Chicago is known for the myriad of activities available to its residents and tourists alike. As a melting pot for people from all walks of life, Chicago has made a concerted effort to make the city wheelchair-accessible, including transportation, city parks, and museums.
The Christopher Reeve Foundation even ranked Chicago #6 on its list of wheelchair-livable cities. To see the full list, click here.
Many of our patients regularly attend sporting events, visit museums and parks, and go to school. Here’s our list of our favorite activities in Chicago. These activities are wheelchair-accessible, too!
Adaptive Adventures | 2616 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette
Name any outdoor sport and Adaptive Adventures is likely to have it. Adaptive Adventures offers outdoor sports activities for people with physical disabilities and their families. Midwest offerings include: skiing, snowboarding, cycling, dragon boat racing, kayaking, rock climbing, and more. Click here for more information about getting involved.
Chicago Air and Water Show | North Avenue Beach, Chicago
The Chicago Air and Water Show is the largest free admission air and water exhibition in the United States. With the Chicago skyline as the background, you can watch countless daredevil thrills in the air and on the water. It is free and can be viewed anywhere on the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point.
Chicago Sports | Chicago
Whether it’s football, soccer, and baseball, Chicago stadiums keep accessibility in mind to accommodate all of its sports fans. The Chicago Bears (Soldier Field | 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago), Chicago Fire (Toyota Park | 7000 Harlem Ave., Bridgeview), and Chicago White Sox (US Cellular Field | 33 W. 35th Street, Chicago) all have wheelchair-accessible stadiums. Click here for more information about wheelchair access.
Ravinia Festival | 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park
Ravinia presents more than 140 events throughout the summer, from Yo-Yo Ma to John Legend. The 36-acre park venue is perfect for guests to bring their own picnics or eat at one of the park restaurants. The 2015 lineup is now available and tickets go on sale April 28. Ravinia is fully outfitted for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind, or with mobility disabilities. Click here for more information about accessibility and mobility assistance.
Art Institute of Chicago | 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago
Voted the #1 museum in the world for 2015, the Art Institute of Chicago provides visitors with access to approximately 300,000 works of art. It also offers special exhibitions and hundreds of gallery talks, lectures, performances, and events every year. Free admission for Illinois residents every Thursday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. Children under the age of 14 are always free of charge. Click here for more information about wheelchair access.
Morton Arboretum| 4100 Illinois 53, Lisle
The Morton Arboretum is an outdoor museum offering events for adults and families. Events include walk/run races, dog admission day, arts and entertainment, tree lighting, culinary events, festivals, and gardening events. All buildings and paved paths and trails are accessible to wheelchairs. Click here for more information about wheelchair access.
Museum of Science and Industry | 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago
As the largest science center in the Western Hemisphere, the Museum of Science and Industry offers exhibits, events, tours and experiences for people of all ages. Free general admission for Illinois residents on the following dates for 2015: April 22; May 21; June 1-5, 8; September 8-11, 14-18, 21-25, 28-30; and October 5-6. Click here for more information about wheelchair access.
Shedd Aquarium | 1200 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
The Shedd Aquarium features 32,000 species using innovative energy-saving initiatives. Free general admission for Illinois residents is available on the following dates for 2015: June 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, September 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29, October 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27, and November 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24. Click here for more information about wheelchair access.
Chicago Botanic Garden | 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
As one of only 17 public gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Chicago Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to visit with over 9,000 different types of plants and flowers. Admission is free to all visitors but parking is only free for members. Click here for more information on wheelchair access.
Lincoln Park Zoo | 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago
Amidst a sea of cars and giant buildings, you can visit the Lincoln Park Zoo and see an oasis of wildlife for free. From gorillas, to lions, and even swans, animal-lovers can experience the call of the wild as it echoes from the nearby apartment buildings. All public buildings at the zoo have at least one wheelchair-accessible entrance. All of the animal encounter programs at the Farm-in-the-Zoo are wheelchair-accessible, as well. The Lionel Train Adventure ride features a wheelchair-accessible caboose. Click here for more information about wheelchair access.
Millennium Park | 201 E Randolph St, Chicago
Millennium Park is composed of 50 acres filled with gardens, amusement rides, shops, eateries and attractions. See the mind-bending reflections of the city skyline from Cloud Gate (the “Bean”). There are also free music concerts and film screenings at the Pritzker Pavilion which has two ramped entries at both sides of the pavilion in the rear. Admission is free for all visitors. Click here for more information about wheelchair access.
Navy Pier | 600 E. Grand Ave, Chicago
The Navy Pier is the most visited leisure destination in the Midwest. There are many activities to take part in at Navy Pier including cultural programs, seasonal celebrations, special events and entertainment. Most of the activities require an admission fee; however, there is no fee to enter Navy Pier itself. Take a stroll along the waterfront to see the downtown skyline or go see the free fireworks fill the sky every Wednesday and Saturday night from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Click here for more information about wheelchair access.
Broadway and Theater:
Broadway in Chicago | Chicago
Broadway in Chicago is composed of several theaters that light up the Chicago Theater District. It is well known for having pre-Broadway productions to include “The Addams Family” and “Big Fish,” as well as, long run engagements including “Wicked” and Disney’s “The Lion King.” The four theaters with wheelchair accessible locations include the Auditorium Theatre, the Bank of America Theatre, the Cadillac Palace Theatre, and the Oriental Theatre. These four theaters also offer interpreted performances for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Click here for more information about wheelchair access and the interpreted performances.
Watching a new movie can always bring joy to someone’s day. Listed below are some of the wheelchair-accessible movie theaters in the Chicagoland area:
- AMC 600 North Michigan 9 | 600 North Michigan, Chicago
- AMC Chicago Ridge 6 | 500 Chicago Ridge Mall, Chicago Ridge
- AMC Ford City 14 | 7601 South Cicero Ave, Chicago
- AMC Showplace Galewood 14 | 5530 West Homer Street, Chicago
- New 400 Theater | 6746 North Sheridan Road, Chicago
Northshore Center for the Performing Arts | 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie
The Northshore Center for the Performing Arts is a dynamic two-theater complex that provides cultural, literary, and educational programs. With events that represent numerous nationalities, everyone is sure to enjoy the time they spend at the center. Click here for more information about wheelchair access.
There you have it, 15 of our favorite wheelchair-accessible activities! How many have you visited?
If we missed any of your favorite Chicago activities, leave us a message in the comments section! We’d love to hear from you.
Are there any other wheelchair accessible piers for fiahing along Lake Michigan along with Burnham and Montrose Harbor?
We don’t know of any, but if you find a wheelchair-accessible pier for fishing in Chicago, please share it here! Thanks for your comment!
Montrose harbor does have a wheelchair-accessible pier and so does Burnham harbor, Burnham harbor actually has a adaptive sailing program for people with disabilities.
Hi, Semira! Thanks for the information. It sounds like a great thing to check out!