When you find yourself in Los Angeles, California, you find yourself in one of the easiest places to navigate if you are a wheelchair user. The city has really gone to great lengths to make travel and attractions as accessible as possible. In fact, it is touted as one of the most accessible cities in the world, and for good reason. The metro and railways are more than accommodating, and airport service (in my experience at least) is a dream. Navigating to and from attractions, restaurants, and hidden gems in Los Angeles is certainly not a problem whether you choose public or private transit. The only question you’re left with is “What are the top attractions that I must see?” Well, with that in mind, I offer up my top five! Here they are in no particular order:
Aquarium of the Pacific
Many metropolitan areas have an aquarium to showcase different species of fish, and provide education for locals or tourists. Los Angeles is no exception. Their Aquarium of the Pacific allows wheelchair participants to roll right up close to the giant tanks and examine several different species such as manta rays, jellyfish, and other sorts of vibrant, colorful sea creatures. Don’t forget to ask for your free audio tour. Typically, these are reserved for the blind, but if you are a wheelchair user then they will more than likely let you have one to use as a guide so you don’t have to stop or maneuver around people to read the signs. Also, they have complimentary wheelchairs available at their information center should you need one.
Los Angeles Zoo
So obviously you can tell that I love animals, huh? Well, this place is legendary. It is known for two things; it’s massive size, and the many hills that are found throughout. However, no worries here. You can get to many areas onboard the Safari shuttle that loops around the pathways that wind through the park. Also, should you need one, they offer both electric wheelchairs and traditional wheelchairs. Just head to the International Marketplace and you can find them there. Also, if it’s hot, make sure to bring plenty of water. Other than that, enjoy the zoo and its many amazing animal exhibits!
This place is an astronomer’s dream. They have one of the most incredible planetarium shows; you definitely want to make sure to go while you are in LA. There are plenty of ramps for navigating around the observatory, and there are even disabled shuttles that roam the parking lot on a frequent basis if you need to hitch a ride. While at the observatory, be sure to check out the public telescopes as well as the other exhibits that they have on hand. The views of downtown LA and the Hollywood sign from here are incredible as well! Oh, and should you need a break or a bite to eat, they have a café and gift shop on site.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
This is one of the best tours you can go on if you are a movie buff! It is very accessible, however, you might have to wait a couple of extra minutes during the tour for the guide to unload your wheelchair from the tour shuttle. They used tie-down straps to lock my wheelchair into place on the tram, but it only took a minute to undo them. The two hour tour will bring you up close and personal with some of the best memorabilia that Warner Bros. has to offer. See massive lots depicting sets from many movies and TV shows, including the old ambulance bay from the hit TV series ER.
The museum tour will showcase props from such movies as Batman, Harry Potter, and many other well-known productions. You can even take a few moments and hop on the famous couch at Central Perk where Joey, Ross, Rachel, and the rest of the “Friends” used to frequent during their days. This tour is so neat and well worth the two hours it takes. Put it on your list as a must see. Who knows, you may even run into a celebrity while you’re there!
The Santa Monica Pier
This is not just your average fishing pier. In fact, it is home to many restaurants, an amusement park, some bars, and various forms of street entertainment. It is a hub of activity and attracts visitors by the thousands every year. For the easiest access, make sure to park on the pier level of the parking lot, rather than underneath. From there, it’s easy to roll out onto the pier and catch an amazing sunset, or watch some dolphins play in the ocean. You will certainly not find yourself with a shortage of things to do here. You might even make several new friends since there are always people around!
Now you have a few of my top picks for the city of Los Angeles, but there are tons of other places to visit that you will find during your time there. However, this list showcases several of my favorites and they are some of the best in my opinion. The only disappointment you will have is wishing you had more time to spend in sunny Los Angeles!
*This article originally appeared on Abilities.com