Come Tour Historical Boston! When it comes to seeing the many historical sites around Boston all one needs to do is follow the Freedom Trail, which is marked by a solid red line (painted or in brick) in the middle of the sidewalk. The places the Freedom Trail takes you are made up of government buildings, like the State House or the Old City Hall. There are also many churches, like the Trinity Church, cemeteries, and other significant historical buildings like the site of the Boston Massacre, the Old Boston Meeting House, and the JFK Library. There is so much included on this trail that it is hard to see everything in one day. Tours were available, both by walking and by vehicle, but I enjoyed the freedom of spending as much time as I desired at a particulate location and then moving on to the next. See wheeling the streets of Boston.
If you are looking for a formal tour with a guide then you must try the Boston Duck Tours. The vehicle is accessible for both manual and power wheelchairs using a lift, upon request so be sure to note you use a chair when making reservations. What is unique about this tour is that the vehicle you travel in is amphibious, so you get to see Boston by land and water. There is a day tour (80 minutes) that covers 36 major Boston attractions and also an abbreviated evening tour (55 minutes) that covers 22. Each vehicle can accommodate 2 wheelchairs and is equipped with seatbelts to secure the wheelchair and passenger. There is no accessible bathroom on board.
For over 250 years Faneuil Hall Marketplace also known as Quincy Market has been a lively shopping and dining destination for residents and tourists. Two places I dined at and enjoyed were the Mccormick & Schmick’s and the Salty Dog. One night I sat on the outdoor patio of Wagamama for two and indulged myself with one of the tasty desserts on the menu, coconut ice cream. There are indoor markets too as shown below, serving everything from Boston Clam Chowder and Oysters to gelato and North East pastries. There are ramps into the market but they are kind of hidden, so look around or ask someone. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are available on the lower lever taken via the elevator.
The North End, Boston’s Little Italy, is so full of life and one could easily spend a few hours or more experiencing it. Along the streets are Italian restaurants and bakeries, corner markets, cafes, and shops. In addition, there are many historical buildings, like the Roman Catholic Church established in 1704 and The Paul Revere House. One of the most popular places to indulge in a traditional Italian dessert is Mike’s Pastry, which has been baking up delightful treats since 1946. Many come for the cannolis, shown in the below photo gallery, and are highly recommended but no matter what you like, you cannot go wrong.
- Beantown can be fun in a wheelchair. Its rich history is all accessible and convenient if you do a bit of planning.
- The view of the city skyline from the Prudential Center Observatory is breathtaking. Looking to the east, you’ll see Logan Airport, on clear days, planes pass over Boston Harbor and the Waterfront in single file. The view of the city from the Observatory is completely free to those in wheelchairs.
- The Longfellow Bridge can be seen to the north along with Hatch Shell, Public Garden, Beacon Hill, Museum of Science, and the Charles River contrast with the historic Back Bay brownstones and Government Center skyscrapers. Off in the distance, you might be able to see the crimson spires of Harvard University and Cambridge.
- If you want to see the graveyards and haunted houses of Salem you should be able to find an accessible bus tour.
- Access into the bar from the television series “Cheers.’ The original restaurant and bar is located in the basement of the Hampshire House and is accessible by lift and elevator.
- The New England Aquarium is a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Admission to the aquarium is free for the disabled because there is an “observatory floor” that can only be reached by stairs; regardless, 98% of the aquarium is wheelchair accessible. A large and gradual spiraling ramp, as shown in the above right photo, wraps around an enormous tank filled with sharks, sting rays, and other large sea creatures. Along the way to the top are four floors of sea life displays, like seahorses and jellyfish. On the ground floor, there is one of the best penguin exhibits around, with multiple areas of different species all of which are not contained by the glass.
- Museum of Fine Arts (MFA): The permanent collect features paintings from various periods and international ancient artifacts ranging from Egyptian to Roman to Asian. The museum has two extremely wide ramps on either side of the main entrance. Once inside, a wheelchair user is able to glide across the smooth tile from exhibit to exhibit with little effort; marked elevators take you from floor to floor, and wheelchair accessible restrooms can be found on either floor. In almost every room there is a museum staff member who can assist you as needed. If you take public transportation, there’s a station stop right outside the Museum of Fine Arts.
Restaurants and Bars
- While in Boston, have some chowder, beans, and lobster rolls.
- The Bleecher Bar: One of the biggest attractions is Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, with tours available for a fee. However, a great way to experience the stadium is at the Bleacher Bar. Sitting right under the bleachers at Fenway Park, this restaurant and bar overlooks the left field. The decor is a tribute to the home baseball team with one-of-a-kind memorabilia. One can expect Boston-style bar food and is a great way to get close to the field for a lot less money. Although there are a couple of stairs to the main floor, there is a chair lift right at the entrance. In addition, there is an accessible restroom.
- The Chart House: Seafood, Steak, and Prime Rib restaurant is a delicious place to dine and is basically wheelchair accessible. It’s located on the harbor Long Wharf, which is a convenient spot to dine if staying at the Marriott Long Wharf and is one of the oldest buildings in Boston, established in 1710. There is dining on the ground floor and the second but does not have an elevator. Nonetheless, there is a full bar and an accessible restroom downstairs.
- Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery: Located in the Theater District of Boston, the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery is an affordable place to dine with great beer and American food. Every Monday a beer is featured for $3.25. Happy hour is Monday-Friday 2:30-5:30 pm. They even have handcrafted beer to go! There is a very large patio area, perfect for people-watching but there is also an inside dining too, which is very spacious; wheelchair accessible restrooms are also available.
- Bathrooms: as usual in any place with super old architecture, finding wheelchair-accessible washrooms can be an issue. Some of the restaurants have them and there is no lack of help should you start looking, if you need to use one in a restaurant they will be fine if you don’t order steak tartare and just roll on through, just smile a lot.