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Traveling to New York City for People Who Use Wheelchairs blog image

Traveling to New York City for People Who Use Wheelchairs

August 29 2022

Planning a vacation can be tough and it becomes more complex when you factor in accessibility for those with limited mobility. New York has come a long way over the last few years and despite being such a large and dense city, the Big Apple becomes increasingly accessible year after year.

If you’re considering a vacation to New York City as or with a person who uses a wheelchair, this quick guide can answer some of the most important questions before you start planning your trip.

Getting Around:

While New York is a busy city with often crowded streets, the wide sidewalks and multitude of crosswalks make it a lot easier than you might think. The most popular areas with tourists, for example, 5th Ave, Broadway, and Times Square have especially wide sidewalks without obstructions making much of the city accessible.

man is wheelchair crosses cross walk between lots of people walking and rushing across the same crossing

Buses:

All NYC buses are fitted with lifts for passengers who use wheelchairs and those who are unable to use the stairs, and all buses are also fitted with an “empty space” for wheelchairs to be secured on the bus when moving. Newer buses are also equipped with seat belts and shoulder harnesses to increase safety. As well as displaying the next stop name on the bus, it is also announced over a speaker for the visually impaired.

The Subway:

While the city has plans to make 95% of the subway accessible for riders who use wheelchairs, currently access is limited to around 25% of stations. For many people, while slower, buses make it much easier to get around – however, if you’d like to ride the subway at least once, this page details the accessibility at all New York Subway Stations to help you work out your route.

Where to Stay:

Staying close to the attractions you want to see will help make your time a lot easier in the city, but not all hotels will have easy wheelchair access due to location, especially in older buildings. The good news is that many hotels do offer assistance, and by visiting their websites and viewing their accessibility statements, you can better determine if their facilities will work for you and your family.

man using a wheelchair next to a woman walking across a street with buildings in the background

Eating Out:

Like with hotels, not all restaurants are able to offer disabled access due to aspects out of their control, and unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find out online. Luckily, Disability Horizons have put together a list of their favorite accessible New York Restaurants to help you find the best places to eat while you’re on vacation.

If you’re visiting New York this fall and you’re looking for an accessible hotel, explore our accessibility statement and our hotel and room features here. The Hotel Beacon is committed to providing a comfortable stay for all guests and visitors.