Cleveland, Ohio: Things to Do with a Wheelchair

Cleveland, Ohio is a historical U.S. city with a diverse population that share a love for good times, food and drinks. Situated along the Lake Erie, Cleveland was a local hub early on and has continued with these roots while adapting itself with some modern twists. Nightlife is taken seriously and so are the few professional sports team. The outdoors are enjoyed and utilized.

Only about 30 minutes away from Cleveland is Cuyahoga Valley National Park where you will find a number of accessible features to enjoy, like Tinkers Gorge. The Cleveland Metroparks have made a number of access improvements in the Emerald Necklace (parks surrounding Cleveland in the shape of a necklace) where you can even find a zoo, a beach wheelchair you can rent at Huntington Beach, therapeutic riding, in addition to short hikes and picnicking.

Perhaps the most well-known gardens in the area is the Cleveland Botanical Garden. One can also explore the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. There are 29 international gardens in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens chain, including Rockefeller Park, and most are handicap accessible. They are located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and East Blvd. All of the gardens are accessible on MLK and all but a few of them on East Blvd are accessible.  Even in these gardens you can still see the gardens from the sidewalk. Most have paths that lead into the gardens but some might have steps. At the Rockefeller Greenhouse, the displays and restrooms are all accessible. There’s also two dedicated parking spaces with a ramp from the parking lot to the entrance patio. The only difficult area is the main entrance door is not automated. The door is wide enough, but could require help to hold it open.

Rivergate Park on the boarder of the Cuyahoga River has a flat, paved walkway to stroll around. Lakeshore Blvd. is a great drive and a part of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail that stretches for about three-hundred miles (taking about eight hours to drive) and has a few historical landmarks. Many beautiful mansions can be seen along this road in Cleveland, and portions of this you can definitely wheel. Another recommended area is around the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The pathway around here is nearly level with open views of the lake. There is a Steamship you can tour; once entrance has a ramp. The ship is the Steamship William G. Mather Museum and is open May-October. Most of the pathway around here is cobblestone-type, which gets bumpy.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is considered by most to be a must-see, and if you listen to music then I agree! This museum has information about the evolution of Rock and Roll, which means countless other genres including effects felt by today’s top artists. Making the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum accessible for everyone has been a top goal, so you will find an easy time getting around to the different levels using the elevator. Good access signage was observed. In addition to the many themed rooms with beautifully displayed exhibits you will also find wheelchair accessible seating in all the theatres. No automatic doors anywhere, but inside there is often a guard that can be flagged down if needing help.

A little inland from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum near the Cuyahoga River is the Greater Cleveland Aquarium with accessible restrooms and parking, but no automatic doors. The aquarium is entirely accessible in a wheelchair except the tortoise exhibit. However if you ask a team member, they are happy to bring a tortoise out for you to interact with.

The aquarium is located in the Flats West Bank and across the river is the Flats East Bank which is a hip place to dine, drink and enjoy music. Cleveland Heights is a Coventry Road where you can find Coventry Village, an eclectic stretch with unique shops and restaurants. It is also known for good local live music. Murry Hills is also known as Cleveland’s Little Italy.

East 4th Street in the downtown area has a cute little area for pedestrians only with a few restaurants, cafes, and bars lit up but bistro lights stretch over the tops of buildings. Be sure to stroll a little further to Playhouse Square in the Theater District where you can see a giant chandelier shining brightly. Many venues are locate in this area. 5th Street Arcade Mall is also right around the corner with boutique shops.

Pick your spirits up at a Cleveland Indians baseball game, Cleveland Browns football game, or Cleveland Cavilers basketball game. Only in Cleveland can you see the home used in the cult movie, A Christmas Story, but only the gift shop is accessible (in case you wanted to pick up a leg-lamp at all) not the tour or house.

The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History with Wade Park connecting the two is another option. The historical Lakeview Cemetery is also located nearby; a six-minute drive or seventeen-minute bus ride. The grounds are hilly and covered in old trees with a paved road meandering through the sites of the deceased. A number of burial spots are incredibly massive and intricate.

Westside Market is an indoor food paradise. Food vendors of all kinds have their best on display for purchase on the same ground floor. The building itself is historic, opened in 1912. From Downtown Cleveland, it is a short ten-minute drive over the Cuyahoga River. Free handicap parking is available on a first-come first-serve basis. Restroom accessibility is currently unknown.

Another special attraction in Cleveland is Lolly the Trolley. Tours run on Fri and Sat from February thru April, weather permitting, and usually every day from May thru October. On nice days the trolley is popular. A wheelchair accessible trolley is available with a lift, but a few weeks advanced notice is required to arrange; the lift is only capable of handling 300 pounds.

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