In a previous blog I mentioned that Chicago was recently named one of America’s most disability-friendly cities by the National Organization on Disability. Not only are all of the city’s public buses wheelchair-accessible, but also each summer Chicago hosts the largest Disability Pride Parade in the nation.
To learn more about what the Windy City offers disabled travelers I would suggest ordering a free copy of a new guide called “Easy Access Chicago.” It includes basic visitor information for popular city attractions such as Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field and the Sears Tower, along with details on accommodations like ramps and elevators, handicapped parking, Braille signage and assistive listening devices, and accessible bathrooms, counters and ticket windows.
Other helpful information featured in the guide includes tips on how to get a 21-day pass for paratransit services and details on the Chicago Greeter program. The group offers free, guided tours for visitors with disabilities to 40 special interest areas and 25 popular Chicago neighborhoods.
The “Easy Access Chicago” guide can be ordered by mail at no charge from the Illinois Bureau of Tourism. It can also be downloaded in a PDF format by clicking here.
Finally, no matter what your physical condition I have a few more Chicago trip tips for you to add to the ones I listed in my previous blogs:
One lesson I learned the hard way when I spent my first year in Chicago (as a transplant from Hawaii) is that the seasonal range in the Windy City runs from bone-chilling winters to sizzling summers. As much as it might be a chore to do (especially if you are traveling from a warmer climate) do not forget to pack a warm jacket, boots, gloves and a hat. They are a must since you don’t know when Mother Nature is going to sock it to you with windchills in the double digits below zero. And as strange as it may sound you might consider packing a light jacket when visiting the city during the summer. Lake Michigan has a way of swaying the local climate in ways you don’t expect. For example, while it might be 80 degrees inland during mid-August lakeside temps might not get above 65.
Another tip is to plan ahead. Popular city attractions such as the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry allow you to pre-order tickets online, which can help save your sanity and the aggravation associated with standing in mile-long lines with four kids in tow. Also, I just recently learned the advantage of making reservations at popular city restaurants. Eateries such as Charlie Trotter (which is often featured on Food Network) allow you to a call a month in advance of your visit to book a table.