What to Do in Boston in a Day as a Wheelchair User (and Why I Visited the City)

Recently, I was contacted by the folks at Biogen. If you haven’t heard of Together in SMA, it’s a wonderful community supporting people and families living with and affected by Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which is the form of Muscular Dystrophy that I have, and it’s run by Biogen. They asked if I’d be interested in working together, and I immediately said yes! I was extremely excited for this opportunity and we started planning not long after.

Fast forward a few months and I was on a plane, flying to Boston to do a Facebook Live video on their page about traveling with SMA. I talked about the challenges that come along with traveling as someone with SMA, but I also shared tips on how to overcome those challenges… and we had some fun by talking about my craziest travel experiences also (a hippo attack may or may not be involved). The Live video shoot was great and I hope that many people, or even just one person, were inspired to travel because of it. If you’d like to see the Facebook Live video, watch by clicking the link below –




What to Do in Boston in a Day


I was only in Boston for two nights and was quite busy, but I did have the chance to do some Boston sightseeing for about five hours one day. This was my first time in the city, aside from a layover in the airport while on my way to Iceland a few years ago, so I was excited to see as much as I could. Here’s what I saw during my 5 hours in Boston as a wheelchair user. For more info on each location, check out Lonely Planet’s Pocket Boston.


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Faneuil Hall

As one of the most historic buildings in Boston, this is a must-see if you plan to explore Boston in a day . Faneuil Hall is frequently referred to as the “Cradle of Liberty” because of the many events related to the Revolution that took place here. Abolitionists, labor unionists, suffragists and more all held conventions at Faneuil Hall in the 19th century. In the 20th century, John F. Kennedy even held his last campaign speech here for the 1960 presidential race. As you can see, it has played a prominent role in Boston’s history, but the hall is still used today as well.


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Today, while some political activists do use the hall as a meeting place, Faneuil Hall is more of a marketplace. There are all kinds of shops and restaurants inside to suit any visitor, and it’s a common Boston sightseeing destination. For a wheelchair user, it is accessible via a ramp and an elevator, located on the south side of the building.


Quincy Market


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While Faneuil Hall is a marketplace and mostly known for its history, Quincy Market is renowned for all of the delicious food that it offers and is an absolute must when exploring Boston in a day. Quincy is only about 100 feet from Faneuil Hall, so you can easily do them both back-to-back. Forget about what the weight scale might say when you get back home and treat yourself to some Boston goodies!


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Quincy Market has 18 restaurants and about 35 colonnade eateries, so you’ll definitely find something you like. To try a Boston staple, head to Boston Chowda for a lobster roll or clam chowder. Or if you want something totally different, you’ll find pizza, sandwiches, fruit, and any other type of food you can think of at one of the many options in Quincy. The market is accessible to a wheelchair user, but be mindful of the cobblestone walkways around Faneuil/Quincy. It’s pretty bumpy, but worth it, and since they are close together you won’t have to travel very far on the cobblestone.


Boston Harbor


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Just a short walk or roll from the markets is Boston Harbor, where I took in some nice views of the boats coming in and leaving the harbor. I’m a big fan of anything near the water, so I absolutely loved this part of the city. It was relaxing to just sit back and take in the views, but there’s plenty of wheelchair accessible things to do in the area if you want to be more active.

There are a good bit of bars and restaurants around the harbor or you could visit an attraction, such as the popular New England Aquarium. This is one of the most popular aquariums in the country and it receives over 1.3 million visitors per year as a Boston sightseeing hotspot. It is wheelchair friendly and easy to navigate. Even if you don’t go inside the aquarium, there are some animals in an outside tank that you can look at, so spare at least a few minutes and see the New England Aquarium during your Boston in a day experience while you’re in the harbor/Quincy Market area.


Cheers Bar


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To be completely honest, I have never seen an episode of the TV show Cheers. It ran from 1982-1993, so I was only three years old when it ended. However, since my mom went with me to Boston, she insisted that we visit Cheers while in the city and even as someone that has never seen the television show, I really enjoyed the experience.

Cheers has a couple different locations in Boston. There’s Cheers Beacon Hill, which is the original one that the TV show was based off of, and Cheers Faneuil Hall, which is the one we visited since we were already in that area. The Faneuil Hall location was a replica of the original and in my mom’s opinion, it felt like she walked into the TV show. We had an appetizer of hummus, some drinks, and just admired the decorations all over the walls. This is certainly a tourist trap, but it’s a fun one so who cares?!


Paul Revere House

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If you’re a history nerd like I am, then you’ll want to visit American folk hero Paul Revere’s house during your Boston in a day journey. Unfortunately, I arrived to the house about 20 minutes after it closed for the day, but I did get to see some of the outside of it. The house is only a 10-15 minute walk or so from the Faneuil Hall area, so it’s easy to get to and thanks to recent renovations, the Paul Revere House is now completely wheelchair accessible. A wheelchair user can take advantage of elevator access to the second floor and a smooth ground-level entrance to the lower level.

In case you’re wondering “Who the heck is Paul Revere and why should I care about seeing his house?!”, he is most famous for his “Midnight Ride” in April of 1775. He completed this ride to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and others that the British were going to invade. He famously shouted “The British are coming! The British are coming!” Now does he sound more familiar to you?


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Even though I only had time to see Boston in a day, it was enough for me to enjoy some basic Boston sightseeing and it gave me some ideas of what I want to do the next time I’m in Beantown. It’s truly a beautiful city and I’m tremendously thankful that I got to experience a small part of it.



*Thanks to Biogen for making this trip possible! While I was compensated for this blog post, all opinions are authentic and my own.