not be taken on certain rides.

The main parking area includes an accessible section for vehicles with valid permits.  Universal studios is also served by public transportation, including Metro trains and buses, which are accessible.

2. Disneyland
1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802
2. Disneyland
1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802
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Main Street Electrical Parade | Gregg Newton, photographer/Disneyland Resort

This original Disney theme park is filled with rides and brings characters like Mickey Mouse to life.  This is one of the most popular tourists attractions in California, and is known as the “happiest place on earth.”  It also strives to accommodate everyone, including families, non-English speakers and visitors with disabilities.

The park provides a comprehensive guide for visitors with disabilities.  Guests using wheelchairs or scooters, along with the others in their party, have the option of returning to a ride or attraction at a set time rather than waiting in a line.  Those who are not using wheelchairs or scooters, but whose disabilities prevent them from waiting in long lines, can also use this option, but only after registering for Disability Access Service at Guest Services after arriving at the park.

Wheelchairs can be rented for $12, and electric scooters for $50 a day. For those with who are deaf, the park offers assistive listening devices for rides and shows, which are available for a refundable deposit of $25 from Guest Services.  Many video screens contain captions.  Handheld mobile devices, which can be rented for a refundable $25, provide captions in many rides and other attractions.  On Mondays and Thursdays, sign language translation is provided at many of the park’s shows.

For those  who are blind or have low vision, there are braille guidebooks available.  There are also handheld devices that offer narration services of many of the park’s rides and attractions, which can be rented for a refundable $25 a day.

Service animals are permitted.

Accessible parking is available throughout the property.  A shuttle, which may not suit oversized wheelchairs and electric scooters, is provided from the Mickey and Friends and Toy Story parking structures to the park entrance. There are also several options for public transportation.

3. The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049
3. The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049
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The Getty Center

This museum and gallery in the Brentwood neighborhood is ready to wow visitors with outstanding art displays, gardens and architecture.  The hilltop complex offers sweeping views of the city. The museum’s collection is diverse, ranging from European paintings to gardens filled with fountains and sculptures.

The complex is fully accessible to those using wheelchairs.  There is accessible seating in the museum’s auditoriums, and elevators throughout the complex.  All restrooms are wheelchair accessible, and there is a companion restroom in the south pavilion. Wheelchairs are available for free in the parking area and in the museum entrance hall.

There are free self-guided audio tours that describe the exhibits for those who are blind or have low vision.  There are free assistive listening devices available on all tours.  The orientation film is captioned in English.  Sign language can also be arranged, but visitors should contact the museum at least 10 days in advance by calling Visitor Services at (310) 440-7300, or (310) 440-7305 TTY, or emailing visitorservices@getty.edu.  Service animals are permitted. 

There is accessible parking on the entry level of the parking garage, and the tram taking visitors up the hill from the parking area is accessible for wheelchairs.  Accessible Metro bus lines 734 and 234 stop at the Getty Center entrance.

Top Tip: The museum also offers group tours for groups of people with any special needs, but these need to be arranged in advance by calling Visitor Services at (310) 440-7300, or (310) 440-7305 TTY, or emailing visitorservices@getty.edu

4. Griffith Observatory
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
4. Griffith Observatory
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
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Los Angeles, evening at Griffith Observatory

If you have come to L.A. to experience the stars, make sure you visit the Griffith Observatory.  It offers a look into the cosmos through planetarium shows and telescopes.  There are also great views of the Hollywood sign and surrounding area. 

All areas of the complex and its grounds are accessible.  Assistive listening devices are available for most shows and presentations.  Films have captioning upon request. 

Service animals are permitted.  The observatory will make additional arrangements to accommodate guests with disabilities; call (213) 473-0800 to make such arrangements or with any questions.

There is accessible parking in the building’s front lot.  On Saturdays and Sundays, there is accessible public transportation to the observatory via a bus service from Vermont/Sunset Metro Red Line station.

5. Santa Monica Pier
350 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
5. Santa Monica Pier
350 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
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Santa Monica Pier | Visit California, photo by Andreas Hub

This is a historic landmark and a happening place you will want to check out when the bright California sunshine is out in full glory or under the sparkling stars at night. In addition to Pacific Park, which offers rides, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, an arcade, and bars.  Street performers playing music often line the pier.

The pier is reachable by accessible ramps.  Some of the pier is made from a smooth surface and some is still made from the older wooden planks. Rides at Pacific Park cannot accommodate wheelchairs, and there is no a place on site to rent wheelchairs.  Service animals are permitted.

A paved foot path also extends south from the pier, along the ocean, and eventually reaches Venice Beach. 

The pier offers two parking lots with accessible parking.  It is also reachable by some bus lines.

6. Venice Beach
1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
6. Venice Beach
1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
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Illustrative photo of beach sand wheelchairs

This area, famous for its Ocean Front Walk, was once its own city until it was merged into Los Angeles in 1926.  It still maintains much of its unique character.  It is also the busiest facility operated by the city’s park department.

The paved and accessible Ocean Front walk extends for more than two miles and is filled with street vendors, performers, restaurants and other venues.  Venice Beach is also among those beaches in California that provide free beach wheelchairs with wheels large enough to handle moving on sand.  More information about these free beach wheelchairs at Venice Beach can be found by calling (310) 823-6730. 

There is accessible parking in city-run lots near the beach, and some public buses reach this area.

7. The California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037
7. The California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037
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California Science Center

This is one of the best free attractions in L.A., with entrance fees only required for IMAX films and other special exhibits.  Many of the exhibits here are hands-on and interactive, and the museum aims to inspire everyone to learn more about science.

The museum is accessible. Wheelchairs can be rented for a fee. All restrooms are wheelchair accessible. 

Free closed captioning and assistive listening devices are available in each IMAX film.  Printed transcripts are also offered for special exhibits.

The museum offers a visual description tour, but it is best to book this at least 10 days in advance, by calling (213) 744-2019.  There are also visitor guides in braille.  Service animals are permitted.

There is accessible parking on levels 1, 2 and 3 of the garage.  The science center is 0.2 miles from the Expo Park/USC metro station, part of the accessible public transportation network.

Top Tip: Save your metro ticket and show it at the box office in order to receive a discount on IMAX and other special exhibition tickets.

8. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
8. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
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LA County Museum of Art | Visit California, photo by Carol Highsmith

This is the largest art museum in the Western United States, and boasts a collection ranging from ancient Greek artifacts to contemporary pieces.  It is also located on the famous Wilshire Boulevard, one of the symbolic streets of Los Angeles.

All galleries are wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available at no cost from the ticket offices.  The museum’s theater offers assistive listening devices.  Free tours for visitors with disabilities can be arranged three weeks in advance, by calling (323) 857-6000 or sending an email to publicinfo@lacma.org.

Guests can be dropped off at the Wilshire Boulevard entrance, and accessible parking is available in both of the museum’s parking areas.  Metro 20 & 720 on Wilshire and 217, 218, and 780 on Fairfax all stop within half a block of the museum for those wishing to use public transportation, which is fully accessible.

9. Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90028
9. Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90028
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Celebrity stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, there are more than 2400 celebrity stars made from marble and brass. The stars are permanent public monuments to achievement in the entertainment industry, bearing the names of a mix of actors, musicians, directors, producers, musical and theatrical groups, fictional characters, and others.

This touristy stretch of a city street is filled with options for shopping, and checking out famous landmarks like Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley’s Odditorium.  And there are also the famous stars embedded in the sidewalk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

The wide sidewalks here meet ADA standards, with curb cuts at each intersection.  Most attractions are also accessible, but it is best to check with each individual venue.  Keep in mind that Hollywood Boulevard is a public, outdoor space, so it can be crowded and very hot in the summer.

The metro’s Red line also stops at the Hollywood/Highland Station along the boulevard.

10. The Grove
189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036
10. The Grove
189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036
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The Grove

This is a shopping, retail and entertainment complex built on the grounds of a historical farm and dairy market.   There is still a working farmer’s market next door to the Grove complex.  A visit here combines a bit of history with the sort of gourmet and trendy experiences so central to LA’s culture.

The Grove is easily accessible to those with disabilities.  Wheelchairs are available from the central valet parking entrance.  The Grove’s vintage trolley, updated to run on batteries, can also accommodate wheelchairs via a lift.

There is plenty of accessible parking in addition to valet parking.  

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